A spicy Cajun- style blackened chicken sandwich recipe that is ready in less than 30 minutes. You can use store-bought or homemade blackening seasoning, to control the spice level.
The salami (yes, salami) and smoked provolone add a unique flavor twist that will dazzle your taste buds. This sandwich is perfect for a weeknight dinner or Saturday lunch. And we kept our sammies gluten- free by using GF sandwich buns.
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
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This recipe was inspired by a grilled fish sandwich I had at a restaurant. It had salami smoked cheese on tilapia. I thought it sounded so odd that it must be good. And it was, it was surprisingly delicious.
I tried several combinations in making something similar at home, but found I liked this combo best on chicken and I liked it spicy. So the Peel with Zeal blackened chicken sandwich was born!
🧾Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken breasts- cutlets or breasts fileted and pounded flat
- Homemade or store bought blackening seasoning
- Smoked provolone cheese
- Sandwich buns- I use Udi's gluten-free buns but any type of sandwich buns work
- Spicy Mayonnaise
- Lettuce, tomato, and onion
You might be surprised to see salami on the list of ingredients, but I promise it is such a treat to break away from standard toppings like bacon. I love bacon (who doesn't????) but the salami compliments the spiciness of our Homemade Cajun seasoning in a way bacon can't.
But if you don't have salami on hand, you can substitute bacon, ham, or even prosciutto.
I prefer smoked provolone over regular provolone cheese on sandwiches. The standard provolone flavor can get lost with the spicy seasoning, mayo, and salami flavors all packing a big punch. I love the creamy texture but miss the flavor punch.
If you can't find smoked provolone, regular will work. Swiss and havarti also make great substitutions, both have the right texture when melted.
We make our own spicy mayo with store-bought mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice, all the hot sauce you can stand, and fresh chopped parsley.
This sandwich is very straightforward. If you know your way around the kitchen you could probably look at the ingredient list and know exactly what to do. But if you are a newbie home chef, or just like all the details here are our step-by-step instructions for this recipe.
Prep the Chicken
If you couldn't find chicken cutlets or filets at the store and are using chicken breasts for this recipe we will need to prep the chicken before starting the recipe.
Cut the chicken into a filet by using your hand to firmly press down on the chicken breast and using a sharp boning knife to cut the chicken breast in half so you have two flat pieces.
If the chicken is still too thick you can pound it thinner by placing the chicken between two pieces of wax paper and pounding it with a meat mallet until it is less than a half inch thick.
Step 1- Seasoning the Chicken
Use a paper towel to blot the chicken dry. Drying the chicken has two purposes, first it helps the coating stick. Second, drying the meat will help the meat carnalize during cooking.
The chicken should be completely covered with the seasoning.
Step 2- Blacken the Chicken
Place your cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. You will want to turn on a fan, this dish will smoke. A well seasoned cast iron pan doesn't typically require oil but I find with this much seasoning adding olive oil or a butter is needed to prevent burning.
Heat your oil and add the chicken and cooking for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken reaches about 155 F.
Step 3- Prep the Mayo
While the chicken is cooking, place all the spicy mayonnaise ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Taste for spiciness and add additional hot sauce if desired.
Step 4- Top the Chicken
Top each chicken cutlet with the salami and then the cheese. Allow the cheese to melt while the chicken finishes cooking. The chicken is ready when it reaches 165 F degrees.
Step 5- Toast the Buns
Move the chicken to a platter and allow it to rest. Reduce the heat on your skillet to low and place your buns cut side down in the pan. Toast for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. You don't need to butter the buns but you can for a little extra flavor.
If using gluten-free buns it is critical not to skip this step, GF bread products are typically terrible untoasted.
Step 6- Sandwich Assembly
To assemble, slather your buns with the spicy mayo, add the chicken and then top with the lettuce, tomato, and onion.
🥘Expert Tips and FAQs
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- If you choose to use a store-bought seasoning check to see if it contains salt. Many do, you will not want to add extra salt to your chicken.
- Blackening is a quick-cooking method. Thinner cuts of meat work better.
- If you prefer dark meat, chicken thighs can be substituted for chicken fillets.
- For the most tender chicken, I always recommend brining your chicken before cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Blackening meats is a cooking method most commonly associated with Cajun cuisine where meat is coated in a seasoning and cooked quickly at a high heat, typically in a cast iron skillet.
These seasonings can be used interchangeably. Cajun refers to broader style of cuisine while blackening is the specific cooking method.
Cast iron skillets definitely work better and prevent sticking. If you are worried about smoking, which is more likely to occur in a non-cast iron skillet, you can grill this recipe outside.
Traditionally Cajun and blackened chicken recipe do have you dip the chicken in butter before coating with the seasoning mixture. In testing this recipe I have found it better to apply the seasoning directly to the chicken. You lose less of the coating which reduces smoking in the pan.
Oven-Baked Crispy Spicy Chicken
Want something crispy and gluten-free? Using our gluten-free chicken nugget recipe as a guide add the blackening seasoning to the breadcrumbs before dredging the chicken.
Bake at 425 degrees until cooked through and the chicken reaches a minimum 165 F degrees. Fillets take about 22 minutes.
Keto Blackened Chicken Sandwich
Keto diets tend be bland, but this recipe packs a flavor punch. Swap out the bun for a low carb lettuce or collard green wrap.
Blackened Cod Sandwich
Substitute cod, or any other flakey white fish, for the chicken. For full details on how to blacken fish see our blackened cod recipe.
🥗What to Serve with Blackened Chicken Sandwiches
Every great sandwich needs a perfect side dish. From soups to salads, we have you covered. Check out these great chicken sandwich side dishes.
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Blackened Chicken Sandwich
- Blot the chicken dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle on the blackening seasoning, pressing to ensure the seasoning adheres and the chicken is thoroughly coated.
- Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. You will want to turn on a fan, this dish will smoke. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken reaches about 155 F.
- Top each chicken cutlet with salami and cheese. Allow the cheese to melt while the chicken finishes cooking.
- Move the chicken to a platter and allow it to rest while you toast your buns cut side down in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes.
- To assemble, slather your buns with the spicy mayo, add the chicken and then top with the lettuce, tomato, and onion.
- Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with extra hot sauce.
- If you can't find chicken cutlets substitute chicken breast and fillet it into a cutlet. Start by gently holding it in place with your hand flattened on top. Use a knife to carefully slice it in half horizontally.
- If you use store-bought blackening or cajun seasoning be sure to check that it contains salt. If not, you will need to add salt when seasoning your chicken.