When you need a quick and easy but crazy flavorful meal, you won’t be disappointed by this Kickin’ Cajun Chicken! It’s on the table in less than 45 minutes, chock full of healthy colorful vegetables, and lots of spice. Naturally gluten free and dairy free, it’s also suitable for paleo and Whole30 diets (simply switch the white rice for cauliflower rice).
I love the warming spices of Cajun food, and this chicken dish is such perfect soul food! It’s loaded with colorful vegetables and fresh ingredients that you can feel good about serving to your family. Hearty, filling and nutritious, this Cajun Chicken has a very simple preparation that yields unbeatable flavor.
We like it over steamed white rice, but it’s equally tasty over cauliflower rice for a Whole30 or paleo meal (plus that extra kick of veggies!). It stores well in the fridge or as a freezer stash, so it’s also terrific for meal prep and batch cooking.
Cajun Spice Blend
While you can purchase store-bought cajun seasoning, I always recommend making it from scratch. It’s more economical (you probably have everything you need in your spice drawer, so go ahead and check…I’ll wait), plus you can adjust the heat to suit your family’s tastes.
I often make a double batch and store it in an airtight container to grab for other meals (use it as a dry rub for grilled chicken or to season roasted potatoes, and of course it’s perfect for more traditional recipes like Jambalaya). The spice mix will keep for a few months in a dark cupboard. To make your own Cajun seasoning, you’ll need:
- Paprika: smoked or regular
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Dried Thyme
- Cayenne Pepper: Use as much or as little cayenne as you like. Add more for a spicier mix and less if you prefer it mild
- Cracked Black Pepper
How to Make Cajun Chicken
Cajun chicken is big on flavor and comes together quickly – my favorite kind of meal! Okra is a classic addition to many cajun dishes, but the cooked consistency can be off-putting. To avoid the gummy, slimy texture of simmered okra, I like to pan sautee it separately and then fold it in at the very end.
- First up, make the cajun seasoning blend. Simply mix the spices together and set aside until ready to use.
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Once shimmering, add the bell peppers, onion, celery, and cajun seasoning and toss. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes. If you notice the pan getting too dry add a tablespoon or so of chicken broth to prevent the spices from scalding.
- Add the garlic and then the tomato paste and work it into the vegetables.
- Add the chicken, tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, and salt to the pot. Give everything a good stir and simmer. Stir occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through.
- While the chicken cooks, prepare the okra. Saute the okra, stirring frequently, until golden brown, tender, and the “slime” has cooked out.
- Add the sautéed okra to the chicken and stir to combine.
- For a traditional meal, serve over steamed white rice and garnish with sliced green onions.
- For a paleo or Whole30 meal, serve over sautéed cauliflower rice.
- The leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This is a terrific recipe for meal prep or a freezer stash. Gentle suggestion? Make a double batch.
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
What does Cajun seasoning taste like?
The cajun spice blend is smokey, garlicky and peppery. It’s a seasoning that is often used in grilling recipes. It can be spicy, but when you make your own blend you can control how hot you want it by adjusting the cayenne.
How do I keep the okra from being slimy?
Okra adds lots of flavor and texture, but the “slimy” texture can be off-putting. Sautee the okra separately until the liquids release and the pan is dry, then add it at the end to keep the flavor without the gummy texture.
Tips for Making This Recipe Perfectly
- Check that your spices aren’t stale before you make the seasoning. Rub a little of each spice between your fingers and it should release an aroma. If they don’t, it’s time to replace them.
- You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thigh for this recipe. Chicken thighs will cook just a bit more quickly.
- Fire roasted tomatoes provide best flavor since the recipe is cooked quickly
- If you can’t find crushed tomatoes, diced can be used (the texture will be chunkier but still delicious) or you can puree a can of diced in a blender before adding.
- Use frozen okra if you can’t find fresh. Defrost under cool running water, then pat dry before sautéing.
- This healthy cajun chicken freezes well before adding the okra. Store it in an air tight container to freeze it and it will keep for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve, purchase fresh okra and add after defrosting and reheating.
More Quick and Easy One Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Curry
- Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans
- The Absolute Best Whole30 Beef Stew
- Extra Veggie Beef Chili (Whole30, No Bean)
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Cajun Chicken SkilletPrint Recipe Rate This Recipe Pin Recipe
Cajun Chicken Skillet
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 green bell pepper, diced to 2”
- 1 red bell pepper, diced to 2”
- 1 sweet onion, diced to 1”
- 2 ribs celery, sliced to 1”
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1.5 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 14.5-oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
- ½ c chicken broth
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 8 oz fresh okra, ends trimmed, chopped into 2” pieces
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Portion out the cajun seasonings. Adjust cayenne pepper to taste.
- Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the bell peppers, onion, celery, and cajun seasoning, then toss to coat in the fat. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes. If the pan gets too dry and spices start to burn, add a tablespoon of chicken broth.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and work into the vegetables.
- Add the chicken, tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, and salt to the pot. Give everything a good stir. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- While the chicken cooks, prepare the okra. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a 10” skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the okra and toss to coat in the fat. Saute, stirring frequently, until golden brown, tender, and the “slime” has cooked out, 10-12 minutes.
- Add the sauteed okra to the chicken and stir to combine.
- Serve over rice and garnish with sliced green onions.
- Use boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thigh for this recipe. Chicken thighs will cook just a bit more quickly.
- If you can’t find crushed tomatoes use diced (the texture will be chunkier but still delicious) or you can puree the diced tomatoes in a blender.
- Use frozen okra if you can't find fresh. Defrost under cool running water, then pat dry before sautéing.
- This recipe freezes well before adding the okra. Store it in an air tight container to freeze it and it will keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to serve, purchase fresh okra and add after defrosting and reheating.