These juicy, savory blackened chicken tenders are just like the delicious recipe from your favorite chicken restaurant, but healthier and more affordable!
Why You’ll Love This Blackened Chicken Recipe
Have you tried the mouthwatering blackened chicken tenders from Popeye's Chicken?
This version is my copycat Popeye's blackened chicken tenders recipe, using homemade blackened seasoning on pan-fried chicken strips.
They're savory, smoky, a tiny bit spicy, and wildly delicious.
So, why is this recipe so good? Outside of the juicy, tender chicken and flavorful blackening spice, there are lots of reasons this Cajun chicken is popular.
First, it's a quick and easy chicken recipe. Who couldn't use more of those? Just measure and blend the spices, coat the chicken, toss it in the pan for a few minutes, and you're ready to eat.
It's also amazing for meal prep. Cook up a bunch of chicken at the beginning of the week and serve it for work lunches, dinners, or as a snack.
You can use this chicken in so many recipes, too! It's incredibly versatile.
Try it in salads, wraps, bowls, as the main course with a veggie and rice or potatoes, in tacos, in sandwiches... the list goes on and on.
Plus, it's low-carb. I don't personally follow a low-carb diet, but I have plenty of friends and family members who have at various points, and this makes cooking for them so much easier!
- Why You’ll Love This Blackened Chicken Recipe
- What You’ll Need
- Recommended Equipment
- How to Make this Blackened Chicken Tenders Recipe
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Variations and Substitutions
- How to Store
- How to Serve Pan-Fried Blackened Chicken
- Expert Tips
- More Chicken Recipes To Enjoy
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
What You’ll Need
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Chicken Tenderloins Also called chicken tenders, chicken tenderloins are small pieces that are attached to the underside of the chicken breast and typically sold separately. They cook quickly and are readily available in most grocery stores.
Cayenne Pepper I like to use a good amount of cayenne pepper in this recipe for a spicy kick. You can adjust the level of spice up or down depending on your personal preferences.
Thyme Using dried thyme for this spice mix adds some lightly floral, savory notes to any dish you use it in. I don't recommend using fresh thyme.
Oregano As with the thyme, I recommend using dried oregano. It adds an earthy, pungent, green flavor to recipes.
Black Pepper Freshly ground black pepper is best for this recipe. It is much more flavorful than pre-ground pepper and adds a wonderful bite to the seasoning blend.
Garlic Powder In most recipes, I opt for fresh garlic, but not here. Having a well-blended spice mix allows the chicken to be evenly coated. Garlic powder is better for that purpose.
Paprika I used sweet paprika in my blend, but smoked or hot paprika would work equally well. It adds a smoky flavor to the chicken and a beautiful red hue to the spice blend.
Kosher Salt When I create my recipes, I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt. It has a unique flake shape, rather than a cube shape, that coats food better while being less salty by volume than table salt or sea salt. If you only have table or sea salt, divide the amount in the recipe by half.
How to Make this Blackened Chicken Tenders Recipe
Step One: Combine the spices to create the blackening spice.
Step Two: Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil.
Step Three: Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry then coat all over with the blackening spice.
Step Four: Cook the chicken on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the chicken is starting to turn golden brown.
Step Five: Flip the chicken and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step Six: Remove the chicken from the pan. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Blackening seasoning is a mix of dried herbs and spices that is used to season dishes like blackened chicken, shrimp, or fish. It is a smoky, spicy blend that is very similar to Cajun or Creole seasoning.
Cajun seasoning and blackening seasoning are very similar. They both have garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne. However, blackening seasoning adds other dried herbs and spices, like oregano.
Absolutely! Try it on other cuts of chicken, or on fish, like in these amazing blackened cod tacos.
Variations and Substitutions
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders: You can also cook this recipe in the air fryer. Just cook at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Oven: You can also try these in the oven. Cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Measure to ensure the internal temp has reached 165.
Onion Powder: Some people like to add onion powder to their blackening seasoning. If this is you, by all means, give it a try. I personally don't care for onion powder all that much, so I leave it out.
How to Store
Fridge These chicken tenders will last for about 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Freezer You can freeze this recipe for up to 6 months. To reheat them, thaw in the fridge overnight and then warm them up in a pan, the air fryer, or in the microwave.
Reheating Reheat chicken tenders either in the microwave at 30-second intervals until heated through, in the air fryer for a few minutes at 380, or on the stove with a bit of oil over medium heat.
How to Serve Pan-Fried Blackened Chicken
Can't decide what to serve with blackened chicken? Try some of the recipes below!
Grain Bowl Add chicken strips to a grain bowl for some extra protein. You can swap the chickpeas for chicken in this Mediterranean grain bowl.
- Work in batches if needed. Be sure to leave plenty of space between the pieces of chicken in the pan. Overcrowding will prevent the chicken from achieving a nice crust and will lead to uneven cooking.
- Taste your seasoning mix. Before you coat the chicken, taste the blackening seasoning mix and adjust to your personal preferences if needed. Want it more garlicky? Go for it. More spicy? Add a pinch more cayenne!
- Don't overcook the chicken. Keep a close eye on the chicken while it cooks. Test it after 2 minutes on each side to see if it is done. Chicken tenders are a very lean cut and can become dry if cooked too long.
More Chicken Recipes To Enjoy
Blackened Chicken Tenders
- Frying Pan or Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 pound chicken tenders
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado or grapeseed oil
- Combine the spices to create the blackening spice.
- Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil.
- Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry then coat all over with the blackening spice.
- Cook the chicken on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the chicken is starting to turn golden brown.
- Flip the chicken and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the chicken from the pan. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve!
- If you only have table or sea salt, divide the amount in the recipe by half.
- Fridge These chicken tenders will last for about 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Freezer You can freeze this recipe for up to 6 months. To reheat them, thaw in the fridge overnight and then warm them up in a pan, the air fryer, or in the microwave.
- Reheating Reheat chicken tenders either in the microwave at 30-second intervals until heated through, in the air fryer for a few minutes at 380, or on the stove with a bit of oil over medium heat.