If you’re a fan of bold flavors and a touch of smokiness, then blackened chicken might just become your new culinary obsession. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook looking to spice up your weeknight dinners or an adventurous foodie seeking a mouthwatering dish that packs a punch, this guide is your ticket to mastering the art of blackened chicken.
Seasoned with a bit of Cajun spice Blackened Chicken is a great option as the main protein in a meal and to top on salads or roll up in a wrap. If you are a fan of a bit of spice or Louisiana flavor then this blackened chicken recipe is for you.
The best thing is that you can control the spice, add just a touch or go big and double the amount in this recipe to bring the fire. Read on to discover this simple yet spicy dish.
What Is Blackened Chicken?
Blackened chicken is a cooking technique that originated in Louisiana and is closely associated with Cajun cuisine. This method involves seasoning chicken with a blend of spices, then cooking it at high heat, resulting in a charred and flavorful exterior.
The spices used in blackening typically include paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and oregano, among others. The combination of these spices creates a unique flavor profile that is both spicy and aromatic. The blackening process gives the chicken a smoky flavor and a beautiful blackened crust, while the inside remains juicy and tender.
Benefits Of Cooking Blackened Chicken
Besides its incredible flavor, blackened chicken offers several benefits. Firstly, the high-heat cooking method of blackening helps to seal in the juices, resulting in moist and tender chicken. The spices used in blackening also have health benefits.
For example, cayenne pepper is known to boost metabolism and improve digestion, while garlic powder has antimicrobial properties and can support heart health. Additionally, blackened chicken is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways – from sandwiches and wraps to salads and pasta dishes.
It’s a great option for meal prepping as well, as it can be easily incorporated into different recipes throughout the week.
Blackened Chicken Key Ingredients
Here are just a few ingredients that I use to make blackened chicken. I know that we all have our own individual tastes so I encourage you to add or omit to the seasonings in this dish.
- Boneless Chicken Breast: I typically use skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. But, if you want to use chicken breast with the bone in or chicken thighs then that is a good option as well. Just remember that if you use chicken that has a bone in it that you will need to cook it longer.
- Smoked Paprika: The flavor of smoked paprika is one of my favorites to add to a recipe. I have used regular paprika, and it is good but just not the same. If you do not keep smoked paprika in your pantry as a staple then I highly recommend getting it. You will not be sorry that you did.
- Cayenne Pepper: This spice is where the heat comes in. If you do not like spice then cut it out. And if you like a lot of spice then add more than I have included in this recipe. I prefer a mild to medium spice level.
- Avocado Oil: This is my preferred oil for this dish, and any dish that requires searing meat. Avocado Oil has a high smoke point which allows the chicken to be cooked at a medium high heat.
- This allows more even cooking and adds to the blackened look and flavor to this dish.
Tips For Achieving The Perfect Blackened Chicken
To ensure your blackened chicken turns out perfectly every time, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Firstly, make sure your skillet or grill is properly preheated before adding the chicken. This will help create that beautiful charred crust.
Secondly, don’t overcrowd the pan or grill – cook the chicken in batches if necessary to avoid steaming instead of blackening.
Thirdly, resist the temptation to flip the chicken too early. Allow it to cook undisturbed for a few minutes on each side to develop that charred exterior. Lastly, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The internal temperature of properly cooked chicken should reach 165°F (74°C).
Serving Suggestions And Side Dishes For Blackened Chicken
Blackened chicken pairs well with a variety of side dishes and accompaniments.
For a classic Cajun-inspired meal, serve it with dirty rice, a traditional dish made with white rice, sausage, bell peppers, onions, and spices.
Cornbread is another popular choice, as its slightly sweet flavor complements the spiciness of the blackened chicken. If you prefer a lighter option, a fresh salad with crisp greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a tangy vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the bold flavors of the chicken.
You can also use blackened chicken as a filling for tacos or wraps, or slice it and add it to pasta dishes or stir-fries. The possibilities are endless!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Blackened Chicken taste burnt?
I personally have a preference for the crispy outer layer of spices on this dish. If it is cooked at too high a heat or for too long it can burn, but so can any dish. The black color takes place when the spices are cooked in oil. In fact the heating of the spices is what helps them to release their flavor.
For this dish I prefer to use Avocado Oil to cook the chicken in. I have found that avocado oil is a lighter oil that does not sit on the chicken. It is my preference is this dish and other dishes where I sear or roast food.
What is Blackened Chicken made of?
I have listed the ingredients above so scroll back above to read the ingredient list for blackened chicken if you missed it. But the general breakdown is a mixture of Cajun spices such as cayenne pepper and smoked paprika.
Is Blackened Seasoning the same as Cajun Seasoning?
Both seasonings are pretty similar to one another. And both are equally delicious. However blackened seasoning is more mild in flavor and not as spicy as Cajun seasoning.
Tips and Tricks
Using the right skillet: To cook this dish in does make a difference. I prefer to use a Cast Iron Skillet to make blackened chicken.
Cast Iron tends to cook more evenly than modern cookware. This type of pan is what I use to make my Brussel Sprouts with Bacon.
I have both options and interchange them depending on the recipe I am cooking. You cannot go wrong with either one. The benefit of this one is that it comes with a lid, is oven safe, and dishwasher safe.
Cut the chicken in half: Prior to cooking I cut the chicken breasts in half. I will use a Meat Mallet to pound the meat to 1/2 inch thickness and to tenderize the chicken. The thinner pieces cook more quickly and allow me to have more seasoning in every bite.
Make extra for later: I prefer to mix my spices in a Ziploc bag. It makes mixing and clean up a much easier experience. And if I have any left over seasoning then it is easy to save and store for a later date.
Mix it Personal: I have to admit that I am a bit of a lightweight when it comes to spice. Therefore I add only 1/2 teaspoon to this recipe. However, if I am cooking for someone who likes more of a kick then I will throw some extra cayenne pepper in.
What to serve with this dish
Here are a few of the recipes that I like to serve with blackened chicken.
I love brussel sprouts and using an air fryer. It is a great way to cook items without making a mess. My Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts and Brussel Sprouts with Bacon are great additions to blackened chicken. But, if brussel sprouts are not your thing then give my recipe for Bacon Wrapped Asparagus. I have found that this recipe is delicious over pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Other Recipes to Try
- 1 Meat Mallet
- 1 Skillet
- 2 Chicken Breasts Cut in half length wise
- 1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 3 tbsp Avocado Oil
- Cut two chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Take a meat mallet and pound the chicken halves until they are roughly 1/2 inch in thickness. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.Coat the chicken in a tablespoon of oil.
- Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl or Ziploc bag. Add the chicken to the seasoning and coat it evenly.
- In a skillet add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat the pan to a medium high heat. Once the pan is heated add the chicken to the pan.
- Cook the chicken for approximately 5 minutes on each side. An indication of the chicken being done is when the juices of the chicken should run clear when they are pierced. You can use a digital meat thermometer that reads 165.When chicken is done set it aside for 5 minutes prior to cooking.