Baked Chicken Breasts

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.

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.

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 cut into your perfectly-cooked chicken breast.   And enjoy every last bite.

 

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 Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

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

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.

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.

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


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 Sarlitt — April 19, 2016 @ 11:59 pm (#)

    Thanks so much for getting back to me. I tried it again with thicker pieces and it was much better .
    I do wonder what you suggest if I am planning to marinate chicken breasts overnight for a chicken Shawarma recipe.  Do I brine and pound before placing in the marinade?  Would the oven temp and time be different for this ?
    Having many people for dinner in a few days  so very eager to  hear what you suggest !
    Thanks,
    Jackie

  2. Lindsay — April 22, 2016 @ 12:23 am (#)

    I usually roast bone-in, skin-on breasts at lower temp in the oven to keep them really juicy, but sometimes I just don’t want to mess with all that skin and bones. I was really surprised at the juiciness this method yielded. It must be the brining step. So the only thing I would change about the recipe would be the prep time written, which is not 5 minutes if you brine. I bet this would be great with other spice rubs as well. Thanks! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 22nd, 2016 @ 4:06 pm

      Thanks for your feedback Lindsay — we’re glad you enjoyed this! :)

  3. Ginger Wilson — April 25, 2016 @ 6:09 pm (#)

    Best recipe yet — so juicy and tender – perfect — thank you!  I did the brine – added a few other seasonings (Everglades seasoning, etc.) pounded the 3 organic breasts from Whole Foods – 20 minutes and they were absolutely wonderful…I used olive oil  – will add some butter next time….they sliced easily and beautifully and I served them on a special platter…..these are perfect on a romaine salad with tomato, cheese, onion,   – just lay 1/2 inch slices across the top and serve with ranch or any dressing on the side…..tasty!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 25th, 2016 @ 11:09 pm

      Thank you Ginger — we’re so happy to hear you enjoyed this! :)

  4. Stephanie Miller — April 26, 2016 @ 7:35 pm (#)

    I have made this recipe twice and my husband and I absolutely love the flavor but for some reason mine never looks like the picture, it doesn’t get a crust on it any clue why this might be? My chicken breast are larger than the ones pictured  I don’t know if that could have anything to do with it but I think the first time I cut them in half and they still looked the same. 
    Thank you,
    Stephanie

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 26th, 2016 @ 9:14 pm

      Hi Stephanie! We’re glad to hear you and your husband enjoy the recipe! Hmmm, for more of a crust, you can spray it with some cooking spray (or brush with oil) before baking, which will help. Or if you really want the crust and it’s not happening, you could cook the chicken until it’s nearly done, and then pop it under the broiler for a minute or two. That’ll definitely help it get a nice crust. Also, you can always use a mallet or a glass or something, and pound the chicken a bit, if it’s too thick. We hope that helps!

  5. Shawnee — April 27, 2016 @ 10:53 am (#)

    This is my go-to chicken recipe now. So easy and delicious! I keep it in my conquered food and drinks pinterest board so I can find it easily. Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 27th, 2016 @ 11:03 pm

      Thanks Shawnee — we’re so happy you’re a fan! :)

  6. Jillian H — April 27, 2016 @ 1:46 pm (#)

    Thanks so much for this recipe! Brining the chicken really did make a huge difference. I’m the queen of dry chicken, haha! 😁 We really enjoyed it! Also loved the way you covered every question I could have possibly asked (I Tend to over think everything!) Very informative! Thanks again! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 27th, 2016 @ 11:02 pm

      You’re welcome Jillian — we’re so happy you enjoyed the recipe! :D

  7. Carissa — April 28, 2016 @ 2:49 am (#)

    I absolutely love this recipe, I went off chicken breast because it was always dry and stringy. But not when you use this recipe, it turns out perfectly juicy on the inside and a bit crispy on the top every single time! Thank you for sharing – I’ll try to remember to take s pick of it before I serve it up tonight :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 28th, 2016 @ 12:49 pm

      Thanks Carissa — we’re so happy to hear that! :D

  8. Laura — April 28, 2016 @ 7:15 pm (#)

    Chicken is currently in the oven, and it smells amazing. I’m actually writing because I love the baking dish you used in the photos for the recipe and was wondering where you got it! I’ll follow up after I taste my dinner in about 15 minutes…

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 28th, 2016 @ 8:34 pm

      Hey Laura! The dish can actually be found in the shop — here’s the link! :) And we hope you enjoy the chicken!

  9. DanaDissent — April 30, 2016 @ 2:43 pm (#)

    This is the first time I’ve ever left a review for a recipe (even when I loved it and incorporated it into meals on a regular basis), but I just had to say ‘thank you’!  I’ve never had much luck making tender, juicy chicken, but I tried the recipe this afternoon and it was a huge success!!  I didn’t have any garlic powder, and I think my paprika was old, so I had to substitute seasoned salt and pepper for what the recipe calls for, but it is still super yummy!!  I will definitely be using this recipe in the future, and will even recommend it to anyone looking to make some really delicious, juicy chicken!  Thanks, again! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 1st, 2016 @ 12:00 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to share Dana — we’re so happy you enjoyed this! :)

  10. Stacey — May 1, 2016 @ 5:52 pm (#)

    WOW!! just made this chicken and I am totally blown away! Pulled a piece off and I was able to cut it with my fork, yummy! I had four breast that were a little thicker than normal so my cook time was adjusted by 6 minutes.
    Thank you for sharing, 
    Stacey

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 3rd, 2016 @ 7:55 am

      Thanks for sharing Stacey — we’re so happy you loved this! :)

  11. Dinah — May 4, 2016 @ 7:17 pm (#)

    What type of bakeware is safe for 450?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 4th, 2016 @ 10:42 pm

      We love this baking dish and it’s safe for 450 degrees. We also like glass pyrex baking dishes, and they can sustain that temperature as well. We hope this helps!

  12. Hollie — May 12, 2016 @ 7:06 pm (#)

    I have to say – I have been on the hunt for a delicious basic chicken recipe, and I have tried a ton. From sautéing to poaching to crockpotting to baking. And while most of them are okay/good, this is literally the best boneless skinless chicken breast recipe that I have ever made. Super moist and flavorful, I couldn’t put my fork down. Even the kids loved it (which is a feat in itself). Thank you SO much for sharing this perfect recipe. It will absolutely become my go-to chicken recipe from now on. 😊

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 8:04 pm

      Thank you for your sweet comment Hollie — we’re so happy you and your kids enjoyed this! :)

  13. Geri — May 14, 2016 @ 10:53 pm (#)

    I was never happy with my previous attempts to bake chicken breast in the oven.  I tried these five steps tonight and it was the best chicken ever. I do not think I will ever make it another way!!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 2:51 pm

      We’re so glad to hear that Geri — thanks for sharing! :)

  14. Peter — May 15, 2016 @ 4:53 pm (#)

    Hey! I was wondering what’s the nutrition information on this recipe. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 2:46 pm

      Hi Peter! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  15. Molly — May 16, 2016 @ 3:03 pm (#)

    Did Tip Hero take this from you? I had already seen this recipe (let alone tried it and is now my go-to) and then I saw this today:

    http://tiphero.com/how-to-cook-perfectly-tender-moist-chicken-breasts/

    I didn’t see any reference in either posts that this recipe came from someone else.

    • Ali — May 24th, 2016 @ 8:51 am

      Bummer, looks like they did. They should know better. Thanks for the heads up, Molly! I’ll contact them…

  16. Mari Simmons — May 16, 2016 @ 9:22 pm (#)

    I’ve tried so many different recipes for chicken and this is my favorite. Skin was crisp and it was so juicy. My kids loved it

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 9:31 pm

      Thank you Mari — we’re so glad you and your kids enjoyed it!

  17. alexis brodey — May 17, 2016 @ 10:20 am (#)

    This IS the best chicken! Moist & delicious.  I’m not a big butter girl, so i used the olive oil– and yum! Thanks for all the tips!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 17th, 2016 @ 10:02 pm

      Thank you Alexis — we’re so happy you like it!

  18. Jeff — May 19, 2016 @ 3:56 pm (#)

    This was a terrific recipe and the chicken turned out incredibly tender and flavorful. I am a 32 year old man who recently purchased his first home and have been trying to teach myself to cook instead of always ordering or going out. Ah, the life a bachelor :). I’ve had varying degrees of success, as can be imagined, but as I said the chicken breasts I baked according to your recipe were fantastic. I would have normally just tried to cook at 350 without any brining or butter or much in the way of seasoning and it probably would have turned out bland and dry. I only brined for 45 minutes but it seemed to have worked well as the chicken was very moist. I also didn’t have much in the way of seasoning, so I simply used some ground pepper and a liberal coating of Old Bay seasoning I had. I am going to experiment with other seasonings in the future. I have never commented on a food blog before, but I wanted to say thanks very much for your recipe and for helping this amateur cook in training. Jeff.

    • Ali — May 19th, 2016 @ 9:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing Jeff! Congrats on being a homeowner, that’s so exciting! And I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the chicken — thanks for giving it a try! :)

  19. Cindy — May 19, 2016 @ 9:36 pm (#)

    I had such high hopes for this tonight, and I’m not exactly sure what went wrong. My chicken breasts were quite large, and I had three in the baking dish. I followed all of the steps, and my chicken took much longer to bake…..like 15 to 20 minutes of more. After letting it rest, I cut into it, and it had a weird, chewy almost rubbery texture throughout the entire breast. Noone but me finished the chicken, and I had to choke it down. Any thoughts on what might have been wrong? 

    • Ali — May 20th, 2016 @ 7:48 am

      Oh no, that’s so strange — I’m sorry to hear that Cindy! It does sound like the chicken needed to be pounded a bit (the fact that they took longer to bake is likely due to how large they were). Besides that though, I’m not sure why it would have a rubbery texture. Was it frozen previously? I want to help you get to the bottom of it, but other than these two things, I’m not sure what could have caused that. :/

  20. Michael — May 20, 2016 @ 8:20 pm (#)

    Hi, Ali.  Cindy’s issue might be the chicken itself.  Further, Cindy may not be familiar with the texture of brined chicken.  It’s different. 

    I just made your recipe for the first time, the high heat one.  Came out wonderfully.  I followed your directions.  We have kosher chicken, so did not brine.  I’m so happy to have a new way to prepare  skinless, boneless chicken breasts. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 22nd, 2016 @ 7:33 pm

      Thanks for sharing Michael — we’re so glad you enjoyed it! :)

  21. Sharon Corathers — May 23, 2016 @ 5:10 pm (#)

    I don’t know how much chicken breast I have wasted over the years because I always fixed a half one each for my husband and myself and we could never eat the whole piece. And it was never tender, etc. I decided to try this recipe and am I glad I did. Soooo moist and tender. I had never brined anything before either, really didn’t know what it was or why it would affect meat but it certainly does. And another thing I’d never done with chicken breast was to slice it the way the picture showed. I had just served it more or less whole. I dipped it in melted butter like you suggested then had a shaker of rotisserie spices in my cabinet that I sprinkled on and rubbed in. Again, soooo delicious. I am printing this recipe out and putting in my favorite recipe drawer. Thank you so much!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 23rd, 2016 @ 10:48 pm

      Thanks for sharing Sharon — we’re so happy you enjoyed this! :)

  22. Elaine — May 24, 2016 @ 7:02 pm (#)

    I tried this and my chicken was perfect! Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 26th, 2016 @ 7:30 am

      We’re so glad to hear that Elaine! :)

  23. Isabel — May 27, 2016 @ 2:46 am (#)

    This is such a beautiful website – and this chicken recipe sounds divine – Thank you very much! I do not generally like cooking, but this has inspired me! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 27th, 2016 @ 3:17 pm

      Thanks for your sweet words Isabel — we’re glad you’re here! And we hope you can give the chicken a try sometime — it’s our fave! :)