How to Make Blackened Chicken

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Hot and spicy, this Cajun-inspired blackened chicken is a Louisiana favorite. The paprika, chili powder and other spices blend together to form a spicy, flavorful crust that turns an ordinary chicken breast into a tantalizing entrée.

This chicken might look burned on the outside, but it’s perfectly cooked on the inside–and the blackened crust adds the perfect crunch and texture to your dish. Here’s how to make blackened chicken in your own kitchen tonight.

Sliced blackened chicken on a plate with lime wedges.

What is Blackened Chicken?

So what is blackened chicken, anyway? When you blacken a piece of meat, you’re searing the spices and oils rubbed into the meat to create a dark, flavorful crust.

If your guests haven’t had blackened meat before, they might think it’s burnt. But when they take a bite, they’ll be blown away by the crisp crust and the delicious flavor that’s seared right into the meat. It’s a brilliant twist on the classic grilled chicken that adds sizzling spices and a hot, smoky flavor to your entrée.

Sliced blackened chicken on a plate with lime wedges.

What Spices Are In Blackening Spice?

Our recipe uses paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and a few other spices to create a hot, savory blend that becomes a perfectly crispy outer layer on the chicken.

pile of ground paprika with pepper on white background
Garlic powder with garlics over white background
Pile of dried oregano leaves isolated on white background

Chili powder in a bowl on brown cloth, dried peppers on the side.
Salt and pepper in wooden shovels on white background

Once you’ve mastered this recipe, you can start experimenting with other spices. Just don’t stray too far if you want to stay authentic, as most Cajun recipes use hot spices as well as the classic salt and pepper. It’s a hot, spicy blend that adds a kick of flavor to that juicy chicken breast.

Step 1: Prepare Ingredients & Tools

Raw chicken breast on a plate and oil in a small bowl, silicone brush on the side.
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan
  • Silicone brush

Step 2: Mix Spices Together

Blackening spices on a plate with a wooden spoon.

Mix all spices together really well and spread them out on a flat plate.

Step 3: Brush Chicken with Oil

Raw chicken breasts and a silicone brush with oil.

Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towel. Brush the chicken breasts with canola oil on both sides.

Step 4: Coat the Chicken Breasts with Spice

Tongs holding a raw chicken with spices on a plate.

Completely cover the chicken breasts with the blackening spice on both sides.

Raw chicken breast on a plate with blackening spices.

Step 5: Sear the Chicken Breasts

Raw chicken breasts with blackening spices in a hot pan with oil.

Heat a non-stick skillet or cast-iron pan to medium/high and add 2 tbsp. canola oil to coat the pan. Cook the chicken breasts around 5 minutes per side or until blackened and fully cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

Blackened chicken breasts in a hot frying pan.

Step 6: Slice & Serve the Blackened Chicken

Blackened chicken breast on a cutting board with a fork and knife.

Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the chicken breasts. Serve with lime or lemon wedges and freshly chopped parsley.

Sliced blackened chicken on a plate with lime wedges.

As an alternative cooking method, you could sear the chicken breasts for a few minutes on each side to achieve that dark crust and then continue baking in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. This method works well if the chicken breasts are very thick.

Tips on Serving This Dish

For best results, serve your chicken over a bed of rice or pasta. The carbohydrates make this dish more filling and balance out the spiciness of the meat. You can stick with plain rice or try seasoning it with chicken broth or a blend of Cajun spices.

For an extra restaurant-quality touch, serve your chicken with a lemon or lime wedge that your guests can squeeze over their dish. This is also a great time to break out your most colorful, festive plates.

Sliced blackened chicken on a plate with lime wedges.

Like most chicken dishes, this recipe pairs well with vegetables. Try grilling up some corn or broccoli or garnishing the plate with fresh cherry tomatoes. You can also add a side salad with lettuce and fresh vegetables. Fried and mashed potatoes are another classic side. For an extra kick of heat, try serving this dish with grilled peppers.

If you want to get creative, you can make just about anything with this versatile Cajun dish. Make blackened chicken burgers or Cajun chicken macaroni and cheese. Shred the chicken and add it to tacos. Make it the centerpiece of a fresh salad. Once you’ve mastered this dish, you’ll be able to come up with a new way to serve it every day of the week.

Start Planning Your Weekly Lunches

With this recipe, you can add some protein to your weekly lunches. Pack diced or shredded blackened chicken with fresh vegetables and a carbohydrate like angel hair pasta or pasta salad. Cooked chicken stores well in the fridge, so you can pack your lunches for a few days in advance.

This recipe pairs well with vegetable sides like diced bell peppers, sliced avocado, chopped/roasted sweet potatoes and seasoned corn. And if you want the authentic Louisiana experience, cook up a pot of red beans or jambalaya. The right sides can turn a typical lunch into a delicious restaurant-quality meal.

What’s your favorite Cajun-style food? Let us know in the comments and if you enjoyed this step-by-step, please share!

Sliced blackened chicken on a plate with lime wedges.

Blackened Chicken

Joss D
Hot and spicy, this Cajun-inspired blackened chicken is a Louisiana favorite. Here's how to make blackened chicken in your own kitchen!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cajun
Servings 2
Calories 395 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 chicken breastsboneless and skinless
  • 3 tbsp. canola oildivided
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh parsleychopped

Instructions
 

  • Mix all spices together really well and spread them out on a flat plate.
    Blackening spices on a plate with a wooden spoon.
  • Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towel. Brush the chicken breasts with canola oil on both sides.
    Raw chicken breasts and a silicone brush with oil.
  • Completely cover the chicken breasts with the blackening spice on both sides.
    Raw chicken breast on a plate with blackening spices.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet or cast-iron pan to medium/high and add 2 tbsp. canola oil to coat the pan. Cook the chicken breasts around 5 minutes per side or until blackened and fully cooked (the internal temperature should read 165°F on a meat thermometer).
    Raw chicken breasts with blackening spices in a hot pan with oil.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with lime or lemon wedges and freshly chopped parsley.
    Sliced blackened chicken on a plate with lime wedges.

Equipment

Cast iron pan
Silicone brush

Notes

Chicken breasts that are very thick can be sliced in half lengthwise to cook faster.

Nutrition

Calories: 395kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 27gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 1177mgPotassium: 836mgFiber: 7gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 5219IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 128mgIron: 5mg

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.

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