Baked Chicken Breasts

Learn how to make delicious baked chicken breasts with this easy 5-step recipe.  It’s so delicious!

Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

Ever single time we do a survey on the blog and ask what kinds of new recipes readers would like to see, the #1 request is always the same:

Chicken.

Specifically, recipe that call for boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Not thighs, not legs, not wings, all of which I personally happen to love.  Nope, everyone seems to be obsessed with the lean white meat that comes with chicken breasts, and all the better when you don’t have to mess with any skin or bones.  Plus, they’re pretty affordable as lean proteins go, chicken is extremely versatile to work with, and let’s be real, you can make it taste like just about anything you like!

However, anyone who has cooked entire chicken breasts before will tell you that they can be annoyingly finicky to work with, especially when baked in the oven.  Cook them the wrong way and you’ll end up with a dry, rubbery, tough, and flavorless disaster.  But cooked the right way?!  We’re talkin’ juicy, tender, flavorful, deliciousness.

Everyone out there seems to have an opinion (and get ready, they differ!) about how to make perfect baked chicken in the oven.  But I thought I’d go on record today and share with you my favorite way for baking up my favorite bird.  It’s very easy, requires minimal prep, and is absolutely foolproof (at least in my experience) for making juicy chicken breasts that you can either serve plain, cut up into strips, or even shred for your favorite meal.  (And if you really want to be efficient, you can also bake up an extra-large batch and freeze the leftovers for future use.)

The secret is my 5-step method that has an easy-to-remember acronym for chicken brrrrreasts: 

B.B.R.R.R.

Can you guess what they stand for?

Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

They’re not rocket science, but they are 5 important steps for making a perfect baked chicken breast:

  1. Brine
  2. Brush
  3. Rub
  4. Roast
  5. Rest

Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

Step 1: Brining the chicken breasts.

Many people are in the habit of brining a turkey for Thanksgiving, but have never considered brining chicken breasts on a regular ol’ weeknight.  I’m telling you — this step is an absolute must for anytime you want to bake chicken breasts in the oven.  It’s super easy, makes your chicken extra juicy and moist (yes, I used the “m” word), and — best of all! — it can be effectively done in just 15 minutes.  Brining the chicken in warm water also helps bring the chicken to room temperature, which makes for more even cooking.

To brine the chicken, simply fill a big bowl with warm (not hot) water.  Stir in a handful of salt until it mostly dissolves.  Then add your chicken breasts and let them sit in the saltwater to brine for at least 15 minutes.  If you are doing this in advance, you can cover and refrigerate the bowl of chicken and saltwater for up to 6 hours.  But you really don’t want to let the chicken brine for much longer than that.

Then when you’re ready to go, remove the chicken from the brine, rinse it with cold water, then pat it dry with some paper towels.  Again, don’t skip this step!!!  You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Edited: As it turns out, some store-bought chicken breasts are now sold pre-brined.  So double-check your packaging before doing this step.  If it has already been pre-brined in a sodium solution, just move onto step two.  :)

Step 2: Brush the chicken breasts…

…with melted butter.  Or at least, I highly recommend using butter.  It adds great flavor and helps give a nice golden crust on the outside.  But if you’d rather use olive oil (or another favorite cooking oil), feel free.  Brush the breasts liberally on both sides, partly so that the chicken does not stick to the pan on the bottom, and also to help the seasonings stick.  Then place them in a large baking dish.

Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

Step 3: Rub the chicken breasts with your desired seasoning.

If you’re really wanting to keep things simple, you can simply rub on some salt and pepper.  But again, chicken will pick up the flavor of whatever seasonings you add.  So even if it’s just a simple dish that calls for “plain” chicken breasts, I highly recommend the simple seasoning recipe I have included below that includes salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.

Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

Step 4: Roast that chicken!

So this is the step that causes some disagreement amongst chicken lovers.  Do you bake your chicken breasts low and slow (as in, 30 minutes at 350)?  Or do you bake them high and quick (as in, 15 minutes at 450)?  I have tried both — and just about every interval in between — dozens upon dozens upon dozens of times.  And after such, I fall firmly in the latter camp.

I like to roast my chicken breasts on high heat.

Depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts (and note — be sure to pound them beforehand if needed with a meat mallet so that they are uniformly thick for even cooking), roasting them at 450 should require a cooking time between 15-18 minutes.  It’s speedy and it’s easy.  But I love it most because cooking at high heat quickly develops a nice crispier “crust” on the outside of the breasts, which also locks in those juices and keeps the chicken perfectly tender on the inside.  It’s the best of both worlds.

I highly recommend investing in a small cooking thermometer to measure the temp of the chicken in order to tell if it has fully cooked (160-170 degrees F), versus cutting into it with a fork (which lets those good juices seep out).  I use this instant-read thermometer that I bought on Amazon for $10.

Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

5. Rest your chicken.

And this is where that “patience is a virtue” stuff comes in.  You must, must, must let your beautifully baked chicken breast rest before cutting into it.  This goes for any meat, really.  If you cut in right away, you lose all of the amazing juices and some of the tenderness that we’re going for!

Nope, you must give the bird a rest and give it time to finish cooking and soak back up all of those juices.  I recommend loosely tenting a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan to keep the heat in while the chicken rests.  Then after 5-10 minutes….

Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

…you can finally serve and enjoy your perfectly-cooked chicken breasts.   And enjoy every last bite.

Feel free to slice, shred, dice, or serve them whole.  Whatever sounds good to you.  Or if you’d like to save them for later, these chicken breasts can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or frozen (I recommend shredding, dicing, or slicing the chicken beforehand) for up to 3 months.

 

Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

So remember, when cooking your chicken BBRRReasts, remember to brine, brush, rub, roast and rest that chicken.  And I think you will be glad you did.  Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Breasts

Learn how to make juicy, tender, delicious baked chicken breasts with this easy foolproof recipe.

Ingredients:

Baked Chicken Breast Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, that have been pounded to even thickness and brined in saltwater (*see easy instructions below)
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (I prefer smoked paprika)

Directions:

*To brine your chicken breasts, simply fill a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt.  Stir to combine until most of the salt is absorbed.  Add the chicken breasts and let them sit in the mixture to brine for 15 minutes.  Or you can also also cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.  Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with some paper towels.  (Again, though, if your chicken breasts are sold pre-brined in a sodium solution, skip this step.)

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a large baking dish.  Brush on both sides (turning once) evenly with the melted butter or olive oil.

In a separate small bowl, whisk the salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika until combined.  Then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides.

Bake for 15-18* minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.  If you use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature thickest part of the breast, it should be between 160-170 degrees F.  (The FDA recommends 170 degrees F.)

*Or, if you want the chicken to be a little bit browned and crispier on top, you can turn the broiler on high for the final 3-5 minutes and broil the chicken until it is cooked through and extra browned on top.  Keep a close eye on the chicken so that it does not overcook and/or burn.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the oven and loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Let the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes.  Then serve immediately.

Or, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Update: Also, if you’re interested in a lemony twist on this recipe, check out this Baked Lemon Chicken.

This post contains affiliate links.
Learn how to make a PERFECT baked chicken breast -- delicious, juicy, tender, and fool-proof! | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

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  1. jackie — January 27, 2017 @ 10:52 am (#)

    Hi! I was wondering how thick your chicken breast? I buy natures promise individual chicken breast and they are quite small. I just wanted to make sure so I don’t over cook.

    Thanks!

    Jackie

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 27th, 2017 @ 11:25 am

      Hi Jackie! It’s hard to say, sometimes they’re thicker than others. If really thick, you might want to pound them a bit. If they’re smaller, we’d set your timer for a few minutes shorter and check them with the thermometer just to be on the safe side. We hope this helps!

  2. Amanda Barclay — January 27, 2017 @ 5:26 pm (#)

    hello i tried this method with chicken and it came out FABULOUS!!! really enjoyed it.  I was wondering can I do the same method with turkey breast? 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 30th, 2017 @ 11:18 am

      Thanks for sharing, Amanda — we’re so happy you enjoyed it! We haven’t experimented with turkey breast for this recipe, though we think it’s worth giving it a try!

  3. Mylene — January 27, 2017 @ 6:13 pm (#)

    I followed the recipe exactly (except longer cooking to get to 170degrees – 10 minutes more but could be my oven) and the chicken turned out amazing! Love this, simple and easy technique that works! Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 30th, 2017 @ 11:18 am

      Thanks for sharing with us, Mylene — we’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  4. Raven — January 30, 2017 @ 2:27 pm (#)

    Could I add a little mustard before sprinkling with seasoning?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 30th, 2017 @ 4:35 pm

      Do you mean ground mustard? If so, we say sure, go for it! :) We hope you enjoy!

  5. Debbie — February 1, 2017 @ 7:47 am (#)

    Hello! I made this last night for dinner and it was excellent!! Juicy and tasty! Thank you for sharing…now after all these years I finally can make a perfect chicken breast!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 2nd, 2017 @ 8:43 am

      We’re so happy to hear that, Debbie!

  6. Alice — February 4, 2017 @ 9:37 pm (#)

    Loved this chicken!  The pan was full of water after cooking – is this usual?  

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 5th, 2017 @ 8:55 am

      We’re so glad to hear that, Alice! Hmmm, the pan shouldn’t have been full of water though — we’re not sure what happened there.

  7. Laura Young — February 6, 2017 @ 6:32 pm (#)

    I have never been able to cook chicken properly. I would cook it and eat it anyway because it is healthy. But, it all change when I tried this recipe. I did it and my family and I really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to make it again!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 6th, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

      Thank you for sharing with us, Laura — we’re so glad you and your family enjoyed this! :)

  8. Morghann Allison — February 13, 2017 @ 3:51 pm (#)

    Newlywed here:
    I got married thinking I knew how to cook chicken, but I was wrong. A couple times my husband kindly commented that my chicken was a bit tough. So I went on a quest to find the perfect recipe. This one was perfect!! He raves about it! I’ve now started to add a bit of my own seasonings and it works perfectly every time. Thank you so much for saving our supper! ;) Nine months later, we are still happily married because I figured out how to cook! Thank you so much!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 14th, 2017 @ 10:43 am

      Thank you so much for sharing with us, Morghann — we’re happy you and your husband loved this! :)

  9. Christine — February 15, 2017 @ 8:42 pm (#)

    This way of cooking chicken breast made it come out so juicy and tasty! It was so easy, too. Can’t wait to try it again and experiment with the spices.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 16th, 2017 @ 12:21 pm

      We’re so glad to hear you enjoyed it, Christine!

  10. Stella — February 16, 2017 @ 9:56 am (#)

    This is just general question but is there perfect way to get rid off chicken smell? I love chicken breast but I’m very sensitive to the meat smell. I think I’ve tried almost all types of herbs and seasoning but nothing seems to work perfectly unless I make dishes including lots of fat, oil & salt. Any healthier way to control this?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 16th, 2017 @ 12:10 pm

      Hi Stella! We’re sorry but we’re not really sure how to help you here. We think this chicken smells great! Lemon and garlic are always good to use though, and they’re both very fragrant.

  11. Chalanne — February 17, 2017 @ 6:25 pm (#)

    Do you put any water in the pan prior to cooking? 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 20th, 2017 @ 10:54 am

      Nope, not necessary. We hope you enjoy!

  12. KAREN — February 18, 2017 @ 10:42 am (#)

    Although the breast came out tender, I found them to be too salty from the brining as I did not add additional salt. Any suggestions?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 20th, 2017 @ 11:04 am

      Hi Karen! Hmmm, were the chicken breasts you used sold in a pre-brined solution? That could explain why. We have a note about it in the recipe. Otherwise, it really shouldn’t taste too salty, as it’s a quick brine and you rinse it off afterwards.

  13. Grace — February 19, 2017 @ 10:40 am (#)

    making this chicken now and there is a lot of water in the pan.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 20th, 2017 @ 11:57 am

      How did it turn out, Grace? There should definitely be pan juices, but not a lot of water…

  14. Cynthia — February 20, 2017 @ 7:18 pm (#)

    Can the chicken breast still be slightly frozen before brining?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 20th, 2017 @ 8:02 pm

      We would make sure it’s thawed completely first. We hope you enjoy!

  15. Amy — February 21, 2017 @ 5:12 pm (#)

    I made tonight and was great!! Not dry, lots of flavor! Never knew exactly what brining would do–we will have again for sure!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 21st, 2017 @ 6:52 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Amy — we’re so happy you enjoyed it!

  16. Kathleen — February 21, 2017 @ 6:31 pm (#)

    Thank you for these tips. I bought the organic breasts that were already brined, The rest was so easy and the chicken was super juicy. The kids loved it which is always a win in our picky family. Simple and so easy. Thanks!!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 21st, 2017 @ 7:19 pm

      We’re so happy it was a hit, Kathleen! :)

  17. Sandy — February 21, 2017 @ 7:15 pm (#)

    Made this chicken tonight and it was awesome- I was amazed at how moist it was! My boyfriend absolutely loved it! No more dry chicken 😀

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 21st, 2017 @ 7:19 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Sandy — we’re so happy you both enjoyed it!