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This blackened chicken recipe coats meat in a zesty spice blend and cooks it over high heat for ultra-flavorful results just like my blackened salmon recipe. While the method may sound simple, the key to learning how to make blackened chicken truly delicious is in the spice blend. The perfect mix of spices will give this chicken a crispy exterior while still keeping the meat moist and flavorful. Luckily, this recipe has the perfect blackened seasoning blend!
The blackening seasoning does add a bit of a kick, but it’s not too spicy. If you’re a fan of bold Southern dishes like this one, you may also like Cajun grilled cod, Cajun shrimp caesar salad, or low carb jambalaya.
What Is Blackened Chicken?
Blackened chicken is a popular Cajun and Creole dish. The chicken is typically coated in a spice mixture and then pan-fried or grilled. The result is juicy, spicy, and flavorful, with a slightly charred exterior or blackened crust.
Why You’ll Love This Blackened Chicken Recipe
- Spicy, smoky taste
- Juicy, tender chicken
- Simple ingredients
- Done in 20 minutes
- An easy, healthy chicken dinner
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for this cajun chicken recipe, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
Blackened Chicken Seasoning:
This dish uses my easy blackened seasoning recipe, which includes the following ingredients, but you can use store-bought as well. (If it’s unsalted, add 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of chicken.)
- Sea Salt – Using salt seasons the meat, makes it more tender, and helps it stay juicy.
- Paprika – You will need both sweet paprika and smoked paprika. The sweet variety tones down the heat, while the smoked one adds a subtle smokiness to the chicken. However, you could use just one or the other if you only have one of them.
- Dried Herbs – Dried thyme and dried oregano intensify the other flavors in this blackened chicken seasoning.
- Aromatics – Including onion powder and garlic powder.
- Hot Peppers – Both crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper add a spicy kick and flavor.
- Chicken – Get similar sized chicken breasts so that they cook evenly. You could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs as well, but cook time may vary slightly.
- Olive Oil – Used for sauteing. Other types of oil, such as avocado oil, will work as well, just make sure to use a heat-safe oil.
How To Make Blackened Chicken
This section shows how to cook blackened chicken, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Season. In a small bowl, stir together the easy blackened chicken seasoning spices. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with the blackened seasoning.
TIP: For even more tender meat, use a meat mallet.
Pound chicken before seasoning with a meat mallet until it reaches an even thickness. Doing so can also lower the cook time.
- Sear. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Reduce to medium-high heat, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add chicken and cook until browned.
- Bake. Transfer skillet to a preheated oven and cook until the chicken is fully done (use a meat thermometer to check).
- Tent. Remove the charred chicken from the skillet immediately when baking is complete. Tent with foil and rest before serving and slicing.
Tips For The Best Blackened Chicken
Never made this dish before? Not to worry — follow these tips to make the best blackened chicken ever!
- Heat the oil. The olive oil should be shimmering before adding the chicken, to keep it from sticking to the skillet.
- Use cast iron. You can also use an oven-safe stainless steel skillet or a regular skillet, but cast iron works best because it heats up so well and evenly. Cook time in the oven might take a little longer if not using cast iron.
- Only flip once. For the best sear, don’t move the chicken around after placing in the pan — move only once to flip.
- Brine if you like. You can brine the chicken first if you want it extra juicy (see my baked chicken breast recipe for how to do it). Rinse well before drying and seasoning.
- Store: Cool the chicken completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Meal prep: Cajun blackened chicken is great for prepping for lunches or putting in salads. Simply store it in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to eat it.
- Reheat: Warm up in the oven at 350 degrees F. The microwave also works, but can be more dry.
- Freeze: Wrap the chicken tightly and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What To Serve With Blackened Chicken
This meal works with so many of your favorite side dishes. Here are a few ideas:
- Roasted Vegetables – Roasted green beans, oven roasted zucchini, herby whole roasted cauliflower, or crispy roasted brussels sprouts make delicious, healthy sides to chicken with blackened seasoning.
- Potatoes – Plate this entree with traditional mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower), golden roasted potatoes, tender Instant pot baked potatoes, or roasted sweet potatoes. For a lighter side that mimics potatoes, try roasted rutabaga.
- Noodles – Serve it over your favorite pasta, or for lighter options, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
- Side Salads – A grated carrot salad, fruity spring mix salad, or tangy roasted vegetable salad would pair nicely with this dish.
- Main Salads – Use it as a salad topping to make blackened chicken salad. This amount of chicken yields 3-4 servings of salad. Try it in chicken Caprese salad, creamy Caesar salad, or crisp green goddess salad.
More Spicy Chicken Breast Recipes
For big flavor, add some spice! Try more of these fiery chicken recipes to shake up your dinnertime routine.
- Glass Bowls – Lots of sizes! Perfect for prepping a variety of ingredients.
- Cast Iron Skillet – Cast iron distributes heat evenly for perfectly charred blackened chicken breast.
- Probe Thermometer – For chicken recipes like this one that will go in the oven, I recommend a probe thermometer because it will beep when ready and doesn’t require checking on it (set it to 165 degrees F). However, a regular instant-read thermometer will work as well.
Easy Blackened Chicken Recipe
Blackened Chicken Recipe (Easy In 20 Minutes)
This easy blackened chicken recipe is tender and juicy, complete with a spicy, smoky blackened seasoning blend. Done in just 20 minutes!
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (191 degrees C).
Stir together the spices. (You can also make a larger batch of blackened seasoning here, and just use 2 tablespoons for this recipe.)
Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with the blackened seasoning.
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add the olive oil, and heat until shimmering (this will happen quickly). Add the chicken breasts. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until browned.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the chicken internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). (You can also take it out a few degrees before if you like, as the internal temperature will rise a few degrees while resting.)
Remove chicken from the skillet immediately to prevent overcooking. Tent with foil and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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Serving size: 1 chicken breast.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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This blackened chicken was incredibly flavorful! Great for salads, burritos and tacos too.
I had super big chicken breasts so I had to cut them in half and pound them out a bit. But they turned out perfect. Juicy, flavorful, tasted great with my fettucine.
My family loves this chicken because it’s not too spicy (we are wimps). I made extra which was perfect for slicing and adding to the top of a salad for lunch the next day. Delish!
My family enjoyed this quick and easy chicken recipe. It was perfect for a weeknight dinner.
This blackened chicken had so much flavor!! The kids were a bit dubious at first as they thought it looked burnt and that I was calling it “blackened” to pretend it wasn’t.
But when I told them it had a flavor similar to of tacos, they gave it a go and LOVED it!!! They said it was really juicy and not at all dry, which is a big deal for 2 of my kids! And the other 3 all ate a whole chicken breast each! WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER.
This chicken turned out so tasty!! I made this for meal prep for the week and the fresh hot chicken, I put on my salad for dinner. SO GOOD! Super easy recipe to follow, thanks for posting!
Has a lot of great flavor and is easy to throw together! Love it.
This recipe was so easy to throw together! I have never had such a smokey, juicy chicken breast, AND it only took me 30 minutes to prepare!