How to Make Blackened Chicken
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.
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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
- 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
Mix all spices together really well and spread them out on a flat plate.
Step 3: Brush Chicken 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
Completely cover the chicken breasts with the blackening spice on both sides.
Step 5: Sear the Chicken Breasts
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.
Step 6: Slice & Serve the Blackened Chicken
Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the chicken breasts. Serve with lime or lemon wedges and freshly chopped parsley.
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.
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!
- Mix all spices together really well and spread them out on a flat plate.
- Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towel. Brush the chicken breasts with canola oil on both sides.
- Completely cover the chicken breasts with the blackening spice on both sides.
- 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).
- Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with lime or lemon wedges and freshly chopped parsley.
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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