Learn how to make the most flavorful, tender and juicy baked chicken breast – no more dry chicken! With a five minute prep time and just 20 minutes in the oven, you’ll have this dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! If your family loves chicken as much as we do, you’ll love these other favorite chicken dinners, like Mexican Chicken Casserole, Easy Oven Baked Chicken Drumsticks and Juicy Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken.
best baked chicken breast recipe
Did you know that “chicken breast recipes” are one of the most highly searched things on Google? I realized that while I have a lot of chicken recipes, I hardly have any that call for chicken breasts, and they are actually something I cook A LOT around here. For years I have been using a method that yields the most tender and juicy chicken, which is important because let’s face it, chicken breasts, especially baked, are usually bone dry. It’s so easy to dry out chicken breast because there’s very little fat. So how do you rectify that? By adding fat of course! But the good kind – the EVOO kind.
This is my go-to method that I’ve been using for years. I use it for a quick and easy dinner, and I will also cook extra and save it to add to soups and casseroles. Keep it in a sealed bag in the fridge for a few days, or pop it in the freezer if you’re not using it right away.
Tips and Tricks
Baked chicken breasts can be tough to get just right. It’s all too easy to overcook them and end up with dry, rubbery chicken. I’ve got lots of tips to share when it comes to my favorite chicken breast recipes, so let’s dive in!
- Rubbing the chicken with a little olive oil before baking helps add moisture to the chicken and also helps the seasonings stick to the breast.
- I use a very simple seasoning of salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder or paprika. Oregano, thyme, or even taco seasoning are also great to use.
- Chicken breasts do best at a high temperature (roasting) around 425-450 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows the meat to cook quickly and retain a lot of moisture. Lower temps result in a longer cooking time and a higher chance of dry chicken, which is not something anyone wants!
- Make sure to let your chicken REST. This is so important when cooking any meat, but especially with this recipe. When cooked at a high temperature the juices in the chicken quickly rush to the center, so when you cut into it right away, all those juices come pouring out and boom – dry chicken. Resting allows the juices to redistribute through the chicken breast and gives you a tender, juicy piece of meat every time.
- Slice against the grain. This will result in the most tender, easy to chew chicken.
- I use THIS BAKING DISH for making my Baked Chicken Breasts. You could also use a foil or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.
How to bake chicken
- Pound chicken to an even thickness. Place chicken between two pieces of parchment paper or in a sealed plastic bag and lightly pound. This will tenderize the meat and also help the chicken to cook evenly.
- Rub all over with olive oil. You could also use melted butter, or a variety of different types of oil, like avocado or corn oil.
- Season the chicken well. Rub salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder all over the chicken. I like to add a sprinkling of salt over the top just to make sure it’s probably seasoned. Sometimes I’ll use paprika in place of chili powder.
- Place the chicken side by side in a glass baking dish. Arrange each piece of chicken in the opposite direction and you should be able to fit 4 chicken breasts in a 13×9-inch dish. For best results, the chicken pieces can be close together but not on top of each other. They will shrink slightly as they cook.
- Roast in the oven at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but at the higher temperature the chicken will cook fast.
- Once chicken reaches the optimal temperature, remove the pan from the oven and ten with foil to allow the chicken time to rest.
what temperature should chicken be cooked to in the oven?
All chicken, no matter what part of the bird, should be cooked to 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer and stick the pointy end into the center of the thickest part of the meat, or for bone-in chicken, the thickest part near the bone. Once it registers at least 165 degrees you know it’s time to tent and rest. The time it takes to reach the proper temperature can vary by size:
- 5-6 ounce breasts: 13-16 minutes
- 8 ounce breasts: 16-19 minutes
- 11-12 ounce breasts: 22-26 minutes
The beauty of this baked chicken recipe is that it is incredibly versatile. You could serve it with just about anything from pasta to salad and have a delicious meal. But here are some of favorite sides to serve with chicken:
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Best Ever Classic Macaroni Salad
- Easy One Pan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Perfect Baked Potatoes
- Egg Fried Rice
- 5-Minute Parmesan Ranch Broccoli
- Easy Baked Potato Wedges
What to do with leftovers
Store leftovers up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Perfect for meal prepping for the week and for using in a variety of recipes from salads to soups.
In the freezer, store cooled chicken breasts in an airtight container for up to 6 months. I recommend wrapping each breast in wax paper before freezing for easy portioning.
Does this recipe work with other types of chicken?
The seasoning blend I use for this chicken recipe, is simple and easy, using spices that are usually readily available. It is my favorite blend and I use it with a variety of recipes. It works great with boneless or bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks, and in the oven, on the stovetop or even on the grill! Just rub the seasoning into the chicken and cook accordingly. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be cooked at the same temperature as this recipe but may need an extra 5 minutes. Bone-in chicken will always take much longer; at least an extra 20 minutes.
Chicken tenders work wonderfully as well but you won’t need the same length of time. It should just take about 10 minutes.
What is the best temperature to bake chicken at?
I have tested chicken breasts at a variety of oven temperatures and have found that the higher temperatures produce the juiciest baked chicken. I prefer to stick to 450 degrees, but going as low as 425 would work fine.
Not sure if your oven if heating properly? You can pick up an instant-read oven thermometer for around 6 bucks on Amazon. Trust me, this is a great investment!
For more easy baked chicken recipes, try these:
- Roasted Lemon Chicken Drumsticks
- Bacon Wrapped Ginger Soy Chicken Thighs
- Mexican Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Thigh Marinade
- Easy Oven Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
- Easy Baked Barbecue Chicken
Baked Chicken Breasts
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 4 medium size breasts
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or paprika
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pound chicken breasts lightly so they are of even thickness.
- Pour olive oil in a 13" x 9" baking dish. Lightly coat the chicken with the oil to coat it, then place chicken breasts side by side in the dish.
- In a small bowl, whisk together salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder (or paprika). Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over both sides of the chicken and rub it in with your hands. Place chicken breasts side by side, making sure there is no overlap.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until juices are clear or a meat thermometer reads 160-170 degrees. *Note - depending on the size of your chicken breasts, it could take longer. Mine were pounded to less than an inch thick.
- Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes while the juices settle before slicing.
- Serve hot.