Spicy and distinctive, blackened chicken is a flavor explosion that pairs great with so many sides. Simply rub with spices and char for a juicy and satisfying dinner ready in under 15 minutes!
My father and grandparents grew up in New Orleans so I have a well acquired taste for classic Cajun dishes – Shrimp Etouffee, The Best Pralines Ever, and this blackened chicken recipe is one of my favorites.
In part, this blog serves as an examination of my roots through food. Here, I make food I have made for years. Hispanic, Cajun, and sassy Nashville all rolled into one (and now Washington DC).
There is something about the blending and layering of flavors that makes cajun and creole cooking so appealing, much like the layers of my history. It’s comfort food with a kick, yet so adaptive. And this classic Blackened Chicken is one of the most versatile!
Blackened Chicken Seasoning Ingredients
Below is an overview of the authentic spices you will need along with some notes for cooking this delicious recipe:
If you are in a pinch, pre-made cajun seasoning is pretty adequate, although it is harder to control the level of heat for your tastes.
I wouldn’t recommend using your nicest sauté pan, but a cast iron griddle like this is perfect or you can cook it on an outdoor grill.
How to Make Blackened Chicken
It’s the method of cooking that makes this recipe very special. The high heat of this cooking method seals in the juices and really wakes up the spice mixture in a way that’s not easily duplicated if you bake or saute the chicken.
The key is using a cast iron skillet and medium-high to high heat. Wait for the pan to get really good and hot before adding the butter and chicken. In a bowl, combine the spices until well mixed.
Pound out the chicken breast to a ½-3/4 inch thickness, and season generously with the spice mixture. Add butter to the hot pan, and place the chicken in the pan.
This method may mean plenty of smoke and that’s ok! If you don’t have a good hood vent over your stove, making blackened chicken may set off a smoke alarm, but it’s totally worth it, lol. Or you can make it on an outdoor gas grill for the same effect – a charcoal grill doesn’t get hot enough.
- As an entree with southern favorites like green beans, Squash Casserole, or Fried Apples
- Atop a bed of simple greens for a Chicken Salad
- Blackened Chicken Cesar Salad with parmesan flakes and croutons is excellent.
- Cajun Chicken Pasta – My favorite! It’s wonderful with the creamy alfredo and broccoli.
- Slice and put it in a wrap with cajun rice, lettuce, and sour cream.
Serve: You can keep cooked chicken at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be refrigerated.
Refrigerate: Cooked chicken should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil or in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Don’t cut up the meat until ready to reheat.
Freeze: Cool your chicken to room temperature, and place in a freezer or foodsaver bag to minimize freezer burn. Freeze for up to 4 months. You can pre-cut this for salads and sandwiches to reduce thaw time.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can! This method needs really high heat and that’s the key. I would recommend a gas grill, preferably with some sort of grill skillet. This just makes the high heat a little more even. If you do not have a skillet, butter the chicken along with the seasoning rather than the pan.
Blackening is a method of cooking most often used for fish or chicken. The protein is well coated in a combination of butter, herbs and spices, then cooked over high heat temperatures. It is traditionally cooked in a cast iron pan.
Yes. To make blackened fish, I recommend snapper, mahi, catfish, salmon, seabass, or tilefish. The important part is that the thickness not be more than ¾, or the middle may not cook properly with this method.
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- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 1 lb
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper This is 3 pepper spicy rating, for less heat, add just a pinch or less.
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper can use black pepper as a substitute
- 1 tablespoon butter
- The key is using a cast iron skillet and medium-high to high heat. If you do not have a cast iron pan, you can grill outside preferably on a griddle.
- Pound chicken to ½-3/4 inch thickness, but no more than ¾ inch.
- Pre-heat pan over medium-high heat.
- In a small bowl, combine seasonings. Generously coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the spice mixture.
- Add butter to the hot pan, and place the chicken in the pan.
- Cook about 8 minutes total (4 minutes per side), flipping after the edges become white and cooked.