How Long Should You Marinate Blackened Chicken?

If chicken is in your meal rotation more than once a week, you may find yourself clucking at the thought of cooking it again. Chicken is incredibly versatile, and there are plenty of delicious chicken dinner recipes out there. If you're a fan of chicken with a punch of flavor, blackened chicken should be next up on your menu. This chicken dish isn't inherently spicy but is instead deeply seasoned with blackening spices. The Cajun spice blend typically includes paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, and onion powder. The chicken blackens after it's cooked in a hot skillet.

While blackened chicken is most often seen on restaurant menus, recreating the dish at home is simple to do. Mashed recipe developer Christina Musgrave devised a blackened chicken recipe that you can easily make at home. The key to her technique is marinating the chicken in Italian dressing and seasoning prior to cooking. The dressing helps the seasoning adhere to the chicken while also creating a moister, more tender piece of meat. You can marinate the chicken in a baking dish (or in a sealed bag) for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to one day if refrigerated.

Make it ahead to save time

While your chicken only needs 30 minutes of marinating time to absorb the seasonings' flavors, the longer it sits, the more flavor it gets. If you're running short on time, you can marinate and prep your chicken one day beforehand so that all you have to do is cook it approximately 30 minutes before you're ready to eat. Once the chicken has been marinated, it just needs a quick sear in a buttered cast iron skillet, followed by a 10-minute stint in the oven. Musgrave said of the result, "It tastes like restaurant-style blackened chicken. It's charred on the outside, juicy on the inside, and has a hint of spice."

If you're worried about the spices bringing too much heat, you can substitute different spices based on your preferences. Even though this tastes like an elevated dish, Musgrave shared with Mashed that it's a beginner-level recipe that anyone can make. If you have leftovers, the chicken can be sliced up and served in a wrap or on top of a salad for a filling lunch. It's a great candidate for easy meal prep, as you can make several chicken breasts at once and have dinner for the whole week. You can also marinate the chicken all in one day and cook on another so you don't get overwhelmed.