Perfect Baked Chicken
Perfect oven baked chicken breasts every time! Learn my simple and easy method for how to make perfectly juicy and deliciously seasoned oven baked chicken breasts. This baked chicken breast recipe includes a secret trick, a homemade spice mixture, and instructions for the best way to bake chicken to give you wonderful results every time!
Baked chicken is the one thing I make every single week, without fail. There are countless ways to incorporate this chicken into so many different meals, from tacos, enchiladas and salads to soups and casseroles. The options are endless!
Baked chicken breast is also super versatile – it’s healthy, inexpensive and completely customizable depending on what flavor you prefer. However, if you have some experience cooking chicken, you may have found that it can easily become dry, tough, and flavorless. But you can say goodbye to boring, dry chicken with these easy steps for tender, tasty chicken breasts. You’re never going to need another baked chicken recipe!
Secret Trick For Juicy Baked Chicken Breast
The secret to super juicy baked chicken breast is an easy process called brining. Have you ever tried brining chicken breasts? It’s a very simple process where the chicken breasts are submerged in salted water for 15 minutes. And let me tell you, it results in the most amazing, delicious chicken! I seriously wish I would have known about this method sooner!
Instead of marinating chicken breasts for 20 to 30 minutes or longer, you just brine them in the salted water for 15 minutes. So easy and so worth it!
You have my word, with this brining trick, you will never have another piece of dry, flavorless chicken breast.
Baked Chicken Ingredients
This recipe is simple and straightforward. Here’s what you’ll be needing:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I prefer to use fresh chicken for the best results, but frozen and thawed chicken will totally work too. Some chicken comes pre-brined, in which case you can skip that step.
- Butter or olive/avocado oil. Either works great, but the extra flavor of butter is pretty wonderful.
- Kosher salt. This is a must for the brine, and for seasoning the chicken.
- Seasonings. Most times, I use this simple blend of garlic powder, paprika, salt and black pepper because it’s so easy and goes with pretty much everything. Feel free to sub in any dry seasoning blend that you prefer.
How to Bake Chicken Breasts
- Brine. Brining will result in chicken that’s extra juicy, and best of all, it’s easy and be done in just 15 minutes. Brine your chicken in lukewarm water, which will also bring the chicken to room temperature. This will make for more even cooking. To brine chicken, add the chicken breasts to a large bowl filled with lukewarm (not hot) water and dissolved salt. Let the chicken breasts sit in the saltwater for at least 15 minutes. To brine the chicken ahead of time, cover and refrigerate the bowl of chicken and saltwater for up to 6 hours. I wouldn’t recommend letting the chicken brine for much longer than that.When you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the brine. Rinse it with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Brush. Brush or rub the chicken breasts all over with melted butter or oil. This will help prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan, and also helps the seasonings stick.
- Season. Rub on the simple seasoning blend or whatever seasonings you prefer. You could also just use old fashioned salt and pepper.
- Bake. In my experience, chicken is less likely to dry out when cooked fast at a high heat. Depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts, baking chicken at 450°F should require a cooking time of about 15-18 minutes. The high heat will give the outside of the chicken a nice “crust” and this will also help to lock in the juices and keep the chicken tender on the inside.
- Rest. Don’t skip this step! It’s important to let the baked chicken breasts rest for about 5-10 minutes before cutting into them. If you cut into really any meat right away, you will lose all of the tasty juices and your chicken is more likely to taste dry.
Tips for the Best Baked Chicken
- Try to choose chicken breasts that are approximately the same size, so that they cook at the same rate. This recipe assumes that your chicken breasts are about 4-5 ounces each. If your chicken breasts are significantly larger or smaller, you may need to adjust the cook time according.
- You can check to see if your chicken is done by cutting into a breast; there should be no pink inside and the juices should run clear. Alternatively, you can check with a thermometer. The thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should register at least 165ºF when fully cooked.
- Double or even triple the spice blend and store it for later use.
- This brining and cooking method also works well with boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Add some your favorite vegetables to the pan to cook along with the chicken. Carrots, broccoli, asparagus and zucchini would all be great options.
How long does it take to bake chicken breasts?
This recipe utilizes a high heat cooking method. Cooking the chicken at a higher heat means it will cook through more quickly and be less likely to get dry in the oven. A standard chicken breast around 4 ounces in size will bake for 15-20 minutes at 450ºF.
How do you know when chicken is done cooking?
You can tell when your chicken is done by either cutting into it, or using a meat thermometer. If you cut into the chicken, there should be no pink remaining and the juices should run clear. The most accurate way to tell if your chicken is done is to use a thermometer. I use this cooking thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. The temperature should be at least 165ºF to be considered safe to eat.
How to Store or Freeze Baked Chicken Breasts
Once the chicken has been baked and is cooled to room temperature, it can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days. It also freezes well for up to 3 months. You might want to shred, dice or slice it before freezing for easier use.
Baked Chicken Breast Variations
This chicken recipe uses pretty basic spices – feel free to add more or change up the seasonings to customize this chicken to your taste.
- Mexican chicken. Add 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Italian chicken. Leave out the paprika. Add 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice.
- Moroccan chicken. Add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Ways to Use Baked Chicken
You can always just serve this baked chicken straight from the oven. These oven baked chicken breasts are also perfect to slice, shred, or dice for use in another recipe, such as these faves:
Side Dish Ideas
Looking for some side dishes to serve with this baked chicken recipe? Here are some great options:
If you try this baked chicken recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Perfect oven baked chicken breasts every time! Learn my simple and easy method for how to make perfectly juicy and deliciously seasoned oven baked chicken breasts.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness and brined (instructions below)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or olive or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
To brine the chicken, fill a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and stir in 1/4 cup kosher salt. Place the chicken breasts in the water for 15 minutes to brine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours, if you're not ready to cook the chicken right away. Remove the chicken breasts from the salt water, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with some paper towels. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the seasonings.
Preheat oven to 450°F. and spray a large glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place the chicken breasts in an even layer.
Brush the chicken with butter or oil on both sides. Then sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.
Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken. I recommend using a cooking thermometer to know exactly when it is fully cooked. The thickest part of the chicken will read 165°F. when fully cooked.
When the chicken is fully cooked, pull it out of the oven, and immediately cover with foil. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before it is cut into, so the juices will stay intact.
Substitutions: Feel free to swap out the garlic powder and paprika with any other favorite seasonings. Italian seasoning or taco seasoning would be great options. See full post, above, for more ideas.
Storing leftover chicken: Once the chicken has been baked and is cooled to room temperature, it can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days. It also freezes well for up to 3 months. You might want to shred, dice or slice it before freezing, for easier use.
Brining process learned from Gimme Some Oven.
Photos by Molly at Yes to Yolks.