Baked Chicken Breasts

Learn how to make delicious baked chicken breasts with this easy 5-step recipe.  It’s so delicious!

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.  💛

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 $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 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, 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.  (Again, though, if your chicken breasts are sold pre-brined in a sodium solution, skip this step.)

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.

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.

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

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1,303 comments on “Baked Chicken Breasts”

  1. Tried this tonight.  Chicken was tender and moist.  Husband loved it.  A little too spicy for me.  I guess I don’t like paprika.  Thanks for the recipe.  We eat a lot of chicken and I am always looking for new ways to prepare it.

  2. This was THE BEST baked chicken breast recipe, EVER. I’ve already made it twice in the last week or so. Husband was licking his chops. The dog was trying to jump up to get a bite (we never feed her table food and she knows this and usually never gets this bossy, but she must have known how great this chicken was)… 10 out of 10. I’ll be spending the rest of my night perusing your recipes.

    • Thanks for your sweet words, Trish — we’re so happy you and your husband loved it! :)

  3. Will this work when cooking for enough for 75 people? Do you need to add extra time?

    • Hi Nancy — this recipe makes enough for 4 servings, so you would need to do like 18 or 19x this recipe to feed 75 people.

  4. Hi! I was wondering how thick your chicken breast? I buy natures promise individual chicken breast and they are quite small. I just wanted to make sure so I don’t over cook.

    Thanks!

    Jackie

    • Hi Jackie! It’s hard to say, sometimes they’re thicker than others. If really thick, you might want to pound them a bit. If they’re smaller, we’d set your timer for a few minutes shorter and check them with the thermometer just to be on the safe side. We hope this helps!

  5. hello i tried this method with chicken and it came out FABULOUS!!! really enjoyed it.  I was wondering can I do the same method with turkey breast? 

    • Thanks for sharing, Amanda — we’re so happy you enjoyed it! We haven’t experimented with turkey breast for this recipe, though we think it’s worth giving it a try!

  6. I followed the recipe exactly (except longer cooking to get to 170degrees – 10 minutes more but could be my oven) and the chicken turned out amazing! Love this, simple and easy technique that works! Thank you!

  7. Could I add a little mustard before sprinkling with seasoning?

  8. Hello! I made this last night for dinner and it was excellent!! Juicy and tasty! Thank you for sharing…now after all these years I finally can make a perfect chicken breast!

  9. Loved this chicken!  The pan was full of water after cooking – is this usual?  

    • We’re so glad to hear that, Alice! Hmmm, the pan shouldn’t have been full of water though — we’re not sure what happened there.

  10. I have never been able to cook chicken properly. I would cook it and eat it anyway because it is healthy. But, it all change when I tried this recipe. I did it and my family and I really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to make it again!

    • Thank you for sharing with us, Laura — we’re so glad you and your family enjoyed this! :)

  11. OH HELL YEAH DUDE!!!!!!! LET ME JUST TELL YOU A THING. I HATE OVENS. I HATE THEM WITH EVERY FIBRE OF MY BEING. EVERYTHING I PUT INTO MY GODDAMN OVEN COMES OUT BURNT AS HELL OR JUST PLAIN INEDIBLE. BUT NOT TODAY. TODAY EVERYTHING CHANGED. I FOLLOWED YOUR INSTRUCTIONS TO THE VERY LAST MINUTE DETAIL AND LET ME TELL YOU DUDE THIS CHANGED MY LIFE. I SMELT SOMETHING AND THOUGHT I WAS BEGINNING THE ASCENT TO HEAVEN BUT NAH IT WAS JUST THE SMELL OF MY SUCCULENT CHICKEN BREASTS COOKING IN THE OVEN. AND DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE TASTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT WAS PERFECTLY SEASONED, MOIST (!!!!!) AND D R I P P I N G WITH JUICY JUICY GOODNESS. I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE TASTED CHICKEN BREAST THAT GOOD. I HAD TO RUN UP AND LET EVERYONE IN MY HOUSE TASTE IT. THEY ATE HALF BUT U KNOW WHAT THIS CHICKEN GOT ME FEELING LIKE I AM BLESSED SO IMMA SHARE MY PROSPERITY. LORD JESUS. THANK U. THIS HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. MARRY ME.

  12. Newlywed here:
    I got married thinking I knew how to cook chicken, but I was wrong. A couple times my husband kindly commented that my chicken was a bit tough. So I went on a quest to find the perfect recipe. This one was perfect!! He raves about it! I’ve now started to add a bit of my own seasonings and it works perfectly every time. Thank you so much for saving our supper! ;) Nine months later, we are still happily married because I figured out how to cook! Thank you so much!

    • Thank you so much for sharing with us, Morghann — we’re happy you and your husband loved this! :)

  13. This way of cooking chicken breast made it come out so juicy and tasty! It was so easy, too. Can’t wait to try it again and experiment with the spices.

  14. This is just general question but is there perfect way to get rid off chicken smell? I love chicken breast but I’m very sensitive to the meat smell. I think I’ve tried almost all types of herbs and seasoning but nothing seems to work perfectly unless I make dishes including lots of fat, oil & salt. Any healthier way to control this?

    • Hi Stella! We’re sorry but we’re not really sure how to help you here. We think this chicken smells great! Lemon and garlic are always good to use though, and they’re both very fragrant.

  15. Do you put any water in the pan prior to cooking? 

  16. Although the breast came out tender, I found them to be too salty from the brining as I did not add additional salt. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Karen! Hmmm, were the chicken breasts you used sold in a pre-brined solution? That could explain why. We have a note about it in the recipe. Otherwise, it really shouldn’t taste too salty, as it’s a quick brine and you rinse it off afterwards.

  17. making this chicken now and there is a lot of water in the pan.

    • How did it turn out, Grace? There should definitely be pan juices, but not a lot of water…

  18. Can the chicken breast still be slightly frozen before brining?

  19. I made tonight and was great!! Not dry, lots of flavor! Never knew exactly what brining would do–we will have again for sure!!

  20. Thank you for these tips. I bought the organic breasts that were already brined, The rest was so easy and the chicken was super juicy. The kids loved it which is always a win in our picky family. Simple and so easy. Thanks!!!

  21. Made this chicken tonight and it was awesome- I was amazed at how moist it was! My boyfriend absolutely loved it! No more dry chicken 😀

  22. Do you cover the chicken while it is baking with the foil or just after? I normally would cover it while baking.
    Thanks!

  23. I am trying this recipe this weekend. Do I put the oven on bake or broil?

    • Hi Tosha! You put the oven on bake, but at the very end, 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. We hope you enjoy!

  24. You are a genius, Ali! Thank you so much! I just made this chicken and it is so moistness and delicious! I’m going to mix it in with your broccoli mac j cheese recipe now!  

  25. What is the best way to reheat without making it dry or tough?

  26. Will definitely try this for supper, looks so easy and yummmy,  what temperature in a convection oven? I would also like to roast potatoes in another pan , also would you have a recipe for roasted potatoes , something simple with onions and a few spices, thank you

    • Hi Lorraine! Unfortunately we haven’t tried this in a convection oven, so we aren’t 100% sure. However, based on what we’ve read, it looks like you would still bake at the same temp, just for a shorter amount of time (we just aren’t sure how much shorter). And we don’t have a roasted potato recipe currently on the blog, but there are so many great ones out there! Here’s one in particular we like…(you can never go wrong with Ina Garten). :)

  27. Tried this recipe tonight and LOVED IT! Added a little more garlic powder and used smoked paprika. I also only used 2 chicken breasts and cooked for about 18 minutes. Super juicy and full of flavor. Adding this to my favorites list!

    Thanks for sharing!

  28. Sounds good. Why not use chicken thighs with or without bones? I do things more or less than this author except with the aforementioned and coat with e e v olive oil and cumin/salt mixture. Tastes great! Will try brining today

    • We hope you enjoy the recipe, Ted! You could try this with chicken thighs (we haven’t), but we think it should probably work fine!

  29. I have no idea what I did wrong, but after 20 minutes in the oven the chicken was still raw in the middle. Followed the instructions to the letter, and was extremely disappointed.

    • Oh no, we’re sorry to hear that, CM! We wonder if your chicken breasts were just really thick? If so, we’d recommend pounding them a little bit beforehand.

  30. brining my chicken now so excited for the end result i will let you know how it turns out

  31. Delicious! Thank you!

  32. I make lots of chicken; mostly skinless/boneless breasts. I decided to try this oven baked recipe because of the brining and high heat – neither of which I had tried before. I brined the breasts for about 20 minutes, then rinsed them and patted them dry. Then I pounded them to about an inch thickness, with a wooden mallet. I followed the directions exactly, except for adding a bit of onion powder to the spice mix. I brushed the breasts with melted butter on both sides. and sprinkled the spice mix on both sidesover the breasts. I baked them at 450 degrees for 18 minutes.

    The chicken came out moist and very tender, although the large roasting pan did have lots of liquid on the bottom. I pulled the chicken out of the pan and drained it. I put a roasting rack into the pan, arranged the chicken on the rack and broiled it for about 5 minutes, watching it constantly to prevent burning. The chicken turned out a bit salty but it was moist and tender. Next time I bake chicken this way, I will use much less salt in the spice mix, and bake the chicken on a roasting rack from the beginning. The bottom side of the breast was a little “boiled” in texture, which I didn’t like. I will be making this again for sure.

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Elisa — we’re glad you enjoyed this! Definitely feel free to use less salt next time if you prefer (some groceries have the chicken sitting in a brining solution already, so that could be why yours tasted saltier).

  33. Tried this recipe exactly as written… didn’t work. It’s been in an extra 20 minutes and is still not at 170, however my oven is working perfectly based on everything else I cook. 

    • Hi John! Oh no, we’re sorry to hear that! Is your chicken just really thick? If so, we recommend pounding it before cooking, otherwise it could take longer to bake.

  34. I made this for dinner, it was great..now i want to buy a bunch of chicken breasts so i can make this for salads, sanwiches and dinners, im so happy with this recipe. Thank you!!

  35. I just tried this recipe today and i absolutely love it as well as my family members. Thank you for sharing it,it is extremely delicious <3

  36. Thanks for this! Last night I decided to marinate some skinless chicken breasts in kimchi juice, and figure out what to do with them today. I decided to bake them, and went looking online for how to do so properly. I followed your advice. I took the chicken out of the marinade, brushed it with olive oil on both sides and salted on both sides. Then I put some sesame oil in the bottom of the baking dish. I baked at 450º as you suggested. It was done in a little under 15 minutes and it was perfect! I think the kimchi juice flattened out the chicken breasts somehow, or tenderized them, or whatever… But thanks to you, this spur-of-the-moment marinating decision turned out very well.

  37. great recipe

  38. I’ve been reading through the comments and I’ve noticed that some people have mentioned ending up with water in the pan after cooking. I’m wondering if it’s from ‘enhanced’ or ‘plumped’ chicken, which is injected with extra water. Google it and see that it can be a common practice. I can’t wait to try this recipe, and I have one question. Can coconut oil be used instead of olive oil or butter?

    • Hi Kathy! You raise a very good point, and we think you’re probably right. A lot of groceries seem to do that with their chicken (another reason this comes out a bit too salty for some folks). And we haven’t tried this recipe with coconut oil instead of butter/olive oil, but we think that should work fine. We hope you enjoy!

  39. Hi. Great tips. Have been using your technique for years (without the brining..look forward to trying that).

    My only twist on your recipe is something that really pleases me. Instead of butter & seasonings I use a vinaigrette salad dressing and top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan….but that’s me. Nice tips.

  40. I am on a salt fee diet and salt in the bring is a no no. Is there anything else to use instead of salt to brine?
    Thanks

    • Unfortunately, I think that salt is the only ingredient that tenderizes the meat while brining. I would just skip the brining altogether if you’re trying to use less salt.

  41. Turned out great! Wish I could share a pic.

    • We’re glad to hear that, Angela! And in the future, just post your pic to Twitter or IG, and tag @gimmesomeoven or use the hashtag #gimmesomeoven. :)

  42. I just used this process tonight -:I thought it turned out great! (Sorry, I didn’t think to take a picture of it.)

  43. Could I use bone- in chicken breast with this recipe?

    • We haven’t tried that, Linda, so it’s hard to say. We know they’ll work fine, but they’ll take a bit longer to bake, and we’re just not sure how much longer. If you give it a go, let us know how they turn out!

  44. This baked chicken recipe was amazing. My chicken turned out perfect!  Thank you!

  45. This chicken is wonderful and so very easy to fix.  I have always brined my chicken and it does make all the difference regardless of how you prepare it.  This will be my new go to dish!  Thanks!

    • Thank you for sharing, Pat — we’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  46. instead of salt one can use citrus. Lemon is perfect with EVOO or orange for some sweetness.

  47. First time trying this recipe and we LOVED it!  I had gigantic chicken breasts, so I butterflied them first. Still worked just as well.  Quick question though.. I had a ton of juice in my pan, and my tops didn’t get very crispy (I used olive oil)… is this because I butterflied the breasts first?  Thanks! 

    • Thank you for sharing, Cate, we’re so glad guys enjoyed the chicken! Some juice is normal, but a lot could have been because you butterflied them. We’re sorry it didn’t get very crispy! 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. We hope this helps!

  48. These were so delicious! It was 87 outside when I came home, but, so worth using the oven for this chicken. They turned out perfect. This recipe, and, your Fried Rice recipe, are going to be part of our menu rotation from now on! So good. Thanks!

  49. This was the best cooking tip  EVER. I will never not brine my chicken breast again. Dinner was a huge hit last night . Thank you so much. . This is cooking at its best . Thank you thank you 

  50. This is now one of our favorite chicken recipes to make and has become a staple side with my mac and cheese for meals when I take them to people :) Thank you for sharing!

    Rating: 5