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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1,542 comments on “Baked Chicken Breasts”

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  1. What a great run down on one of my favorite quick meals. Normally I stick to just the rub then into the oven but I really like the idea of the brine.  I’ll definitely have to give this a try.  Thanks for sharing and I look forward to this delicious meal!

  2. This looks like a really great recipe to try for meal prep this week! My question is, how do you recommend reheating chicken? I always feel like it’s not as tasty the second time around. 
    Also, I really love enjoy this blog and proud it’s from Kansas City. Great job! #kcpride

    • Awesome! And good question — I reheat my chicken in the microwave with a glass container that has a microwave-safe lid I can rest on top. (And a good tip is to also go ahead and pre-cut the chicken into smaller slices, which will cook more quickly and not dry out as much.) You could also reheat the chicken by baking it in a 350 degree oven until warm, in a baking dish covered with aluminum foil.

      GO KC! :)

  3. I am on a low salt diet, what would be the sodium content be with brining the chicken ?

    • Hi Leslie, I’m really not sure, and since I don’t know how strict of a salt diet you’re on, it may be best to check with your doctor. However, I was able to find some good feedback from other folks, that you might be interested in: I definitely would check out Sodium Girl’s website! I hope this was helpful to you!

  4. NEVER thought to brine chicken! I’ve never brined anything, actually, but want to – so what a perfect way to get my feet wet. Can’t wait to try this – perhaps even this coming weekend. Grill every meal? Yes…

  5. Great idea. I used the thin cut chicken breasts and the finished product was a little too salty for my taste so will adjust accordingly next time.

  6. I have never brined anything before. Made this tonight and it was AMAZING! My husband and kids inhaled the chicken! Will definitely be making this again soon! 

  7. I made this recipe tonight and O.M.G – it was SO good! I’ve never been a huge fan of baked chicken breasts because mine always came out dry. Not these! Thank you for the great recipe!

  8. Whoops… I had no idea about the roasting method! I always went with 350° because, well, it’s the most common baking temp for desserts. And that’s always what my mind is thinking about. ;) I’m not so good with the resting part either — I get so hungry when I start to smell the chicken cooking! Definitely need to try those two tips this week!

  9. This is the FIRST time in my life I have made perfect chicken.  Thank you for posting this recipe! Everyone loves it.  

  10. This sounds and looks so good. I’m going to be trying it this week. I was also wondering would brining work with red meats as well to keep them tender and moist before pan cooking or grilling? Thank you so much for posting this.

    • Thanks, Ginger! You know, I’m really not sure. I haven’t ever brined red meat before, and if it’s something like steak, I don’t think it would really need it. Maybe pork chops though. You could certainly try it, but from what I’ve seen on the web, people don’t usually brine red meat, because it isn’t as prone to drying out like poultry is. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! : )

  11. So many good ideas! I think your photography is fabulous, by the way. I loved your post on how you handle your set up. I even went and bought a white foam core board the day after. Thanks so much for the inspiration! 

  12. Hi! I made your recipe twice this week!! I’ve never brined before and it was awesome! Thanks for sharing :) (my hubby and 2 year old thank you too!)

  13. Can you cook it on the stove instead of using the oven?

    • Hi Areli! You could cook these on the stove, but I think you’ll find this method works best, and yields the best results when they’re cooked in the oven.

  14. I just made this tonight. So yummy. This will be on regular rotation in my household. 
    I always brine my turkies, but had never thought of brining my chicken breasts. What a difference. 
    Started brining during kids’ homework and popped it in the oven a couple hours later. 
    Super yummy and super easy dinner. 
    I can’t wait to try your other recipes. 
    Thank you for sharing. 

  15. I’m a newlywed in search of something to make my chicken meals more interesting. This was perfect. Thank you! I’m going to practice this tonight!

  16. I can’t wait to try this! Would you recommended brinning bone in skin on chicken breasts like this?

    • Thanks, Ashley! I’ve got to say I haven’t tried this with bone-in chicken breasts, so I’m really not sure. You could try, but I would use boneless if you can, just to play it safe.

  17. I follow this same method but like to play around with toppings, olives, lemons,  assorted peppers (both hot and sweet) , the list is endless. 

  18. I’m definitely trying this recipe soon. I do have a question – any tips on reheating the chicken, like for lunch at work the next day, so that it’s not dried out? Thanks!

    • Thanks, April! And good question. We like this method, and find that it works pretty well!

  19. I always bake my chicken at 400 degrees for one hour regardless of what the recipe says. This will effectively exterminate any salmonella bacteria.

  20. What a great recipe. Followed it step by step. Brining made such a tremendous difference from any other baked chicken recipe that I’ve tried. Thanks so much Ali !!!

  21. These were awesome.  Juicy is not the word for it.  I had to cook mine for 18mins, but they were great.  Will use this again and again.
    thanks

  22. Wow!!!! I tried the recipe tonight and absolutely LOVED it!!  You can check out my #gimmesomeoven pic on Instagram.  Thanks for sharing this!! 

  23. I can’t wait to try  thus  recipe 

  24. I have to say I am so excited that I found this recipe and your info on the most simple of meals. I just made chicken breast last night and used your techniques and it was awesome!! Thank you!!

    • Reid, we’re so glad this recipe worked out for you, thanks for giving it a try!

  25. I’m not a very experienced cook and your steps made it simple enough for me to create this delicious dish without burning my house down. Thank you!! :)

  26. I have done chicken in the oven many different ways but this brine step I believe made this chicken the most tender and juicy ever ..the family loved it and the best part is using different seasonings will make it a completely different meal .. It was great !!

  27. Okay I really want to try this but worried the brining will make the chicken salty and then adding more salt will over do it…no?

    • The brine makes the chicken a LITTLE bit saltier, but I could hardly tell. If you’re concerned though, feel free to add less salt to the rub, and you could always sprinkle on salt after the chicken has cooked if you think it needs more.

  28. Thanks, Ali! My family loved this! My father couldn’t stop raving about how delicious it was! The brining really did the trick, which was amazing because I only kept the chicken in for about 15-20 minutes. I did throw a teaspoon of sugar and some fresh cracked pepper into the brine to more resemble my turkey brine, but not sure how much of a difference that made. We will definitely be making this again very soon. An easy solution for a quick weeknight meal! Thanks again!

    • You’re so welcome, Wendy! We’re so glad these were a hit with your dad! : )

  29. Amazing recipe.  Just tried it and my wife was amazed.  Now we have a new weekly meal.  Thank you… 

  30. This really WAS the best. I have been trying to make good chicken breasts for years. Tonight my family took their first bites, and looked surprised, before looking at me and saying “This is the best chicken you’ve made!

  31. Oh this was just great! I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong with my chicken breast but I promise this did the trick.

  32. My daughter is allergic to beef so we are always looking for taste chicken recipes. This one did it. She said this is the best chicken in the world. :)
    Thanks. We will make this many more times and try other seasonings. 

    • Thank you, Tasha, we’re so happy to hear that, what a sweet compliment from your daughter! : )

  33. I tried this recipe a couple weeks ago and it game out perfect. I even tried it without the brine and it came out good too (just not as good).

    Tonight, I was working late so my wife, who hates cooking, called me and asked what she could do with the chicken breasts I left in the fridge. I gave her this recipe from memory over the phone and told her to use one of the rubs we have in the pantry. I came home just as it was coming out of the oven and she loved it. She said “It’s so easy, even I can make it”!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephen, that’s awesome, we’re so glad you and your wife liked it!

  34. What would the cooking time be for chicken tenderloins?  Any other changes in temperature or anything?  Thanks!

    • Hey Kate! We’re not sure on the exact time (haven’t tried the recipe with chicken tenderloins instead), but we think they miiiight not take quite as long to cook (since the chicken’s in smaller pieces.) We wouldn’t change the temperature though. Try setting the timer for 10-15 minutes less, and then check them with a meat thermometer. We hope that helps!

  35. My wife and I loved it. The only thing I would do is cut back on the salt.

  36. I don’t cook that often and have always had trouble making my chicken just right, but I made chicken using this recipe and it turned out absolutely amazing! Definitely always going to bake my chicken like this from now on.

    • That’s so great to hear, Reed! We’re happy you liked it, thanks for giving it a try!

  37. My First time brining. This chicken was very moist!  A great option for boneless skinless chicken breasts which can be dry. I liked the spice mixture too.  It does end up being a tad spicey, so if you really prefer low spice just cut back on the pepper and paprika. We thought it was perfect.  I did find it a bit too salty. Next time I will cut the salt in the spice mixture in half. A really nice receipe that I will definitely make again. One more thing. I think my chicken breasts were larger.  They took about 25 minutes to cook. Next time, I will cut them in half. 

  38. about how many calories per piece? With oil, not butter 

    • Hey Jamie, unfortunately we don’t know the calories in this. We find that a lot of the calorie calculators aren’t always accurate, so we aren’t posting nutrition facts at this time. However, a lot of our readers like using My Fitness Pal, so you could give that a try! We hope this helps, and that you enjoy the recipe!

  39. These are the fastest, tenderest, most flavorful boneless, skinless chicken breasts I have ever had. I can’t stop raving about them to everyone. My grandsons loved them and asked that I make them again. 

    • Thank you Gloria, that’s such a high compliment! We are happy to hear they were a hit with you and your grandsons!

  40. Can’t wait to try this recipe! I love the idea of freezing a big batch. I often use my crockpot for tender chicken, but it unfortunately loses that delicious outside “crust.” Thanks! 

  41. I use this recipe to make massive amounts of chicken breast.  Then I freeze the breasts 3 to a bag and use them for weeknight dinners!  Yuuumy!

    I had to bring a chicken salad for a work potluck last week and it was so easy when I had already cook the chicken.  Woo hoo! Thanks for this tasty recipe.

  42. This was the juiciest, most tender chicken I have ever had! By far the best I have ever made. What a great recipe! So easy!

  43. I made this exactly as stated and it came out fantastic. I made it in order to cut it up into pieces for later use in recipes, but I saved one breast for a meal tomorrow night because it tasted so good. It is perfectly juicy and flavorful, as expected. I used a professional thermometer, as I always do, and pulled it out at about 163 degrees. This was easy and fast, and I will be making this many times in the future. Also, the amount of butter and rub worked out very well for 2.4 lbs. of chicken.

    Another big thing about your brining recipe as that you called for kosher salt. I have brined before, but using table salt. If anyone uses table salt, be sure to thoroughly rinse the chicken after brining or you will end up with something that’s almost inedible. Stick with the kosher salt and pat it dry as stated in this recipe. If anyone is concerned about sodium levels, just rinse the chicken after brining with kosher salt. The main reason for brining is tenderizing, and your rub will provide you with all the flavor you need. Thanks so much for this great recipe!

    • Thank you Greg, we’re happy to hear it turned out so well for you and that you liked it! Also, thanks for sharing that info about the table salt and brining!

  44. Absolutely delicious! My new go to chicken breast recipe! Thank you so much for posting this!

  45. Can I use tin foil on the bottom of the pan for easy cleanup? Will that affect the outcome of the chicken? 

  46. ok. I’m a convert. Amazing!  Serv d with  a Greek yogurt, lemon, mustard, parsley sauce 

  47. Marvelous!!!  
    Thakyou

  48. So lucky I found this recipe today. I have a birthday lunch for a friend coming up. Definitely will make this wonderful recipe with a salad. Thanks!!

  49. This was the best chicken I’ve ever made.  Thank you!!

    • Thanks Polina, what an amazing compliment — we’re so happy you loved it!

  50. This is my new go-to recipe! I will never cook chicken any other way!  Tonight is my 4th time in 2 weeks to cook this.  I change up the seasoning each time.  Live this!  So glad I found it!  Thank you!