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?
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.”
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.
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 chicken is super quick and easy. The hardest part is opening the windows to deal with the smoke if you can’t cook outside!
Sear in hot skillet turning after a few minutes to char both sides.
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)
- Dirty rice
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
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.
Favorite Chicken Recipe
- Blackened Chicken from Art of Natural Living
- Chicken and Avocado Salad from That Recipe
- Chicken Macaroni Salad from Leftovers Then Breakfast
- Chicken Ramen Stir Fry from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chicken Tortillas from The Freshman Cook
- Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas from The Spiffy Cookie
- Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Creamy Chicken with sun Dried Tomatoes from Lemon Blossoms
- Easy Slow Cooker Italian Chicken from Blogghetti
- Garlic and Ginger Caramel Chicken Thighs from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Hot Chicken and Pancake Tacos from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- One Skillet Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta from Family Around the Table
- 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
- Start cast iron skillet heating over medium high heat
- Cut chicken breasts in half to make thinner cutlets
- Mix seasoning ingredients together. Sprinkle seasoning onto both sides of chicken
- 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.
- Serve immediately.
- Balsamic Glazed Pork Meatloaf
- Salmon Salad with Grapes and Pecans