This Blackened Chicken recipe is an easy spicy Cajun dish that is amazingly versatile. Cajun seasoning is used as Blackened Spice to sear the chicken, which is baked to finish.
Blackened Chicken, Easy Cajun Chicken
This easy blackened chicken recipe has become a staple for me recently. The cooking method seals in the juices and flavors the chicken just right. Since I use my own homemade Cajun seasoning as the blackening spice I know the sodium is moderate and there are no additives. I also use it to prepare my Blackened Salmon.
What is Blackened Chicken?
Blackened chicken like all blackened meats is coated with a spicy dry rub then seared in hot skillet (typically cast iron). This creates a delicious dark colored crispy outer crust. Unless particularly thin the chicken is often finished in the oven to cook through. Traditionally, the butter is used in blackening, but many modern cooks like myself use a high heat oil and finish with a little butter if desired.
Is Blackened Chicken Healthy?
While burning food in general is not a healthy choice, modern recipes using the blackening technique are far healthier than old school methods.
In my blackened chicken recipe, boneless skinless chicken breast is used, which is high in protein, but low in fat and calories. Homemade blackening spice is lower in sodium than most store bought and the chicken is seared in healthier oil. It is also just lightly charred, then finished in the oven.
The resulting dish fits in beautifully, with low carb diets such as keto, as well as, Mediterranean, Weight Watchers and a host of other diets.
How to Make Blackened Chicken
This seared then baked chicken is crazy easy to make. Let's make a batch right now. Printable recipe card below.
Total time to make the dish will be about 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
In addition to a cast iron skillet, here are the ingredients you will need to make the dish.
- Chicken breast cutlets
- Cajun Seasoning (blackened seasoning)
The Cajun seasoning is easy to prepare, but I strongly prefer making in in batches. The seasoning stores well and lasts just as long as the spices in it; paprika, salt, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, white pepper, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
To start preheat oven to 400 degrees, then pat dry your chicken breasts with paper towels. Place the iron skillet over med-high to high heat add oil and spread to cover bottom of pan. Heat the pan until it is smoking hot or at least at a minimum a drop of water sizzles quickly on it. Your pan will seem more smoky than in the video, I have a fan blowing directly on mine to film.
Cover chicken breast cutlets with the seasoning spices, either coat and add the seasoned chicken to the hot pan or just cover top and flip seasoned side down in skillet, then season the other side in pan. The second way is shown in video.
Sear for a 3-5 minutes until blackened chicken easily releases from pan and is dark in color. Flip and sear another minute or two before moving the skillet to the oven. As you can see, the outer surface is seared, but middle is still pink.
Bake for 8-15 minutes. The wide variation on time is due to varying sizes of chicken breasts. A small 4 oz breast will cook faster and be done in about 10 minutes, whereas the larger breasts like I've shown here will take 13-15 minutes to finish cooking.
Let the chicken rest a few minutes before serving. While you can serve as is, I prefer to slice the breasts prior to serving.
What to Serve with Blackened Chicken?
Some great pairings for this Cajun chicken dish, from sides, to dessert.
When it comes to selecting an appetizer to start off with, either go with something like a simple green salad with Avocado Lime Ranch dressing (Chick-fil-a copycat) or try something with similar flavors like Copycat Chili's Southwest Egg rolls.
My favorite way to serve this spicy chicken is over a scoop of my Spanish cauliflower rice (as shown). Cajun Blackened Chicken is also served in several popular restaurants over a cheesy Alfredo pasta.
The sliced breasts with blackened seasoning would also be nice over a simple bed of rice with Sautéed Vegetables and a drizzle of Yum Yum sauce. If you are not in the mood for rice, oven fried potatoes and baked asparagus would also team well with the chicken. Spicy Seasoned Sour Cream would also be a delicious addition to the plate.
Peach Iced Tea, refreshing Rosewater Limeade or Pineapple lemonade would be good beverage choices. If you are in the mood for an alcoholic drink, a Bay Breeze drink, Bourbon Iced Tea or fun Blue Lagoon cocktail would be fabulous choices.
Time for Dessert
Leftovers for Meal Prep
The chicken is too spicy for my daughter. I use the extra chicken breasts as meal prep for my lunches while she is at school. The Cajun seasoned chicken incredibly versatile. The chicken breasts are great on salads, for sandwiches, in quesadillas or as the protein in a rice bowl. Drizzle on homemade Yum Yum sauce or make a batch of my Chick-fil-a sauce recipe to serve with the spicy chicken dishes.
Blackened Chicken Recipe
- large cast iron skillet
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
- To start preheat oven to 400 degrees, then pat dry your chicken breast cutlets with paper towels.
- Place cast iron skillet over med-high to high heat add oil and spread to cover bottom of pan.
- Cover each chicken breast piece with the seasoning, either coat or just cover top with the spices and flip seasoned side down in skillet, then season the other side in pan.
- Sear for a 3-5 minutes until chicken easily releases from pan and is dark in color.
- Flip and sear another minute or two before moving the skillet to the oven. As you can see, the outer surface is seared, but middle is still pink.
- Bake for 8-15 minutes. The wide variation on time is due to varying sizes of chicken breasts. A small 4 oz breast will be done in about 10 minutes, whereas the larger breasts like I've shown here will take 13-15 minutes to cook thoroughly.
- Let the chicken rest a few minutes before serving. While you can serve as is, I prefer to slice the breasts prior to serving.