Follow 4 simple steps (and top tips!) for the most tender, juicy, flavorful oven baked chicken breast you’ll want to eat with every meal! It’s easy to customize with your favorite seasonings and marinades!
This summer has been a total “back to the basics” era on the blog. I’ve already shared multiple methods for cooking and freezing several veggies (like corn and asparagus). Now it’s time to turn towards proteins, like this simple, juicy oven-baked chicken breast. In this case, boneless skinless chicken breasts.
I’ve already shared a recipe for whole roasted chicken with vegetables and chicken shawarma. Now it’s the turn of this super simple and versatile method for how to cook chicken breast in the oven. However, while incredibly versatile, when cooked incorrectly, roasted chicken breast can become rubbery, tough, dry, and frankly just tasteless and yucky (yes, that’s the professional term!).
Luckily, learning the best way to cook chicken breast in the oven is super simple. Plus, following my simple 4-step process and top tips below, you can enjoy super juicy, tender, and delicious oven roasted chicken breast every time. The result is a simple, low-effort protein that you can even meal-prep and enjoy in meals over several days.
Best of all, this boneless, skinless chicken breast recipe is super versatile. As long as you follow the special step (hint: BRINE!), the actual seasonings, marinade, or sauce you use to flavor the oven baked chicken breast are 100% up to you!
What’s in This Post
- The Ingredients For Homemade Baked Chicken
- Brine Chicken Breast for a Juicy Baked Chicken Breast
- Pound the Chicken Breasts
- Season Them
- How to Bake Chicken Breast
- Can You Freeze Baked Chicken Breast
- What to Make with Chicken Breast?
- More Delicious Chicken Recipes
The Ingredients For Homemade Baked Chicken
The simplicity of the ingredients you require for this juicy oven-baked chicken recipe means you probably have most (if not all) of them already in your kitchen/pantry.
- Chicken breasts: I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can use skin-on chicken if preferred. If using frozen chicken, ensure they’re fully defrosted first and choose breasts similar in size to cook evenly.
- The Brine: All you need for a simple chicken brine is salt and water to make the saline solution. I recommend using Kosher salt, not table salt. For more tips, check my Chicken Brine Recipe!
- Oil or butter: I like to use melter butter but olive oil would also work. This fat helps the seasonings to stick to the meat and locks in juices within the oven chicken breast.
Chicken Breast Seasoning
- Seasonings: I used a simple but super flavorful chicken seasoning made of:
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Dried oregano (or Italian seasoning)
- Salt and pepper – salt is optional as the brining will add saltiness too
- Brown sugar – Other types of sugar will work too. It caramelizes and adds color to the baking chicken breast. And it also helps make the chicken juicier while remaining savory. However, omit it if preferred.
For spice, add some cayenne pepper or chili powder to the seasoning blend.
Brine Chicken Breast for a Juicy Baked Chicken Breast
While brine may add time to the recipe, it’s a step I highly recommend for the juiciest, most tender oven roasted chicken breast. But what exactly is a brine? It’s a solution of salt dissolved into water (usually around 6% salt to water by weight).
How does a brine work? As the chicken soaks in the brine, the salt dissolves proteins in the meat, allowing it to retain more moisture while cooking. ITheyestimate you maintain up to 40% more moisture when cooking brined chicken.
Some grocery stores now sell pre-brined chicken breast pieces, so skip this step if you buy it pre-brined.
How to Make a Brine for Chicken Breast
It’s incredibly easy to prepare this simple brine for chicken breast. Simply combine warm water and salt in a large dish, stirring it until the salt dissolves.
Make sure to use a container that will fit all the chicken and fits in your fridge if needed.
How Long to Brine Chicken Breast
Transfer the chicken to the brine, ensuring it’s fully submerged. You can brine the chicken for a minimum of 15 minutes. Though I highly recommend several hours (up to 4 hours) covered in the fridge if you have the time.
If you brine the chicken breasts for 2+ hours, it can be a good idea to rinse the chicken to remove excess salt. However, be careful when doing this to avoid bacteria spreading across your kitchen.
Pound the Chicken Breasts
Once the chicken has brined, remove it from the salt solution and pat dry with paper towels.
Then, transfer the chicken to a large Ziplock bag. Using a meat mallet (or a potato masher or rolling pin), gently tenderize the chicken and even out the pieces of chicken, so they’re even in thickness (around 0.75 inches).
In a small bowl, combine all the spices, brown sugar (if using), and melted butter or oil, and stir well.
Then, either pour the marinade into the bag to cover the pieces or rub each piece liberally before transferring it to a baking dish.
How to Bake Chicken Breast
Bake the chicken for around 15-18 minutes at 425ºF/220ºC (or 400ºF/200ºC fan-assisted). Optionally, turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end to brown the top more.
How long to bake chicken breasts also depends on their size. Larger chicken breasts (10oz+/285g+) will have 20-25 minutes of cooking time. So use a meat thermometer for the most accurate results.
To ensure the chicken is properly cooked, use a thermometer to insert into the thickest part of the chicken. The internal temperature must reach 165ºF/75ºC to be safe to eat.
Then, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 5-8 minutes, loosely covered with foil. This will allow the juices to resettle for the juiciest oven baked chicken.
To avoid overcooked or dry chicken, I recommend cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF/71ºC. The residual heat, while it rests, will bring it above 165ºF/75ºC.
Can You Freeze Baked Chicken Breast
Absolutely. Spread the baked chicken breast across a tray, not touching, and freeze solid. Then transfer to a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying cold or reheating it.
To store it without freezing, allow the chicken to cool. Then store it in an airtight container (or a plate wrapped with plastic wrap) for 3-4 days. Never leave the chicken out for longer than 2 hours at room temperature.
What to Make with Chicken Breast?
This roasted chicken breast is the ultimate all-purpose protein to complete all kinds of meals, warm or chilled. Here are some suggestions for what to eat with chicken breast. You can enjoy the roast chicken whole, sliced, diced, or shredded with:
- Vegetables: You can pair all sorts of veggies with this baked boneless chicken breast, such as:
- Roasted broccoli and cauliflower
- Fries or potato wedges (including sweet potato fries)
- Rice or Quinoa – it is perfect with fried rice recipes like Garlic Fried Rice.
- Pasta: Like this Pasta Aglio e Olio, Pasta al Limone, or a cold pasta salad.
- Salads: Enjoy the roasted chicken breast either alongside a side salad or cold within salads.
- In wraps or sandwiches.
- Shred it into tacos and burritos.
There is no need to wash your chicken before cooking it. More so, washing it can lead to spreading MORE harmful bacteria across your kitchen.
The internal temperature of the chicken must reach 165ºF/75ºC to be safe to eat. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts to check the temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, cut into the chicken to check that the juices run clear (not pinkish/reddish).
There are several ways to add extra levels of flavor directly to the brine. These include fresh herbs, fruit juice, peppercorns, bay leaves, crushed garlic, mustard, cumin, coriander seeds, etc.
If you add any extra seasonings, it’s best to boil the brine mixture first for a minute to allow the flavors to infuse into the mixture. Then, allow it to cool completely before adding the chicken.
At its simplest, you can season the best baked chicken breast with just salt and black pepper. Still, I love to add at least some garlic powder and smoked paprika, too, for a subtle but delicious flavor and use the simple seasoning mentioned in this recipe as my “base” go-to. You could also play with Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, Italian seasonings, or even marinades like chimichurri sauce, etc.
More Delicious Chicken Recipes
- Crispy Fried Chicken Breast
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Chicken Shish Kabobs
- Oven-Baked Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs 2 Ways
- One Pot Chicken and Rice
If you try this easy oven baked chicken breast recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Perfect Oven Baked Chicken Breast
- 1.5 lb chicken breasts 4 pieces
- 5 cups water warm but not boiling
- 2 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar optional but helps for browning and moisture
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt optional as brining will make chicken salty
- 2 tablespoon butter melted, or olive oil
For spice, add chili powder/cayenne powder!
Make a Brine
- Combine warm water and salt in a large dish, stirring it until the salt dissolves.Make sure to use a container that will fit all the chicken and fits within your fridge.
Brine the Chicken Breast
- Transfer the chicken to the brine, ensuring it's fully submerged. You can brine the chicken for a minimum of 15 minutes, though I highly recommend several hours (up to 4 hours), covered in the fridge if you have the time.If you brine the chicken breasts for 2+ hours, it can be a good idea to rinse the chicken to remove excess salt. However, be careful when doing this to avoid bacteria spreading across your kitchen.
Pound the Chicken Breasts
- Once the chicken has brined, remove it from the salt solution and pat dry with paper towels.
- Transfer the chicken to a large Ziplock bag and, using a meat mallet (or a potato masher or rolling pin), gently tenderize the chicken and even out the pieces of chicken, so they’re even in thickness (around 0.75 inches).
- In a small bowl, combine all the spices, brown sugar (if using), and melted butter or oil, and stir well. Then, either pour the marinade into the bag to cover the pieces or rub each piece liberally before transferring it to a baking dish.
Bake the Chicken Breast
- Bake the chicken for around 15-18 minutes at 425ºF/220ºC (or 400ºF/200ºC fan-assisted). Optionally, turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end to brown the top more.Larger chicken breasts (10oz+/285g+) will take between 20-25 minutes to cook, so use a meat thermometer for the most accurate results.To ensure the chicken is properly cooked, use a thermometer to insert in the thickest part of the chicken. The internal temperature must reach 165ºF/75ºC to be safe to eat.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 5-8 minutes, loosely covered with foil. This will allow the juices to resettle.To avoid overcooked or dry chicken, I recommend cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF/71ºC. The residual heat, while it rests, will bring it above 165ºF/75ºC.
- Store: Allow the chicken to cool and then store in an airtight container (or a plate wrapped with plastic wrap) for 3-4 days. Never leave the chicken out for longer than 2 hours at room temperature.Can you freeze the baked chicken breast? Absolutely. Spread the crisp fried chicken breast across a tray, not touching, and freeze solid. Then transfer to a Ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying cold or reheating it.Reheat: To reheat the roasted chicken breast without drying it out, I recommend placing it in a pot/skillet with a lid and simmering with a splash of water or broth until heated. The steam will keep it tender. Alternatively, do the same in the oven, adding enough liquid to barely cover the bottom of your roasting pan/ casserole dish, cover with foil and bake the leftovers until warm (around 10-12 minutes at 350F).Use an instant-read thermometer to check the reheated chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF/75ºC.
- Pat the chicken dry before seasonings: This will help the spices stick better to the meat.
- Properly season the chicken: Ensure it’s covering the chicken evenly on both sides for the absolute best flavor.
- Experiment with seasonings and marinades: Once you have sorted the brining and oven timings/temperatures, you can really let loose and experiment with different ways to flavor the baked chicken breasts.
- Adjust the added salt: Depending on how long you brine the chicken, it will take on some saltiness, too, so you may want to omit the salt entirely from the seasoning. Add more, if desired, when serving the chicken.
- Allow the chicken to rest: During this time, the juices within the chicken settle and redistribute for perfectly juicy chicken breasts. If you cut it too soon, you’ll lose all the juiciness you’ve worked to maintain as the juices run onto your plate/dish.
- Utilize the pan juices: Any juices in the pan after baking makes for a delicious sauce to drizzle over the baked boneless chicken breast when serving.
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