1. Gather Ingredients
Spice it up! Create tasty cajun pulled chicken with these items:
- Vegetable oil
- Cajun seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
What else is needed? Whip up yummy cajun pulled chicken!
Get one pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this spicy Cajun-style pulled chicken dish! Thighs are juicy, flavorful dark meat – the perfect cut for grilling and long cooking. Look for pieces with uniform thickness so they cook evenly.
For flavor, you’ll need cayenne pepper and Creole seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano and thyme – all staples in Cajun cooking.
Grab some shredded cheese and hamburger buns for the buns. For added flavor, choose a prepared barbecue sauce or make your own with ketchup, brown sugar and other spices.
You’re ready to make a meal that’s flavorful yet easy!
Cajun seasoning is a spicy blend, perfect for adding a zesty flavor to all sorts of dishes – like Cajun pulled chicken. The blend typically includes salt, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, plus other spices like paprika, oregano and thyme.
For this recipe, you can use store-bought seasoning, or make your own! Just mix equal parts salt and garlic powder, and half the amount of each black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika. Then, add more or less of any given spice to adjust the flavor to your liking. This way, you have more control over the flavor than pre-made mixes.
The BBQ sauce for this Spicy Cajun Pulled Chicken is a two-part mix. A light tomato-based liquid and other ingredients join forces to create a distinct flavor. Ketchup, crushed tomatoes, sugar, molasses, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and/or vinegars like apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar are usually used to provide moisture and richness. Pork or beef stock can also be added.
Herbs and spices, like chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, hot pepper flakes, and oregano leaves/ground thyme, make this dish taste like Cajun cooking. Vegetables like onions, celery, carrots, green and red bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers can be added for flavor complexity. Lastly, salt and black pepper should be added for proper seasoning.
The buns you choose to serve your Spicy Cajun Pulled Chicken on, will affect the sandwich’s taste and texture. There are a lot of different buns to choose from, so choose wisely!
- White hamburger buns are a great classic choice. They have a light and fluffy texture that goes great with the spicy chicken.
- Wholewheat buns provide extra nutrition and a hearty texture.
- Brioche or challah buns are also good options. They enhance the pulled chicken’s flavor with an extra sweetness.
Ready for a kickin’ meal? Get your ingredients ready!
- Tomato paste
- Chili powder
Now, let’s make this Spicy Cajun Pulled Chicken! Simple and easy.
Preheat oven to 400°F
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Give it 15-20 minutes to heat up. It’s essential the oven is hot when you start baking – this helps the flavors develop and decreases cooking time.
Grab a large skillet, add oil and set on medium heat. Throw in celery, onions and garlic. Cook until fragrant and translucent. Stir in smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Gradually add chicken broth and stir occasionally. Finally, add shredded cooked chicken and mix it all together. Now you’re ready to assemble!
Place chicken on baking sheet
Start off by preheating the oven to 450°F (232°C). Put the chicken thighs on a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Spray or brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt plus 1 teaspoon of your favorite Cajun seasoning. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway. Take out of the oven and let cool a bit. Pull apart the chicken into strips and put back on the baking sheet. Pop in the oven for an extra 10 minutes before serving.
Sprinkle chicken with cajun seasoning
Sprinkle the chicken with Cajun seasoning. It’s a blend of garlic, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and paprika – giving it a unique taste. Use enough of each ingredient for the flavor profile, but don’t overdo it. Too much spice can overpower other flavors. If you’re not sure how much to use, start small and build up until you find the right balance for your taste.
Bake chicken for 30 minutes
Turn oven to 350° F (176.7° C). Put chicken on a foil-covered baking sheet. Spread out evenly. In a small bowl, mix Cajun seasoning and oil together until it’s smooth. Brush mixture onto each piece of chicken. Bake 30-35 minutes. Stick meat thermometer into the thickest part. If it reads 165° F (73.9° C), it’s done. Turn chicken halfway through for even cooking and browning.
When ready, take out of oven and set aside. Let chicken cool a bit. Pull apart with two forks.
3. Making the Pulled Chicken
Creating pulled chicken can be easy! With a few ingredients, you can have a delicious, spicy meal. This recipe for cajun pulled chicken with buns will show you how to make perfect pulled chicken. Let’s begin!
Shred chicken with two forks
Cook and cool the chicken for 10 minutes. To shred it, use two forks and pull it apart. This is tough, but keep going until it’s all shredded. Or, use a hand mixer. Put it on low speed, so it doesn’t become a mash. Then turn off the heat and add spices. Flavor is essential for Spicy Cajun Pulled Chicken!
Place chicken in bowl and mix with BBQ sauce
Take cooked chicken and put it in a bowl. Mix BBQ sauce and hot sauce. Pour over the chicken. Make sure to cover it well for best flavor. With clean hands, mix everything. Add spices like cumin, smoked paprika, or black pepper for more taste if you like. Cover and set aside.
Serve pulled chicken on buns
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Combine olive oil, cider vinegar, hot sauce, and Cajun seasoning in medium bowl.
Place wire cooling rack over large baking sheet. Line baking sheet with foil and put boneless chicken pieces on rack. Brush olive oil mixture over chicken. Place in oven and bake until cooked through and browned. Let cool slightly before shredding with two forks or fingers. Sprinkle Cajun seasoning on top for flavor.
Serve on buns or stuff into pita pockets or wrap in tortillas for a Mexican-inspired dish. Garnish with green onions or pickles if desired.
4. Serving Suggestions
Spicy Cajun Pulled Chicken (with buns): a yummy and effortless main! Perfect for a weeknight dinner. To make it extra special, here are some awesome serving ideas:
- A side salad for refreshment.
- A unique and tasty topping too.
These options will make your meal even tastier!
Take your spicy Cajun pulled chicken to the next level with coleslaw! It’s creamy, crunchy and zesty. For best results, mix pre-made coleslaw with your own homemade version.
- Start with a mixing bowl. Combine mayo and plain yogurt. Add sugar, lime juice and a squirt of mustard for flavor.
- Then mix in pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. Or grate some fresh vegetables.
- Toss together and chill until ready to serve.
Enjoy a yummy addition that everyone will love!
Pickles are an awesome partner to the spicy Cajun pulled chicken sandwich. You can choose sweet, sour, or dill pickles – whatever you like!
If you are using hamburger buns, put a few pickle slices on the bottom bun for extra flavor and crunch. Or if you’re using slider buns, cut some pickles and put them on top. Chopped or sliced, adding pickles to your spicy Cajun pulled chicken sandwich will make it more delicious and crunchy!
Add cheese slices
Add a slice of cheese for extra flavor and texture to your cajun pulled chicken sandwiches. Choose from American, provolone, Swiss, or cheddar. Cheese enhances the fullness of the spicy cajun flavors. For more heat, try pepper jack or habanero pepper cheese.
Preheat the oven to melt the cheese quickly and evenly. Not only will your sandwich taste great; it’ll also look amazing!
Garnish is essential! It can take your meal to the next level. For the Spicy Cajun Pulled Chicken dish, garnishes can provide flavor, texture and color. Let’s look at some options:
- Crumbled bacon?
- Diced tomatoes?
Both are great garnishes for this dish.
Add sliced jalapenos
Jalapenos are an easy way to add spice to pulled chicken! Find them in the produce aisle of your grocery store. They’re cost effective, too. The heat will give the chicken a unique flavor, balancing out its creaminess. Simply top the jalapenos over the dish before or after you assemble your sandwiches. Cover all exposed areas of chicken to get a kick in every bite!
Jalapenos are also great for getting creative with flavors and garnishes. They go well with both sweet and savory. Enjoy!
Add diced red onions
Diced red onions are ideal for cajun-style pulled chicken sandwiches. They contain anthocyanin, which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Raw, they have a sweet pungency. Cooked, they become milder.
Adding them to your sandwich will give it an extra layer of texture and flavor. Sauté them in your pan with butter or olive oil. This will bring out their sweetness and nutty undertones, and reduce the pungency. Then put them on your bun before adding the pulled chicken for a flavorful kick!
Add chopped fresh parsley
Freshly chopped parsley is a popular way to garnish spicy Cajun pulled chicken. It has an amazing smell plus it adds a great color to the dish. Parsley has many health benefits too, such as easing indigestion, thwarting urinary tract infections, reducing inflammation, and promoting heart health.
To garnish with parsley, start by washing some flat leaf parsley in cold water. Shake off any extra water then cut off large stems if present. Chop finely either with a sharp knife or herb-chopping device. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the spicy Cajun pulled chicken for extra flavor and texture.
Spicy Cajun Pulled Chicken with Buns
- Slow cooker or Crock-Pot
- Mixing bowls
- Forks (for pulling the chicken)
- Cutting board and knife
- 3-4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon Cajun spice blend
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust based on heat preference
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 6 buns Soft, for serving
- In a mixing bowl, combine salt, Cajun spice blend, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to make the seasoning.2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon Cajun spice blend, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Pat the chicken breasts dry and generously coat them with the seasoning mix.3-4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Place the chopped bell pepper, onion, and minced garlic at the bottom of the slow cooker.1 bell pepper, 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic
- Lay the seasoned chicken breasts on top.
- Pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker around the chicken.1/4 cup chicken broth
- Cover and cook on ‘low’ for about 4 hours, or until chicken is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred using two forks.
- Mix the shredded chicken back into the juices and veggies in the slow cooker.
- Let it sit for an additional 10 minutes to absorb flavors.
- Serve the spicy Cajun pulled chicken in soft buns.6 buns
The Heavenly Spicy Cajun Pulled Chicken with Buns recipe is a true crowd-pleaser that brings a taste of Louisiana to your dinner table. This dish is perfect for those who love bold and spicy flavors, and it’s great for large groups and parties.
One of the best things about this recipe is its versatility. You can serve the pulled chicken in many different ways, such as on top of rice, in tacos, or add some cheese and make a spicy pulled chicken grilled cheese sandwich. The possibilities are endless, so you can switch things up and keep your dinner guests coming back for more.
Overall, the delicious flavors, tenderness of the chicken, and ease of preparation make this recipe a perfect choice for any day of the week. So next time you’re in the mood for some Southern-inspired comfort food, give this recipe a try and you won’t be disappointed!
If you are looking for more Chicken recipe ideas, check out 12 Chicken Recipes For All Occasions Yet Quick and Easy!