How to make the most flavorful, juiciest, Baked Chicken Breasts every single time!  With just 10 minutes of hands-on time, before baking in the oven, these can be made ahead and are perfect for Sunday meal prep! This foolproof recipe works every single time! 

Baked Chicken Breasts- how to make the best chicken breast recipes in the oven.

Most of you who visit the blog are experienced cooks with a lot of years under your belt and may not need this recipe.  But I’m noticing that many more beginning cooks are signing up and needing a little help with the basics, so I thought I’d share a simple, foundational  “how-to” recipe that’s come in handy in our catering business.

It’s also a great recipe for meal prep if you want to cook chicken in advance for the busy workweek, pulling it out as you need it.

Baked Chicken Breasts are one of the easiest things for a beginning cook to master and learning this technique will reward you time and time again all throughout your life. It’s a simple basic technique that results in tender, moist, flavorful chicken breast every single time. No more overcooked, rubbery or dried out chicken, ever again!

With just 10 minutes of prep, the oven does the rest of the work for you – perfect for busy families while not sacrificing in flavor or quality.  Understanding a few simple techniques early on will prevent years of heartache.

How to Make Baked Chicken Breasts! | 30-second video

BAKED CHICKEN BREAST INGREDIENTS:

  1. Chicken breasts – boneless and skinless! I prefer fresh chicken breasts that are similar in size and smaller in size, 5-7 ounces.
  2. Olive oil 
  3. Salt and Pepper
  4. Seasonings- spices, herbs, lemon

Baked Chicken Breast- a simple easy recipe for perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken breast, roasted in the oven. #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken

How to Bake Chicken Breasts (like a pro)!

    1. Pat dry-start by patting the chicken breasts dry – “watery” breasts will cause the breasts to steam in the oven, rather than create the delicious golden crust we all want.
    2. Cut to a similar size- cut very large breasts into smaller similar sized pieces, and pound to a similar thickness to ensure even cooking time. These breasts here were are very large, so I cut them in half, down into single 6-7 ounce portions.
    3. Coat in an olive oil-based Marinade- Skinless chicken breasts will absolutely dry out in the oven unless coated in oil, butter or some kind fat. Make a simple marinade with olive oil, salt, pepper and your choice of seasonings using spices and herbs. The chicken will be protected from drying out while soaking up all the flavor like a sponge. There are lots of flavor variations here, so see the recipe notes for ideas. You can pick a flavorful profile -like Mexican, Spanish or Middle Eastern, or keep them simply seasoned with lemon zest and herb
    4. Bake in a hot, 425 F Oven! If you are cooking solely in the oven and not pan-searing the chicken breast first, a hot oven will seal all the juices in. ( See notes for pan-searing)
    5. REST THE BREASTS! Cutting into the chicken before it has time to rest, will encourage all the flavorful juices and moisture to escape. You want the juices to stay in there so your chicken stays nice and plump and juicy.  Tent with foil or another baking sheet and let them rest for 8-10 minutes. This is super important in preventing the chicken from drying out.

 

Baked Chicken Breast- a simple easy recipe for perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken breast, roasted in the oven. #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken

Chicken Breast Marinade “Formula”:

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil per pound of chicken
  2. ¾-1 teaspoon salt per pound of chicken
  3. pepper to taste
  4. 1-2 teaspoons any other spices or herbs per pound of chicken

NOTE: When baking chicken with the skin on, feel free to use a dry rub. The skin is naturally oily and fatty will crisp up nicely without any additional oil.

  • Skinless Breast = Olive oil marinade!
  • Skinon Breast = use dry rub!Baked Chicken Breast- a simple easy recipe for perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken breast, roasted in the oven. #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to salt and pepper, this Lemon Herb Marinade has lemon zest, granulated garlic, and dried Herbs de Provence. Very simple flavors, that can be used in a multitude of ways during the workweek, great for meal prep.

Baked Chicken Breast- a simple easy recipe for perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken breast, roasted in the oven. #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken

Brush your flavorful marinade on all sides of the chicken, coating well.

Here below I’ve added smoked paprika and cumin to the olive oil, for an earthy Spanish Twist.

Baked Chicken Breasts- a simple easy recipe for perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken breast, roasted in the oven. #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken

What oven temperature to bake chicken?

  • 425 F degrees!
  • If you are cooking solely in the oven and not pan-searing the chicken breast first, a hot oven will seal all the juices in. ( See notes for pan-searing)

Baked Chicken Breasts- a simple easy recipe for perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken breast, roasted in the oven. #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken

Cooking times for Chicken Breasts in 425 F oven

  • small 4-5 ounce breasts will take 15-18 minutes.
  • medium 6-8 ounce breasts will take 18 -25 minutes
  • large 8-12 ounce breasts will take 25-30 minutes.

If unsure, please use a cooking thermometer,  it should read 165 F at the thickest part.

How to tell if chicken breast is cooked without a thermometer?

  1. When you cut into the breast, juices should run clear.  Pink or red juices indicate the chicken is not done.
  2. The flesh should look opaque, matt and whitish– it could also still have a slightly pale pinkish hue, just as long as it doesn’t look shiny, clear, jelly-like, jiggly or fleshy. Opaque is key! If unsure – cut with knife it at the thickest part of the biggest breast- and examine up close. If still unsure, cook a few more minutes.
  3. When properly cooked, the chicken will plump up tall, and slightly contract in width and length and feel “cooked” (i.e. firm) to the touch. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to tell if it is done by just pressing on it and getting familiar with how it springs back.

A thermometer is by far the most accurate way to know for sure though. So I recommend one especially if cooking for others or new to cooking chicken.

And I know you already know this, but make sure to never reuse any tools or surfaces (cutting boards) or knives, brushes or tongs that have come in contact with raw chicken (or their juices) unless washed well.

See below how the breasts have plumped up?

Baked Chicken Breasts- the formula for the easiest, best, fastest, most flavorful, juiciest chicken breast every single time!  Healthy and easy, this takes just 10 minutes of hands on time! #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken #chickenmarinade, #healthychicken

When they are 160-165 F at the thickest part, they are done! Let them rest 10 minutes before cutting!

Baked Chicken Breasts- the formula for the easiest, best, fastest, most flavorful, juiciest chicken breast every single time!  Healthy and easy, this takes just 10 minutes of hands on time! #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken #chickenmarinade, #healthychicken

At this point you could slice the breasts into thin strips across the grain or cut into cubes, or shred with two forks, or leave them whole, up to you. Make a big batch for the workweek and store in the fridge. They will keep nicely for 4 days.

Freeze chicken (cut up or shredded) in smaller portions in ziplock bags- perfect for throwing into soups or stews.

Baked Chicken Breasts- the formula for the easiest, best, fastest, most flavorful, juiciest chicken breast every single time!  Healthy and easy, this takes just 10 minutes of hands on time! #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken #chickenmarinade, #healthychicken

Feel free to experiment with different flavor profiles.

For example, if you have spice mixes at home, use them, making sure to salt. Cajun spice, Bereber Spice, Ras el Hanout, Dukkah, Zaatar, or even simple curry powder! So many directions to take this!

So long as the salt and oil is the right proportion to the amount of chicken, it will taste amazing!

Baked Chicken Breast- the formula for the easiest, best, fastest, most flavorful, juiciest chicken breast every single time!  Healthy and easy, this takes just 10 minutes of hands on time! #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken #chickenmarinade, #healthychicken

If you begin shredding the chicken breast and notice the middles are not shredding quite as easily as the edges this may be a sign that chicken is not cooked all the way through. Just place it back in the oven and cook for a few more minutes until the chicken easily shreds.

Baked Chicken Breast- a simple easy recipe for perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken breast, roasted in the oven. #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken

Look how moist and juicy this shredded chicken breast is!

Baked Chicken Breasts- a simple easy recipe for perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken breast, roasted in the oven. #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken

So there you have it… Baked Chicken Breasts- the formula for the easiest, best, fastest, most flavorful, juiciest chicken breast every single time!  Healthy and easy, this takes just 10 minutes of hands-on time!

 

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Simple Baked Chicken Breast- the formula for the easiest, best, fastest, most flavorful, juiciest chicken breast every single time!  Healthy and easy, this takes just 10 minutes of hands on time! #chickenbreast #bakedchicken #easychicken #chickenrecipes #roastedchicken #chickenmarinade, #healthychicken

Baked Chicken Breasts

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: meal prep, chicken, low-carb, easy
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Baked Chicken Breasts- the formula for the easiest,  juiciest, most flavorful chicken breast that turns out amazing, every single time!  Healthy and easy, this takes just 10 minutes of hands on time!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinade Options:

Lemon Herb Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil ( 1 tablespoon per pound of chicken)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (¾ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of chicken)
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (thyme, oregano, herbs de Provence, Italian seasoning, etc)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or use 2 fat garlic cloves, finely minced)
  • zest of one small lemon
  • Garnish with fresh Italian parsley

Mexican-Inspired Marinade 

Smoky Spanish Style:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (¾ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of chicken)
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½-1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or use 2 fat garlic cloves, finely minced)
  • Garnish with lemon and parsley

Middle Eastern Style:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (¾ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of chicken)
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of each: cumin, coriander, or optional sumac (or use 23 teaspoons zaatar!)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or use 2 fat garlic cloves, finely minced)
  • Garnish with lemon slices and parsley

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425F

Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Cut to similar size if needed- or in half at a diagonal if very large.

Pick your marinade, mixing ingredients together in a small bowl to create a paste.  Place chicken on a parchment-lined sheet pan and brush all sides generously with the paste, pouring any remaining marinade over the breasts.  (You can also bake in a baking dish, only if there is ample room for heat to circulate. A rimmed sheet pan will make cooking faster and more even. ) Let chicken rest on the counter and come to room temp while oven preheats. Make sure oven is HOT!

Bake on the middle rack for roughly 18- 20 minutes. Smaller breasts, check at 16 minutes, medium breasts at check 20-22, larger breasts may take up to 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness at the thickest part of the biggest breast, using a thermometer  (165F). Or see post above for how to tell if the chicken is cooked without a thermometer.

Let chicken rest for 8-10 minutes, tenting with foil if you like.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days for midweek meals.

To serve: serve whole, or cut slices across the grain, or cube. Feel free to shred using two forks. If while shredding, the middle of the breast seems difficult to shred, this is an indication chicken is not completely done. Just plop back into the oven for a few minutes.


Notes

Chicken will keep up to 4 days in the fridge. Or feel free to freeze – sliced, diced or shredded in portion-sized zip lock bags in the freezer, dropping them into soups and stews as needed.

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be prepared the same way, but lower heat to 400F and cooking times will change slightly.

Remember, if  baking chicken with skin-on,  you can always use the formula of the dry ingredients in the marinade to make a rub. You will not need the oil.  Coat all sides with the rub, bake until 165F and skin is crispy.

How to pan sear chicken:

  1. Always use a dry rub or season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Pan sear in olive oil over medium heat, until each side is deeply golden.
  3. Finish in a 375 F oven, uncovered until cooked through (10-15 mins or 165F) . You could place your skillet right in the oven (if oven proof).

Brining is also a great way to impart flavor into the chicken, but for the fastest prep I intentionally left out this step. If you would like to brine your chicken breasts, ¼ cup salt per quart of water is a good ratio. Some people add an equal amount of sugar.  Brine for 1-6 hours. Rinse, pat dry and continue with recipe, reducing salt in marinade by half. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 5.5 ounce portion
  • Calories: 226
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 554.4 mg
  • Fat: 8.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 34.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 110.3 mg

Keywords: baked chicken breast, baked chicken breasts, chicken breast recipes, how to bake chicken breast, chicken breast recipe, temperature to bake chicken, chicken marinades, chicken marinade recipe, best baked chicken, baked chicken healthy, baked chicken easy

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. I have never been able to bake chicken breast properly. Thank you for the tips, Sylvia! They turned out delicious! I appreciate your recipes so much. They have taking my meals to the next level.

  2. great recipe! I’m 32 and feel like I just learned how cook a chicken breast. lol. thank you, thank you!!!

  3. Wow, Sylvia, You always rock our socks off!!! I add my thanks to the many already posted!! Thanks for making cooking so much fun and healthy and tasty!!!
    Wishing you a joyful Mother’s Day. It was sweet to read about the fun you’ve had with your mom!!

  4. Made these with the first marinade. Did not have a lemon to make the lemon zest so just used lemon juice. Fabulous! Moist!
    Everyone loved these!

  5. Tried the smoky Spanish, planned on leftovers for next day and they didn’t make it. Thank you for sharing your own delicious combinations and basically providing a template that’s easy to remember for anything you have. I’m gonna try it with fish, too 😁

  6. The basic chicken breast marinade “formula” calls for olive oil to be 2 Tbs per lb of chicken, the lemon herb marinade calls for 1 Tbs per lb of chicken, and the Mexican style marinade is 3 Tbs olive oil total (I’m guessing 1.5 Tbs per lb of chicken).

    So, is the standard go-to 2 Tbs per lb of chicken, and the marinade recipes are intentionally adjusted, or is the normal 1 Tbs olive oil per lb of chicken? How do you know when to increase the olive oil amount?

    Thank you for clarifying!

    1. Hey Mollie the differing oil quantities are basically based on making the spices and salt, turn into a spreadable “paste”. The more spices, more oil is needed. You cold place spices and salt and a bowl, then just add enough oil to make a paste so it is spreadable. Hopefully, this makes sense! There is no standard with the oil portion, only with the salt. 1 teaspoon salt per pound of chicken.

  7. I use this recipe at least once a week for my family ( I double it as I have 2 teenage boys) My husband is a “griller” but he likes this chicken more! I’ve tried a few of the variations- all fantastic. My family is very happy. Thank you!

  8. The best! Great recipe – no rubbery or dried out chicken here – I used Herbs deProvince, lemon, granulated garlic and granulated onion- husband said it was the best tasting chicken he’s had.

  9. Over the last couple months, I’ve made all four versions- all excellent. Wondeirng if you would consider adding an Asian style version? I Make a lot of Asian dishes with chicken breast- so much healthier baked this way!

  10. 10 stars! The easiest tastiest recipe for chicken breast. Will be on regular rotation for sure. Thanks!

  11. I followed your recipe using the lemony herb marinade, and it was indeed juicy! Cut the breasts on the bias like you did in the photo. I haven’t had a plain chicken breast this moist in a long time. I appreciated the lemon zest as opposed to lemon juice. Really enjoy your website!

  12. I tried this recipe with the middle Eastern style spices and loved it! I lowered the temp to 425F. Very flavourful and juicy chicken that I used for a few days.
    I have a question about the oven temperature – I’m baking the chicken again as I type this, trying the Smoky Spanish style marinade. I’ve had to reduce the oven temp from 425 to 400 because the oil started smoking (which didn’t happen last time). Is there a way to deal with this? Thanks.

  13. Hi Sylvia,
    As much as I like spending time in the kitchen to make something special there is something to be said for meal planning and efficiency. This is a simple dish that doesn’t take much time and delivers big flavor. I bought 3 pounds of chicken breasts and let them soak in brine for a couple of hours while I played around on the internet. I then cooked half with your selection of Lemon herb spices and the other half with some garam masala, sumac, fenugreek leaves, and diced preserved lemons. Both came out moist and juicy with great flavor. I got two meals out of that with some chicken cut up and thrown into the freezer for another day. Not bad for less than an hour of actual time in the kitchen.

    1. Hi Terry! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, and played around with your own flavors! Yes, a quick and easy meal-prep recipe that is very very simple to make!