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- Why Is This The Best Baked Chicken Breast Recipe?
- How To Cook Chicken Breast In The Oven
- FAQs About Cooking Juicy Baked Chicken Breast
- Chicken Breast Storage Instructions
- FAQs About Freezing Chicken Breast
- More Easy Chicken Recipes
- What To Serve With Chicken Breast
- Tools To Make Chicken Breast
- Juicy Baked Chicken Breast Recipe: The Best Way To Bake Chicken
I’m kind of obsessed with this juicy baked chicken breast recipe. We eat a lot of chicken in my house, so I get the opportunity to test a lot of healthy baked chicken recipes, but I keep coming back to this one. It’s simple, it’s delicious, it uses ingredients I always have around, and it’s super juicy. Oh, and baking chicken breast at 450 degrees is super quick, too. It’s just the best way to bake chicken in the oven.
You’ll never have to have dry chicken again. 😉
This easy baked chicken breast recipe was originally published on February 19, 2016, and the post was republished in September 2020 to add updated pictures, useful tips, and some improvements to the chicken breast seasoning.
Why Is This The Best Baked Chicken Breast Recipe?
If you think that a baked chicken breast recipe is bound to be bland or dry, you’ve been making it wrong. 😉
I’m happy to call this the best baked chicken breast recipe. Not only have I made it and re-made it and re-tested it about a bajillion times, I’ve also spent hours researching how chicken breast cooks at high temperatures and low ones, how brine works, and more. And I’ve experimented with many different seasonings, too.
Below, I have 5 simple steps to show you how to make chicken breast perfectly every time. The brine, olive oil, and baking temperature all work together to lock in moisture, and the seasonings add loads of flavor. (Want to cook it perfectly in your air fryer instead? Try this air fryer chicken breast recipe!)
How To Cook Chicken Breast In The Oven
If you want to know how to make baked chicken breast in the oven without drying it out, it takes a bit more than just throwing it in there… but not by much! Here are the five super simple steps even a novice cook can do, for the best baked chicken breast recipe:
1. Brine chicken
If you do only one thing to your meat, this is it. Brining chicken is the absolute best way to guarantee a juicy baked chicken breast. All you need is a simple chicken brine of salt water. Soaking the chicken in salt water allows it to absorb a ton of moisture and stay juicy.
The key to a great chicken brine is the water and salt ratio – this is important! You need 1/4 cup salt per quart (4 cups) of water.
Do not skimp on the salt. Brining is chemistry. 😉 The salt solution will travel from the area of high salt concentration (outside the chicken) to low salt concentration (inside the chicken). This works to do 2 things:
- The solution that enters the chicken means there is more moisture in the chicken.
- The salt starts to break down the chicken proteins, making them more tender.
You can brine for up to a day, but I usually do this quickly for just 10 minutes. Rinse afterward.
2. Top chicken with healthy fat
Adding a healthy fat gives the chicken more flavor, so this is a must! Even better, it helps seal in the moisture imparted from the first step.
I make my baked chicken with olive oil almost every time, because of its high smoke point and amazing flavor. These are also great options:
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
Do not use extra virgin oil or butter – they will burn!
3. How to season chicken breast (liberally!)
A simple baked chicken dinner doesn’t mean it needs to lack flavor. There are endless spice combinations you can use as seasonings for chicken breast, but my favorite is simple:
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Sea salt – 1/2 teaspoon per pound is a good rule of thumb for already brined chicken breast
- Black pepper
The amounts for this particular baked chicken breast recipe are on the recipe card below.
You can totally get creative here, though. If you want to make a juicy baked chicken breast with a different flavor profile, try taco seasoning for a fiesta flair or poultry seasoning for a comfort food vibe.
4. Bake chicken breast under high heat
To cook a juicy chicken breast in the oven, you need not only the right prep method but an optimal oven temperature. For best results, bake the chicken at 450.
If you go looking for chicken breast recipes, you’ll find all kinds of temperatures ranging from 325 degrees up to 450 degrees. However, the best way to bake chicken in my experience is under high heat. Why? A shorter cook time gives less time for the moisture to evaporate from the chicken, meaning a juicier result.
How long to bake chicken at 450 degrees
Baking chicken breast at 450 degrees goes super quickly. On average, you need about 16-22 minutes for juicy baked chicken breast in the oven. (It usually takes 18 minutes in my oven!)
Why the wide time range? Because chicken breast sizes vary and ovens do, too.
What temperature to cook chicken breast to?
For best results, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your baked chicken breast. Be sure to test right in the center of the thickest part of the chicken.
TIP: Better yet, use a cooking alarm thermometer! Simply set the temperature you want, and it will beep when your baked chicken breast reaches that temperature.
Official recommendations from the USDA say to cook chicken breast until it reaches 165 degrees F, but your chicken will actually rise a few degrees after you take it out of the oven and let it rest (more on that below!). This is why I typically take it out around 162 degrees, to ensure an extra juicy chicken breast.
Baked chicken breast cooking times
If you prefer to bake at a different temperature, here are some time guidelines for you:
- 450 degrees: 16-22 minutes – the recommended temperature!
- 425 degrees: 18-26 minutes
- 400 degrees: 20-29 minutes
- 375 degrees: 25-34 minutes
- 350 degrees: 30-39 minutes
These times are approximate, as a thicker breast will take longer to cook through than a thinner one. Also, these times are for how to bake boneless skinless chicken breasts, and will differ for other types.
TIP: If you’re using bone-in meat, you’ll need to adjust your cooking times. It will take longer.
Tent the pan with foil, then let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. The chicken breast temperature will actually rise a few degrees during this time.
Don’t skip this step! This is important to let the juices re-incorporate into the meat, so that they don’t leak out when you cut into it. If you don’t rest the chicken breast, it will be dry.
After resting, slice chicken breast thinly against the grain.
FAQs About Cooking Juicy Baked Chicken Breast
Why is my chicken breast dry?
This baked chicken breast recipe is designed to avoid dryness at all costs! If yours turns out dry, here are some common things to check:
- Did you brine the chicken breast? Did your brine contain enough salt (1/4 cup per quart of water) and did you submerge the chicken?
- Did you brush with oil? This helps lock the moisture in the chicken.
- Did you bake too long? The best way to bake chicken perfectly is to use a probe thermometer.
Check the steps above again for the recommended internal temperature and anything you might have missed. Done correctly, I promise this is the best way to cook chicken breast in the oven.
Can chicken breast be pink?
Yes. Raw chicken is pink because of a protein called myoglobin, which changes color at higher temperatures – but this change does not always perfectly coincide with when the chicken is safe to eat [*].
Instead, chicken breast is safe to eat when it reaches a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. So, if your chicken has a very slight pink tinge to it, that’s okay, as long as it has reached 165 degrees before eating it, per USDA recommendations [*].
What is the best seasoning for chicken breasts?
This chicken breast recipe uses a combination of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper. Simple and delicious – and you probably have these spices on hand.
What is baked chicken breast nutrition info?
The exact chicken breast nutrition facts vary depending on the size, but the chicken breast calories, carbs, fat and protein on the recipe card below are based on a common 8-ounce chicken breast.
For plain chicken breast, the USDA [*] says 4 ounces has:
- 136 calories
- 3g fat
- 25g protein
- 0g carbohydrates
This baked chicken breast recipe is slightly higher, because we brush it with (healthy) fat before baking. This is a good thing!
Can you use this recipe for chicken thighs or chicken legs?
It’s very similar. Brining is less crucial for legs and thighs since they contain more fat, but you can definitely do that too to make them extra juicy.
Chicken Breast Storage Instructions
Can you make it ahead?
How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge?
Cooked chicken breast will last about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Let it cool completely before placing into the fridge.
How to reheat leftover chicken breast
To avoid drying out baked chicken breast, it’s best to reheat it in the oven at low temperature, with some moisture. This essentially allows it to steam, keeping moisture in:
- Place the chicken into a baking dish with a thin layer of broth at the bottom.
- Let the chicken rest on the counter while you preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- Cover the baking dish loosely with foil.
- Bake for 15-30 minutes, until hot.
FAQs About Freezing Chicken Breast
Can you freeze chicken breast?
Yes, of course! Raw chicken breasts will keep in the freezer almost indefinitely, but 6-9 months is best for the best flavor.
You can also freeze baked chicken breast for 2-4 months, but it will be less juicy than when it was freshly made.
Can chicken breast be cooked from frozen?
Yes and no. The USDA says that you can cook chicken breast from the freezer by increasing the cook time by 50% [*].
However, I don’t recommend this, because you will likely end up with an overcooked exterior by the time the inside is cooked through. Instead, for best results, thaw the chicken breasts in cold water before baking, or in the refrigerator overnight.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
There you have it – the best way to bake chicken breast, with perfect seasoning! If you want to know how to cook chicken in other ways, here are some popular preparations:
- Baked Chicken Legs – Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken – A hands-off easy chicken recipe.
- Indian Butter Chicken – With a simple and flavorful sauce.
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole – If you’re looking for ways to use leftover baked chicken breast, this one is perfect!
- Pressure Cooker Shredded Chicken – Another common way to use up lots of chicken breast.
What To Serve With Chicken Breast
- Roasted Zucchini – This cooks at 400 degrees, but you can easily cut the pieces thicker and cook it with the baked chicken breast at 450 degrees, at the same time. You can also try the same thing with roasted eggplant.
- Mashed Cauliflower – A healthy swap for mashed potatoes! (Of course, if you have family members who are not low carb, potatoes are a good pairing as well.)
- Cobb Salad – Slice your juicy baked chicken, fan it over your salad, and you have a full meal.
- Sauteed Broccoli – Make this in parallel when you already have chicken breast in the oven.
- Zucchini Noodles – Toss them with baked chicken breast and your favorite sauce for a healthier pasta dish.
Tools To Make Chicken Breast
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Cooking Alarm Thermometer – You can set the desired temperature on this thermometer and it will beep when it’s ready, for the perfect juicy chicken recipe.
- All-Purpose Thermometer Pen – The most precise thermometer ever and great for virtually any kitchen use. I used to think any thermometer will do, but realized most others take a while to read the temperature and by then the temperature starts to drop. This one reads super quickly and accurately!
- Stoneware Baking Dish – This keto chicken recipe is cooked on a baking sheet and this is my favorite one to use.
The Best Baked Chicken Breast Recipe:
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Juicy Baked Chicken Breast Recipe: The Best Way To Bake Chicken
Simply the BEST way to bake chicken breast in the oven! This juicy baked chicken breast recipe at 450 degrees is fast, EASY, and never dry.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
To brine the chicken breasts, stir the salt into the water in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts, submerging them. Let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature, or for up to a day in the refrigerator.
Rinse the brine from the chicken, then pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C).
Bake for 16-22 minutes, until firm and internal temperature reaches 162-165 degrees measured with an accurate thermometer. (Internal temperature will rise another few degrees when resting.)
Cover with foil and rest for 5 minutes before serving or slicing.
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Serving size: 1 chicken breast
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