Chicken Keto Main Dishes Recipes

Last updated on May 13th, 2024 at 11:10 am

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Keto Blackened Chicken [video]

Blackened Chicken is a hearty, protein-rich dish made with chicken breasts with a crunchy crust on the outside and juicy, tender meat on the inside. Blackening is a cooking technique wherein the meat is coated with oil and spices and then seared quickly in a hot skillet. This creates a black crust on the surface that is neither charred nor well-cooked. It is quick and easy, and it is ready in 20 minutes. Pair it with salads and casseroles for a balanced meal!

My easy Blackened Chicken recipe is a flavorful keto meal made with tender juicy chicken breasts and a spice rub made with Cajun seasoning. When I say quick and easy, I mean it! In 20 minutes, you can have a delicious and healthy meal on the table ready for the family to enjoy.

It goes with just about anything you want to serve it with, from salads to baked beans. You do not have to worry about it being too spicy for anyone since you can simply adjust the amount of spiciness. You can even leave out the cayenne pepper if you have someone sensitive to hot spices. . 

The searing of the meat makes this blackened chicken so delicious because it traps the juice inside while embedding incredible flavor into the meat. Even without skin, the blackened seasoning sticks to the chicken, so you get that flavor in every bite. Underneath the spices, Italian seasoning is mixed in for a background of oregano, marjoram, basil, thyme, and rosemary.

But I feel that the smoked paprika is the secret ingredient here, adding a touch of smokiness you may not be expecting. The slightly sweet flavor blends perfectly with the spices to create a vibrant blast of taste. I like to serve mine with whatever vegetables are in season at the time, such as asparagus or Brussels sprouts. Try my crispy bacon wrapped asparagus on the side for even more incredible crunchiness.

Why you will love this recipe

  • It is full of incredible flavor: Just by looking at it, you may not expect it to taste so flavorful, but with all the seasonings cooked into the meat, you taste every one of them.
  • This is an easy dish to make: You do not need any special tools or skills, just a frying pan and the ability to flip the chicken when it’s time.
  • Very few ingredients: Besides chicken breasts, all you need is some canola oil and some herbs and spices. You probably already have it in your kitchen.
  • It is truly keto: You will only get 10 grams of carbs per serving and no hidden sugars. And the protein you get is a big plus!

Chicken breasts might seem bland, but when cooked in this manner, it transforms into a surprisingly flavorful meal. Those on a strict diet, such as low carb can enjoy this without guilt!

If you are looking for a new way to cook a chicken breast, this blackened chicken recipe is perfect. It is fast and easy, and when you sear the meat, you trap all that juiciness inside where it belongs.

What you’ll need to make blackened chicken

Special items:

  • Bowl – Just one shallow bowl for mixing the seasonings.
  • Skillet – I prefer a cast-iron skillet, but you can use any oven-proof frying pan.
  • Tongs – For flipping the chicken.

Main ingredients:

  • Chicken – I prefer using boneless skinless chicken breast for this because it is light and easy to cook as well as healthy. However, you could use the kind with bones if you like. I would recommend removing any skin, though, since you do not really want the skin to keep the meat from blackening.
  • Canola oil—I use this, but you can make it with any kind of oil, like olive oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oil. In fact, many people like to use butter, but I feel that lessens the experience of the spices.

Blackening seasoning ingredients:

  • Smoked paprika—As I mentioned, this is an essential ingredient for the best flavor. However, if you do not have (or don’t like) smoky flavor, you can use sweet or regular paprika.
  • Italian seasoning – Another important ingredient I would not leave out is the background flavors in this seasoning add a wonderful taste. You can use my easy homemade Italian seasoning recipe or your brand.
  • Cumin – Related to dill, caraway, and parsley, cumin powder will provide warmth and smokiness with a nutty flavor.
  • Cayenne Pepper – Although many people see this ingredient and automatically assume the dish is spicy, mixing cayenne with other ingredients can mellow it to an earthy and sweet taste. But in this dish, I want the spiciness to shine through, so I add extra. If you are not a spicy food fan, use less or don’t use it at all.
  • Thyme—Dried thyme is a little peppery, too, with more earthiness than fresh thyme. You need dried thyme for this recipe because it sticks to the meat better.
  • Garlic powder – Similarly, garlic powder is easier for this recipe than fresh or minced because you want it to stick to the meat.
  • Onion powder – Again, onion powder will easily stick to your chicken, unlike minced onion. Remember, a little goes a long way with powders because they are more powerful than fresh.
  • Kosher salt – Make sure it is ground down to almost a powder so it sticks to the meat to enhance the rest of the flavors.
  • Black pepper – I recommend grinding your pepper from fresh peppercorns for this recipe.

How to make blackened chicken recipe?

  1. Preheat: First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Make the blackening seasoning: Meanwhile, whisk together all the blackened seasoning in a shallow dish.
  3. Apply blackening seasoning: After you make sure the chicken is dry, coat each chicken breast with oil and then dip each side in the blackening spice. Press down firmly to help the spice rub stay on.
  4. Preheat: Then, heat your skillet over high heat for about five minutes and add about a tablespoon of oil, brushing it all over the skillet.
  5. Sear: Next, add chicken breasts and sear both sides of the chicken breast for 30 seconds each or until it has a black crust.
  6. Bake: Last, put the skillet with the blackened chicken in the preheated oven and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes. The meat should not be pink, and the internal temperature should read 165 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer.
  7. Serve: Finally, move the chicken breasts to a serving dish and cover them with aluminum foil. Let it rest for five minutes before serving.

How to cook it on the grill:

  • It is possible to use a gas or charcoal grill to cook this easy recipe. However, just make sure that the temperature is high enough to sear the crust.
  • Simply, grease it with some cooking spray prior to placing the meat. 
  • Then, simply grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. 

How to cook it in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat: To start, preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees F.
  2. Make the seasoning: While waiting, mix all the spices in a small bowl.
  3. Coat the chicken: Next, pat chicken breasts dry before coating with oil and seasoning. 
  4. Sear: Then, sear your blackened chicken in a hot cast-iron skillet for five minutes or until it is golden brown or black. 
  5. Cook the chicken: After, place the blackened chicken in the air fryer basket and cook for 10 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 10 minutes. The chicken should be no longer pink in the center and the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.
  6. Rest and serve: Lastly, move your blackened chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil. Let it rest for five minutes before you serve it with your favorite side dishes.

Expert tip

Choosing the best chicken for blackened chicken

Everyone has their own preference for what cut of meat they like for blackened chicken. Most people, including me, use boneless, skinless chicken breasts because they are the easiest and most readily available anywhere. Others prefer breasts with bones in them, and some even like leaving the skin on. I prefer no skin because it prevents the meat from getting blackened.

Sometimes, I have used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They are just as easy to use for this recipe, and they are perfect for those who like dark meat. In fact, when I made it, my family thought it was juicier that way. But I am a white meat fan, so I prefer breasts.

Others claim chicken leg quarters are the perfect cut for making blackened chicken. They remove the skin and sear the whole thing in a pan like you do the breasts. This is a good choice if you like dark meat and want larger portions for a heartier meal. Everyone gets two pieces instead of one!

Recipe variations:

  • Another oil: Feel free to use other oils such as canola, vegetable oil, or whatever you usually like cooking with.
  • Chicken thighs: Although boneless skinless chicken breasts work best, you can use chicken thighs for this recipe.
  • Different meat: This may sound strange, but there is no reason why you could not substitute turkey breasts for chicken breasts. You can also experiment with boneless pork chops for this recipe.
  • Cheesy chicken: Add some shredded mozzarella, cheddar, or pepper jack cheese to the chicken during the last two minutes of cooking to coat it in melty cheese. 
  • Other herbs and spices: To give your blackened chicken even more flavor, consider adding other herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, saffron, and cilantro.
  • Make it spicier: If you really love spicy food, add some ground red pepper flakes to your seasoning.

How to serve:

  • This blackened chicken recipe goes perfectly with cheesy baked green beans and deviled egg potato salad.
  • Chop and toss some leftovers in a bowl of lettuce, fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, and other veggies for a hearty salad.
  • This main course cuisine also tastes fantastic alongside a refreshing salad like this crunchy cucumber salad or strawberry spinach salad.
  • Serve it with a drizzle of homemade Ranch dressing or thousand island. Condiments and dipping sauces would be appreciated by most people.
  • Speaking of sauce, why not serve it with barbecue sauce for a family barbecue with your favorite sides like coleslaw and corn on the cob.
  • Sprinkle some of this homemade Cajun seasoning on top just before serving for an extra kick of spiciness. 

Frequently asked questions

Is blackened chicken just burnt?

No. Blackened chicken is not burnt unless you burn it. The reason it turns black is the unique properties of the special seasonings. After coating in oil, the seasonings are added, and then the chicken is seared on a super-hot pan before cooking at 450 degrees in the oven. The crusty coating has no bitter flavor like you would get from burnt chicken because it is not burned.

How do you season a cast iron skillet?

Because the main tool you need for this recipe is a skillet, you may want to know how to season yours if you have not already done so. I prefer baking mine. Of course, you need to clean and dry it thoroughly while you wait for the oven to heat up to 350 degrees F. Then, place it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or foil. Once it is hot, spread oil or shortening inside and outside your skillet. You can use paper towels if you don’t like getting your hands oily. Now, place the pan upside down on the baking sheet and heat it for one hour.

Why won’t my blackened seasoning stick?

Since the most important step is blackening the chicken, you want to ensure the seasoning will stick to your meat instead of your pan. The best way to do this is to preheat your pan to a high temperature. I recommend heating it for five minutes and then oiling it before searing each side of the chicken. Only hold it on there for 30 seconds per side; the seasoning should be stuck to your meat. Also, make sure you oil your chicken well before seasoning it.

What is the difference between Cajun and blackened chicken?

Cajun seasoning is more about making the meat spicy than blackening it. If you are making Cajun chicken, for example, the seasonings are often just sprinkled onto the meat before you coat it with flour. Then, it is typically fried in oil until golden brown, not black. The spicy ingredients in Cajun food are red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. Some people even use white pepper. 

How to store leftovers:

  • Store: You can store your leftover blackened chicken breasts in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. Let it cool to room temperature first.
  • Freeze: Go ahead and freeze any of the blackened chicken that you cannot eat in a few days. Place the meat in a freezer bag and it will be good for up to 90 days.
  • Thaw: Put your frozen leftover blackened chicken in the fridge to thaw overnight before serving.
  • Reheat: When it is time to reheat your blackened chicken, microwave it for a few minutes in a microwave-safe dish.

More chicken recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • For flat chicken breasts, use a meat mallet to flatten them. If you do not have one, use your cast iron skillet or a heavy book.
  • Ensure you do not overcook the chicken, or it will dry out. If you flatten it, you only need to cook it for about eight minutes.
  • Always let your chicken rest for at least five minutes before slicing so the juices will be absorbed back into the meat.
  • Also, ensure the chicken is dry before coating it in the oil and seasoning.
  • Remember to heat the pan for five minutes before searing your chicken.

Easy Blackened Chicken

Blackened Chicken is a hearty dish made with chicken breasts with a crunchy crust on the outside and juicy, tender meat on the inside. A quick and easy dish that is ready in 20 minutes.

  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time20 MIN
  • Servings 4 servings


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts about 1/2 lb. each
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning herbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil divided


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • In a shallow dish, whisk together all the seasonings: paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Dry the chicken breasts with paper towels and coat them on both sides with two tablespoons of canola oil. Toss both sides in the seasoning mixture, pressing with your fingers to help the coating adhere.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until smoking hot, for about 5 minutes. Add just one tablespoon of canola oil and brush it over the skillet.
  • Add the chicken breasts and cook for about 30 seconds on each side to blacken, then transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking for another 12-15 minutes. The chicken should no longer be pink in the center, and the internal temperature should reach 160 degrees F.
  • Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with foil, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition Facts

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This recipe was great! Very tasty and moist chicken, can’t wait to make it again. And again!



This is by far is the best chicken I have ever cooked. It was super tasty and very moist.

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Thank you!



Perfect - finally found a chicken breast recipe that is easy, quick, tasty and tender!



What if I don't have a cast iron skillet...can I use my stainless steel pan instead? 😬

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Yes, but you will have to transfer the chicken to a baking dish for the oven part.

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