This guide will teach you how to bake chicken breasts that are perfectly seasoned, tender, and juicy every time. It includes everything you need to know about making oven-baked chicken breasts, including seasoning options, expert tips, and even sides.
When you need to add protein to simple weeknight dinners that the whole family will love, look no further than baked chicken breasts. Of course, you can roast a whole chicken, but chicken breasts are quick, easy, and pair well with many flavors and sides.
🌟 Consider this your manual on How to Bake Chicken Breasts. 🌟
Simply seasoned and cooked at 400ºF, they always turn out juicy and packed with flavor. In the end, you’ll be an expert on bone-in and bone-out chicken breasts, chicken seasonings and sauces, and how to make them into a meal.
✔️ Bone-in vs. boneless chicken breasts
To successfully cook chicken breasts in the oven, the size and whether the breasts are bone-in or bone-out matters:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts require less prep and cook faster.
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts take longer to cook through, but the rendered fat from the skin and bones results in juicier, more succulent meat.
In these step-by-step instructions, we’ll go over how to bake bone-in and boneless chicken breasts so they turn out tender and juicy no matter what.
🧂 Seasoning tips
Chicken breasts have a mild poultry flavor as-is but you can enhance that flavor with the right seasonings.
First, always coat the surface with a thin layer of olive oil. You can even stir the oil and all of your seasonings together to make a paste (my preferred method). The mild options below are beginner-friendly and always complement the natural flavors of the chicken:
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
🕕 How to bake chicken breasts
While the oven preheats, stir the herbs, seasonings, and olive oil together in a small bowl to make a paste. Spread the mixture on all sides of each piece of chicken.
Transfer the seasoned chicken breasts to a small baking dish and bake until the meat on the inside is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Remember, bone-in chicken breasts will take longer to cook through!
If you aren’t sure if they’re done or not, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. Poultry is safe to eat when the thickest part reaches 165ºF.
🌟 Tips and tricks
- Letting chicken reach room temperature before baking is recommended because it helps the meat cook faster and more evenly. I recommend pulling the chicken from the fridge 30 to 45 minutes before baking.
- Let the meat rest for at least 5-minutes, tented with foil, after baking. This allows the breasts to reabsorb all of their natural juices, leaving you with meat that is extra moist and flavorful.
- If you forget to thaw the chicken breasts, you can bake them directly from frozen. Just know that they may not be as tender. If your chicken breasts are frozen, follow the recipe as instructed, but double the baking time.
Seasoning variations – The seasoning options for chicken are limitless. Here are some of the many seasoning blends you can combine with olive oil and rub on the chicken before baking:
- Cajun Seasoning
- Lemon Pepper Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning
- Italian Seasoning
- Za’atar Seasoning
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Montreal Seasoning
- Dry Ranch Seasoning
- Dry Buffalo Seasoning
- Tajin Chili Lime Seasoning
Bake the chicken breasts in sauce – In addition to simple seasonings, you can baste the chicken in wet sauces before baking. Try them with:
- Italian Dressing
- Buffalo Sauce
- Mushroom Sauce
- Honey Mustard
- BBQ Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- More → 25+ tasty sauces for chicken
The chicken is dry because it’s overcooked. To prevent this from happening, remove the baking dish from the oven once the chicken’s internal temperature is between 160ºF to 162ºF. Tent the baking dish with foil and the residual heat will finish cooking the chicken to 165ºF.
I found 400ºF to be the best temperature to bake boneless chicken breasts. This way, they’re done baking within 20 to 25 minutes. Bone-in needs to bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
Let the chicken cool completely, then refrigerate it in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Cooked chicken can also be frozen in a freezer-safe resealable bag for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in a baking dish with chicken broth at 375ºF until the chicken is heated through.
🍽 Serving suggestions
Enjoy your perfectly baked and juicy chicken breasts for dinner, lunch, or paired with all of your favorite sides. It’s one of the most flexible proteins you can serve any way you like, such as:
- Stick to these 50+ Sides for Chicken to keep things simple.
- Pair the chicken breasts with starchy vegetables, like Mashed Potatoes or Creamy Polenta. Especially delicious when served with this simple chicken gravy too!
- Slice up the breasts and top them on an Arugula Salad, Kale Caesar Salad, or Classic Caesar Salad.
- Or add them to Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta or Lemon Pasta instead!
- Layer the sliced chicken into Lettuce Wraps for a healthy handheld meal.
- You can’t go wrong with veggies on the side, like Sauteed Spinach, Glazed Carrots, and Roasted Broccoli.
- Don’t forget the Honey Mustard, Boom Boom Sauce, or Chick Fil A Sauce on the side for dipping.
🍷 Wine pairings for chicken
- The delicate flavors of chicken pair well with unoaked, full-bodied Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
- As for reds, stick to light-bodied floral reds like Pinot Noir and Red Zinfandel.
- MORE —> the BEST wine pairings with chicken.
Did you make these juicy chicken breasts?
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How to Bake Chicken Breasts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl combine the salt and spices with oil to create a paste. Coat chicken breasts with the paste.
- Place the chicken in a small baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through and no longer pink. The internal temperature should reach 165-degrees.
🍗 More how-to chicken guides
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
- Sous Vide Chicken Breasts
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
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