A blackened chicken tenders recipe is an easy chicken recipe the whole family will love! These delicious tenders are coated in a flavorful blend of seasoning and seared to perfection creating a crispy crust on the chicken tender. Make this low carb chicken tender recipe in just 30 minutes!
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Why These Blackened Chicken Tenders Are The Best!
Spicy homemade blackened chicken tenderloins are so juicy with the perfect amount of dry rub seasoning. This cooking method creates a crust from the spice mix and the butter the chicken is cooked in, resulting in the most mouth-watering bite of chicken.
You will need to make extra because you will want to keep eating these spicy chicken tenders. Dip them in ranch dressing, turn them into tacos, a blackened chicken sandwich or even chop the blackened chicken tenders up for a salad with tomatoes and avocado! Yum!
Maybe because I live in central Florida and am not to far from the birth place of Cajun cooking, blackened food is pretty normal here. I love the smokey flavors that blackened seasoning creates, so much so that I make my own spice blend. It may be an investment to buy all of the individual spices. If this is not something you already have in your pantry, I promise you it is worth every penny! I use blackening on everything from these salmon cakes with corn salsa (one of my husbands favorite dish's) to these blackened grouper tacos.
What Is Blackening?
Blackening is a cooking technique that uses a spice and herb blend to coat meat and cook at high temperatures to develop an almost burnt appearance. This technique became very popular in New Orleans during the 1980's and is usually associated with Cajun cuisine.
Typically blackening is used for chicken, seafood, and steak but even vegetables are delicious with a blackening spice blend. The spices and exact measurements can vary from recipe to recipe but usually involve paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
To follow the correct blackening process the food is cooked in a cast iron skillet with butter over high temperatures. This way the seasoning is seared onto the food.
Lodge cast iron skillet- I love this skillet because it creates the perfect sear on food. You can use a large nonstick skillet if you do not have cast iron.
blackened seasoning- you can make your own spice blend or buy premade blackened seasoning. Just make sure to read the label closely because Cajun seasoning is a little different and can be even spicier than blackened seasoning.
Season the chicken with baking soda. This will tenderize the meat without adding any flavors. Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes. If you are short on time you can skip this step, however this technique makes chicken very tender.
After 20 minutes rinse the baking soda off of the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the chicken with the blackening seasoning. Make sure to coat well on both sides.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter to the hot skillet to melt. Once the butter is hot add the chicken strips to the melted butter in a single layer. You want a hot pan so that the chicken gets a good sear.
Cook each side of the chicken for 4-5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit when checked with a meat thermometer. If you decide to double the recipe, you will need to cook in batches so not to overcrowd the pan. You can place cooked chicken on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven set at 200 degrees.
What Does Blackening Taste Like?
Blackened food with have a buttery, flavorful crust that is made from the spice mixture and the butter it is cooked in. It isn't necessarily a hot spicy flavor, although it could be depending on the ratio of ingredients in the blackening seasoning.
Because blackened chicken has a bit of heat, I like to pair sides that will offer a little cooling effect. Salads are always a great lighter choice like this cucumber mango salad that has just the right sweetness, or try my favorite pesto orzo salad that is loaded with fresh veggies.
Is Blackened Seasoning Unhealthy?
Blackening seasoning is just dried herbs, so the seasoning itself is healthy! What can make blackening unhealthy is the fat the meat is cooked in. Use the butter sparingly. I used only 2 tablespoons for an entire pound of chicken in this recipe.
Do I Have To Use Cast Iron To Blacken Food?
While cast iron will give the best results, it is not the only way to blacken food. You can use a nonstick skillet and still follow the recipe. You can also brush the chicken with melted butter, add the seasonings and then cook in either an air fryer or in the oven. These methods may not produce the exact same blackened crust but it will still taste delicious.
Substitutions and Additions
chicken tenders- you can also use skinless chicken breast for this recipe if you prefer.
blackening spices- you can buy premade blackening seasonings at grocery stores if you do not want to buy all of the individual spices. I prefer making my own mixture and always have these spices on hand.
butter- is the best choice when blackening chicken, however you can use olive oil, vegetable oil or avocado oil if you prefer.
Storage And Reheating Recommendations
Store leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To reheat the blackened chicken tenders, wrap in foil allowing a small opening for steam and place in a preheated 350 degree oven until the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are short on time you can always microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes.
Looking For Other Chicken Recipes? Try These!
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Easy Blackened Chicken Tenders With Spice Recipe
- cast iron skillet
- Add the chicken tenders to a bowl and coat with baking soda. Let the chicken sit for 20 minutes while preparing the spice mixture. *See Notes
- After 20 minutes rinse the chicken tenders to remove the baking soda. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and rub with the spice mixture on both sides
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter to the skillet. Once the butter is melted add the chicken and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve hot chicken immediately.