These Blackened Chicken Thighs are fast, crispy, & tender with the best combination of spices. Cajun chicken thighs are a great 20-minute meal! Every bite of this juicy chicken recipe will bring you back for more.
If the thought of pan-fried chicken worries you, don't stress. I promise you that this is such a simple way to cook moist chicken every single time. The combination of spices and the crisp outer crust really makes this the best blackened chicken recipe!
I know that most people have made fried chicken a time or two on the stove, and while it's delicious, this Cajun chicken thighs recipe is so much easier than that! (and less messy, too!)
The combination of the ingredients creates the "blackened" outer crust that proves not only flavor but a crazy good crunch. Once you cook the blackened chicken thighs in the skillet, all that's missing is a few of your favorite side dishes!
If you're a fan of chicken (who isn't!), then be sure to check out this Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breast as well! If you're looking for easy chicken recipes that you can enjoy as is or pair with veggies, I have so many great ones to try!
Ingredients for Cajun Chicken Thighs
All you need are the simple ingredients to get started.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs - Dark meat is perfect for this recipe because the added fat content keeps the meat tender and juicy.
Avocado oil - Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil would work as well.
Butter - If you don't want to use butter, you can up the amount of oil.
Blackened Seasoning - see below!
Ingredients for Blackened Chicken Seasoning
This combination of spices is what creates that blackened effect. It is used often in Cajun cuisine. This may seem like a long list but all of these spices are staples in any well-stocked kitchen. They are inexpensive and easy to find. If you prefer you can purchase a pre-mixed Cajun seasoning like this one. Another good choice is this salt-free blend of Cajun spices. That way you can add your own salt to taste.
Onion powder - Onion powder gives the flavor of onions to a seasoning blend.
Garlic powder - Garlic powder gives the flavor of garlic.
Smoked paprika - This is one of my favorites. It has a unique smoky flavor. Smoked paprika is generally cheaper online than by purchasing small bottles in a grocery store.
Dried oregano - You can use fresh herbs if you prefer, just chop them very finely.
Dried basil - One of my favorites. Dried basil tends to have less flavor than fresh but in this dish, it won't matter.
Dried thyme - Thyme has an earthy flavor that pairs well with other herbs.
Cayenne pepper - If you want milder flavored chicken cut back on the cayenne or omit it entirely.
Salt - For a lower sodium dish use all oil and omit the added salt. I normally use kosher salt or pink salt.
Black pepper - For very mild-flavored blackened chicken thighs you can cut back the black pepper as well.
Try this on my Blackened Swordfish Recipe next!
How to Make Blackened Chicken Thighs
Step One: Combine the seasonings. Use the blackening seasoning mixture to coat the chicken pieces well.
Step Two: Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high.
Step Three: When the butter has completely melted, and the oil is hot, add the chicken.
Step Four: Let sear for 5-6 minutes until a nice black crust forms. Flip the chicken. Cook on the second side. At this point, the Cajun chicken thighs should be fully cooked. It is not cooked until it reaches 160 on an internal thermometer.
Expert Tip: For a nice presentation garnish the chicken on a serving platter with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. The green color complements the dark color of the chicken well.
Add other seasonings - You can add more taste and flavor by adding other seasonings. Some other options to include could be garlic powder, black pepper, dried oregano, or anything else that you want to add to this easy blackened chicken recipe.
Cook in a cast iron skillet - I LOVE cooking in cast iron because it helps to create a dark crust. You can add any type of oil as well (even vegetable oil) to cook up the sides of the chicken evenly in the skillet.
Can I use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs?
You can. Since they take a little longer to cook you can transfer the skillet to a hot oven to finish cooking them. Make sure they reach 160 on a meat thermometer.
What pairs well with Cajun chicken thighs?
Anything that you want. I like serving a side dish of vegetables to complete the meal. Broccoli, cauliflower rice, green beans, raw bell peppers, cucumbers, the options are endless.
Cutting up the cooked chicken into strips and topping it with sour cream and salsa sounds like a tasty dinner that is low in carbs as well.
Adding the blackened chicken thighs to tacos, sandwiches, or even on top of a green salad is delicious as well. Leftovers are just as good for lunch the next day.
What is the best way to make sure that the chicken is cooked all the way?
Using a meat thermometer is your best bet. This will give you an accurate reading of the inside temperature of the chicken.
Place the tip of the thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken to get an accurate reading. It should read 160 degrees as a minimum to be taken out of the skillet. Since the chicken will continue to cook once removed from the heat, your goal is to get the temperature to at least 165 degrees before cutting and eating.
Can I use frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts?
Yes, you can use fresh or frozen chicken breasts as well. I like chicken thighs, but breasts are good, too. And I have a recipe to make Blackened Chicken Tenders for a lighter option. I do recommend thawing the meat before cooking the Cajun chicken thighs for the best results.
The easiest way to thaw chicken is to remove it from the freezer and put the frozen pieces into a small bowl and set it in the fridge to thaw.
The same thawing process is perfect for any cut of chicken that you want to use for this easy recipe. Change it up and see what you like best in terms of texture and taste.
- 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 tablespoon butter or additional oil
- 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, oregano, basil, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper
- Combine the seasonings. Use to coat the chicken.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high.
- When the butter has completely melted and the oil is hot, add the chicken.
- Let cook for 5-6 minutes until a nice black crust forms. Flip the chicken. Cook on the second side. At this point, the chicken should be fully cooked. If it is not cook until it reaches 160 on an internal thermometer.