With just one pan and 10 minutes you can have tender, juicy Blackened Chicken Thighs ready to serve! A quick and easy homemade seasoning blend packs in tons of flavor in just a few minutes, and can even be customized to your family’s preference for spicy or mild. It’s a healthy, deliciously juicy recipe that can be paired with any side to make a fast and satisfying weeknight meal.
Blackened Chicken Thighs – The EASY Way!
If you have ever visited the southern coastal states like Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Florida odds are you have at least heard of blackened chicken. It originated there and is well-loved for its bold spices. Nowadays it is so popular you can find it on menus all across the country. But it’s for more than just chicken, restaurants use the flavors and technique on proteins and vegetables alike!
Of course, you do not have to go out to enjoy it! Making it at home is easy, fast, and a great way to deliver big flavor to the dinner table. It comes with a bonus benefit too – if your kids are not up for spicy, you can easily make ‘bronzed’ chicken by toning down the spicy ingredients traditionally found in a blackened chicken seasoning.
What I Love about this Recipe
- Quick – From the time the chicken hits the pan to when it’s ready to serve takes less than 10 minutes!
- Family friendly – Perfect for kids and grown ups! You can easily adjust the spice in your seasoning blend to suit your family’s tastes.
- Perfect for leftovers – Use leftovers to make quick lunches like sandwiches, pastas, and salads throughout the week. You may even want to make extra just for this!
- Versatile main dish – No matter what veggies or grains you have on hand, I guarantee they’ll pair with a pan of blackened chicken thighs.
How do you Make Blackened Chicken?
It may sound like we’re going to be burning something, but I assure you blackened does not mean burnt! Blackening actually refers to the technique of combining specific seasonings with hot butter in a hot pan.
It all starts with a blend of spices like garlic, onion, and ground chilis mixed with dried herbs that are together called blackened seasoning. It can be used to make chicken like we are here, pork, or a tasty pan of blackened fish.
When those spices hit a hot pan of melted butter, the milk solids and seasonings combine to make a dark “black” crust that mean you’re in for a mouthful of flavor. Add a few lemon slices at the end for a touch of tang and brightness and the whole pan will be devoured, guaranteed! Bonus is, it doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare!
What to Serve with Blackened Chicken
Even though this recipe uses bold flavors, they pair remarkably well with a really wide range of side dishes.
Whether you are making a big pan to serve to dinner guests, or trying to get food on the table fast on a busy weeknight, choosing one or two simple sides can make it a meal without taking hours of your time.
Side Dish Ideas
- Salads – Juicy blackened chicken thighs can be a healthy, light meal when paired with a salad. Here are some of my favorites.
- Vegetables – A big pan of roasted veggies can be cooking away in the oven while you prepare your chicken. Easy!
- Filling Starches – Bread or potatoes are an easy way to complete a meal and make sure everyone gets a full, happy belly.
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This easy blackened chicken thigh recipe is as simple as promised! Just one pan and 10 minutes for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Chicken thighs – this recipe was designed for boneless, skinless thighs which cook quickly. Bone-in thighs are much thicker and would require a very different cooking technique. But if you prefer, swap in chicken cutlets to make delicious blackened chicken breasts, or chicken tenderloins. Just know that the cooking times may vary.
- Butter – Use what is in your fridge! Either salted or unsalted will work well.
Blackened Chicken Seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Italian seasoning – use either a store bought blend, or easily make your own.
- Old Bay seasoning – you’ll find this near all the other seasonings at the grocery store, often in a bright yellow can with a red lid.
- Cayenne pepper – add this to taste to make the best blackened chicken recipe. If your family is not up for spicy, swap it out for black pepper instead.
- Press in the seasoning – Instead of just sprinkling it on, gently pat the seasonings into both sides of the chicken so it can make a perfect crust when it hits the pan.
- Use a good skillet – We like to make blackened chicken in a cast iron pan. They heat evenly and give a great sear for that tasty crust. If you don’t have one, a heavy stainless steel or enameled cast iron work well too.
- Get it nice and hot – Start your pan on high before you add the butter, then turn it down to medium high. That’s a key part of cooking blackened chicken, hot and fast.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan – one secret to browning is giving the chicken thighs space. Overcrowding will lead to steaming and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on even a little bit of the blackened crust! If needed, feel free to work in batches.
- Let it sear – It’s tempting to peek, I know, but resist the urge to flip or fiddle with the thighs. Give them a full 2-3 minutes to form a good crust.
- Finish with a lid – To get the chicken to 165°F without burning, use a lid to cover the thighs once they’ve had a few minutes to sear on the second side. It should only take another few minutes to have them cooked to juicy perfection.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Make a big batch of blackened chicken seasoning – Instead of mixing single batches every time, you can make this easy blackened chicken even easier by mixing a large batch of the spices together once and reusing it. Store them in a dark, cool place like your cupboard, and it’ll stay good for a year. Just give it a good shake before using!
Freezer Meal Instructions
Blackened chicken thighs can be prepared as a freezer meal to make on another busy night, or give to a friend in need.
- Prepare the seasoning mix.
- Season both sides of the chicken thighs.
- Vacuum seal the chicken and freeze it.
- Thaw for 24-48 hours in the fridge, then cook as directed in the recipe.
For the best flavor, this meal can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Blackened Chicken Thigh Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making blackened chicken, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
Here are a few ways to repurpose those leftovers and give them a delicious makeover!
- Blackened Chicken Salad – Top a blend of your favorite greens with corn, peppers, and onions then add leftover chicken and either creamy Italian dressing or jalapeno ranch dressing for a quick meal. Or use it to make a really tasty chicken cobb salad!
- Blackened Chicken Sandwich – This couldn’t be easier. Use some of that old bay with mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon juice to make a yummy spread for a roll or sliced bread, then layer on the chicken with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.
- Blackened Chicken Alfredo – Either my quick homemade alfredo sauce or a jar of your favorite store-bought kind and a pot of any pasta will make a quick and satisfying dinner.
- Blackened Chicken Tacos – Top flour or corn tortillas with chopped chicken and one of my easy salsa recipes. Pineapple jalapeno salsa, mango avocado salsa, or black bean and corn salsa would all be delicious!
More Easy Chicken Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my Easy Chicken Dinner recipes here, or see a few of our readers’ favorite recipes below.
- Creamy Artichoke Chicken Bake
- Asian Style Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
- Mesquite Chicken Bake
- Pineapple Salsa Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, (about 6)
- 2 tbsp butter
For the Blackened Chicken Seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or up to 1/2 tsp to taste (optional)
- To make the blackened seasoning, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, Old Bay, salt, and cayenne pepper (optional) and mix.
- Lay the chicken thighs flat and sprinkle blackened seasonings on the first side, lightly pat them in, and then sprinkle the remaining seasoning on the back side and pat in. This can sit in the refrigerator for up to an hour seasoned.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat for 2-3 minutes, then reduce to medium high and add the butter.
- Once the butter is melted and starting to brown, but not smoke, put the chicken thighs flat in the skillet. Do not crowd the skillet. Cook the chicken thighs in batches if necessary.
- Let the chicken cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side without moving or checking it, then flip and cook 2 minutes on the other side. Then reduce heat to low, cover the pan and continue to cook until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165˚F (about 2-3 more minutes.)
- Remove the chicken from the skillet (to prevent it from continuing to cook) and serve warm with fresh parsley or freshly squeezed lemon if desired.