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This easy Blackened Chicken recipe is made in a cast iron skillet and is incredibly flavorful. Made with a Mexican marinade similar to a dry rub, the chicken is cooked completely in the skillet in under 15 minutes!
Say goodbye to boring chicken breast recipes and hello to this blackened chicken!
I’ve really fallen in love with chicken recipes over the past year: my pan-seared chicken thighs and my Instant Pot BBQ chicken are two recipes in my weekly rotation, and I’m 100% going to add this blackened chicken to that list as well.
It’s made with a Mexican-inspired marinade consisting of smoked paprika, garlic powder, chipotle seasoning, and cumin, and is sprinkled with fresh lime juice and cilantro after it’s done cooking. It has a smoky flavor to it, but the best part is that it’s cooked completely in a cast iron skillet!
What does "blackening" in cooking mean, anyway? Great question! It means to coat protein, typically chicken or fish, in a blackened seasoning mix. Then, you cook the meat in a hot cast iron skillet until it gets blackened on the outside, or slightly charred but not burnt.
It's a must-try, and delicious on its own or even on a sandwich, which Miguel promptly enjoyed after I made this.
- A little bit smoky and incredibly flavorful thanks to the blackened seasoning.
- Cooked in one skillet in under 15 minutes, so there's no need to turn on the oven.
- The chicken is juicy on the inside and slightly charred on the outside, similar to grilled chicken but made on your stovetop instead
- This recipe just so happens to be gluten free, dairy free, paleo, and whole30!
- Chicken breast - Boneless skinless chicken breasts, and approximately 1 lb., which should be about 2 large or 3 smaller sized breasts.
- Olive oil - Or sub avocado oil or melted butter; necessary to create the marinade. I don't recommend using coconut oil because it could alter the overall flavor of the chicken.
- Spices - A combination of smoked paprika (one of my favorite spices to use in chicken recipes), garlic powder, chipotle seasoning, and cumin.
- Lime juice - A squeeze of fresh lime juice on the chicken once it’s done cooking compliments the flavors incredibly well.
- Cilantro - Optional, but again, adds more flavor.
Step 1: Make the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chipotle seasoning, cumin, salt, and black pepper together.
Step 2: Season the chicken. Place the chicken on a plate, then spoon the marinade over the chicken and use your (clean) hands to completely coat the chicken on both sides. Alternatively, you can brush the seasoning on with a silicone brush. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Pan-sear. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a cast iron skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Allow 2 minutes for the oil to get hot, then place the chicken smooth-side down into the skillet and cook it for 4 minutes. Then, flip it over, reduce heat to medium-low, cover the skillet and continue cooking the chicken for 5-8 minutes (see recipe notes).
Step 4: Garnish, slice and serve. Drizzle lime juice over the chicken, then sprinkle cilantro on top. Wait 5 minutes before slicing, then serve!
Expert tips and FAQs
- Can’t find smoked paprika? Use regular paprika instead. Want a little more heat? Add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the spice mix!
- The cook time varies depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. You’ll know the chicken is done once it reaches an internal temperature of 165°, so make sure to use a meat thermometer! Remember, the chicken cooks completely in the skillet, so there's no need to bake it in the oven.
- Don’t skip the lime juice of cilantro – they both help to make the chicken even more flavorful.
- This meal can easily be served with a side of lettuce and tomatoes.
Can this be cooked on the grill?
Yep! You’ll follow the exact steps, but instead of cooking it in a skillet, cook it on the grill. If you need tips for grilling chicken, check out my grilled chicken thighs recipe. With that said, it won't taste exactly the same because it'll taste like it was cooked on the grill (...because it was). 🙂
Do I have to use a cast iron skillet?
No, but I do think that a cast iron helps to char the chicken a bit better than a traditional nonstick skillet, making it ideal to use in this blackened chicken recipe. But, if you don’t own one, a regular skillet works just fine!
Can I use chicken tenders instead?
Sure can, but the chicken will cook more quickly. I’d cook the chicken for 3 minutes on the first side, then 3-4 minutes on the second side. Again, be sure to check the internal temperature to confirm the chicken is done.
What to serve alongside this chicken recipe?
- Refrigerator - Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat them for a few minutes in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove until warmed through.
More easy chicken recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
- Place the chicken on a plate and set aside.
- Whisk 1 tablespoon oil, along with the smoked paprika, garlic powder, chipotle seasoning, cumin, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.
- Spoon the mixture over the chicken, then use your hands to completely coat the chicken on both sides. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Next, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Allow 2 minute for the oil to get hot, then place the chicken smooth-side down into the skillet and cook it for 4 minutes.
- Use kitchen tongs to flip the chicken over, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet, and cook the chicken for 5-8 more minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°. Cook time varies depending on how thick the chicken is.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet, then add the lime juice and cilantro. Wait 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!