If you have ever wondered how to make blackened chicken, look no further! It’s SUPER easy to make–just use a few of my tips and tricks to get your chicken perfectly browned and seasoned on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside! This delicious chicken recipe is great for tacos, salads, pasta, or just on its own with a tasty side dish!
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WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Delicious flavor from a simple blend of spices.
- Nice, blackened crust on the chicken and perfectly juicy on the inside.
- Easy chicken recipe that’s great for meal preps!
- Juicy, tender chicken breast that can be used in so many different ways! These Blackened Chicken Tacos are my fave!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this easy blackened chicken recipe:
Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts work best. We’ll be pounding them out with a meat mallet in this recipe so they are an even thickness and cook quickly.
Spices: This is my go-to, traditional blend of blackening spices. In a pinch, a store-bought blackening seasoning will work, too.
HOW TO MAKE BLACKENED CHICKEN: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the printable recipe card below!
Step 1: With a meat mallet, pound out chicken breasts so they are even in thickness (about 1/2″ thick is perfect).
Step 2: Coat chicken with spices and rub it into the chicken until well-coated. Allow chicken to marinate in the spice blend for 30 minutes, if time allows (or up to overnight!)
Step 3: Add chicken to a hot pan and cook for 5 minutes on the first side or until the chicken has a nice brown color with a few blackened spots. Flip, and cook on the second side for another 5 minutes until nicely browned AND the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165°F. Allow chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- In a pinch, a store-bought blackening seasoning will work! I have also used Cajun or Creole seasoning as well. However, I like making my own seasoning blend to control the amount of spice and salt.
- Don’t skip the pounding-out step! This allows for even, and quicker cooking and prevents the chicken from getting too brown on the outside without being fully cooked on the inside.
- If you are marinating the chicken for an hour or less, cover it and leave it out of the fridge (safe, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture). Allowing the “chill” to come off the chicken helps it cook quickly and evenly.
⭐️ CONFIDENCE TIP ⭐️
Once the chicken has a nice brown/blackened color to it, feel free to flip it back and forth to allow it to cook through in the middle but prevent it from burning on either side. Remember, you want the internal temperature of the chicken to be no less than 165°F.
STORAGE & REHEATING
- Storage: Store leftover blackened chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheating: To reheat, add a bit of chicken broth to a skillet, along with your leftover chicken. Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat until chicken is heated through. You can also heat leftover chicken in the microwave, loosely covered.
- Freezing: When chicken is cool to the touch, put it in an airtight, freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Freeze for 3-4 months.
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Chicken: You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe.
Seasonings: Cajun seasoning, creole seasoning or a store-bought blackening seasoning also works in a pinch!
Spice: Feel free to play with the amount of cayenne pepper for more or less spice. You can also omit it altogether.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Not at all! The “black” or rich brown flavor simply comes from the blend of spices that coat the outside. Paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper give the chicken the deep color that you see.
Every chef has a different blend of spices but typically: paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, and thyme, along with black pepper and salt are the spices found in your typical blackening seasoning.
When you make your own seasoning (recipe below!) you can control the exact amount of spice. Pre-made seasonings range in spiciness, but most are on the milder side. The spice typically comes from cayenne pepper.
Sky’s the limit with this tasty chicken! Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve this easy blackened chicken:
1) Hearty Meal: Serve with mashed potatoes and these crack green beans!
2) Light/Low Carb: Serve with a Ceasar salad or a simple tossed salad.
3) In Pasta: Dice it up and add it to this amazing, creamy Cajun pasta or this easy garlic parmesan pasta.
4) For Blackened Chicken Tacos: This chicken is delish on warm, corn tortillas with mango salsa!
5) Meal Prep: Divide the chicken into meal prep containers with rice and broccoli for healthy lunches all week!
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TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE
Check out all of my kitchen essentials in my Amazon store!
Cast-Iron Skillet: Cast iron gives the chicken great color. However, you can also use whatever large skillet you have.
Tongs: For flipping the chicken.
Meat Mallet: For pounding out the chicken so it cooks evenly.
Meat Thermometer: The best way to ensure your chicken is cooked through.
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How to Make Blackened Chicken
For cooking the chicken
- 1 1/2-2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil or enough to coat the bottom of your pan. Avocado oil or canola oil also work great.
- 1-2 limes, optional for serving
For the blackening spice rub (See Note 1)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika regular paprika is OK, too
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (or kosher salt)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (+more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- Prep: Place chicken breasts on a large cutting board. Cover with plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound out the breasts until they are uniform in thickness– about 1/2" thick is ideal.
- Season Chicken: Transfer chicken to a large bowl or plate. Season with blackening spices (smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, cayenne, dried basil, oregano and thyme). Rub the spice blend on well to make sure every nook and cranny is well-coated! Cover with plastic wrap and allow chicken to marinate for 30 minutes or up to overnight (if you are short on time you can skip this step, but I HIGHLY recommend it!). See Note 2.
- Cook: Heat a large skillet (a cast iron skillet or grill pan work great) over medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, place chicken breasts in the hot skillet. Cook, without touching the chicken until the first side is nicely browned (about 5 minutes). Flip the chicken and brown the other side. Again, try to avoid touching or moving the chicken around too much, if possible. Cook chicken for an additional 5 minutes on the second side OR until the internal temperature reaches 165°F when tested with a meat thermometer. If the chicken is getting too brown/black on either side, feel free to flip it back and forth to allow it to cook through in the middle but prevent it from burning on either side.
- Finish: Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes until cutting/serving. A squeeze of lime is delish over this chicken!
Ryan Allen says
This chicken had the best flavor. All my kids were asking for seconds and that never happens.
This blackened chicken looks delicious! Can’t wait to make it for diner tonight.
I looked at your first photo and decided I had to make this and it was just as good as the picture looked
Love how flavorful and easy this chicken recipe is. Thanks for sharing
This recipe looks great can’t wait to add it to our salad recipe!!
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve tried my hand at blackened chicken a few times, but it just hasn’t come out right. I’m excited to try this.
I love all the things that I can make in a cast iron skillet and this is one of them that I love! Thank you for a delicious, flavorful recipe!