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. Can I use garlic paste instead of garlic powder?

    • We haven’t tried that but we think that should probably be okay. We hope you enjoy!

  2. When you use a brine does the chicken take in the extra salt? I must eat a very low sodium diet and use rubs and seasonings from mrs dash and bensons but will the 15 minute brine add extra salt?

    • No, it doesn’t (and rinsing the brine off will help ensure that). What it does is just make the chicken incredibly moist and juicy. As for the salt content though, we’re really not sure what that is (we just know it doesn’t taste salty). If you’re on a very low-sodium diet though, you probably want to avoid this recipe to be safe (or at least check with a doctor or nutritionist first). We hope this helps!

  3. This was a great alternative to grilling. Chicken was very moist & my family loved it. 

  4. Made this for my family tonight. Everyone- including my picky preschooler, loved it. Easily the best, juiciest baked chicken I have ever made. And it was so EASY! Thank you times a million!

  5. This was absolutely delicious! My new go-to way to make chicken!
    Thank you so much!

  6. I had the common problem of dry chicken:( I made this chicken recipe for my boyfriend and I. I added peppercorn and fresh garlic and let it sit for a couple hours. Let me tell you this method was absolutely perfect! Thank you so much!

  7. Love this recipe for chicken. It’s become my staple. I have also used the dry rub on white fish like tilapia. Pan fried with this rub is delicious. Made the fish for fish tacos and the flavours were perfect!

  8. Oh my God. I love everything on this site (as of late especially the slow cooker butternut squash soup) BUT I FINALLY tried this recipe. And I have to admit, initially I thought “this is baker chicken breast. Not sure if this will blow my mind.” I STAND CORRECTED! I think my husband and I are just in shock.  These were INCREDIBLE. I actually substituted smoked chipotle powder for smoked paprika and it was out of this world. This is now the only way I will bake chicken. THANK YOU a million times over!!! Just another reason this site is my absolute favorite!!! Cheers! 

    • Thank you so much for your sweet words, Mary-Ella! We’re so glad you guys loved this! :)

  9. I pinned this recipe about a month ago and have made it three times already. For food prepping my proteins in the winter, this is THE best recipe! 

  10. This baked chicken breast recipe is the best and most moist chicken I’ve ever had! It’s the only one I use now. 

  11. Did not brine chicken but followed the rest of the recipe. Chicken was great and really moist. Thanks!!

  12. Great and easy! Single father here and even with our busy schedule is faster than most home cooked chicken recipes!

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Aaron, and for giving this a try — we’re glad you enjoyed it!

  13. This was a delicious and moist chicken BUT it took twice as long to cook as I was anticipating.  I pulled it out at 20 min. and the chicken was only 160.  At 15 min. it was not quite 160 and still visibly pink from the outside.  I did let it rest for ten minutes but after cutting into one of the pieces realized it was still slightly pink so I cooked it ten minutes longer and didn’t bother letting it rest again.  It was really really good.  I hadn’t pounded the breasts and I’m sure that’s why it took so much longer than 15 min.  But no matter, I LOVED this recipe and the seasoning.  Also, I thawed some Costco chicken breasts and they were already brined so I didn’t have to deal with the first step.  Super easy and delicious.

    • Thanks for sharing with us — we’re so glad you enjoyed the chicken! We’re sorry to hear it took twice as long to cook though, that’s really strange!

  14. Has anyone tried this method with pork chops??

  15. I have been looking for crispy on the outside and soft on the inside kind of chicken breast recipe. I usually “bake my chicken”. It get cooked very well but looks so unappetizing. All the seasoning runs off the chicken in the chicken juice that i find in the pan. I am very excited to try your recommendations. 1 question? My oven only has bake and broil options. Is broiling the same thing as “roasting”? if not how do I get my chicken to roast as you described? Thanks

    • Hi Nishu, we’re sorry for just now responding to your comment! Broiling is not the same thing as roasting. You just want the regular bake setting for this (we just use the broiler for the last couple of minutes to get the skin a little crispy), but it’s totally not necessary. We hope you enjoy!

  16. Just made this for dinner and if I do say so myself, it was amazing! 
    Not dry not chewy, just perfect! So absolutely delicious would 10/10 recommend this to anyone! 

  17. Thank you! I LOVE juicy chicken. I breaded my chicken and this still works for me, they came out perfect.

  18. I never thought to roast chicken breasts before. I have only ever steamed or poached breasts; or roasted whole chooks.

    I tried this tonight and I kept the seasoning simple like yours. Olive oil, touch of salt, garlic powder and Hungarian sweet paprika powder. 15 min at 230*C as you suggested – and they cooked beautifully! Must admit, I skipped the brine step, as I forgot about it.
    The whole time they were cooking, they smelt wonderful. Sliced them up and used them in the creamy chicken pasta I was making for dinner. They added an extra flavour to an other-wise plain sauce.

    Thank-you for posting this recipe!

  19. I was looking for a great Oven Baked Chicken and I discovered your website and found this recipe and by far is the
    BEST OVEN BAKED CHICKEN EVER my daughter want me to make all the time and I can eat it all the time also
    Thank You a million times over 

    • Thank you so very much, Fern! We’re happy you and your daughter enjoy the recipe!

  20. Made this tonight and it came out perfectly.  Followed the recipe to a T and was very happy with the outcome.  

  21. Hands down the juiciest most flavorful chicken breast I’ve ever made. I’m an old novice (i.e., despite years of experience, I still suck at cooking). So I love easy, no-fail recipes like this. Thank you!!

  22. Made this last night…OMG!! So good! I can never get chicken breast right and hardly make it because I always make it too dry. This recipe is fool proof. I followed the steps to a T (I did use Kosher Chicken) and it turned out beautifully. I plan on making a large batch every other week for meal preps.

  23. My husband and I love this! He said I finally found the perfect way to cook chicken! Thanks!!!!

  24. I did this today. It was a hit. My family really enjoyed it. Thank you so much. Will be cooking this often

  25. A friend of mine shared this recipe with me, the instructions are easy to follow the end result is even better.

    My four year old son and my wife loved the chicken, it was juicy and moist as advertised. I served it with quinoa and steamed broccoli.

    I slightly modified the rub, I added some cumin and chopped garlic; baked for 18 mins @ 450 F.

    For an extra crispy finish I broiled for 3 mins.

    @Ali thanks for a great, simple and delicious recipe.

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Azeez — we’re happy you and your family enjoyed the recipe!

  26. I love this recipe and must admit, there have been weeks when my husband and I have looked one another in the eye and said “Paprika Chicken?” (as we call this) even after we already had it once already that week! It is a staple in our home and recently, when we returned from vacation, was the first home cooked meal we made because we had missed it so much! We love the smoked paprika, and think that it gives the dish an amazing smoky flavor that can’t be beat! Thanks so much for what has become our favorite recipe!

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Ashly — we think that’s so sweet and we’re happy you and your husband love the recipe! :)

  27. Tried this tonight using a Caribbean curry seasoning and I can’t believe how amazing it was, especially considering it was just cheap frozen chicken!

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Bethany — we’re so happy you enjoyed it, and that Caribbean curry seasoning sounds awesome!

  28. Awesome, easy recipe!

  29. Do you have to turn the chicken when baking

  30. Does the chicken need to be turned

  31. Just started brining.  Is it better to brine longer than 15 minutes if you have the time?

    • Hi Sue! You could brine these for up to two hours if you really wanted and if you have the time. We hope you enjoy!

  32. Just made this chicken to use with your chicken enchilada casserole. I nearly quit just after making the chicken because it was SO GOOD. I knew about brining meat and I always try to do so when prepping for dinner – however, you took tis a step further with that seasoning blend! DELICIOUS!

    Every time I search Pinterest for a recipe – I always get excited to find one from you! Have tied several and have never been disappointed. Thank you for sharing your talents! Looking forward to trying the casserole – just waiting for that last layer of cheese to melt!

  33. I tried this about a month or so ago, and I won’t ever cook muy breasts another way!
    Thank you so much for this juicy, melt-in-your-mouth recipe!
    I have even passed it along to others :)

  34. Ive been struggling to find a good recipe for my meal prep! Thankyou so much! Best chicken ever!

  35. Delicious chicken! But, it took me much longer on the cook time. However, I didn’t pound it, but wasn’t sure that it was necessary. Does it make that much of a difference?

    • Hi Grace — it sounds like it took much longer to cook because the chicken breast was too thick (in that case, pounding definitely makes a big difference in reducing the cook time).

  36. This is the second time I have made chicken like this and it’s the best chicken we have ever had. Normally when my boyfriend and I make chicken or order it from a restaurant, it comes out dry or it just tastes flavorless so I hardly ever eat chicken anymore. It’s also a bummer for my boyfriend because he’s a personal trainer so he eats healthy and loves his chicken but I don’t cook it as much anymore. After I tried this recipe, I can’t get enough! We don’t have many spices so we just do melted butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and it tastes amazing. Thank you for this recipe!

    • Thank you so much for sharing with us, Angie — we’re so happy you and your boyfriend enjoy the recipe!

  37. I have never brined a chicken in my life, and I’m 57 years young! I thought I’d give this recipe a whirl – BOY am I glad I did!! My 17 yr old daughter (who thinks chicken is disgusting and who turns up her nose and picks at the food whenever I serve it) practically inhaled this chicken – she even commented that it was “Delicious!” I almost fell out of my chair!!Thank you for a fast, delicious dinner! I will always brine my chicken from now on – it truly make it moist and so very tasty!! I can’t wait to try it with some different spices – a favorite of mine is salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

    • Thank you for sharing with us, Cindy — we’re so happy you and your daughter loved the recipe! :)

  38. What if my chicken is frozen is it ok to boil it first for a little be to unthaw? Or no

  39. Hi!

    Thank you for detailed instructions. I’ve got a question – on one website I saw that they recommend pre-heating the pan for the chicken in the oven also. What do you think of that? Good idea, bad idea, neutral (nothing lost, nothing gained)?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Zee — we haven’t tried that so it’s hard to say, but we think it’s worth a try! :)

  40. This was AMAZING!!! I will never cook chicken another way. so happy I gave it a try!

  41. I made this tonight. Looked exactly like the photo. Baked for 20 minutes at 450 and they were perfect and delicious. Not sure if it’s the brining or the drying or the higher heat, but I have apparently been cooking chicken wrong for 35 years. Did I mention they were perfect?  Moist but not juicy, which is what I wanted and added the extra 5 minutes.  Never will do it any other way. Mmmmm. No photo: ate it all!

  42. This chicken changed my life. SO GOOD.

  43. I’ve ALWAYS messed up chicken breasts! I tries your method and it came out moist and tender. Thanks so much.

  44. excellent, thanks….I’ll always brine now. Had most success with your recipe baking in a cast iron skillet at 450 degrees. At the end of baking I gave it a quick broil blast that crusted the top very nicely to match the bottom. After giving it a rest with tin foil hat, breasts were super juicy.
    -I would suggest not salting the breasts until they’re sliced and served. The brining process took care of most of that for my taste.
    -also I didn’t have much luck brushing with butter the first time I tried this when I baked in a pyrex dish uncovered. Burned too much at the high heat before the breasts were done

    • You’re welcome, Peter — we’re glad you enjoy the recipe and we appreciate your feedback!

  45. Thank you so much! I have tried everything to bake the perfect chicken breast and they always end up dry or rubbery requiring some sort of condiment to salvage. I followed your tips and brined the chicken, basted with very little butter, added the seasonings, used an instant read thermometer (that i just purchased after reading your blog) I baked the chicken and I let it rest under foil. And voila…they were juicy and fabulous! Even my two picky high school boys devoured them!! Thank you!

    • You’re very welcome, Sheila — we’re so glad to hear you and your boys enjoyed the recipe! :)

  46. Super simple, yet delicious! I’m one happy student and appreciate the guide & steps! :)

  47. These were the best chicken breasts I’ve ever had!!! Thank you!! 

  48. I found this recipe via a Google search. I love the ease, I love the tenderness of the chicken, and the flavor. Speaking of the flavor, one-half a teaspoon of black pepper, one-half a teaspoon of paprika, are far too much for 4 chicken breasts. Personally, I think it makes the dish overly spicy. Also, a quarter cup in warm water to brine the chicken? Wow! I used 5-6 dashes of salt and it was plenty. Pairing down the salt as well as the spices worked perfectly. I am curious however, if the person who wrote this recipe is a smoker? It’s the only reason I can think of for the spice and salt measurements. 

    • We appreciate your feedback, John! We use more salt because that’s how brines work. You can read about them here. That being said, you can always use less if you like, same with the other seasonings!

  49. I’ve made this recipe twice.  Definitely came out perfectly tender and moist.  I didn’t use butter and it was still great.