Blackened Chicken

2 Reviews / 5 Average
This Blackened Chicken recipe is full of bold flavor! This simple seasoning blend is the easiest and quickest way to elevate chicken. It instantly adds a pop of flavor. This blackened chicken is great by itself, on top of salads, in tacos and burritos, in sandwiches, and more!
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This blackened chicken recipe is incredibly flavorful and hearty! It is easy to get perfectly seasoned and cooked chicken in a hurry.  The perfect center to a family dinner, everyone will love the delicious homemade spice mixture and the tender texture.  It takes only 20 minutes in total! This quick recipe is versatile. Serve by itself, on tops of salads, in sandwiches and tacos, or in casseroles. This Pollo Asado is another family favorite dinner!

For more easy healthy dinner ideas, check out these Chicken Breast Recipes.

Blackened chicken.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This blackened chicken recipe takes only 20 minutes.
  • The chicken comes out tender and juicy!
  • Great for meal prep and leftovers. Cook a few blackened chicken breasts and keep them in the fridge. Pull them out as you need them during the week. 
  • This healthy recipe uses just a little olive oil and the leanest chicken cut.
  • The seasoning blend adds so much flavor.
  • Combining spices, herbs, and seasonings delivers the perfect flavor experience.
  • Everything is cooked in one skillet.
  • It is way better and healthier than the Popeyes version or Tyson version!
  • The chicken is versatile and can be eaten in many ways.
  • Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste.
  • This recipe is Whole30 compliant, Paleo, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, sugar-free, and made with real food ingredients.
  • Check out this Tasty Chicken Marinade or this Chicken Cajun Pasta for another easy chicken recipe!

Ingredients & Substitutes

Scroll down to the recipe card for the full blackened chicken recipe.

  • Chicken: Choose plump, juicy chicken breasts. This spice blend can also be used on chicken thighs and wings. The cooking time and methods will differ, however.  When possible, choose organic, hormone-free chicken. If using frozen chicken, thaw completely beforehand.
  • Paprika: Substitute smoked paprika for a smoky flavor or use chili powder for a spicier kick.
  • Garlic powder: Use fresh garlic as an alternative but note it burns quickly. Brush the fresh chopped garlic (mixed in a bit of oil) close to the end of cooking. One teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to roughly two minced garlic cloves.
  • Dried thyme: You can replace dried thyme with dried rosemary or dried basil.
  • Oregano: If you do not have oregano, you can use Italian seasoning as a substitute. It typically contains oregano and other herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary.
  • Onion powder: Adds a lovely savory element to the mixture.
  • Cayenne powder: Adjust the amount of cayenne powder according to your spice tolerance.  A little bit adds a lot of heat!
  • Olive oil: Substitute with avocado oil if needed. It has a milder flavor but works well for cooking purposes.
Ingredients for blackened chicken.

What is Blackened Chicken Seasoning?

Blackened chicken seasoning is a bold and buzzing blend of spices. This spice blend coats the chicken as a seasoning and forms a crust on the flesh.  The taste is rich, herbaceous, and aromatic. This seasoning is typically used in Creole cuisines.

Blackened chicken seasoning can be used on chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings. The same spice blend can also be used on beef, pork, or veggies.

Taste & Texture

Blackened chicken has a bold and deep flavor thanks to the combination of spices and herbs. This recipe is also a little smoky and spicy, which works well with the savory notes. The paprika adds an earthiness to the dish.

The cooking process and spice blend result in a lovely crust on the outside of the chicken. The inside is beautifully tender and loaded with juicy goodness.

How to Make

Step 1

First, combine all of the seasonings in a small bowl.  Stir together.

Step 2

Use a meat mallet to pound the chicken to ½ inch thickness.

Step 3

Season chicken all over with the spice mix.

Cajun seasoned chicken.

Step 4

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, carefully place the chicken inside the pan.

Cajun meat in skillet.

Step 5

Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side.

Seasoned breasts in skillet.

Step 6

Finally, remove from the pan.  Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Step 7

Lastly, top with fresh herbs if desired.

Expert Tips for Success

  • Use a cast-iron skillet. It provides even cooking and a delicious char!
  • Preheat the skillet properly. Ensure it is shimmering hot before adding the chicken to it. This prevents it from sticking and gives it the best sear possible.
  • Dry the chicken. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels before seasoning them. Excess moisture can prevent the spices from adhering well and can result in steaming instead of searing.
  • Control the heat. You want to cook and char it beautifully, but be careful not to burn it. The best way to do this is to keep your eye on the heat.
  • Cook in batches. Cook the breasts in batches to avoid them steaming. Cook in one even layer. Do not overlap.
  • Do not overcook the chicken. Blackened chicken is best when it is cooked just until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Overcooking can lead to dry chicken, so use a meat thermometer to ensure accurate cooking time.

Cooking Methods

There are several different ways to make blackened chicken breasts.

  • Skillet/stovetop: Cook for a few minutes on each side until the chicken develops a dark crust and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). This method provides a nice sear and crispy exterior.
  • Grill: Grilling blackened chicken imparts a smoky flavor and gives it beautiful grill marks. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. The grill adds a charred flavor and smokiness to the chicken.
  • Oven: Blackened chicken can also be cooked in the oven. Preheat the oven to a high temperature, around 425°F (220°C). Bake for around 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 
  • Air Fryer: If you have an air fryer, it can be a convenient and healthy option for making blackened chicken. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Coat the chicken with the blackened seasoning and lightly spray it with cooking oil. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Check out these Air Fried Chicken Breasts!
Slices of blackened chicken.

Flavor Variations & Add-Ins

  • Cajun style: Add white pepper, thyme, paprika, and cayenne pepper. This is a bolder version of the base blackened chicken. 
  • Citrus twist: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the blackened chicken and garnish with minced garlic for a bright and tangy twist. The combination of citrus and garlic adds a burst of freshness to the dish.
  • Honey glazed: The honey caramelizes and adds sweetness to the blackened chicken.
  • Cheesy: Sprinkle shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack cheese on top of the blackened chicken and allow it to melt. 
  • Pineapple salsa: The sweet and tangy flavors of the salsa perfectly complement the spiciness of the chicken.
  • Avocado lime sauce: Blend ripe avocados, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and salt. Drizzle this sauce over the blackened chicken. So good!

How to Serve & Store

This blackened chicken recipe is an easy-going protein idea that can be served with a number of tasty sides. 

Serve alongside some smashed potatoes or air fryer potatoes as a side dish. It also pairs well with sweet mashed potatoes or baked sweet potato fries. For an extra cozy meal, serve with these cheesy scalloped potatoes.

Add it to the top of this Mexican Citrus Salad.

To store leftovers or meal prep blackened chicken, cool it entirely first. Place the room temperature chicken in an airtight container. Keep it in the fridge for up to four days.

This blackened chicken will also freeze well. If packed correctly in a freezer-friendly container, the chicken will freeze for up to two months.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does blackened chicken mean?

The term “blackened” comes from the appearance of the chicken after it is cooked. The spices form a flavorful crust that can give the chicken a darkened or blackened appearance.

How do you use blackened seasoning?

To use blackened seasoning, generously coat your choice of protein, such as chicken or fish, with the spice blend. Heat a skillet or grill to high heat, then cook the seasoned protein until it develops a dark, flavorful crust. Adjust the amount of seasoning to your taste preferences for a deliciously bold and spicy result.

What is the difference between blackened chicken and regular chicken?

Blackened chicken is seasoned with a blend of spices, including paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper, creating a bold and spicy flavor profile. It is then cooked at high heat to develop a dark, charred crust

What do I do with leftover meat?

You can slice or shred it and use it in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or tacos for a tasty protein boost.  Incorporate it into alfredo pasta dishes, stir-fries, or quesadillas for a quick and easy meal with a Cajun twist.

How do you know when the chicken is done cooking?

Chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).

Is blackened food spicy?

It is not very spicy, more flavorful.

Blackened chicken with roasted potatoes.

Equipment Needed

Meat Mallet: Pound the chicken thin with a meat mallet or pounder. This device helps tenderize the chicken.

Large Nonstick Skillet: Use either a large nonstick skillet or cast iron skillet.

Cast Iron Skillet: This is a great cast iron skillet for making chicken breasts.

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Recipe Rating

  1. This blackened chicken recipe is a game-changer! The flavors sound amazing, and I love how versatile it is. Perfect for busy weeknights or meal prep. Can’t wait to try it out and add it to my go-to chicken recipes. Thanks for sharing!
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  2. 5 stars
    I love how the chicken’s flavor was enhanced in this recipe! So tender, juicy and incredibly scrumptious. We have no leftovers!