Are you looking for an easy recipe that’ll wake up your taste buds? Check out this Grilled Blackened Chicken! Healthy, quick, and loaded with Cajun spices, this juicy chicken dish is everything you need.
Flavor-Blasted Grilled Blackened Chicken
When the weather warms up, I love making dinner on the grill. There’s no need to wait for a football game or a special occasion! In my book, just the thought of making a flavorful meal that doesn’t heat up the whole kitchen is enough of a reason. Grilling also produces super tasty charred results, and in this case, we’re putting that char to extra-appropriate use: by blackening some chicken!
That’s right, juicy blackened chicken doesn’t have to be something you only get at a restaurant. And, you don’t have to risk filling your house up with smoke in order to make your own! Made on a grill, it turns out tender, smoky, and spicy. Plus, it’s super quick!
What Is Blackened Chicken?
Blackening food was made famous by the renowned chef Paul Prudhomme. Buttered, seasoned fish was the original “blackened” dish, and the butter itself was deliberately cooked at a high temperature to get a smoky, charred taste. These days, blackening is just as popular for chicken as it is for fish. The main point of blackening is to crust the meat well in a smoky, spicy blend of Cajun or Creole spices and cook it at high heat to get some char and lots of flavor.
How To Make Grilled Blackened Chicken
To make sure that the chicken stays moist on the grill, we’ll be giving it a quick brine in some salted water. Brining is known for keeping even lean meat, like chicken breasts, nice and juicy. The chicken cooks up in just a few minutes per side, but remember to budget about half an hour (or up to 2 hours) of additional time for brining.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
- Chicken: This recipe is for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can adapt it to use dark meat or bone-in chicken if you prefer (more on that in the Tips section).
- Water: The water should be lukewarm, so that the salt dissolves.
- Olive Oil: To help the seasoning stick to the chicken breast.
- Seasoning: While you can make your own, store-bought blackened seasoning is readily available and makes this quick recipe even more convenient.
- Butter and Garlic: A quick garlic butter gets brushed onto the chicken at the very end. Melt the butter, and mince the garlic.
- Chopped Parsley: For garnish, optional.
- Brine the Chicken. To get started, place the chicken breasts in a large mixing bowl. Next, whisk or stir the salt and water until the salt dissolves. Pour this over the chicken, and let it marinate for 20 to 30 minutes (or cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours).
- Heat the Grill. When you’re almost ready to cook, preheat an outdoor grill to about 400˚F. Brush the grill grates with a small amount of cooking oil.
- Season the Chicken. Drain the chicken, rinse each piece, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with olive oil, and season well on all sides with blackened seasoning.
- Grill the Chicken. Transfer the seasoned chicken to the hot grill, and cook on one side for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until it’s browned and grill marks appear; flip and continue to cook for 6 minutes, or until cooked through. Chicken is cooked through when internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
- Rest and Butter the Chicken. Place the cooked chicken on a clean plate or platter, cover it, and let it rest for 5 minutes. While the chicken is resting, mix the garlic and butter together. Brush this over the cooked chicken.
- Enjoy! Garnish your chicken with parsley, and serve warm.
Helpful Tips and Variations
From cooking bone-in chicken to adapting the recipe for indoor cooking, these easy tips are here for ya! Read on, and happy cooking!
- Bone-In Chicken: I don’t recommend making this recipe with bone-in chicken breasts, which are usually quite thick and prone to drying out on the grill. However, you can use bone-in thighs or drumsticks, which are juicier and fattier and can withstand a longer grill time. Just factor in some extra cook time, and make sure to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. It should take about 35 minutes, and you’ll need to turn the meat every 5 minutes or so for even cooking.
- Chicken Thickness: Keep in mind that chicken breasts will cook at different times depending on their thickness, so look for chicken breasts that are all about the same thickness for easy cooking. If your chicken breasts are very thick, you can cut them into cutlets, or pound them to an even thickness using a meat mallet.
- Grill Pan Method: You can also make this recipe on a grill pan. Just be sure to get it good and hot, and turn on your range’s fan to help clear any smoke.
- Oven Method: If you’d like to make this in the oven, it will turn out great, even if it’s not very charred! Just pop the chicken onto a baking sheet and let it bake at about 425°F for 23 minutes or so.
Easy Side Dishes for Chicken
To serve this grilled blackened chicken, you can add it to a big salad, layer it over a plate of pasta, or just make a simple side dish or two. These easy recipes go perfectly with blackened chicken!
- Orzo Salad: Loaded with tender orzo pasta, fresh avocado, tomatoes, and feta, this Avocado and Feta Cheese Orzo Salad is super fresh! Blackened chicken adds a punch of spicy protein.
- Creamy Pasta: Similar to pasta alfredo, this Creamy Garlic Butter Pasta with Spinach is a comfort-food dinner that pairs perfectly with spicy blackened chicken, hot off the grill.
- Broccoli: Broccoli and chicken are a match made in heaven, especially when the chicken is well-seasoned, accompanied by this Garlicky Steamed Broccoli. A match made in culinary heaven!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Store leftover grilled chicken in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. It should be kept in an airtight container or food storage bag.
- To freeze grilled chicken, wrap each piece of chicken in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil or pop the chicken into freezer bags and press out as much air as you can before sealing. Freeze for 3 to 4 months.
- Reheat in a covered skillet over low heat. If the chicken seems dry, add a splash of water or oil. You can also slice the chicken while cold, and reheat the slices for quicker, more even heating.
Grilled Blackened Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness so they cook evenly. Do not pound thin.
- 4 cups lukewarm water about, 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Place chicken breasts in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a large measuring cup, or a mixing bowl, combine lukewarm water and salt; stir, and pour over the chicken breasts. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes. You can also cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Preheat an outdoor grill to about 400˚F to 425˚F.
- Brush grill grates with olive oil.
- Pour out the salt water and rinse each chicken breast under cold water; pat dry with paper towels.
- Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and rub the olive oil all over each chicken breast.
- Rub the seasoning evenly over the chicken, on all sides.
- Transfer chicken to the hot grill; cook for 6 minutes, or until browned on bottom and grill marks appear.
- Flip and continue to cook for 6 to 8 more minutes, or until cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts. Chicken is cooked through when internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
- Remove chicken from grill and transfer to a plate; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, in a small mixing bowl combine the melted butter and garlic.
- Brush the chicken breasts with the garlic butter.
- Garnish with parsley.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.