Use this simple Grilled Cajun Chicken Dry Rub Seasoning to spice up your weeknight chicken dinner routine! It adds mild heat and loads of flavor to everything from chicken, fish, or shrimp to veggies, potatoes, mayo and dressings!
When it comes to boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. They are so handy to keep on hand – I always have a bag of them in the freezer that I can defrost on nights when I didn’t plan ahead – but they can be so boring and bland unless seasoned well and cooked properly. Enter this homemade Grilled Cajun Chicken Dry Rub Seasoning.
I love to use this dry rub on boneless, skinless chicken breasts because it takes all of 1 minute to gather the spices and stir them together, and there is no need to brine or marinate the chicken breasts for them to turn out wonderfully delicious and moist and full of flavor. You can even double, triple, or quadruple the batch to store in an airtight container (I like to reuse empty spice jars for my own personal spice blends) so you always have some on hand, even though it takes almost no time at all to pull out the spices you need.
This blend has just the right amount of kick from the crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper. But if you like it more or less spicy, feel free to increase or decrease either or both of these ingredients.
I used to buy Cajun seasoning blends from the store, but some were too salty, others didn’t have the right amount of heat I wanted, and finally realized I should just make my own at home! It’s so easy to rub onto a couple of defrosted chicken breasts and grill them so you have a protein to throw into a creamy pasta, add to a sandwich, or use to make a super satisfying Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad with Creamy Cajun Dressing.
You may want to pound your breasts to even out their thickness a bit, which will help them to cook evenly and not dry out on one end. They don’t need to be pounded super thin, just enough so the thickness variation isn’t quite as stark from the tapered end of the breast to the thicker, rounded end. I just slip the breasts into a heavy duty Ziploc bag and use a meat mallet like this one to pound the thicker end 4 or 5 times.
It’s hard to give exact cooking times since that will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts and the temperature of your grill, which is why I can’t recommend a good instant read meat thermometer enough.
Chicken breasts are so lean that you can cook them on a higher heat without worrying about flare-ups. It also means you can cook them quickly to sear in all of their juices. But because they are so lean, you run the risk of overcooking them if you aren’t paying attention, so remember that once you start grilling your chicken breasts, you probably want to have everything else ready, or close to ready. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts only take about 10 minutes on the grill, and that includes turning them partway through. Which doesn’t leave a lot of time for chopping veggies or stirring sauces in between running out to flip chicken.
I try to have the other meal components close to ready before I start grilling, and then stay pretty close to the grill while the chicken is on. The meat needs 5 minutes to rest after cooking before you slice into it anyway, so that gives you some time for final meal prep or setting the table.
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- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Cajun Spice Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Heat a grill to medium-high heat.
- Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet or large dish and pat dry. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and rub the chicken to coat evenly.
- In a small bowl, combine all of the spices and stir well. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the tops of the chicken breasts, turn the chicken over, and sprinkle the remaining half of the spice mixture on the bottom side of each breast so the chicken is evenly coated in Cajun seasoning.
- Place the chicken breasts directly over the heated side of the grill and grill for about 5-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your chicken, until the internal temperature of the breasts reach 160 degrees using an instant read meat thermometer. You can also check whether the chicken is done by making a small cut into the thickest part to see if it is opaque in the center, or pressing on the thickest end of the chicken with your finger to see if there is any resistance. If there is no resistance, the chicken is done. Remove from the grill and rest for 5 minutes.
- Use whole chicken breasts in Grilled Cajun Chicken Sandwiches or slice and add to a Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad or to creamy pasta dishes.
Double or triple the seasoning ingredients and store in an airtight container for future use on chicken, shrimp, fish, vegetables, potatoes, or mixed into mayo or dressings.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198 Saturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 72mg Sodium: 570mg Carbohydrates: 1g Protein: 24g