At the risk of being completely dramatic (who? me?), Baked Bone In Chicken Breast is life-altering.
Well maybe not life-altering, but it is certainly dinner-time/meal-prep/everything-that’s-usually-wrong-with-chicken-breast-altering.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been tackling ways to cook juicy, tender chicken breasts that are scrumptious enough to enjoy all on their own, or to mix with your favorite salads, pastas, and more.
- Baked Chicken Breast and Air Fryer Chicken Breast use brining to make the chicken juicy.
- Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breast insulates from the outside, while Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts tackles from the inside.
- Chicken Marinade can work for the grill and the oven.
But what about when you want simple, shredded white meat with intense, oven-roasted flavor?
Bake chicken breast with the bone in!
What Are Split Chicken Breasts?
By “bone-in chicken breast” I am referring to what you will see labeled at the store as split chicken breast.
“Split chicken breast” might sound intimidating (or like it is something different than a chicken breast with the bone still attached), but it is the exact same thing.
Bone-in chicken is called split chicken breast because a whole chicken breast technically includes BOTH sides of the chicken (it looks like a big heart shape). Since you purchase the meat cut into two pieces, the breast is “split.”
When it comes to roast chicken, dark meat lovers tend to get the better deal, because chicken thighs are harder to overcook and more inherently juicy than chicken breasts.
Baking split chicken breast (remember, that’s chicken breast with the bone in and skin on) creates the same tender, roasted succulence that dark meat lovers enjoy, but with the lighter flavor of white meat.
A white meat lover myself, learning to cook bone in chicken was one of the moments in my early-20s where I felt like I’d learned something truly useful in the kitchen.
Cooking Times and Benefits of Split Chicken Breasts
Split chicken breasts take 35 to 45 minutes to bake at 350 degrees F, compared to the 15 to 25 minutes at 425 degrees F needed to bake boneless breasts. The time is worth it.
- The supreme juiciness of bone-in, skin-on meat is hard to beat. The bone helps the chicken cook more evenly and the skin locks in moisture.
- Bone-in chicken breasts are cheaper than boneless chicken breasts. Even with the weight of the bone counted, bone-in chicken is the better price per pound.
- Bone-in chicken is healthy. Chicken is still a very lean cut and the bone itself contains micronutrients. Bones add nutritional value to meat. If you’d like to save calories, avoid eating the chicken skin, which is high in fat and calories.
How to Cook Bone In Chicken Breast
This is a back-pocket, easy baked chicken recipe that’s perfect for making lightly seasoned diced or shredded chicken that you can use in any of your favorite recipes.
From Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad, to chicken casseroles, to one of the “5 Unboring Ways to Use Shredded Chicken” I share in my cookbook, this baked bone-in chicken is versatile and will make your recipes scrumptious.
- Bone-In Chicken Breast. Chicken breasts are an incredibly versatile and lean protein. Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts are plenty flavorful on their own, but a delicious seasoning mixture helps take this recipe to the next level.
- Olive Oil. Olive oil helps keep the chicken moist and juicy during baking, crisps the skin, and adds exceptional flavor.
- Lemon. Lemon juice adds wonderful brightness and citrus flavor to the chicken.
- Seasoning. My favorite seasoning blend for this baked chicken includes minced garlic, dried oregano, and dried rosemary. It’s earthy, savory, and pairs well with almost any meal!
- Arrange the chicken in a parchment lined baking dish and pat dry.
- Mix the oil together with the seasonings.
- Brush the mixture over the chicken.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the top and arrange lemon wedges around the chicken. Top each breast with salt and pepper.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes (if desired). Cover and let rest, then ENJOY!
Whether or not you choose to leave the skin on the chicken breast after roasting is up to you.
- If you love crispy chicken skin, pop your breast under the broiler to brown it prior to serving (this is Ben’s fave).
- You also can remove the skin. Roast the chicken with the skin on as directed, then remove it prior to serving or shredding.
What to Serve With Baked Split Chicken Breasts
- Pasta. Add chicken breast to this Eggplant Pasta or Pasta al Limone for a meal everyone will love.
- Rice. Lemon Rice and this baked chicken breast would be a delicious pair.
- Salad. Use this chicken breast to add protein to your favorite salad (like this Arugula Salad).
- Vegetables. Serve baked chicken breast with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Sauteed Carrots, Grilled Asparagus, or Grilled Brussels Sprouts.
- To Store. Refrigerate chicken breast in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Dish. A kitchen tool I use on repeat.
- Instant Read Thermometer. A foolproof way to check your chicken for doneness.
- Citrus Juicer. My go-to for juicing lemons and limes.
JUICIEST CHICKEN EVER. This is drama that lives up to the hype!
Baked Bone In Chicken Breast
- 2 split chicken breasts bone-in, skin on chicken breast
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 medium lemon divided*
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional for serving
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or thyme, optional for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Arrange the chicken in the dish, skin-side up, making sure the pieces do not touch. With paper towels, pat dry.
- To a small bowl, add the oil, garlic, oregano, and rosemary. Zest the lemon directly into the bowl. Stir to combine.
- Brush the mixture liberally over the chicken, using it all.
- Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze half of the lemon over the top of the chicken. Cut the remaining half into 6 wedges, then tuck the wedges around and slightly under the chicken breasts.
- Sprinkle the tops of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Bake the chicken for 35 to 45 minutes, depending upon the size of your breasts. Cooking time can vary widely depending upon how much your chicken breasts weigh—I have cooked some extra-large split breasts that weigh more than a pound each and needed more than 50 minutes. Your best bet is an instant read thermometer. Chicken is cooked through when it reaches 165 degrees F when an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast meat (be sure it isn't touching the bone; I typically remove mine around the 155 degrees F mark, then cover it to let the carryover cooking finish the job).
- If you’d like the chicken more brown, place it under the broiler for 2 minutes to allow it to crisp. Watch carefully to ensure the chicken does not overcook or burn.
- Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board and cover with foil. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with a bit of additional salt and/or herbs to taste. Enjoy warm.
- Use this recipe as a base for any of your favorite seasoning blends. Season the chicken prior to cooking and use the amount of olive oil and cooking times stated in the recipe.
- *I love lemon with chicken, but if you prefer a simpler seasoning, you can omit the lemon and follow the recipe as directed.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken breast in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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