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. I tried this recipe last night. It was delicious! Using the 450 degree temperature really worked well. Thank you for sharing!

  2. OKAY!!!! I MADE THIS CHICKEN TODAY.. DIDNT SKIP ANY STEP AND I AM IN SHOCK IT WAS SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!! I HAVE NEVER MADE ANY CHICKEN BEFORE THAT WAS AS GOOD AS THIS!…. THE TENDERNESS, THE FLAVOR, IT WAS FABULOUS !!!
    THANK YOU FOR THE TIPS….
    THANKSSSSSSS

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Melissa — we’re so happy you loved it! :)

  3. I’ve baked mine on 400 degrees and has done great at 20 minutes.
    Concerned that 450 degrees may be too high.??
    I have tried sun dried tomato dressing and also Italian dressing (liquid form)
    Marinated first and then added some to the bottom of dish to make sure it
    would be extra juicy. Also sprinkled the top of the chicken with garlic powder
    And fresh ground black pepper.
    What’s your view on this?
    Thanks
    Susan

    • Hi Susan! We’ve tested this recipe several times and have never found 450 to be too high of a temp, so you should be fine here! Also, definitely feel free to try this recipe with sun dried tomato dressing or Italian dressing, but if you do, you’d want to skip the brining step (we’d recommend brining or marinating, but not both). We hope this helps!

  4. Oh. My. Deliciousness. This make incredibly moist, tender & versatile chicken that freezes & reheats so well!
    Love doing larger batches (usually cutting the breasts in half horizontally) so I can have them when I’m short on time or it’s a hot day when I don’t want to turn on the oven.
    Thanks so much for the amazing recipe!

    Rating: 5
  5. This is our family’s favorite above all go to boneless, skinless chicken breast recipe!!! We love it!
    It’s simple to prepare and bake and perfect for dinner or cold the next day. Wonderful!

    Rating: 5
  6. I used chicken tenders and followed your recipe exactly. Delicious. So Moist. This will be my recipe for salads. They were beautifully brown. Best chicken I have ever cooked. I’ve always liked Wendy’s chicken salads because the chicken tasted good without any dressing but I could not duplicate the taste. This will work perfectly in any chicken salad. Thank you for the recipe. Next I cooked 6 breasts without pounding, they were quite large, did not brown as well but tasted greatt. My picky husband said they were good. Not often does he say he likes something I have cooked. Thank you

    Rating: 5
  7. The best on the internet!!! Follow instructions exactly as given: my only change is the addition of 1/4 cup sugar to brine, and I usually add some Old Bay, or Italian seasoning depending on final use of breasts.

    Rating: 5
    • Wow, thank you so much, Stuart! We’re so glad to hear you love the recipe!

  8. Love the recipe!! Brining does make a difference! Extremely delicious!

  9. WOW!! Chicken that just melts in your mouth. Loved the recipe and do easy.

  10. What do you recommend for the Brine if you are watching your sodium intake?

  11. I have been baking chicken breasts wrong for 32 years! Oh my God if only I’d known these 5 simple steps way back when….we could not believe how amazing this chicken was. I’ve made it twice since stumbling upon this site and I will never, ever make it any other way. Thank you!!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you for your sweet words and rating, Lorraine! We’re so happy you love the recipe! :D

  12. Thank you for this recipe. I’m a beginner in the kitchen but this was easy to make and unbelievable moist and tasty.

    Rating: 5
  13. Hands down the best method to prepare chicken fillets. Works everytime…no matter the seasoning. I don’t get a crispy top even with butter….but will gladly sacrifice it for the ultimate ‘moist’ fillets. Both husband and 4 year old agree!!! Thanks a mil

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you so much, Rhea — we’re so glad you and your family love the recipe! :D

  14. pefect

    Rating: 5
  15. This is a great, simple recipe to make your chicken dinner each week. That was my first time brining and I will absolutely be doing that each time now. Thank you!

  16. Very tasty and my family want this meal again.

    Didn’t soak in brine, just cut each breast into 4 portions then seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder that I had mixed into the butter/oil.

    Cooked 2.5 kg of chicken breast on 2 oven trays at 230 degrees C for 30 mins. 1 tray was butter and the other tray was olive oil basted chicken which we preferred the taste of.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for sharing, Ivan, we’re glad you and your family enjoyed the recipe! :)

  17. Try so much! I can finally make moist boneless skinless chicken breast! The only thing I did different was to double the spices and the melted butter. Definitely a winner. Love it and so does my hubby! Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  18. I’m 18 and just moved out on my own, I’d never made chicken before so I naturally turned to the internet and I’m so glad I found this page! It turned out so good and made me feel great about cooking! Thank you so much!

    Rating: 5
  19. Super juicy and tender, have cooked it 3 times in last 2 mos. only problem, my wife thinks spices are too hot. Would skipping paprika bring down the heat?

    • Thanks, Greg, we’re glad you enjoy it! And yes, leaving out the paprika would completely take away all of the heat. We love the flavor though, so you might want to consider still using it, but just less of it.

  20. Juiciest and most tender I’ve ever had. Cooked 3 times in last 3 months. Only question, will removing paprika take down the heat a bit? My wife isn’t a spicy fan

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks, Greg, we’re so glad you enjoy it! And yes, omitting the paprika will completely remove any of the spiciness. We love the flavor it imparts, so you could just use less if you wanted, instead of leaving it out entirely. Totally up to you though!

  21. Hey yall, I’m no fancy cook by any sorts,but I’m a man who loves to cook and sure enough eat. Ha ha!
    I’m not a fan of baked chicken. The folks hear me all the time say, I ain’t eating no slippy chicken.
    What I will say tho.. this dish us the absolute best oven baked chicken I have ever cooked.
    I do love it and I will include it in my list of suppers here around the house. My family loved it.
    Thank you for sharing. .

  22. Absolutely the BEST chicken breast I’ve ever had. Made it 7 times, gets better every time. I look forward to family dinners so I can wow everyone with this recipe. Easy easy easy too.

    Rating: 5
  23. I used Greek seasoning from a local spice shop and it was so yummy!! Thank you for this!

    Rating: 5
    • Oooh, we think that’s an awesome idea, Sara! And we’re so glad you enjoyed it!

  24. Oh my goodness yes! Well, my exact words were, Oh, **** yeah! Perfect! Will definitely make again. The brine, the seasonings (I had the smoked paprika, great suggestion), the tent at the end, wonderful! I can’t wait for my husband to try this when he gets home. Thank you!

    You will need to bake longer for thicker cuts. I had to do an additional 15 minutes. I had some big pieces and the meat thermometer wasn’t reaching the 170° mark.

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you so much, Tiffany, we’re thrilled that you loved it and we hope your husband did as well! :)

  25. My first time making chicken. It turned out incredible! The only thing I changed is the cooking time. I cooked for 25 minutes instead of 20 😁

    Rating: 5
  26. I would have never believed that these simple steps could make such a difference in how the chicken would turn out. My wife asked if I bought different chicken, organic or something. Not only was it outstanding, it was just as good leftover 2 nights later. Many thanks for this recipe as well as the many others that my family enjoys.

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you for sharing, Ira, we’re so glad you and your wife enjoyed it!

  27. This chicken is amazing- some of the moistest chicken I’ve ever eaten!! The spice mix is great as well and not too spicy – I used the measurements given for just one chicken breast though (instead of 4 like the recipe states). I will definitely be making this again soon – wonderful!!

    Rating: 5
  28. I have been using this recipe since finding it last year. So simple yet so right! Perfect everytime!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the kind rating, Jen, we’re so happy you enjoy the recipe!

  29. This recipe changed my life! All these years on the grill and I could have been inside baking. Thank you times 100!

    Rating: 5
    • Wow, thank you for your kind words, John! We’re so happy you love the recipe! :)

  30. So glad I found this page! I’ve been making boneless chicken breasts wrong for 50 years! I now love making them. This recipe works perfectly! So easy and quick!

    Rating: 5
  31. Last time I tried to bake chicken breasts, the pan was filled with liquid from the chicken and essentially boiled my chicken. Needless to say, the chicken didn’t look nor taste great. Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid ‘bake-boiling’ chicken?

    • Hi Andrew! Did you mean this happened when you tried this recipe, or a different one? You shouldn’t end up with all of that excess liquid in the pan when following this method.

  32. I’m 56 yrs old. This is the BEST baked chicken I have ever made!!!! My whole family was amazed at how moist and tasty it was. I’m SO glad I found this!!!!!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you so much, Carmen! We’re so glad you and your family loved it! :)

  33. Great recipe, I use this one all the time. It’s a solid go-to, and I’ve never had anything negative to say about how everything turns out. Mucho appreciado!

    One question: I like the idea of cooking the breast for a few minutes shorter, in the oven. And after that, placing it in a hot skillet for just a minute or two, to add little extra color. Is that something that you would recommend? Or do I risk over/under cooking the breast? Thanks in advance.

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you for sharing, Derek, we’re so glad you’re a fan! And we haven’t tried that, but we think it’s worth trying if you want! To get more color or more of a crust on the chicken though, 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!

  34. Absolutely wonderful. The entire family loved it. Even my wife and she doesn’t like anything.

    Rating: 4
  35. My husband has a new smoker and wants the chicken breasts brined first. Will this brine work . This recipe is the first time I have ever enjoyed the taste of chicken unless it was fried. Even in salads the cooked chicken had an unpleasant taste. This was perfect. Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  36. Came across your site at random, looking for a quick lemon chicken breast recipe – I often cook chicken breasts because the teenage family members think they are more ‘healthy’ (I prefer thighs myself because I find them more succulent). But I was intrigued by your method – I have never brined them before, and usually cook them at a lower temperature. So tonight I tried it your way and what a revelation! Followed your method exactly, including the resting, and they were so moist and succulent I couldn’t believe it. Now I’m fired up to think of various flavourings, etc to try. Best chicken breasts ever – thanks so much!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for sharing with us, Catherine, we’re so glad to hear you loved this! :)

  37. Ugh!!! I don’t have any paprika!!! I made it without! It’s cooking now! I’m 57 and never heard of brining, can’t wait to try it!

  38. Can I make this ahead and freeze?

    • Yes, you could freeze this chicken after baking it, but for the best taste and results, you’ll want to enjoy it fresh. We hope you enjoy!

  39. OMG! This chicken

    Rating: 5
  40. This chicken was amazing! Thanks so much for the recipe. Quick question, do you always pound your chicken before brining? The chicken you have in your pictures don’t look pounded.

    • Thank you, Kandi, we’re so happy you enjoyed this! No, we only pound the chicken breast if it’s really, really thick (we didn’t for these photos). We hope this helps! :)

  41. di you place the pan on the lowest reck or the middle rack

  42. Delicious, Moist chicken. I don’t care for chicken as usually tough and or dry. Easy. Did in electric turkey roaster outside in summer. Did not pound out. Rubbed all surfaces and tucked ends under as was in package. Made wonderful slices like a small tenderloin pork roast. Soooo tender and moist!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you for your sweet rating, Debbie, we’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  43. I just made this for the 3rd time last night … I love this chicken recipe ! It is so delicous ! I baked mine at 450 for 18 minutes – then an extra 5 on broil – I have a dinky apt oven so I usually need to add a bit more time …. and for me it turned out perfect ! Thank you /Users/loridorn/Desktop/IMG_0232.jpg

  44. I make this chicken all the time, it is soso good!!

  45. Add me to the list of people saying thank you for teaching me to bake breasts right! I’ve been doing it wrong for 40 years. I’ve used your BBRRR several times now.
    One of my cats begs for this when I make it. (Although she begs for chicken when I roast a whole one too.)
    I’m really looking forward to brining before grilling soon.

    Rating: 5
  46. Love this recipe, made it twice now! Thank you for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  47. So i dont ave a baking dish…can i use oven tray?

    • Hi Esther! You could try an oven tray, but we really recommend a baking dish because it’s deep enough to contain all of the juices. If you do use an oven tray, you’ll want to make sure you put another tray on the rack below to catch any juices that might spill over. We hope this helps!

  48. WOW! This recipe was amazing! I changed a few things though, I did 1/8 a teaspoon of Garlic salt instead of garlic powder and I didn’t brine it. I also baked it at 350 for 30 mins. I’m 15 and I started cooking dinner two nights a week for fun, my entire family loved it! My moms bringing it for lunch! Definitely making this again!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you for sharing, Caliah, we’re so glad you and your family loved it! :)

  49. I made this last week we do chicken once a week I’m always trying nee ways with chicken. My husband asked me to make it again tonight.

  50. excellent instructions! came out perfecto! thx

    Rating: 5