The piece de resistance for your every day, never-lets-you-down, basic-done-better recipe needs: how to make the absolute BEST Baked Chicken Breast!

A sliced oven roasted chicken breast in a bowl

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When it comes to the Popular Protein Awards, you can’t beat boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

They’re easy to find, endlessly versatile, healthy, and one of the most approved proteins by picky eaters.

While chicken breast is great in theory—a lean protein I can flavor anyway I like, enjoy on its own, or add to pastas, salads, sandwiches, and more, AND it’s good for me?!—too often, chicken breast is a total fail in execution.

Dry. Bland. Rubbery. All common outcomes of baked chicken breast.

For years, I’ve cooked a batch of boneless, skinless chicken breasts most weeks for meal prep.

When I need simple shredded chicken, this Instant Pot Chicken, Crock Pot Shredded Chicken, or this poached method for How to Cook Shredded Chicken all work nicely.

Baked chicken, however, eluded me. I missed the juiciness and roasted nuances that I enjoyed from other baked meats.

While bone-in chicken is easy to keep from drying out (see my Baked Bone In Chicken Breast for a scrumptious recipe), boneless can be another story.

And so our juicy journey begins!

A chicken breast served on a bowl of rice and broccoli

After testing various methods, I’ve unlocked a simple method to bake your chicken breast without drying it out.

Like my Air Fryer Chicken Breast and Grilled Chicken Breast, this chicken breast is succulently juicy, golden on the outside, and ready to add to any of your favorite recipes.

One of the things I love most about it, however, is that it truly tastes good enough to stand on its own as a main, a rarity among most simple chicken breast recipes (unless we’re talking about Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast, of course).


The Best Way to Cook Chicken Breasts in the Oven

 1. Pound

Chicken breasts are usually thinner on the ends and thicker in the middle, which means that by the time the chicken is cooked through at its center, the ends are rubbery and dry.

  • Lightly pound your chicken to an even thickness so that it all cooks in the same amount of time.
  • As a bonus, your recipe will finish up more quickly and pounding can help make the meat more tender.

2. Brine

Brining isn’t just for turkeys!

Salting your chicken by a wet brine or dry brine method for as few as 15 minutes will work wonders for its inner juiciness and ensure that the meat is seasoned all the way through, not just on the outside.

Tip!

As far as HOW to brine, you have two options:

  • a wet brine (in which the meat is submerged in a saltwater solution or something like this delicious Chicken Marinade), or
  • a dry brine (in which the meat is seasoned generously with salt and rests uncovered for a period of time).

Both the wet brine and the dry brine have their pros and cons. I tested this baked chicken breast with both brines to see which was best.

Here’s a side by side of the results:

Wet brined vs. dry brined baked chicken breasts

Wet vs. Dry Brined Chicken Breasts

Still deciding? Check out these close ups.

Wet Brined Baked Chicken Breast:

Wet Brined Baked Chicken Breast cut in half

Dry Brined Baked Chicken Breast:

Dry Brined Baked Chicken Breast cut in half

Honestly, I was super happy with both the wet brined and dry brined chicken. I would use either methods, depending upon how pressed for time I am.

Tip!

3. Room Temperature

While you can leave your chicken in the refrigerator to brine, don’t throw it into the oven cold right out of the refrigerator. If you do, it will not cook evenly. By the time the middle cooks through, the outsides will be dry.

  • Let your chicken rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before baking.

4. Bake at 425 Degrees F

I’ve tested how long to bake chicken breasts at 350, at 400, at 425, and at 450.

  • Based on my tests, the best temperature to bake chicken breasts is 425 degrees F.

At this temperature, the chicken turned golden on the outside and unbelievably juicy inside. If you go lower, the chicken can dry out, as it will need to be in the oven for a longer period.

How Long to Bake Chicken Breasts

5. Use an Instant Read Thermometer

I CANNOT overstate this point enough. =

  • An instant read thermometer like this one is inexpensive and is the absolute best way to not overcook your chicken, fish, and other meats. I even use it to tell when my banana bread is done (195 degrees F)!

Best Instant Read Thermometers

6. Let the Chicken Rest

This is non-negotiable.

  • Resting meat allows the juices to reincorporate back into the meat. If you cut the chicken right away, all that juiciness you worked for will slip right out.
  • For boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 5 minutes of resting time is sufficient, though you can go up to 10 if you like.

Step-by-Step: How to Bake Chicken Breasts

Raw chicken breasts in plastic wrap on a cutting board
  1. Pound the chicken.
Three chicken breasts
  1. Pat the chicken dry.
Three chicken breasts on a cutting board
  1. For a dry brine: salt the chicken and refrigerate it.
Raw meat in a bowl of salted water
  1. For a wet brine: mix warm water and salt together in a bowl. Add the chicken. Let rest 15 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate it for up to 4 hours.
  2. Let the chicken come to room temperature. Rinse or wipe off the brine.
Meat and spices in a bowl
  1. Toss the chicken with oil and spices, then lay it in a baking dish.
Three raw pieces of meat in a baking dish
  1. Bake at 425 degrees F. See the suggested cook times in the recipe below.
Three pieces of meat after being baked
  1. Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes. DIG IN!

Chicken Breast Seasoning Ideas

Oven roasted chicken breast in a bowl with rice and broccoli

Ways to Use Baked Chicken Breast

Once you have your juicy baked chicken breast, there are so many incredible ways to use it!

For easy use, you can dice or shred this baked chicken breast. (I suggest using a hand mixer to make shredding extra quick and simple.)

Three chicken breasts in a baking dish

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate chicken breast in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

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A sliced chicken breast with rice and broccoli

What to Serve with Baked Chicken Breasts

Four oven roasted chicken breasts in a pan

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

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A sliced oven roasted chicken breast in a bowl

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WHEW! There you have it. The download on making the best ever, juicy guaranteed, baked boneless skinless chicken breasts.

If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you, and if you use the wet or the dry brine. Your comments make my day!

A sliced oven roasted chicken breast in a bowl

Baked Chicken Breast

5 from 8 votes
How to make the absolute best juicy baked chicken breast in the oven. Easy to customize with your favorite seasoning, healthy, and so tender!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 16 mins
Total: 26 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • Wet or dry brine see below
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon per breast
  • 1 teaspoon paprika*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt add ONLY if rinsing the chicken, plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper*
  • Additional seasonings of choice see blog post above for suggestions

FOR A DRY BRINE:

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt

FOR A WET BRINE:

  • 4 cups warm water
  • ¼ cup kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Place chicken breasts on a cutting board and lay a large piece of plastic wrap over the top to guard against splatters. With a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the breasts into an even thickness.
  • Pat the chicken breasts dry on both sides.
  • TO DRY BRINE: Sprinkle the breasts generously on both sides with salt. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
  • TO WET BRINE: In a large bowl, stir together the warm water and salt. Place the chicken breasts in the water and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  • TO COOK: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If the chicken is in the refrigerator, remove it. If dry brining, with a paper towel, wipe off the salt well from both sides (I do not rinse my dry brine). If wet brining, remove the chicken from the wet brine and rinse it off (to skip the rinse, omit any remaining salt from the recipe; your chicken will be salty but by no means inedible).
  • Pat the chicken very dry on both sides, wiping away any clearly visible salt. If the chicken has been in the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • Coat a ceramic or metal baking dish large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer (such as a 9×13-inch baking dish) with nonstick spray. (I do not recommend using glass/Pyrex, as the way it conducts heat will not cook the chicken as evenly. If needed, you can bake the chicken on a metal baking sheet.)
  • Place the chicken in a large bowl (if wet brining, rinse out, dry, and reuse the same bowl if you like). Add the olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt (only add the salt if you rinsed your chicken), and pepper. Toss to coat the chicken evenly, then arrange it in the baking dish.
  • Bake the chicken for 14 to 16 minutes (for small/medium breasts that are about 6 to 7 ounces), 16 to 20 minutes (for medium/large breasts that are 8 to 10 ounces), or 20 to 25 minutes (for larger breasts). For absolute best results, use an instant read thermometer. When the breasts reach 165 degrees F, they are done.
  • REST: Transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board. Cover and let rest for a minimum of 5 minutes. Slice, dice, or shred as desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • *Feel free to swap out these seasonings for the suggestions in the blog post above.
  • Debating between a wet and dry brine? See the blog post above for the pros and cons of each.
  • If your chicken breast comes pre-brined (sometimes it is sold this way) skip the brining step.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken breast in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(6-ounce) chicken breastCalories: 216kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 36gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgPotassium: 651mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 298IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

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More Healthy Chicken Recipes

Thanks to their versatility and ease, you can do so much with chicken breasts. Here are some of my favorites:

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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22 Comments

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  1. I am a little confused. I buy frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they say they have a saline solution already. Aren’t these already “brined”? Having high blood pressure I am concerned about the amount of salt I use. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Karl! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  2. Great, I have tried with wet brining and it worked well. Also before you put it in the oven dab some olive oil on top of your seasoning. Thanks5 stars

  3. So excited to try this! Thanks for all your testing to figure out the perfect times and temps! For the spices to rub on … how much salt? It says 1/2 salt, is that half a teaspoon or tablespoon? If rinsing after wet brine? Don’t want it to be too salty! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Kristin! The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon salt. Yes, the rinsing is after the wet brine. I hope this helps!

  4. Had this for dinner tonight, a big hit. Everyone commented on how moist the chicken was. We did the wet brine method. Easy, quick and again so moist.
    Also made lemon chia muffins this afternoon. They are half gone.5 stars

  5. This is fantastic! I used a wet brine and Penzey’s Turkish seasoning. It was juicy and delicious. No more dry baked chicken!5 stars

  6. The best baked chicken breasts EVER. So moist and tender. I’ve made them 3 times in the past 2 weeks doubling the recipe. Can’t get past the garlic powder and paprika seasoning. I chopped them up for yogurt chicken salad, used in chicken pot pie , and slices in a green mixed salad.
    Wonderful!5 stars

  7. This recipe is amazing! I don’t usually care for chicken but this was easy to follow and so delicious—it’ll definitely become a staple in my meal preps from now on! I did the wet brine and it’s the juiciest chicken I’ve ever tasted! Yum!!5 stars

  8. I made this chicken with the wet brine as part of my meal prepping. I then sealed each individual chicken breast with my vacuum sealer.

    Each piece was juicy and tender. Thank you for this simple, versatile method.5 stars

  9. This was the first time my family didn’t have to eat a rubber chicken lol. Thank you for posting this it really turned out amazing!!! I’ve always overcooked chicken because I was raised when salmonella was part of Home Education safety in school. Thank you5 stars