It turns out that making blackened chicken is not nearly as difficult to make as I first thought.
Plus, this blackened chicken recipe is nicely seasoned but still mild, not spicy-hot.
This girl can’t handle that tongue-inferno of any hot spice whatsoever.
Now, if you are sad about this fact all that you have to do to make this recipe spicy is add a dash of cayenne pepper (or a heap if you are into that kind of thing).
No judgment from me on this topic.
If you like it, add cayenne pepper to taste.
Blackened chicken is not burnt chicken.
It is called blackened because when you rub on the seasonings and cook the chicken breast (or any other “blackened” recipe) in a hot skillet, the dry seasonings darken, turning black or almost black.
This enhances the seasoning’s flavor, but when done properly, doesn’t overcook the meat.
We learned to cook this low and slow at first, then to give each side a final high heat in the pan, which helps decrease the likelihood of a smoking pan.
What are the blackened seasoning ingredients for this recipe?
- Sweet paprika
- Ground cumin
- Dried thyme
- Onion powder
- Ground pepper
If you wanted to make a spicy version of blackened seasoning, then you would add cayenne pepper.
Also, switch out the sweet paprika for smoked paprika.
Andi loves the smoked paprika on everything, but I have to be in the mood for the smokey flavor.
What’s a good side dish for this chicken?
This Mild Blackened Chicken would go great with:
- Air Fryer Garlic Lemon Radishes. No kidding. Roasted radishes are sweet and mild.
- Farro Salad With Roasted Vegetables. I added a bit of goat cheese to each bowl at serving time. So good.
- Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad. Lots of ingredients, lots of flavor.
- Loaded Mashed Potatoes. I love mashed potatoes with everything, though. Butter and bacon? Yes, please.
- Easy Microwave Fresh Green Beans. This is how I cook mine more often than not. Sprinkle your favorite spice blend after you taste test.
- Blackened Broccoli. Why not double up while you’re at this?
How to flatten chicken breast
I have flattened and pounded chicken all sorts of ways, but raw chicken meat is rather delicate, so I try not to splatter raw meat all over my kitchen and not waste it.
Parchment paper seems to work the best at solving both of these issues.
Try parchment paper instead of cellophane, and less chicken will stick like it does to a zipper back or Saran wrap.
Parchment paper releases the meat more easily, too, which is nice.
Here are my steps to pound chicken breast flat:
- Thoroughly dry your chicken with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside.
- Tear off two 10 x 10 sections of parchment paper for one breast; 12 x 12 for two breasts.
- Place one sheet of parchment on a sturdy, flat surface such as a clean cutting board or a countertop
- Lay the chicken on top of the parchment sheet.
- Press the second sheet of parchment down firmly onto the chicken.
- Using a heavy meat mallet or rolling pin, with firm smacks, pound the “packet” of chicken and parchment, working around the edges.
- Pound the chicken flat until it reaches about ¼ to ½ inch all the way around; repeat if you have more than one breast that you will be cooking together.
- Lift the top parchment to check, adjust, and replace if more flattening is needed.
- Remove flat chicken breasts from paper before adding chicken to pan.
The bottom line
We have a gas stove, which means the low settings are a bit high on every burner.
A meat thermometer really is your friend, but because these filets are beaten so thin, remove from the skillet before inserting to get the temp.
Keep an eye on the timing in general.
We had to run these in a couple different batches to make sure the final timing didn’t dry out the breasts in the cooking process.
The thinner they are, the less time on each side you will need.
But just having that last minute on high is what helps keep the pan from smoking AND creates that nice seared look.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Measuring spoons
- Small bowl
- Parchment paper
- Rolling pin or meat mallet
- Cooking gloves (optional)
- Cutting board
- Cast iron skillet
- Meat thermometer
- Serving plate
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 2 T olive oil (divided)
- 1/2 t sweet paprika
- 1/4 t ground cumin
- 1/4 t dried or ground thyme
- 1/8 t onion powder
- 1/8 t oregano
- 1/8 t ground pepper
- 1/8 t salt
- Combine all of the seasoning, including salt, in a bowl. Set aside.
- Pound the chicken between two pieces of parchment paper to flatten each evenly to about ¼” thick.
- Using gloves if desired, rub both sides of each chicken breast with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (The remaining 1 T olive oil will be used in another step.)
- Rub both sides of each chicken breast with the seasoning, keeping in mind you are splitting the seasoning four ways.
- Heat up a cast iron skillet on medium-low heat.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the hot skillet.
- Place the chicken in the skillet and cook it for 4 minutes on one side undisturbed, or it will stick to the skillet and tear.
- Flip the chicken with tongs and cook for another 4 minutes. Again, leave the chicken undisturbed.
- Turn the skillet to high and cook for 1 minute.
- Without turning down the heat, flip the chicken once and cook for 1 minute.
- The chicken is done when the internal temperature is 165F.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and place it on serving plate to rest for 2 minutes.
- Serve while still warm.
The reason that we pound the chicken is so that it will cook more evenly.
If you don’t have a measuring spoon that is ⅛ teaspoon, you can just consider it the same as two hefty pinches.