How to Bake Chicken Breasts So They're Always Juicy, Never Dry
Baked chicken breasts are a go-to weeknight dinner idea. When you follow our easy, never-fail steps you'll know how to bake chicken breasts that are flavorful and juicy using whatever seasonings you have on hand.
Knowing how to bake chicken breasts is a kitchen skill you’ll likely use your entire life. Think about it, many families default to chicken for dinner when they need something everyone will eat. Baking chicken is an easy way to cook chicken for recipes listing cooked chicken as an ingredient or to add protein to pasta, salads, or grain-based side dishes for a simple meal on busy weeknights. Plus, baked chicken breast stores remarkably well, which means it's great for make-ahead meals. Compared to other ways to cook chicken, we like baked chicken because it’s able to be (much) more flavorful than boiled chicken and less hands-on than skillet-cooked chicken and grilled chicken.
How to Bake Chicken Breasts
From seasoning slicing, here's our step-by-step guide to baking chicken breasts.
Step 1: Choose Your Seasoning
While your oven preheats to 375°F, pick your favorite seasonings or prepare a spice rub to add pizzazz to plain chicken breasts. We love the combination used in our Spice-Rubbed Chicken recipe, but you could simply season with salt and black pepper, garlic powder, lemon-pepper seasoning, seasoned salt, a chili powder-cocoa blend, really anything in your spice cabinet.
Test Kitchen Tip: If you'll be adding baked chicken breasts to a boldly flavored dish, keep the seasonings simple so the flavor doesn't overpower.
Step 2: Prep the Chicken Breasts for Baking
Brush chicken breasts with oil and sprinkle with your chosen seasonings. Rub spices into the breasts to be sure they stick. Don't forget to season both sides for the biggest flavor. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in a baking pan ($14, Bed Bath & Beyond) or roasting pan.
Test Kitchen Tip: Line your baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray for easy cleanup of your baked chicken breasts.
Step 3: Bake Chicken Breasts
We already mentioned what temperature to bake chicken breasts at, but we know your real question is how long to bake chicken breasts. These guidelines for baking chicken breasts are based on 6- to 8-ounce breasts. If your breasts are larger than 8 ounces, check their internal temperature with a meat thermometer ($15, Target) after 30 minutes of baking and increase the baking time as needed.
Bake chicken breasts at 375°F uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer shows the chicken is heated through to 165°F.
To store: Let chicken stand 30 minutes to cool. Individually wrap chicken breasts in waxed paper or parchment paper ($4, Target). Divide wrapped chicken between large freezer bags, removing as much air as possible from bags. Label and freeze up to 4 months.
Experiment with new seasonings every time or stick to a favorite you know the whole family likes. Now that you have the knowledge of how long to bake chicken breasts and at what oven temperature, you can play with flavors and recipes you add your baked chicken to all you want.