The Very Best Oven Baked Chicken Breast
Something as simple as Oven Baked Chicken Breast can be exceptionally spectacular with a few simple prep ahead steps. This easy boneless Chicken Breast Recipe is a fabulous on it’s own as a main course or as the first step for a variety of my favorite recipes.
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Chicken can be a little on the plain side so my goal is always to make a tender, juicy boneless Chicken Breast that was loaded with flavor. Boneless chicken tends to get dry if you overcook it so the goal here was to make sure it was tender, juicy and perfect!
Generally, I’ll make something like Chicken Piccata so it’s saucy enough to make it flavorful. But this quick chicken recipe needs none of that.
No barbecue sauce needed here, either, because this easy boneless skinless chicken breast recipe can stand alone as the best chicken dinner ever.
This easy chicken dinner turn out flavorful and lightly spiced with a hint of smoke while staying tender and juicy. This is not a dry chicken breast whatsoever.
AND it’s so simple to make.
The secret to the best juicy chicken breast is to cook it at high heat!
How to Bake Chicken Breast
Baking chicken breast is one easy task but because they contain very little fat and are a lean cut of meat you have to infuse flavor anyway you can.
I try to skip the brining which is one way to force flavor into the chicken but it can be messy and….frankly, I forget to do it every single time.
Make the chicken seasoning by whisking together the smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
Place the chicken breasts in a plastic zip top bag and then pour the seasoning over the chicken breasts. Seal the bag. Shake to coat.
Store the chicken in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. (A great meal prep tip!) You can even FREEZE the chicken breasts at this point to make things even easier in the future.
When you’re ready to cook, remove the chicken from the bag and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or in a baking dish.
Preheat oven. Bake chicken until it’s cooked through at a temperature of 165˚F.
I like to bake my chicken on a sturdy baking sheet like this one HERE lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up!
You can even make this chicken in the slow cooker by just arranging on the bottom, adding a 1/4 cup chicken stock and cooking on low for 3-4 hours.
What temperature to bake Chicken Breasts?
This question has plagued me forEVER and I finally made some notes with my temp times to see what the best result is.
Too low of a temperature seemed to dry out the chicken because it did have to cook for a longer period of time.
Boneless skinless, chicken breasts do better with a higher temperature because it allows the outside of the chicken to sear which seals in the juices.
I use this same method for my Thanksgiving turkey and it’s been the best turkey ever for the past 20 years. No kidding.
So, 425˚ Fahrenheit is my go to for baking chicken breasts because it’s not so searing hot that the outside dries out but it’s just hot enough to sear the outside of the chicken keeping the inside juicy and tender.
HOW LONG TO BAKE CHICKEN BREAST IN THE OVEN
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts will bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 165˚ F. This, of course, depends upon the weight and thickness of the chicken breast you’re baking.
When it comes to baking chicken breasts, size matters.
Follow the guidelines below for estimated cooking times for baked chicken breasts:
- 5 ounces 14-16 minutes
- 8 ounces 16-20 minutees
- 10-12 ounces 20-30 minutes
My chicken breasts were on the larger size so sometimes I’ll even split them in half lengthwise like I did here with these Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts.
If you decide to bake bone-in chicken breasts your cooking times will increase just a bit. You can follow the guide for my Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts while still using one of the seasoning mixes I mentioned earlier.
As always, use your best judgement to determine if your chicken breast is cooked through. I use the finger poke method which is simply poking the chicken breast with my finger and if it’s firm to the poke, it’s usually good to go. If it still seems a bit soft and squishy, keep cooking your chicken breast. So scientific….I know.
Your chicken should be white throughout the center when you cut it, if it’s still pink…don’t fret, just pop it back in the oven for a bit to cook a bit longer.
Also, buy an instant read thermometer because nobody likes undercooked chicken. Chicken is done baking when the internal temperature reaches 165˚F on a meat thermometer.
HOW TO STORE COOKED CHICKEN IN THE FRIDGE OR FREEZER
Cooked chicken breasts will last up to 4 days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container. We love to use them for meal prepping at the beginning of the week.
To store chicken breast in the freezer, wrap each breast tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to an airtight container. Store your chicken breasts in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Make sure you let your chicken breast rest after baking. I remove the chicken breast from the oven and tent them with foil. Then, I allow them to rest for 10 minutes.
This step allows the juices to redistribute throughout the breast and let’s the meat relax a bit. If you skip this step, your chicken juices will run right out of your chicken breast leaving you with aforementioned dry, chalky chicken we are not a fan of. Juicy chicken breast is the direct result of proper baking and lots of rest.
Things I like to serve with chicken:
- 10 Minute Mac and Cheese
- Easy German Potato Salad
- Chili Spiced Mango Guacamole Salad (Great with the Fajita Seasoning)
- Country Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Grilled Garlic Potatoes
- Insanely Easy Green Beans with Goat Cheese
Things I like to make with leftover chicken:
- Chicken Fajita Stuffed Avocado
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Tortellini Soup
- Chicken and Dumplings Skillet Casserole
- Chicken Gyros
- Chicken Enchilada Pizza
- Creamy Chicken Soup with Artichokes
If you’re looking for something a little more Sunday dinner than you should definitely try THIS Rotisserie Style Chicken. It’s just as easy to make and just as fabulous. You may also like this Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs swimming in a garlic herb sauce.
OR make these easy KID FRIENDLY BAKED Chicken Tenders! They’re super crispy, healthy, juicy and the kids can even help get them ready.
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The Very Best Oven Baked Chicken Breast Recipe
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup butter
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken breasts in a large zip top bag and pour the seasoning over the chicken. Shake the chicken to coat.
- Transfer the chicken to the refrigerator (still in the bag) and marinade for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425˚ Fahrenheit.
- Remove the chicken from the bag and arrange on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place 1 tablespoon butter on top of each chicken breast.
- Bake the chicken in the oven for 20-30 minutes (or according to the chart above) until an instant read thermometer shows 165˚ F.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and cover with foil. Rest the baked chicken breasts for 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately or cool to room temperature, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 36 hours.
You can also FREEZE your chicken for up to 3 months.