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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1,636 comments on “Baked Chicken Breasts”

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  1. Do you foil it while it cooks?

  2. I have always had a problem with dry Chicken Breasts, NOT anymore ! This recipe has opened up my meal planning .

  3. Brining chicken like this has changed my life inexplicably. I am forever in your debt and I can’t thank you enough! The chicken came out so tender and succulent that it’s hard to imagine eating it any other way. Keep up the amazing recipes!

    • Thanks for your sweet words, Steven — we’re so happy you enjoy this method and recipe! :)

  4. I keep coming back to this method…so delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you so much for such an amazing recipe!!  It was a huge hit at our house tonight!  We prefer the dark meat of a chicken, so we used thighs and legs.   The kids went back for seconds.  Yum!!  This will be my new go-to recipe!!!  Kudos!!

    • You’re very welcome, Kelly! We’re happy you and your family enjoyed it! :)

  6.  Made this a last-minute meal  was easy and delicious I actually changed my seasonings to taste and added lemon pepper paired with loaded red mashed potatoes and corn on the cob 

  7. Is the same method for fried chicken?

    • Do you mean the brining? If so, we don’t have a fried chicken recipe, but a lot of wonderful fried chicken recipes do call for brining your chicken first. We love it, so you can’t go wrong with brining in our books! :)

  8. Fantastic recipe! Really moist and delicious! The leftover chicken is fantastic on a homemade caeser salad a day or two later too!

  9. This is my favorite chicken breast recipe by far!!

  10. Will it still be juicy if eaten cold a few hours after cooking? Thanks.

  11. Aaaaamazing! Going to try this for dinner today! 
    Thanks for sharing! xx

  12. Forgot the website after I found this and cooked the first time last month, but found it again… This is the BEST moist Boneless chicken breast recipe I have come across that does not use a lot of fluid ( soup, broth,etc) while cooking… it is fast and leftovers are wonderful cold and heated and still very moist… Making it again today…

    • Thanks for your sweet words, Ken — we’re so happy you’re a fan of the recipe! :)

  13. Is there a way to print the text but skip the pictures >? I would like to have this in my recipe drawer … or you can send me the text . Email is [email protected]

    • Hi Ken — if you scroll down to the recipe box and just click the “print” icon, it should only print very small photo at the top right of the recipe. If you don’t want that to print, you can highlight and select the recipe text and copy into a Word document (or something like that), and print there.

  14. My husband and I love using this recipe! Although it’s take a bit of waiting it’s so worth it! Thanks for the recipe!

  15. This recipe is amazing! The chicken came out perfect as promised! My kids gobbled it up! Thank you for sharing this recipe! 

  16. Well shoot, I just pounded mine out because they were so thick so they are NOT going to look all pretty like yours. I hope they’re good :)

  17. Chicken was juicy and wonderfully seasoned. I put lemon pepper and seasoned salt on it. Really good

  18. I followed your recipe exactly and my chicken came out perfectly delicious! When I saw brining, I thought ugh! But it was so easy and worth the results!

  19. Do you turn the chicken halfway through baking?

  20. I’ve been making this chicken for a little over a year now.  I am a terrible cook.  I asked my mom for a baked chicken recipe and she found this in an online search and said just try this one.  It was easy to follow and it always turns out great.  As I said I’m a terrible cook but my husband asks for me to make this!  Perfect juicy chicken breasts.  Thank you! 

  21. My husband is on a low salt diet due to heart problems. Does brining make the chicken loaded with sodium?

    • Hi Barbara! Your husband should probably consult with his doctor first, but we did read that properly brined meats can soak up about 10 percent of their weight in brine. That being said, it’s probably not a good idea. :(

  22. This has become a regular on our menu. I’ve fixed it for company too and got rave reviews!

  23. So….I’m a pescatarian and my husband is not. But I always do enjoy making him new dishes, but I’m always skeptical because I am often worried I will not season the meat or poultry properly since I don’t taste these dishes when I cook. Well this recipe here, was an absolutel hit with Mr. Cleveland. He absolutely loved it. Thank you for this recipe, it is now in my repertoire for chicken recipes that he enjoys. Oh and I’ve added to my Pinterest board so my friends too can enjoy. Thank you!

    • Thanks for sharing this with us! We’re so happy it was a hit with your husband! Thanks for sharing it on Pinterest as well! :)

  24. This is perfect helps with my meal preps..imma big chicken breasts fan..I stopped baking em cause of dryness…thanks to these tips I’m bringing it back

  25. Just made these as part of my meal prep for the week. Turned out GREAT! Thanks for the wonderful advice and recipe.

  26. I am so excited to try this!! I avoid making chicken because it always comes out so dry and horrible. If this comes out as good as everyone says, I will be able to make a lot healthier dinners and it won’t be a hassle! Thanks for posting this!

  27. I’m so glad I found this recipe and technique. I was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes and have been having trouble finding a tasty way to cook chicken for most of my meals. This is it plus the hubby loves it too. Thank you so much I had nearly given up. 

  28. I’m using bone-in chicken breasts. How would I adjust the cooking time/temperature accordingly?

    • Hi Amanda! Hmmm, that’s tricky to say since we haven’t tried this with bone-in chicken breasts. However, we do know bone-in will take longer to cook (same temp), but possibly 10-15 minutes longer. Since we don’t know for sure, we’d just recommend setting the timer for 5 minute increments (after 20 minutes), and continuing to check the temp of the chicken with your thermometer. We hope this helps!

  29. Maybe I did something wrong, but mine came out perfect… perfectly RAW

    • It sounds like something definitely went wrong Tim! We’re sorry to hear that, but this should never come out raw (and has never for us). Could your oven temp possibly have been off?

  30. Trying This today for my husband so we will see!

  31. So i made my chicken this way tonight…I bake chicken often, at least 4x a week. my kids are very into the plain, baked chicken so that is part of the reason I make it so often. I made it this new way , brining and then on high heat for a shorter time… my son LOVED it he told me it was “extra good”, at age 5. I will continue to make it this way. Thanks for the great new idea! However, i am sure i will always need an extra 5+ minutes at least. 18 mins in my oven (although a new GE profile) is just not enough. Maybe its my on neurosis – haha. Thanks again for the recipe!

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Leah — we’re so happy you and your family enjoyed this! :)

  32. This was SO GOOD!  My chicken was so juicy – just like in a nice restaurant where I always wonder, how do they keep the chicken breast from not drying out and so juicy!  We regularly brine our chicken when we grill in pickle juice.  But I will be brining chicken breasts for the oven from now on!  Everyone loved the chicken last night … even the three year old!  Thank you so much for this simple, easy tweak.  I even used part of the defrost time in the brine – once they were deflated enough to get out of the freezer bag, I put them in the bowl of salted warm water to finish defrosting on the inside.  Simple and easy!

  33. Hey,

    I love your recipes!! Thanks so much for posting them. I was wondering if basting with barbecue sauce would work at a high heat like this. Would the barbecue sauce burn because of the sugar content? Thanks!

    • Thank you, Hayley (love that your name is spelled the same way as mine, btw)! :) We haven’t tried basting the chicken with bbq sauce for this recipe, so it’s hard to say, but you could lower the temp to 350 and just bake the chicken longer. If you try it, definitely let us know how it turns out!

  34. Wow. I’m really speechless. This is a great recipe and I will definitely try again. My very 1st try and my husband and I love it. Thanks so much. 

  35. I made this recipe for dinner last night and this – without a doubt – the BEST baked chicken I’ve EVER had!!! Very easy to prepare and the seasoning blend tested great! My chicken did have to cook longer because they were large pieces but they were perfect when they were done! This was my first recipe of yours to try and I’m looking forward to trying more. Thank you for sharing!?

  36. This recipe was fantastic. I’ve made hundreds or chicken breaths over the years and these were absolutely some of the best.  The brining…yes.  Thanks for the recipe  

  37. Tried your recipe and it came out really moist and tasty. Yum….Yum….Brine is the secret. Thanks.

  38. I am on a health kick right now, and found this recipe. It turned out better than I ever hoped for! It was as juicy as you promised! BUT I do have a question… do you have any way of finding out how many calories this is, without the chicken? Basically just the butter and seasonings. Trying to keep track of everything!

    • We’re happy you enjoyed it, Erma! As for the calories though, we’re sorry but we currently aren’t publishing nutrition facts on the site. 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!

  39. I enjoyed following the recipe.
    I tried Paprika but could not taste it probably because it was to old. Does it lose its taste over time?
    What other flavours could you suggest to add to the chicken?

    • We’re glad you enjoyed this, Brian! The paprika is subtle in this, but some spices can lose their intensity over time, so that could be a possible reason why you didn’t notice it. You could also add some chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary to this, or give this version a try:

  40. This recipe is so fantastic! I only wish I had known about it 40 years ago.

  41. Just tried this and it has changed my life forever!!! Ive never cooked chicken this perfect! Any tips on baking legs and thights  too? 
    Thank you!!!!

    • We’re so happy you enjoyed this, Anne! Unfortunately we haven’t experimented with this method using legs and thighs, but we’ll let you know if/when we do!

  42. I don’t do salt for to brine the chicken. So I used lemon pepper instead..Is that alright?

  43. I am going to try this method asap! I always mess up chicken breast whenever I make it, usually in a pan on the stove top and it comes out like a disaster. Can’t wait to try this.

  44. It was really good and easy to cook, thanks :)

  45. Hi Ali!

    I’m a big fan of brined turkey and make it all the time, however, my go-to weekday meals are boneless, skinless chicken breasts so I decided to search Pinterest in the hopes of finding a brine solution for chicken breasts. Your recipe popped up and I was intrigued to try it, particularly because there weren’t that many ingredients and most of us have them in our pantry. I followed your recipe to the T and the chicken turned out amazing – so flavourful and juicy!

    Even my hubby who is a somewhat picky eater, loved them!

    Thanks to you, I will be able to incorporate this recipe on a regular basis as opposed to my usual kind of bland chicken breast version recipe.

    Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    Deb

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Deb — we’re so happy you and your husband loved the recipe! :)

  46. Without doubt it is the best chicken breast recipe in the whole world! Its the only way i bake it now. Many thanks for sharing.

  47. We made this instead of a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. It was amazing thanks for the recipe ??

  48. I made this in a total rush and completely forgot to rinse and pat dry after brining, will this effect the outcome much?

    • Your chicken may just be really salty :/ we’re not really sure. We hope it still turned out okay though!

  49. I know that this recipe was made for cooking 4 chicken breast at a time. Would it still be the same cook time if I put like 7 chicken breast in the oven at the same time?

    • That’s tricky to say — they may need to bake a little longer, so we’d just recommend checking them and keeping an eye on them. We hope you enjoy!

  50. Tried this chicken recipe this evening. It was absolutely delicious!! It’s always been a challenge to not dry it out, so I usually just avoid using boneless breasts. Now thanks to your recipe we will enjoy them regularly:) also the spices were perfect and I’m thinking of trying a Mexican mix of spices and using the chicken for burritos and tacos:)