Recipe updated October 15, 2019.
This easy blackened chicken recipe is perfect for one of those busy weeknights. Elevate bland chicken breasts to big, spicy, and bold in under 15 minutes and with with a few staple ingredients you’re highly likely to have on hand.
Blackened Chicken Recipe Inspiration
This recipe is a riff on famous cajun chef, Paul Prudhomme’s blackened redfish. I basically took that recipe and applied it to chicken breasts. Chef Prudhomme is legendary and his original blackened redfish recipe is proof positive that simplicity can be a great thing.
When I first started cooking blackening proteins was one of the first techniques I learned. I don’t rely on it too often, but when I need to liven up a protein or vegetable for a quick weeknight dish I will indulge. Turn up the Johnny “Guitar” Washington to get you in the mood and make the weekday feel like the weekend.
Are blackened and charred the same thing?
Though both result in similar appearances, blackened nets an altogether different flavor than charring. Blackened recipes involve using butter or oil to coat the protein before adding a special spice blend. Charring on the other hand is just relying on high heat and pan to give the dish that charcoal/grill essence. Both walk a fine line between food that is burnt vs. well cooked.
What seasonings do you need for a blackening spice?
Blackening season blends vary depending on the cook/chef, however most consist of your typical cajun spices. You can make your own or use your favorite available commercial/store blend. There are some really good pre-made blends out there if you prefer not to make your own. For those making a blend from scratch, core ingredients include:
- Smoked sweet paprika
- Dried thyme
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Red cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
Is blackened chicken spicy?
One of the benefits of making your own seasoning mix is you can dial up/down the heat level. It’s just a matter of how much cayenne pepper you decide to use. Most pre-made are fairly mild.
Making Blackened Chicken (Step by Step)
The key to blackening chicken is high heat. Whether you’re baking, grilling or pan-frying you want your heat surface as hot as possible. Chef Prudomme’s original recipe achieves great flavor by buttering up the protein first before adding the seasoning mix. This step also has the added benefit of ensuring the spices stick. The cooking of the butter in combination with the color in the seasoning mix is what gives it that color. If you’re comfortable doing it, spoon the butter on top of the chicken breast as you cook.
step 1: flatten the chicken
step 2: season the chicken
step 3: cook
What do you serve with blackened chicken?
I pretty much serve anything with my blackened chicken recipe as this dish is very versatile. Try any one these sides as compliments to the main dish:
What are leftover options for Blackened Chicken?
Blackened chicken is good for about 4 days if kept refrigerated in a sealed container. Feel free to slice up the chicken and serve in a variety of dishes including:
- Served cold in a Blackened chicken salad (Cobb, Caesar, etc.)
- Blackened chicken sandwich with a doctored up mayo
- Blackened chicken po-boy
- Blackened chicken pasta
Tips for Cooking this chicken recipe
- Use a cast iron skillet if available. It retains heat well which helps get the color and texture right. You’ll essentially want a black spicy crust that provides big surface level flavor but also locks in the juiciness of the chicken
- If you have clarified butter or ghee available to you use in place of butter. It has a much higher smoke point. Smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil starts to burn and smoke. Once an oil gets past its smoke point it starts to taste burnt!.
- Boneless chicken breasts work best. They cook faster and remain pretty tender after high heat searing. Dark meat works better with longer cooking times.
- Flatten your chicken breasts to ensure more even cooking as well as faster cook time. I place my breasts in a ziplock and pound with the flat side of a meat tenderizer or mallet. If you don’t have either, and heavy skillet works just fine.
- Crank up the fan, cause there will be smoke!
Similar recipes you might like:
- Rice and Gravy
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice
- BBQ Shrimp
- Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
- Southern Chicken and Dumplings
- Jerk Fried Chicken
- Buttermilk Chipotle Chicken Wings
If you make this quick and delicious blackened chicken dish please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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- 2 whole Chicken Breasts
- 2 tbsp Butter melted
- 2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tsp White Pepper (optional)
- 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
- 2 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Tsp Cayenne
- 2 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tsp Sugar
- 2 Tsp Onion Powder
- Mix spices together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Place your chicken breast between two pieces of wax paper and pound to an even thickness of 1/2 inch. This will enable you to easily cook your chicken to the desired doneness.
- Rinse your chicken under running cold water and pat each chicken breast dry with paper towels and set aside.
- Moisten chicken breast with 1/2 tbsp melted butter and then generously apply blackened seasoning mixture on both sides, set aside.
- Add remaining melted butter to cast iron skillet, and heat on high until skillet is sufficiently hot.
- Add chicken breasts to the skillet (careful not to overcrowd the skillet), cook for 4 minutes. Turnover and cook for another 3 minutes. The chicken breast is done when its center has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.