Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad

4.80 from 5 votes
8 hours 40 minutes
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Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons is a combination of two of the best ideas any chef ever had:  Caesar salad and blackening!

Photo of Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons with dressing being drizzled over chicken.

Anyone who is passionate about cooking or is in the culinary field would love to create a dish that goes down in history as a classic.  The Caesar salad and the blackening method of cooking are two such great ideas that have become culinary mainstays.  Together they become Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons–a dinner salad you’re going to love.

Origin of the Caesar Salad:

The Caesar salad is said to have been created by restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant.  Legend has it that a Fourth of July holiday rush at his restaurant depleted the kitchen supplies.  Cardini made do with what he had, served his new creation tableside with aplomb and the rest is history.

Origin of Blackening Spice:

Chef Paul Prudhomme is credited with creating “blackening,” a cooking method he developed in the 1980’s that remains hugely popular today.

Basically, a blend of herbs and spices is rubbed onto fish, meat, or poultry, which is then quickly seared at a high temperature.  Commercial blends are available; however, they can be high in salt with other additives.  I prefer to blend my own Blackening Seasoning so I can control the salt.

Now, onto one of my favorite salads–Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons!

Photo of Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons on white plate on dark blue background with striped napkin.

How to make Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons:

  1. Before coating the chicken in this fabulous spice combination, marinate it first in store-bought Italian salad dressing.  I don’t tend to use many prepared foods in my cooking, however, when something works and makes life a little easier, I’m all for it.  Because it’s discarded anyway, your time is better spent on the spice rub, croutons and dressing.
  2. After placing the chicken in the marinade, make the spice rub.  Make lots of the spice rub because you’re going to love it.  Two kinds of paprika (smoked and sweet), garlic powder, onion powder, two kinds of pepper (black and cayenne), dry mustard, thyme, oregano and just the right amount of salt all rock together!
Photo of blackening mix in glass container.
  • For the croutons, I used mini sourdough baguettes and loved the delightful tanginess!  However, use any crusty bread you have on hand.  There’s no need to cut into neat cubes, just tear the baguettes apart into [somewhat] uniform pieces.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and bake until they’re crispy golden goodness!
Photo of unbaked sourdough croutons.
Photo of sourdough croutons after baking.
  • When blackening the chicken, high heat is important–at first.  You can do the blackening in a cast iron skillet (which is typically how it’s done) or on the grill.  I prefer a grill pan rather than a cast iron skillet because more of the spice rub stays on the chicken.
  • If using an outdoor grill, hit it with high heat at first, then move it off to the side to finish cooking on indirect heat.  Blackened chicken good–burned chicken bad.  If doing inside, do the same thing (high heat at first) then transfer to your oven to finish cooking.
Photo of grilled blackened chicken breasts on grill pan.

Now, you may wonder where the egg is in my Caesar dressing.  As a personal chef, my first concern is always the safety of my clients.  My client’s kids are the biggest fans of my Caesar dressing so I want it to be as safe as possible.  Therefore, I substitute mayonnaise which provides richness without the safety concerns of raw egg.

Photo of dressing in container ready to be poured.

Taa-daa!  Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad ready for any occasion!

Let’s eat!

Photo of Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons on white plate with fork ready to take a piece.

More main course/dinner salads you’ll love!

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Sliced Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad on white plate with fork digging into one of the slices.

Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad

4.80 from 5 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons is a combination of two of the best ideas any chef ever had: Caesar salad and blackening!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes
Course Main Course / Dinner Salads
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 676 kcal



  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • oil - for grill or grill pan

Blackening Mix

  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper - or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1/2 cup olive oil - not extra virgin or too strongly flavored
  • 1 large lemon - juiced (approximately 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese


  • 2 mini sourdough baguettes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste


  • 1 large head Romaine lettuce - torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese



  • Place chicken in a zipper-top bag. Add salad dressing. Marinate 4-8 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Blot chicken dry on a paper towel.
  • Coat chicken well on both sides with blackening mix.
  • Brush grill pan with oil. Place chicken on pan, reduce heat to medium and cook 4-5 minutes per side or until spices are dark and caramelized, being careful not to burn them.
  • Transfer to a baking sheet and finish cooking to 165 degrees in the center. Let cool.

Blackening Mix

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.


  • Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste. Refrigerator until needed.


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Tear baguettes into approximately 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the bread, sprinkle with garlic powder and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Toss well to coat. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dry and crisp. Let cool. Keep oven at 375 degrees.
  • TO SERVE: Toss Romaine lettuce with dressing. Place on chilled plates. Top with croutons, cheese and chicken. Drizzle more dressing over the chicken.


The chicken may also be cooked on an outdoor grill. After charring the chicken, remove it from direct flame and finish cooking on indirect heat.
MAKE AHEAD:  The dressing can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and refrigerated until needed.  The croutons can be made 1 day ahead of time.  Store in an airtight container such as a zipper-top bag until needed.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 676kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 59g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 34g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 1130mg | Potassium: 855mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 15499IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 4mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.80 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I used the blackening mix for the chicken but cooked it in the air fryer instead. Fabulous taste! Will make it again and again!!

  2. As always, you have wonderful photography and fantastic recipes. Thanks for sharing. I’m definitely going to make a version of this after I get to the store today.