Spicy and bold, blackened chicken elevates the humble chicken breast into a wonderfully flavorful dish. Simply rub with spices, sauté briefly, and bake!
I make chicken often for my family. It's tasty and affordable, and everyone seems to like it, including The Picky Eater. But while the kids don't mind eating the same thing every day, my husband and I prefer some variety. So I'm always looking for ways to make things more interesting!
This recipe has quickly become one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken breast. It's very tasty, everyone around here loves it, and it's also VERY easy to make. Even the leftovers are excellent, and later on, I'll discuss a few ideas for how to use them.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Lots of spices: I use a mixture of paprika, dried thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Make sure the spices you use are fresh! A stale spice can ruin a dish.
Kosher salt: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Chicken: I use boneless skinless chicken breasts in this recipe. I haven't experimented with other cuts.
Avocado oil: This is an excellent oil for high-temperature cooking. Melted ghee should work too.
How to make blackened chicken? It's easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Start by mixing together the spices and salt.
Coat the chicken with oil and sprinkle it with the spices.
Cook the chicken pieces in a cast-iron skillet, then finish cooking them in a 450°F oven, 10-12 minutes. Let them rest before serving.
Recommended side dishes
You can serve blackened chicen with anything, really. It's a truly versatile main course. But since I bake it in a 450°F oven, I like to serve it with a side dish that I can cook in the same oven, such as:
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- Use chicken thighs instead of breasts. The chicken will come out juicier. You might need to adjust the cooking time - it's best to use a thermometer to check for doneness.
- Change up the spices you use. For example, you could use smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika, and dried oregano instead of dried thyme.
- Instead of avocado oil, use melted butter or ghee.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days.
If you reheat them, do so very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. I prefer to use the leftovers cold, thinly sliced, as a salad topping the next day for my lunch. They're excellent in this chicken cobb salad.
Frequently asked questions
Blackened food is coated in some kind of fat (such as butter or oil), then coated in a mixture of spices and cooked in a cast-iron skillet until the coating becomes very dark, almost black.
No, and I actually make sure I don't burn the chicken. The dark color comes from the spices becoming charred, not from the chicken itself being burnt.
It's a mix of various Cajun-style spices, such as paprika, dried thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.
Here are a few more tasty chicken recipes that I like to make for my family:
- Baked chicken breast is a classic. It's easy, fast, and reliably juicy. Plus, you can make it ahead of time, then use it in many other recipes as one of the ingredients.
- For an even juicier result, try these crispy baked chicken thighs. Thigh meat is wonderfully juicy. And using bone-in and skin-on parts adds great flavor and keeps the meat from drying out.
- These oven-baked chicken wings are a real treat. The secret is to leave them in the oven on the "keep warm" setting once they're done. They turn out wonderfully crispy!
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Boldly Seasoned Blackened Chicken
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (8 oz each)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or avocado oil spray
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and kosher salt.
- Brush (or spray) the chicken breasts with the oil on both sides, then sprinkle both sides with the seasoning mixture, pressing with your fingers to help the coating adhere.
- Heat a well-seasoned, large cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking hot, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken breasts. Cook 30 seconds on each side to blacken, then place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking, 10-12 minutes. Chicken is done when no longer pink in the center, when juices run clear when pierced with a fork, and when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.*
- Remove the blackened chicken to a platter, loosely cover them with foil to keep them warm, and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.