Blackened Chicken

Blackened Chicken is a spicy and flavorful main dish from Cajun country. Add simple sides like coleslaw and corn bread for a quick & easy dinner.  Blackened Chicken is a spicy and flavorful main dish from Cajun country. Add simple sides like coleslaw and corn bread for a quick & easy dinner. 

This recipe was planned before the hurricane hit New Orleans, but I’d like to use this occasion to wish the best to the town and all areas ravaged by the storms.  Les Bon Temps will roll again. 

I’d eaten blackened dishes out many times. From seafood to chicken, maybe an occasional blackened steak, it was always a food I enjoyed.

But I’d never tried it myself. I’m not even sure now what I feared. Having to buy too many spices? Killing off my spice-averse husband? Setting the kitchen on fire?

Well I’ve done it now and I can tell you there is nothing to fear. And I can’t wait to “blacken” something else! Blackened Chicken is a spicy and flavorful main dish from Cajun country. Add simple sides like coleslaw and corn bread for a quick & easy dinner. 

What is Blackened Chicken

The original “blackened” dish wasn’t chicken at all, but a fish.

Per the NY Times, Chef Paul “Prudhomme dipped redfish fillets in butter, dusted them with ground cayenne and a mix of dried herbs, and seared them in a red-hot iron skillet until a black crust formed.” 

Ultimately, his blackened redfish spread outward from New Orleans to became a national sensation–so popular it’s reported Gulf Redfish became threatened.Antoine's in NOLA

As the Cajun-inspired dish took off, restaurants everywhere got creative. And dishes like blackened chicken and blackened prime rib hit menus all over.

Who can argue with versatility I guess!

What Makes This Dish a Winner

  • Quick & Easy This is a super fast dish, that’s easy to prepare and cook–just minutes per side. In fact, it’s so quick, you’ll need to select sides that are also quick (or start then early). Which is how coleslaw got served here instead of roasted vegetables.
  • Fun & Flavorful It was a unanimous three thumbs up at dinner. My “spice-averse” husband was pretty tentative when he took his first bite, but in the end really enjoyed it. In fact he ate the 4th serving without batting an eyelash.
  • No special ingredients The spices are all common kitchen spices and the only other things you need are PAM or oil and chicken. NOLA sign re: hot sauce

What is in Blackened Seasoning Mix?

As I scoured the Internet there was a remarkable consistency in the types of spices in different Blackened Seasoning Mix spices. And they were all pretty typically found in your ordinary kitchen spice collection. Hooray!  

These include cayenne, garlic, onion powder, oregano, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper.

blackened seasonings

Directions

Blackened chicken is super quick and easy.  The hardest part is opening the windows to deal with the smoke if you can’t cook outside!

Slice chicken breasts thin for a quick even cook. halve chicken breasts

Miix up the spice mix and pat onto both sides of the chicken top with spice mix

Sear in hot skillet turning after a few minutes to char both sides.

fry

When the internal temperature reaches 165, it is done!Blackened chicken in pan

What to Serve With This

It’s nice to keep with a Cajun theme if you can in your sides. You might consider:

    • Red beans & rice (I used a packaged mix)
    • Salad w remoulade dressing (see my NOLA Fried Oyster Salad)
    • Coleslaw
    • Cornbread
    • Dirty rice
    • Okra

In fact I think we had as much fun with the sides as the Blackened Chicken itself.  Blackened Chicken is a spicy and flavorful main dish from Cajun country. Add simple sides like coleslaw and corn bread for a quick & easy dinner. 

Variations

I served the Blackened Chicken as a simple entrée, but there are many other ways you could serve it. These include:

  • Slice the chicken breast and serve on salad
  • Slice and serve with pasta alfredo
  • Serve on a sandwich

You can even change up your meat and blacken steak or (duh) seafood. Blackened Chicken is a spicy and flavorful main dish from Cajun country. Add simple sides like coleslaw and corn bread for a quick & easy dinner. 

Tips & FAQs

I typically cut large chicken breasts in half to make thinner cutlets. They cook more quickly and evenly this way and are a better serving size than an 8 ounce portion. If there is still a big difference in thickness, I may even pound them for more evenness (I didn’t need to do this today). 

Beware of smoke. Many people recommend cooking this outside (still in a cast iron pan for the char) or at the very least shutting off the smoke detectors. We opened the windows to help with the smoke and I was exited that this seemed to be working. Then my daughter came down from the second floor to complain she couldn’t breathe up there and I knew where all the smoke had gone. Best laid plans 🙂 

What if I don’t have a cast iron skillet? Blackened Chicken is traditionally cooked in cast iron but a second choice would be a quality stainless steel pan.  Given the high heat, I would not use a non-stick pan.

Huge amounts of butter are used in the traditional preparation of this dish, both for coating the chicken first, then for frying.  I chickened out (no pun intended) and applied the spice mixture directly to the raw chicken then used Pam for the frying.  Yes, butter would create even more smoke. 

Blackened Chicken is a spicy and flavorful main dish from Cajun country. Add simple sides like coleslaw and corn bread for a quick & easy dinner. Butter is supposed to be needed for the char but, as you can see, mine got a nice char just using non-stick spray.  I intend to try with butter next and will report back on the differences.

Favorite Chicken Recipe

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Blackened Chicken

Blackened Chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Blackened Chicken is a spicy and flavorful main dish from Cajun country. Add simple sides like coleslaw and corn bread for a quick & easy dinner. 

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts (at least 6 ounces each)
  • PAM cooking spray (or oil for frying)

Blackened Seasoning Mix:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Start cast iron skillet heating over medium high heat
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half to make thinner cutlets
  3. Mix seasoning ingredients together. Sprinkle seasoning onto both sides of chicken
  4. When pan is very hot, spray with PAM non-stick spray. Add chicken to pan. Turn when charred (about 3 minutes). Cook until both sides are charred and internal temperature is 165F.
  5. Serve immediately.

Notes

This gets very smoky and many people recommend cooking outside.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 311mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 19g

Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.

17 thoughts on “Blackened Chicken

  1. Hezzi-D

    Ooooh love that you made your own blackened seasoning! I buy it but I always seem to run out. Pinning this for future reference!

    1. Inger Post author

      I was surprised at the number of people who made their own–and ultimately that was easier!

    1. Inger Post author

      I know–isn’t that sign fun! Now that I know how easy this is, I have shrimp and fish in the queue!

  2. David Scott Allen

    The thing I love about this is I can make your spice mixture and make my usual omissions! Fabulous! I have never been able to have blackened ANYthing, so I can’t wait!

    1. Inger Post author

      I can get this in outside a few times before winter hits :). Not that we don’t grill out all winter anyway!

  3. Jennifer

    I love your tip of tenderizing the chicken with the mallet beforehand. I usually only do that with my pork but I am trying it now! Also a great way to get more spices into the chicken!

    1. Inger Post author

      Yes, making the chicken breasts thinner and pounding as needed as really made me love them!

  4. John / Kitchen Riffs

    Mmmm, blackened chicken! I’ve made blackened fish, but not chicken (or other meat). Haven’t thought about this dish in a long time, but glad you brought it back — it’s SO good. And easy. I’ll wait until it’s cool enough that I can open all the windows so the smoke is less of a problem. 🙂

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