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Zesty (but not too spicy!), crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, this Blackened Chicken is a delicious and easy dinner recipe that’s ready in about 20 minutes! With a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and some pantry seasonings, this simple meal is a quick last-minute option for busy nights.

Front shot of a blackened chicken recipe with cornbread in the background

Even after so many years, my Blackened Salmon recipe remains a hit on the blog and in my own kitchen. I figured it was time to put that seasoning mix to good use and create an equally delicious Blackened Chicken recipe for those of you who prefer meat over seafood! It’s the perfect way to add a little bit of Cajun flare to that same ole’ boring chicken that’s probably stashed in the back of your freezer.

What is Blackened Chicken?

“Blackened Chicken” means any chicken that is dipped in butter, dredged in a seasoning made with herbs and spices, and cooked in a hot cast iron skillet. This dish is typically associated with Cajun cooking, and became popular in the 1980’s as a way to replicate the taste of charcoal grilling in a commercial kitchen (source). The end result is chicken with a crispy “blackened” exterior and a tender, juicy inside. While it may appear burnt, the dark colored (and deeply flavored) crust is a result of cooked milk solids from the butter and charred spices.

There is no single recipe for a classic blackened chicken seasoning, but most blends include some or all of the following ingredients: thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Front shot of a blackened chicken breast in a cast iron skillet

Is Blackened Chicken spicy?

Blackened chicken that’s served in restaurants is often pretty spicy. The benefit of making your own seasoning at home is that you can pick the flavors that you like most, and you can control the amount of spice in your dish. Since I’m almost always preparing this meal for our family (with 3 young kids), I keep the heat relatively mild by using just 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. If your family prefers an even more mild dish, you can cut the amount of cayenne in half, or you can omit that ingredient altogether. For a spicier chicken dinner, increase the cayenne in your seasoning blend.

This blackened chicken tastes zesty and slightly smokey (thanks to the cumin and smoked paprika), but not too spicy.

Overhead shot of blackened chicken breast on a blue and white plate with a side of green beans

How to make Blackened Chicken Seasoning:

For this simple Cajun-inspired seasoning, we’re using just 4 spices — plus salt and pepper! It only takes a few minutes to stir together. Here’s what you’ll need…

Ingredients:

  • Cumin
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cayenne
  • Garlic powder

Step 1: Stir together the Blackened Chicken Seasoning

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Bowl of blackened chicken seasoning

Step 2: Dip Chicken in Melted Butter

Next, dip the chicken in melted butter to coat on all sides.

Process shot of making blackened chicken

Step 3: Coat Chicken with Blackened Seasoning

Season the chicken with the prepared blackened seasoning blend.

Seasoning chicken breasts with blackened seasoning

Step 4: Cook the Chicken

Sear the chicken breasts in a smoking hot cast iron skillet for about 2 minutes per side. Then transfer the skillet to a 350 degree F oven and bake for about 6-8 more minutes (or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F).

Horizontal shot of blackened chicken in a cast iron skillet

What to serve with Blackened Chicken:

There are so many great sides that go well with blackened chicken. Here are a few to get you started:

Front shot of a sliced blackened chicken breast on a plate with lemon wedges

Preparation and Storage Tips:

  • Prep ahead! You can make a batch of the blackened seasoning and keep it in the pantry for up to 6 months. This recipe yields enough seasoning for about 2 large chicken breasts. Scale up the ingredients and make a larger batch to store and use for future meals (it’s great on various pieces of chicken, steak, fish and shrimp)!
  • Leftover blackened chicken will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Wrap the cooked chicken tightly and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat blackened chicken: Warm the chicken in a 325 degree F oven just until heated through (do not overcook or the chicken will dry out).

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • This recipe is designed for 2 chicken breasts. If you’re feeding a larger family, you can easily double the ingredients to make twice as much seasoning and use 4 chicken breasts. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to cook the chicken in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan.
  • Blackened Chicken Tenders, Wings or Thighs: Use the same process with the butter and seasoning on other pieces of chicken, including tenders, wings and thighs. The tenders will cook faster than a large chicken breast, so they might not need to go in the oven at all (they can just cook through in the skillet).
  • How to Grill Blackened Chicken: You can use the same seasoning to grill the chicken instead of cooking it in a cast iron skillet. Follow the recipe instructions to dip the chicken in butter and then coat with seasoning. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Coat grill with about a teaspoon of oil so that the chicken doesn’t stick. Grill chicken on each side until golden, crispy and cooked through (about 5 minutes per side for small, thin chicken breasts or up to 10-12 minutes per side for larger, thick chicken breasts). The meat is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. A meat thermometer is the best way to know when your chicken is done. It needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Low-Carb and Keto-Friendly: The nutritional information provided is merely an estimate, assuming that you use about half of the total butter called for (the rest will remain in the dish). The blackened chicken is a low-carb option with just 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Each serving of the chicken also has about 360 calories, including 14.7 grams of fat and 52.6 grams of protein.
Close overhead shot of a sliced blackened chicken breast on a plate

More chicken recipes that you might enjoy:

Front shot of a blackened chicken recipe with cornbread in the background

Blackened Chicken

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 22 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 359.7 kcal
Zesty (but not too spicy), crisp and juicy, this Blackened Chicken is a delicious and easy dinner that's ready in about 20 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (omit or decrease for a mild flavor)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb. total)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil
  • Optional for serving: lemon wedges and fresh chopped herbs such as thyme, oregano, or parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, mix together cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Place melted butter in a separate shallow bowl.
  • Pat chicken dry. Dip chicken in melted butter, and then coat evenly with the spice mixture on both sides.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes until it is smoking hot. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil (to coat the skillet). Add chicken to the hot oil and sear for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (about 6-8 more minutes).

Notes

  • This recipe is designed for 2 chicken breasts. If you’re feeding a larger family, you can easily double the ingredients to make twice as much seasoning and use 4 chicken breasts. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to cook the chicken in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan.
  • Blackened Chicken Tenders, Wings or Thighs: Use the same process with the butter and seasoning on other pieces of chicken, including tenders, wings and thighs. The tenders will cook faster than a large chicken breast, so they might not need to go in the oven at all (they can just cook through in the skillet).
  • How to Grill Blackened Chicken: You can use the same seasoning to grill the chicken instead of cooking it in a cast iron skillet. Follow the recipe instructions to dip the chicken in butter and then coat with seasoning. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Coat grill with about a teaspoon of oil so that the chicken doesn’t stick. Grill chicken on each side until golden, crispy and cooked through (about 5 minutes per side for small, thin chicken breasts or up to 10-12 minutes per side for larger, thick chicken breasts). The meat is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. A meat thermometer is the best way to know when your chicken is done. It needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken breastCalories: 359.7kcalCarbohydrates: 1.5gProtein: 52.6gFat: 14.7gSaturated Fat: 8.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.2gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 510.8mgPotassium: 628mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.1g
Keyword: Blackened Chicken, Blackened Chicken Recipe, Blackened Chicken Seasoning
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: cajun, creole
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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