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Experience the bold flavors and juicy perfection of blackened chicken! This simple recipe comes together in minutes for a flavor-packed dinner idea. It’s great as is or served on sandwiches, salads, tacos, and more!

Blackened Chicken
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Here’s a trick every home cook should know: how to make blackened chicken! This culinary magic transforms ordinary chicken breasts into flavor powerhouses with a smoky depth and a hint of heat.

This recipe lets you to create a restaurant-worthy dish in the comfort of your own home, which works on its own with rice, on a sandwich, or cut into strips to top a salad or for tacos. It’s endlessly versatile, making it one of our top chicken recipes to make at home.

What is blackening?

Blackening is a style of cooking meat or fish in a cast iron skillet with a special blend of Cajun-style spices until the outside is crispy and blackened. This technique was popularized by celebrity Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme of Louisiana. He created a recipe for blackened redfish in a 1980’s cookbook that became an instant hit. Since then, blackening has become a popular technique used with different meat and fish, commonly chicken, salmon and shrimp.

Basic steps for blackened chicken

Blackened chicken takes about 15 minutes to make, making it a fantastic quick and easy dinner idea. The clean up does take a few minutes, but it’s worth it! Here are the basic steps for the process (or jump to the recipe below)

  • Butterfly the chicken by slicing the breasts in half. Chicken cutlets are the quickest and tastiest way to cook a chicken breast.
  • Pat the chicken dry and add blackened seasoning. This recipe uses a simplified version of our classic blackened seasoning for quick and easy prep.
  • Sear the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side. A stainless steel or cast iron pan get the best sear on the meat: avoid using a non-stick pan. Cook on medium high heat until it’s cooked through and at 165°F when measured with a food thermometer.
Blackened Chicken

Tips for butterflying the chicken

This blackened chicken recipe uses chicken cutlets, or butterflied chicken breasts, because it makes for the juiciest, most well-seasoned piece of meat. Chicken breasts are often very thick, making them tricky to cook evenly. Slicing the chicken breast in half horizontally (butterflying it) makes thinner pieces that cook quicker and more evenly, are easier to eat, and are better seasoned. You can buy a chicken breast already butterflied, which is marked on the package as butterflied or “cutlets”. If you buy regular chicken breasts, you can butterfly them yourself:

  • Place your hand over the top of the chicken breast. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the breast horizontally, leaving the edge intact so it can open up like a book.
  • Unfold the chicken breast, then cut along the fold to separate the two halves (each half is a cutlet).
How to butterfly a chicken breast

Ways to serve blackened chicken

Blackened chicken works well with a few side dishes, but it is also ultra versatile! Add it to salads, tacos, sandwiches and more for endless variations. We recently made this into chicken tacos and added lime crema, red onion, guacamole, and queso fresco, and it was a huge hit! Here are a few ways we like to serve it:

Chicken Tacos

How to clean your pan after blackening

After making blackened chicken, you’ll notice that the pan has a lovely blackened char as well. Don’t worry, it’s a;; part of the fun! Here are a few things to note about cleaning your pan:

  • Clean it right after eating. You can eat your food first, of course! But don’t leave it for hours or overnight or the black crust will solidify, making it much tougher to clean.
  • “Deglaze” the pan with water. Deglazing the pan is a cooking technique where you add wine or another liquid to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. You can use it for cleaning too! Simply place water in the pan and heat it on a burner over medium heat. When the blackened bits start to loosen, scrape them off gently with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula.
  • Use a non-toxic kitchen cleaner. If you have bits that are really stuck, we like to use a cleaner like Bon Ami.
Blackened Chicken

More blackened recipes

Blackening works as a cooking technique for many different proteins, from fish to shellfish. Here are a few more blackened recipes to try:

Dietary notes

This blackened chicken recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.

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Blackened Chicken

Blackened Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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Experience the bold flavors and juicy perfection of blackened chicken! This simple recipe comes together in minutes for a flavor-packed dinner idea. It’s great as is or served on sandwiches, salads, tacos, and more!


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 to 1 1/2 pound, organic if possible), butterflied or cutlets
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon celery seed
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. If it is not already butterflied or in cutlets, slice it in half horizontally to make 4 pieces. 
  2. Season the chicken with salt, using 1 teaspoon for 1 pound chicken and up to 1 ½ teaspoons for 1 ½ pounds. 
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, celery seed, and cayenne. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the seasoning mix.
  4. Add the olive oil to a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet* and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and the seasoning is starting to blacken, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. When the internal temperature is 165°F or the center is no longer pink, remove to a plate and rest for 3 minutes before serving. (See the section above on how to clean your pan after blackening.)


*You’ll get the best sear from a stainless steel or cast iron skillet; avoid non-stick surfaces. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chicken
  • Diet: Gluten Free

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Myrna Gonzalez Childress says:

    This recipe was out of this world and is a keeper. It was easy to make as well.

  2. Elisia says:

    Yummy and tasty