You are going to flip out ever this easy-peasy blackened chicken from the moment you try it.
Even though I’ve never been to Louisiana to experience the Cajun flavors firsthand, my husband is a HUGE fan of this type of cuisine. I am hoping to get down to New Orleans myself to taste it direct from the source, but until then, there are plenty of recipes like this one to turn to.
This dish is particularly fantastic because it is on the table in only 15 minutes.
That’s right, you read that correctly. This is a 15-minute entree, from start to finish. Pair it with a simple salad or a few quick sides, and you’re ready to eat!
So let’s talk about this whole “blackened” thing, shall we?
For those of you who don’t know, blackened chicken is not the result of burning your poultry, cooking it for too long, or having an unfortunate incident where it happened to stick to the pan. And by no means is it the result of dropping it on the floor, or some other kitchen mishap.
The term “blackened” actually refers to the medley of Cajun spices that, when put to high heat, gives the poultry an exterior char.
I am sure that you have heard this term before, or that you have seen it on menus around town.
Really, when it comes down to it, there are not a lot of ingredients required to make this stellar dish.
Now that unassuming poultry meat that you know all too well can get a serious makeover in terms of taste. And you can use the spice for more than just chicken! Try it on shrimp, pork, and veggies.
From the moment when you put that first bite in your mouth, it’s pure magic. You won’t be surprised to see just how quickly it disappears from the plates on the table. Blink and you might miss it.
Here are some tips for making the best possible blackened chicken:
- Make sure you mix the spices well, so they create an even seasoning mix.
- When the poultry hits the cast iron skillet, the pan should be smoking hot.
- Make sure the spices you use are all fresh and haven’t been sitting on your spice rack for months (or years). That way, you really get the full flavor that you’re going for from the seasoning mix.
- Use a heavy cast iron skillet. While could definitely use the grill for this, it’s easy to burn seasoned poultry on the grill. Cook this dish on the stovetop instead, to provide more control over the heat of the cooking surface.
The best part is that for this recipe, you are using chicken tenderloin pieces instead of large breasts. This means you can skip the whole pounding step to try to get the breast thin and even. Instead, you have the smaller tenderloins that will cook quickly and evenly, without additional prep.
This healthy and hearty meal will be on your weekly dinner menu in no time, without any guilt. And you likely already have all of the secondary ingredients right in your own pantry.
Check out my advice at the end of this article for suggestions to pair with this incredible chicken.Print
With a spicy and bold flavor, blackened chicken upgrades that humble poultry into something truly delicious for dinner.
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins
- 2 Tbsp canola oil or unsalted butter
- Place all of the dry spices in a small mixing bowl. Add garlic and stir until well combined, and mash the garlic pieces to release a little liquid.
- Pat the chicken tenderloins dry with a paper towel. Rub both sides of each with the seasoning mix.
- Heat oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloins in a single layer, and cook in batches if necessary.
- Cook for 5 minutes, until meat is browned and easily releases from the pan. Turn over and cook another 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink inside and reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F.
- Serve warm.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Poultry
Keywords: chicken, poultry, blackened, cajun spice
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Mince Garlic and Measure Ingredients
Peel one garlic clove and mince it finely, or pass it through your garlic press.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Make Spice Mix
Add the black pepper, salt, cayenne, cumin, oregano, and thyme to a small bowl. Add garlic and stir until well combined.
Make sure to mash the garlic pieces with the back of a fork, to release some of the liquid.
Use paper towels to pat the chicken tenderloins dry. Rub both sides of each well with the spice mix.
Step 3 – Cook
In a large skillet, heat oil or butter over medium-high heat. Once hot, add tenderloins in a single layer. You may need to cook in batches if necessary.
Cook on one side for 5 minutes. The bottom of each piece should be browned, and you will know that it’s ready to flip when it releases easily from the pan.
Flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes. The center of each piece should no longer be pink, and the internal temperature should be 165˚F. You can check this with a meat thermometer.
How Can I Serve This Dish?
You can serve this poultry on top of a green salad, or even on top of pasta. It works wonderfully with quinoa, or you can throw the leftovers in a quick jambalaya. The options are endless.
Do you need more easy chicken recipes for your weeknight dinner rotation? Check out a few of our favorites:
- Easy Weeknight Marsala
- Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Thyme
- Lightened Up Baked General Tso’s
- Grilled Lager and Lemon
- 4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Barbecue Cola
- Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
- Sunflower Seed Spinach Pesto with Grilled Chicken
- Barbecue Chicken Soup
What will you serve this dish alongside? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe after you’ve tried it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 24, 2013. Last updated: August 1, 2022 at 14:24 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.