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”

  1. A follow-up after adding this chicken to my linguine carbonara…it was awesome!! Way better than buying a store bought roasted chicken! This is my new way to roast chicken breast from now on! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. THESE WERE THEEEE BEST chicken breast I have ever cooked!!! Thank you soooo much for the recipe!

  3. Absolutely fantastic recipe. I cook chicken so much, but always avoid baking it because it generally comes out much too dry. This came out perfectly though.

  4. Thank you soooo much! This is wonderful! Never been able to cook chicken breast! This simple recipe changed my life! I won’t tell anyone where I got it from though. Lol!:)

  5. Intrigued to try this recipe, but was wondering… have you tried this cooking method with chicken that has been marinated? I understand at that point the brine process wouldn’t be needed, but have you tried the rest of the steps with marinated chicken? I wonder if the marinade on the chicken would burn? Just curious :)

    • Hi Lauren! We haven’t, so that’s tough to say. We don’t think it would burn, but it might depend on the type of marinade you use. We think it’s worth a shot, we would just suggest watching it closely. We hope this helps!

  6. How bout doing this with boneless skinless chicken tenders? 

    • Hi Jennifer! We haven’t tried that, but we think you could. Just keep in mind the chicken might not take quite as long to bake.

  7. 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!

  8. Brining the chicken and baking at the higher temp of 450 degrees= Excellence!! Thank you for this method of cooking the good ol’ chicken breast!! I only brined it for 20 minutes and was juicy and moist, as you said it would be!

  9. Thank you for this amazing “Go To” recipe. I made it tonite for the second time. Turned out perfect as promised. Both times I have followed the recipe, but for the life of me, I cant seem to get a crispy crust on this darn chicken. I am using a dry rub but it turns into a wet rub in the oven. My oven is very reliable – I cooked at 450 degrees. for 16 1/2 minutes. Used olive oil instead of butter. What am I doing wrong? Too much olive oil? I also lined my pan with foil. Could this be the problem?

    • Thanks for sharing, Kim, we’re so happy you’re a fan! :) As for the crust, it’s really just on top of the chicken, so the foil on the bottom of the pan shouldn’t be an issue. To try and get the top browner/crispier, 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!

  10. Not one to leave comments much but I have to say….I finally was able to cook chicken breasts without them being dry!
    I cooked them an extra 10 min due to thickness but they came out to a perfect 170 degrees, extremely moist and so sooo good. I’ll never cook them another way. 
    Thank you!!

  11. I made this chicken and my whole family said that this is the only way I should make chicken from now on! Thanks for sharing this recipe – so simple and delicious ?

  12. 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 

  13. 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
  14. Definitely gonna try this. Thank you for sharing

  15. Whoa! You really got it out of the park with this recipe. I don’t have a thermometer so I cooked for 15′ and then broil for 4′ just to make sure. It was juiciest chicken that I’ve ever cooked in my life. Thank you so much!

    Rating: 5
  16. With ingredients you probably have on hand , this recipe is easy and delicious. One of the best chicken I’ve ever made. Very most and flavorful!!

    Rating: 5
  17. AMAZING, simply AMAZING! You made me confident about baking moist skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the oven. Love the high temperature, fast bake method!! THANKS!!

    Rating: 5
  18. I just did this and i will never cook the breast in the oven without brining again

  19. I WILL NEVER COOK CHICKEN BREAST ANY OTHER WAY FROM NOW ON!!!!!
    My husband said to throw away the other recipes. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!!!

    • Thank you for sharing with us, Sandy — we’re so happy you and your husband enjoyed this!

  20. Made this for my family and they loved it??

    Rating: 5
  21. Tasted great. It wasn’t quite as juicy as I wanted. I only had time to brine for 20 minutes, next time I’ll try for a couple hours. I also tend to leave things in the oven a little too long, I think I could have pulled it out at 15 minutes but kept it in for the 18. We will definitely have this again.

    Rating: 5
    • We’re glad you enjoyed it, Wendy! And yes, brining it for longer will definitely make it more juicy! :)

  22. Simple and awesome! Thank you. I’m gonna make this every week :)

    Rating: 5
  23. This is my go to chicken dinner recipe. Perfect every time. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  24. I made this recipe because I was bored with dry bland chicken. I thought that the only way I would ever enjoy baked chicken again was to leave this skin on. I was wrong. This chicken was loaded with flavor, absolutely moist, and to die for. Everyone needs to try it.

    Rating: 5
    • We’re so happy you love it, Deborah, thank you for your kind words! :)

  25. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it and received great reviews! I would like to make this ahead and freeze it for an upcoming event. Question: how long and at what temperature would you recommend for reheating after it is thawed?

    Rating: 5
    • You’re very welcome, we’re so glad to hear that! If reheating this after it’s already been cooked, frozen, and thawed, we would reheat it at 350 degrees until the internal temp of the chicken is 165. We hope this helps!

  26. So good every time. Best recipe for bsbs I’ve ever found!

    Rating: 5
  27. Thanks for the simple yet delicious recipe. It was perfectly cooked and juicy. I added some lemon juice as well along with the seasonings. Could it be a reason for not having a browned /bit crispy top?

    Rating: 5
    • You’re welcome, Suvarna, we’re glad you enjoyed it! To try and get the top browner/crispier, 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!

  28. You use the words bake but also say roast. My oven has both settings. Which one do you prefer?

    • Hi Celia! We’re sorry for the confusion. This chicken is baked. We hope you enjoy!

  29. OMG this is the best recipe!! Ate over 3 days and still tasted amazing and not at all dry.
    Will definitely be making this again. Thank you so much!!

    Rating: 5
  30. This was a hit. Juicy and simple. Who knew?? I have ruined so many meals but never again.

    Rating: 5
  31. So good! So easy! Thank you! Btw, I used thin cut chicken breast.

    Rating: 5
  32. I just cooked this. Fantastic!! I did add a little red pepper because I like it, but chicken turned really juicy!
    Thanks

    Rating: 5
  33. Best baked chicken I have had in a long time. Thank you

  34. Dear Author of this post, (Ali I suppose?)

    You have changed my life!

    The brining and fast-bake method combined to deliver the best chicken breast I’ve ever made!

    Rating: 5
  35. I just made this chicken and it is AMAZING. I have tried making chicken in so many ways and this was by far my favourite. Cooking at 450 for shorter time made a hugely noticeable difference in how juicy it is and it was fully cooked after only the 12 minutes. So good. Thanks for sharing! Even the packaging says 350 for 20 – 30 minutes.. and its obviously so wrong. Ill cook chicken like this forever now. Yay!

    Rating: 5
  36. I have never been able to cook chicken breast that I didn’t end up throwing out because they were dry and tasteless. Oh my gosh! This was the perfect recipe. I didn’t see your note about taking a picture of the dish until after it was eaten. I was not ready for how tender and juicy it was. I look forward to trying some of your other recipes. Thanks, now I can start buying chicken breast again.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for your sweet words and rating, Williette — we’re so glad you loved the recipe! :)

  37. Is the chicken brought straight from the freezer and brined for 15 minutes or is it thawed first then brined?

    • Hi Savannah! We use fresh chicken that hasn’t been frozen before, but you can use previously frozen chicken (just thaw it first). We hope you enjoy!

  38. For making the brine, is it 1 tsp. or 1/4 cup kosher salt?

    • Hi Erika! It’s 1/4 cup of kosher salt for the brine. We hope you enjoy!

  39. Omg life changing! ?

    Rating: 5
  40. Delicious! Some of the very best oven chicken I have made. Thank you for your awesome tips and great flavor!

    Rating: 5
  41. Ohhhhhhhhh his is SO GOOD!!! Some of the very best chicken I have ever made, baked, fried or otherwise!! Excellent recipe. The only thing I did differently was to add more of all seasonings as well as added parsley flakes and fajita seasoning. It was amazing and incredibly easy. WHICH is something I look for in my extremely busy life!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you so much, Robin! We’re so happy you enjoyed this method and recipe! :)

  42. After years of trying every recipe ‘claiming’ to produce moist chicken breast, I finally found THE ONE that actually came through with that claim. I made the most delicious and moist chicken ever after following this recipe right here! Brine….it’s all in the brine. Who knew?? Well, Ali did obviously. 5 stars isn’t enough!! Thank you, I thank you, my husband thanks you, my son thanks you, my parents thank you (I cook for them)…We all thank you!!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you so much for your sweet words, Kelly — we’re thrilled that you and your family loved the recipe! :D

  43. I plan on making this chicken to add to salads (green leaf lettuce, tomato, celery, shredded carrot – what I have on hand). Can you recommend a simple salad dressing recipe that will complement the seasoning on the chicken?

    • Hi Valerie! This lemony one is one of our faves, and it would go well with this chicken. We hope this helps and that you enjoy!

  44. I am new at cooking. Do you Cover with foil the pan when you put it in the oven ? And are you broiling the chicken or baking it. I normally bake my chicken 350 for 30 min. I broil 8-10 min.

    • Hi Latanya! No need to cover the pan with foil, and you are baking the chicken but you can finish it under the broiler for the last 3-5 minutes if you like (this helps it get a nice crust). :) We hope you enjoy!

  45. Great recipe! Made this last week and making it again today. Only one downside: olive oil. I used olive oil last week as the recipe said could be done. Unfortunately olive oil has a low smoke point, so cooking the chicken at 450 with olive oil is a big no no! I only cooked it 15 minutes and the alarms were going off in my house… Then my security system went off due to the smoke alarms. It was a big mess. That being said, the chicken still turned out DELICIOUS, but just be careful to NOT use olive oil with the high temp method. When I cook the chicken today, I’ll be using a little butter instead :-).

    Rating: 4
    • Thank you, Jacqueline, we’re so glad you enjoy it! And oh no, we’re sorry about the smoke alarms! We haven’t had that problem with the olive oil, but that’s good to know it could be an issue, so thanks for letting us know!

  46. I cannot say it any other way than that this recipe is the best chicken breast recipe ever! Never thought chicken breast could be this moist and juicy. People, look no further! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us x

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you for your sweet words, Nora, we’re so happy you enjoyed the recipe! :D

  47. What about using frozen and then thawed chicken breasts? I know you said any oil but has anyone used avocado oil? I’m new to brined chicken but trying to add more chicken to my diet and avocados have never been a part of my cooking but avocados pack such a health benefit that I am determined to learn to use them. Any suggestions.

    • Hi Mary! We think those should work fine, and we haven’t tried avocado oil with this, but we think that should be fine as well. We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  48. I have a bag of 5 individually wrapped skinless chicken breasts. On the package it states, “chicken breast containing up to 10% of a soultion of water & seasoning.” Does that mean it’s been brinned?

    • Hi Tiffanie! It sounds like it probably has been, at least a little. We would suggest skipping ahead to step 2. We hope this helps!

  49. Didn’t think boneless chicken breast could be baked without being dry. this was so moist even on the day after. Delicious.

    Rating: 5