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Meet the basic-done-better recipe everyone needs: how to make juicy Baked Chicken Breast! Say goodbye to bland, rubbery chicken breasts. This moist, tender chicken can be seasoned any way you like and is perfect for your favorite chicken salads and sandwiches, or on its own for a healthy dinner.

juicy baked chicken breast

Why You’ll Love This Baked Chicken Breast

  • Everyone’s Favorite Protein. While not everyone loves dark meat like in Baked Chicken Thighs, white meat like boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of the most approved proteins by picky eaters.
  • Quick-Cooking. Boneless chicken cooks FAST. Unlike Baked Bone In Chicken Breast, which can take 35 minutes or more, boneless chicken breast bakes in 10 to 20 minutes.
  • ACTUALLY JUICY. With this method and tips, dry, bland chicken breast will be a thing of the past. This chicken is so juicy, you can enjoy it on its own.
  • Versatile. Chicken is mild, meaning you can flavor it any which way. Use my go-to Chicken Marinade, your favorite rub, or extra Dry Turkey Brine you have leftover.
  • Healthy. Low in calories, high in protein, and with zero carbohydrates and saturated fat, you can’t deny that chicken breast is very healthy. It is a wholesome addition to a balanced diet.
Four oven roasted chicken breasts in a pan

How to Bake Chicken Breasts

 1. Pound

  • Lightly pound your chicken to an even thickness so that it all cooks in the same amount of time. This prevents dry, rubbery ends.
  • As a bonus, your recipe will finish up more quickly and pounding can help make the meat more tender.
Wet brined vs. dry brined baked chicken breasts

2. Brine

Brining isn’t just for turkey!

  • Salting your chicken by a wet brine or dry brine method for as few as 15 minutes will enhance its taste significantly. This is true for Grilled Chicken Breast too.
  • A brine works wonders for its inner juiciness and ensures that the meat is seasoned all the way through, not just on the outside.

As far as HOW to brine, you can do a wet or dry brine. Both give GREAT results, so pick your favorite.

  • Wet Brine. The meat is submerged in a saltwater solution or something like this delicious Chicken Marinade or Turkey Brine. Wet brining is fast (just 15 minutes) but is a little messier because you need to rinse off a wet brine.
  • Dry Brine. The meat is seasoned generously with salt and rests uncovered for a period of time. This takes longer (30 minutes) but is tidier since you don’t need to rinse off a dry brine.

Tip!

If your chicken breast comes pre-brined, skip the brining step or it will be too salty.

A chicken breast served on a bowl of rice and broccoli

3. Let Chicken Come to Room Temperature

  • If you put cold chicken in the oven, it won’t 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 Chicken Breast at 425°F

  • 425°F is the best temperature for baking chicken. The chicken turns golden on the outside and unbelievably juicy inside.
  • At a lower temperature like 350°F, the chicken can dry out, as it will need to be in the oven for a longer period.
Three chicken breasts in a baking dish

5. Get the Right Internal Temperature

To make sure you do not overcook your chicken, use an instant read meat thermometer.

  • An instant read thermometer is the absolute best way to know when your chicken breast is done. It will make sure you do not overcook your chicken, fish, and other meats. I even use it to tell when my banana bread is done (195°F)!
  • Be sure to insert the meat thermometer at the thickest part of the chicken.
  • Per the FDA, chicken breast is considered safe to eat at 165°F. Since the chicken’s temperature will rise as it rests, I remove mine between 155°F and 160°F.

How Long to Bake Chicken Breasts

The amount of time your chicken breasts need to bake will vary based on size. While I strongly recommend using an instant read thermometer, here are some general guidelines.

  • Small to medium-sized chicken breasts (6 to 7 ounces) will take about 14 to 16 minutes.
  • Medium to large-sized chicken breasts (8 to 10 ounces) will take about 20 minutes.
  • Larger chicken breasts will take about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Chicken cutlets, which are chicken breasts that have been sliced in half horizontally to create two thinner pieces, bake more quickly than regular chicken breasts. Start checking them at the 8-minute mark.

6. Let the Chicken Rest

This is non-negotiable for juicy chicken breast.

  • 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.
Wet Brined Baked Chicken Breast cut in half

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. Season. Toss the chicken with oil and spices, then lay it in a casserole dish. For easy clean up, you can line the dish with foil or parchment paper.
Three raw pieces of meat in a baking dish
  1. Bake Chicken Breast at 425°F. See the suggested cooking time in the recipe card below.
Three pieces of meat after being baked
  1. Rest. Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes. DIG IN!
Oven roasted chicken breast in a bowl with rice and broccoli

Ways to Season Baked Chicken Breast

Once your chicken is brined, you can bake it right away, or add any seasonings you like.

If using a blend of seasonings, stir them together in a small bowl, then scatter them over the chicken. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Paprika. A delicious, sweet spice. For a hint of heat, use smoked paprika.
  • Garlic Powder. Garlicky goodness!
  • Onion Powder. Tasty in combination with garlic powder.
  • Salt and Pepper. Classic and beloved.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. For a little heat.
  • Sweet and Spicy. Combine brown sugar with spicier ingredients like chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
  • Lemon Pepper. Always a crowd-pleaser. Most lemon pepper seasoning includes some salt, so adjust accordingly.
  • Everything Bagel Seasoning. Add the popular seasoning blend to your chicken.
  • Cajun Seasoning. Bold and a little spicy. Most cajun seasoning includes some salt, so adjust accordingly.
  • Taco Seasoning. Perfect for making chicken tacos or a Chicken Quesadilla.
  • Italian Seasoning. Scrumptious for Italian-style recipes.
  • Herbs. Oregano, thyme, and rosemary all work well with chicken. For an easy blend, use Italian seasoning or herbs de Provence.
  • Curry Powder. Warm and wonderfully flavorful.

Ways to Use Simple Baked Chicken Breast

There are so many incredible ways to use and serve this simple chicken breast recipe!

More Favorite Chicken Breast Recipes

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

A sliced chicken breast with rice and broccoli

Baked Chicken Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate chicken breast in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350°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.

Additional Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Thaw the Chicken Breast Before Baking. Don’t bake chicken breasts in a conventional oven, as the chicken may spend too long at an unsafe temperature and dry out. Make this Air Fryer Chicken Breast instead; frozen chicken breast can be placed in an air fryer.
  • Don’t Skip the Brining. It is the key to juicy chicken breast. If you do not have time to brine, try Pan Fried Chicken Breast, which doesn’t require brining.
  • Meal Prep It. Whenever I make baked chicken breast, I like to cook a lot, then dice, portion, and freeze it. It makes whipping a chicken salad for a healthy lunch extra easy!

Baked Chicken Breast

5 from 55 votes
How to cook baked chicken breast in the oven that is juicy and perfect every time. Easy, healthy, and adaptable to your favorite seasonings!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Total: 26 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 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:

FOR A WET BRINE:


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°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°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!

Video

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°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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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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  1. My favorite easiest to make meat recipe. Had it just last week. My sister, who knows how to cook, even commented on how moist and flavorful it was on a past visit. I’ve made this one more than any other meat recipe. Usually pair it with some veggies.5 stars

  2. Totally changed my chicken game! I can’t thank you enough. I had no idea that brining would make all the difference, as well as pounding. I use the wet brine for about to hours and invested in a digital read thermometer. Perfect every time!5 stars

  3. Totally changed my chicken game! I can’t thank you enough. I had no idea that brining would make all the difference, as well as pounding. I use the wet brine for about two hours and invested in a digital read thermometer. Perfect every time!5 stars

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