The BEST Blackened Chicken

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This super-tasty Blackened Chicken couldn’t be easier to prepare! Combine a delicious seasoning blend with some oil and vinegar and then rub it all over the chicken. Throw it in the oven, a skillet, or on the grill — I’ll share how to make it whichever way is easiest for you.

What Is Blackened Chicken?

Contrary to how it may sound, food that is blackened isn’t burnt. Rather, “blackening” refers to coating the protein (or food) in a special spice blend that takes on a very dark brown/blackish color when cooked in a skillet, grill, or oven.

For this particular recipe, we’re working with boneless skinless chicken thighs, but we’ll also share how to blacken chicken breasts.

Easy Blackened Chicken recipe over a bed of rice with green beans on the side.

Blackened Chicken is part of my Back-To-School Lifesavers — a series of recipes that are intended to have little (or no) veggie chopping, minimal prep time, around 10 ingredients or less (not including pantry staples), and use kid-friendly ingredients. Click here to see all the recipes in the series!

The Best Blackened Chicken Recipe

Why is this the best?! Well not only is it ridiculously easy to prepare but it is loaded with flavor and delivers incredible, perfectly tender chicken the whole family will love!

I’ve been really into meal prepping lately; preparing a bunch of proteins and sides to re-purpose into meals and snacks throughout the week (feeding three growing kids and their appetites is no joke!).

This blackened chicken recipe and this Italian chicken marinade have been lifesavers! At the beginning of each week, I’ve been making up a couple of batches of each and then dicing it all up to use in meals throughout the week. 

QUICK TIP

Is Blackened Chicken Spicy?

It can be–but it doesn’t have to be! I’d say this recipe is mild (my kids inhale it!). Leave out the pinch of red pepper flakes if you want less heat and be sure to use a mild chili powder (such as McCormick®). On the flip side, increase the heat by adding more red pepper flakes or adding in a touch of cayenne pepper.

All the ingredients in this recipe prepped out for easy assembly.

What Is Blackened Chicken Made Of?

This Blackened Chicken recipe is so easy to whip together and even easier if you’ve assembled the spice blend beforehand (see “quick tip” box below).

  • Seasonings. A delicious blend of chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and of course, salt and pepper.
  • Olive oil. Or use avocado oil — either works well.
  • Balsamic vinegar. This is the “secret” ingredient to this blackened chicken and while you might not taste it directly, it adds just the right amount of acidity.

QUICK TIP

When I make this recipe, I’ll typically make a few packets of the seasoning mix. Since all the spices are out and I’m measuring anyways, it takes just a few extra minutes.

Measure out the spices, put them in labeled individual snack-size bags: “blackened chicken mix”, and store those packets with your spices. Next time you go to make this recipe, all you’ll need to do is throw in oil and vinegar!

How to make blackened chicken: Begin by combining the seasonings, vinegar, and oil in a bowl. Next, thoroughly rub this mixture into the chicken. Finally, cook the chicken in a pot until it achieves a blackened crust.

How To Make Blackened Chicken

To prepare this recipe, we whisk together the spices, oil, and vinegar in a bowl. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and then generously coat each thigh with the mixture.

Follow one of the methods below for cooking:

  • Blackened Chicken In the Oven: This is our year-round go-to method for preparing this chicken. All the details are found in the recipe card below.
  • Grilled Blackened Chicken: Preheat grill to medium-high (450 degrees F.) Add seasoned chicken to a clean, well-greased grill placing it flat (not bunched up) on the grates. Close grill and cook for 3-5 minutes or until nicely caramelized. Flip the chicken to the other side and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Blackened Chicken Breast In a Skillet: If you want to blacken chicken in the skillet, I recommend using boneless skinless breasts instead of thighs. Cut two chicken breasts in half widthwise to make four pieces. Use a meat mallet/frying pan/your fist to give each piece a quick pound. Rub seasoning all over the pieces. Add oil to a hot skillet and add the chicken pieces in one layer. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through; remove to a plate to rest.

The meat fresh out of the skillet on a plate resting for more flavor.

What To Serve With Blackened Chicken

I mentioned earlier that I love making a batch of this chicken and using it in meals throughout the week. Here are some ideas:

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t forget to line the pan with foil. The clean-up without foil is tough!
  • Space chicken thighs out on the pan with plenty of room (they shouldn’t be bunched or folded).
  • Adjust seasoning with larger batches. If you want to double (or triple) the recipe, don’t forget to increase the salt and pepper too! Bake time will also increase with more meat on the pan.
  • For a perfect sear and blackening, fully heat your oven, skillet, or grill before adding meat. It should sizzle on contact which means it’s hot enough.
     
     

The easy blackened chicken recipe with a fork picking up a piece.

Use This Chicken In One Of These Recipes:

Each of these recipes calls for rotisserie chicken. Swap out the rotisserie chicken for equal amounts of Blackened Chicken:

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Blackened Chicken

5 from 6 votes
This super-tasty Blackened Chicken couldn't be easier to prepare! Combine a delicious seasoning blend with some oil and vinegar and then rub it all over the chicken. Throw it in the oven, a skillet, or on the grill -- I'll share how to make it whichever way is easiest for you.
Spice Note: As written, I'd say this is quite mild. Leave out the pinch of red pepper flakes if you want less heat and be sure to use a mild chili (not chilli) powder (such as McCormick). For more spice add more red pepper flakes and/or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
The easy blackened chicken recipe with a fork picking up a piece.
Print Recipe

Blackened Chicken

The easy blackened chicken recipe with a fork picking up a piece.
5 from 6 votes
This super-tasty Blackened Chicken couldn't be easier to prepare! Combine a delicious seasoning blend with some oil and vinegar and then rub it all over the chicken. Throw it in the oven, a skillet, or on the grill -- I'll share how to make it whichever way is easiest for you.
Spice Note: As written, I'd say this is quite mild. Leave out the pinch of red pepper flakes if you want less heat and be sure to use a mild chili (not chilli) powder (such as McCormick). For more spice add more red pepper flakes and/or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword Blackened Chicken, Blackened Chicken recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 -4 servings (2 as main; 4 if adding to a dish)
Chelsea Lords
Calories 171kcal
Cost $8.34

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts -- See Note 1)

Seasoning Blend

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/16 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions

  • There are 3 cooking options: either (1) cook breasts in a skillet, (2) grill breasts or thighs, or (3) bake full thighs.
  • TO COOK BREASTS IN A SKILLET: See Note 1.
  • TO GRILL THIGHS OR BREAST: See Note 2.
  • TO BAKE THIGHS (Breast doesn't work with this method): Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with foil.
  • SEASONING MIX: In a small bowl add all of the "seasoning blend" ingredients. Season to taste with salt & pepper (I add 1 tsp salt & 3/4 tsp pepper). Whisk to combine.
  • RUB MIX ON CHICKEN: Pat thighs or breasts dry with paper towel then, using your hands, rub the mixture all over each piece to evenly cover all of the meat. You should use every bit of seasoning mix.
  • BAKE THIGHS: Place thighs (laid out flat; not bunched together) on the prepared sheet pan, spacing out thighs so they have plenty of room. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven.
  • BROIL THIGHS: Move the oven rack to about 8 inches from the heat source and switch heat to broil. No need to wait; immediately place the tray back in the oven and broil for 7-10 minutes or until you've got a nice blackening and caramelization. (Interior should be 160 degrees F; carryover heat will take it to 165.) Eight minutes for 5.5 oz thighs is perfect in my oven.
  • ENJOY: Remove pan and let stand for 5 minutes (uncovered) to rest. Transfer to a cutting board and dice or thinly slice. Taste and add a pinch more salt if needed. Enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Chicken: The recipe is intended for 1 pound chicken. If using chicken thighs you'll need 3 thighs total (each one about 5-5.5 ounces). If there is a lot of excess fat, trim it off. If you want to use chicken breasts, you'll need about 2 small boneless, skinless breasts (1 pound total). Here's how to prepare blackened chicken breasts (don't follow the baking instructions above; it will result in dry chicken breasts)
  • How To Cook Breasts In A Skillet: Cut 1 lb. chicken breasts in half widthwise to make four even-sized pieces. Use a meat mallet/frying pan/your fist to give each piece a quick pound. (Don't flatten; just make all the pieces fairly even in width.) Toss breasts with seasoning mix in a bowl with tongs. Add 1 tbsp oil to a large heavy bottom skillet. Heat on high heat and once the skillet is heated, add the chicken pieces in one layer. Cook for about 2-4 minutes per side or until cooked through (thermometer registers 160 degrees/juices run clear); remove to a plate. Tent with foil and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
Note 2: Grilling: Follow the preparation instructions above, and here's how to grill the meat (thighs or breasts will work great on the grill):
  • How To Grill Breasts Or Thighs: Preheat the grill to medium-high (450 degrees F.) Add seasoned chicken to a clean, well-greased grill placing it flat (not bunched up) on the grates. Close the grill and cook for 3-5 minutes or until nicely caramelized. Use a sharp metal turner to scrape up and flip the chicken to the other side. Close the grill and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the chicken registers 160 degrees F. (Timing will vary based on the size of the chicken and the actual heat of the grill.) Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil to rest for 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.8g | Protein: 22.4g | Fat: 8.3g | Cholesterol: 106.5mg | Sodium: 127.6mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.4g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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8 Comments

  1. Do you have a recipe for the salad accompanying the chicken? Looks delicious and I’d love to serve them together!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight with chicken tenders for a Caesar salad. Swapped chili powder for hatch chili powder. Forgot to do the broil part (will try next time), but the flavor was delicious. Thank you for this.

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