Grilled and Blackened Chicken Breasts is a great recipe that adds bold flavor to chicken. With herbal and earthy flavors, this easy recipe will make your mouth water.
What is Blackened Chicken?
Traditionally, as credited to Chef Paul Prudhomme, fish was buttered and then seasoned with an herbal mix then cooked in cast iron. The intent for “blackening” fish (or poultry) was intended to mirror cooking on the grill, giving that smoky flavor to something cooked indoors on the stovetop.
We enjoy actually cooking that dish on the grill and then allowing the charcoal flavor to infuse with the blackening spice. Our love for that dish paved the way to introducing our blackened chicken recipe which includes some modifications.
Our blackening seasoning is a mix of salt, sugar, herbs, and earthy chili powder. You can also use any store-bought seasoning as well. One warning when buying store-bought rubs is to avoid a seasoning that contains too much sugar to avoid burning the meat versus blackening.
For blackened chicken breast you can use skin-on boneless chicken or skinless. The skin adds a nice texture after being grilled. If you only see bone-in chicken breast, that is fine too, or you can use a sharp boning knife to separate the chicken breast from the bone.
This blackened chicken recipe is also great for bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks as well. In the example below, we’re using boneless skinless chicken breasts
Blackened Chicken Seasoning
Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel to get it dry. Coat with olive oil, and then liberally season the chicken with the blackened seasoning. Plan on around 2 tablespoons of the seasoning per chicken breast if scaling up or down (this will ultimately depend on the exact size of your chicken breasts, as they come in various sizes). You can do this just before grilling, or up to 24 hours in advance to let the salt help with dry brining the chicken.
Spoiler alert: it’s important to have a good quality instant-read thermometer like the Thermoworks Thermapen One, when cooking blackened chicken breast to avoid the #1 mistake (overcooking it).
If this is your first time grilling chicken or are feeling a little nervous, feel free to check out our deep dive on how to grill chicken perfectly every time.
How to Make Blackened Chicken
- Prepare the grill for two-zone method of grilling, using lump charcoal (briquettes are fine too). Before adding chicken to grill grate be sure the grates have warmed up for at least 5 minutes with cover of grill on (to get them nice and hot). Target between 450 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit inside the grill.
- When the grill is at the target temperature and the grate is hot, place the chicken over direct heat. Grill for 4 minutes (covered), or until the chicken breast has a nice sear or has “blackened”.
- Flip the chicken and grill direct for another 4 minutes (covered), or until you see a dark crust form.
- Move chicken to indirect heat and continue grilling (covered), until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 -165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the meat. Remove the chicken breast and it let rest for 10 minutes to allow carry-over cooking to occur and bring the internal temperature of the chicken to reach 165 degrees.
- Serve with your favorite sides.
Modification for Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks – If you are doing this recipe with thighs or drumsticks, then factor in more time to the indirect cooking. Thighs and Drumsticks are best when cooked to an internal temperature between 170 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Carry over cooking will add another 5 degrees. This higher temperature renders that dark meat a little more. So add another 5 minutes (give or take) of cooking time on indirect heat when cooking thighs or drumsticks.
The best place to take the temperature of the chicken is the thickest part. Adjust the cooking times based on how quickly the chicken breast is grilling.
Other Great Grilled Chicken Recipes
- Grilled Jerk Chicken
- BBQ Chicken Lollipops
- Sriracha Grilled Chicken
- Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken
- How to Grill Chicken