This Oven Baked Chicken Breast recipe delivers succulent, flavorful, JUICY, caramelized chicken that the whole family will gobble up! It’s a simple, quick, pantry friendly, weeknight dinner with a foolproof technique that can be served along any side dish, or added to pastas, salads, grain bowls, sandwiches and more (LOTS of ideas included). You will love the paprika, garlic, onion seasoning blend, or use any of your favorite seasonings to mix things up!
Watch How to Make oven baked chicken breast
Pound chicken to an even thickness
This tenderizes the chicken and helps the chicken cook more evenly. Place the chicken on a cutting board or flat surface and top with plastic wrap. Gently pound the chicken to an even thickness using the smooth side of a mallet, rolling pin, or side of a can.
Combine warm water and kosher salt together in a freezer size bag or large bowl. Stir until the salt dissolves. Add chicken and let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Remove chicken from the brine, rinse in cold water and pat dry.
Brush the bottom of a 9×13 pan with softened butter. This will prevent the chicken from sticking and infuse the chicken with buttery goodness.
How to season baked chicken breast
Place the chicken breasts in a single layer and brush both sides with olive oil. This will help insulate the chicken and keep it extra juicy. Whisk the seasonings together, then evenly sprinkle over the chicken.
Avoid rubbing the seasoning because this causes clumps, and unevenly seasoned areas. Instead, pat the spices so they stick to the chicken. You can use the spice blend in the recipe card, or any spices your heart desires! See the variations section.
How to cook baked chicken breast
Bake the chicken uncovered until it registers 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. The total baking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken.
Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. This will allow the chicken to reabsorb all the juices and ensure it’s extra juicy.
Storing Juicy Baked Chicken Breast
Baked Chicken Breasts FAQs
A 6-ounce (approximately 170 grams) boneless, skinless chicken breast typically contains around 220-240 calories. If you calculate roughly ¼ tablespoon olive oil and butter per breasts, the total is 275-295 calories per breast. These values are approximate and would likely be less because some of the olive oil and butter used end up in the bottom of the pan, and not soaked up by the chicken.
You may omit the butter and substitute it with cooking spray if looking to save calories.
There are zero carbohydrates in baked chicken breasts.
It’s best to cook chicken breast at 450°F. The higher temperature cooks the exterior quickly, sealing in the juices, so less moisture is evaporated while cooking, keeping the chicken extra juicy.
It takes about 18 minutes to bake chicken breasts in the oven, however, cooking times will vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken. Small chicken breasts can take as little as 13 minutes to cook, whereas, large chicken breasts can take as long as 25 minutes to cook. It’s best to invest in an instant read thermometer (my fav) to check for the doneness of the chicken instead of basing doneness off of baking time.
The key to cooking chicken breast without drying it out is:
1. Brine the chicken. This changes the molecular structure of the meat so it retains extra moisture.
2. Don’t overcook. Chicken breasts are a lean cut of meat and therefore dry out easily if overcooked. Bake just to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, then rest to carryover to 165 degrees F. Use an an instant thread thermometer to cook the chicken perfectly every time.
3. Rest before slicing. This allows the juices that have pushed to the outside of the breasts to be evenly absorbed throughout the chicken.
You can use any spices you like! Try Cajun seasoning, fajita seasoning, jerk seasoning, Italian seasoning or your favorite spice rub. You can also play with the recipe and scale the spices or add additional herbs like thyme and basil.
Yes, this recipe will work with either boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or bone-in chicken thighs. For boneless, bake at 400 degrees for 17-22 minutes. For bone-in, see this recipe for Baked Chicken Thighs.
No, chicken breasts should not be baked from frozen. Not only will they be a funny texture, but you cannot season frozen chicken breasts successfully.
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Baked Chicken Breast in Oven
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- Pound: Place chicken breasts on a cutting board in a single layer. Top with plastic wrap and gently pound to an even thickness using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or side of a can.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Brine: Combine warm water and kosher salt in a freezer size bag or large bowl. Stir until the salt dissolves. Add chicken (make sure it's submerged) and let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours (mix spices and prep pan during this time). Remove chicken from the brine, rinse in cold water and pat dry.
- Mix spice blend: Whisk the spices together (paprika through chili powder) in a small bowl; set aside.
- Season chicken: Add the chicken to the baking dish in a single layer. Brush or drizzle the top side of the breasts with ½ tablespoon olive oil, then sprinkle half the spice blend over top. Pat the seasonings into the chicken (don’t rub). Flip chicken over and repeat.
- Bake: Bake, uncovered, until the chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer (this is my FAV!), about 15-18 minutes for medium chicken breasts and up to 25 minutes for larger chicken breasts. (The chicken will carryover to 165 degrees after resting.)
- Rest: Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a serving platter or to individual plates. Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- Meal prep: The baked boneless chicken breast can be prepped up to the point of baking, covered with foil and refrigerated overnight. Before baking, let the chicken come to room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Storage: Store baked chicken breasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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