Baked Chicken Breasts

Learn how to make delicious baked chicken breasts with this easy 5-step recipe.  It’s so delicious!  (This post contains affiliate links.)

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 also 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, as lean proteins go, chicken is pretty affordable, it’s also 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.  

 

Baked Chicken Breasts – 1-Minute Video

 

Everyone out there seems to have an opinion (and get ready, they differ!) about how to make perfectly 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 $15.

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!

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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, 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:

  1. *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.)
  2. Heat oven to 450°F.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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°F.  (The FDA recommends 165°F.)
  6. *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.
  7. 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.
  8. Or, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
All images and text ©

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

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1,540 comments on “Baked Chicken Breasts”

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  1. I loved this recipe and I’m not a fan of chicken! First time we haven’t had leftovers and they have asked for it again all week! Definite winner!

    Rating: 5
  2. I’ve been making awful, dry chicken for too long. No more! This made some of the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. Amazingly tender.

    Rating: 5
  3. It turned out amazing. We didn’t get the crust we wanted by that was my fault. I wish I could have put a picture up but it was amazing.

    Rating: 5
  4. Holy Moly! This chicken was amazing and so moist and tender! I am a fan of dark meat so normally I go for one in thighs. Just happened to pick up some breasts because they were on sale at Harris Teeter. I found this recipe and holy mackerel I think I’m a breast fan now haha! I cooked it at 450 like you suggested until the temp got to 145 and then I broiled for the remainder of the cooking process til they hit 167. Rested it for the gen minutes in the aluminum tent and voila my boyfriend and two year old tore it up! Paired it with some butter Lima beans and herb chicken couscous. Can’t wait to make this again since there is no leftovers! Thanks for sharing!!

    Rating: 5
  5. Makes even the bachelor look like a great cook. Super recipe!

    Rating: 5
  6. Are you supposed to turn around the chicken half way through? Maybe it’s common sense, so sorry for the silly question .. but I would appreciate a response!

  7. This recipe rocks! The chicken was outrageously tender and delicious. Try it. I guarantee you will never go back. It will be hands down your favorite “plain ‘ol” boneless chicken breast recipe. PS- I followed the recipe to the letter. I would make no changes. Enjoy!

    Rating: 5
  8. I don’t usually leave comments, but I just have to tell you how great this recipe is. I’ve made it three or four times now and it’s my go-to for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I always overcooked them in the past, leading to dry, flavorless yuck. These are SO juicy every time, even after microwaving the next day. I’ve made it both with olive oil and melted butter, and while both are good, you are right, the butter is better.

    Rating: 5
  9. Quick question- I use sea salt instead of kosher salt. Think the measurement would be the same for the brine? Or cut it back a bit? Thanks!

  10. AMANZING! I’m a horrible cook and my husband actual said this was really good!!!

    Rating: 5
  11. Moistest chicken I ever made and very little effort. I only did the brine for 15 mins and I subbed cumin for the paprika because I never thought paprika had much flavor and was mostly just color. Even my 2 picky eaters 6 and 9 yrs old liked it and asked me to make it for dinner sometime. I chopped mine into bite size pieces and mixed with my homemade salsa for a very tasty low calorie lunch.

    Rating: 4.5
  12. I love chicken dinners, unfortunately my fiance don’t. I made this and added lemon pepper and it was a huge hit!! By far the best chicken I’ve ever had and my fiance loved it!

    Rating: 5
  13. I’ve actually made this recipe several times and though I should comment! It is excellent I don’t change any of the directions and it turns out perfect Everytime. This is my go to delicious and quick chicken recipe. Thank you so much!!

    Rating: 5
  14. Great recipe, comes out absolutely perfect every time!

    Rating: 4.5
  15. I love this😍😍😍 I wasn’t able to achieve the crust 😭 But still😍everyone loved it! Thank you!

    Rating: 4.5
  16. Oh MY, this is the best, most tender & juicy boneless chicken breast I’ve ever had. I used a lot of spicy things on it, and it was wonderful. No more boring boiled chicken breasts ever again! TYSM!

  17. The absolute best boneless chicken breast I’ve ever had. Never again boring, boiled chicken. I planned for leftovers, but we ate it all. TYSM for opening my eyes!!

    Rating: 5
  18. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I struggle with chicken, and usually serve it sheepishly because I know how it comes out (not very good). However, I made this tonight, and it came out amazing! I was so proud to serve this to my family. My 7 year old told me she didn’t know I knew how to make chicken this good. I have to agree! This is my new chicken recipe.

    Rating: 5
  19. Did you use a regular bake setting or did you use a convection bake setting? Thanks for posting – will be cooking this tomorrow night!

  20. I’ve always not liked chicken breast but this has turned me around and I am only 73 course I have only started cooking for myself recently. Thank you.

    Rating: 4.5
  21. JUST made this and love it. Might omit some things of the salt tho next time.

    Rating: 5
  22. I only did one 4oz breast and it came out exactly as your site stated, tender and tasty. I am on the nutrisystems diet and the chicken breast was one of the Flex-Meals…

    Rating: 5
  23. I just made this chicken recipe for my husband. I asked him what he thought and all I get from him is “mmmmmm””. I think that is a 5 star!

    Rating: 5
  24. I’ve made this chicken twice and both times the chicken was delicious. The chicken was moist, tender, and flavorful. I intend to keep it as my go-to chicken recipe. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Rating: 5
  25. Very easy to make and nice recipe

    Rating: 4.5
  26. Doing every step did just what you said! Finally the Best juicy chicken baked method, oh man yummy!!! or woman its just an expression.

    Rating: 5
  27. This recipe yielded intensely succulent, flavorful chicken breasts! I view this more of a technique rather than a recipe. Follow this recipe exactly! No substitutions! Don’t cut corners! You will be rewarded with the most mouth watering chicken breasts you ever had!!

    Rating: 5
  28. Ali, you should forward this recipe to ‘Cook’s Illustrated’ magazine, aka ‘America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country’.

    Rating: 4.5
  29. I’ve made this twice now. Just great!

    Rating: 5
  30. Wanted a boneless chicken recipe that wasnt fried. Used Italian seasoning instead of paprika. Husband’s reaction was “outstanding” and “yowzer” and I enjoyed it very much also, especially getting those reactions from him.

    Rating: 4.5
  31. This just might be the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. I’m usually not a big fan of chicken, but this is absolutely delicious! I didn’t deviate from the recipe at all and it came out tender, juicy, and flavorful. This is my new go-to weeknight dinner recipe!

    Rating: 5
  32. Cant express how happy i am to have found this ! This recipe is sooooo easy and it delivers on everything it promises . PERFECT CHICKEN BREASTS!

    Rating: 4.5
  33. Juicy as anything! Loved it and will make it again!

    Rating: 5
  34. I knew I was doing something wrong with the way I used to baked chicken. After using this recipe I will never cook chicken a different way. It was the most flavorful and juicy chicken breast I have ever done. I always use the cheap Aldi Frozen bagged chicken as well.

    Rating: 5
  35. Excellent recipe!! Chicken was moist and delicious.

    Rating: 5
  36. I use larger breasts than you, so have to add about ten extra minutes to cook time. Other than that, I followed your direction, generously using Italian Seasoning. Moist, delish. Thanks

    Rating: 5
  37. I was skeptical but this was so moist and flavorful and all I did was baste with melted butter and seasoned with kosher salt. Perfect for soup, casserole or chicken salad.

    Rating: 5