Baked Chicken Breast

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Juicy chicken breast is one of the most versatile meals! Each tender piece of seasoned lean meat pairs well with any side dish. The recipe is easy to make and is the go-to ingredient for meal prepping throughout the week.

Master this lean meat in other ways, like stovetop chicken breast and slow cooker chicken breast.

Oven baked chicken breast on a sheet pan.
Table of Contents
  1. Prepare a seasoning mix
  2. Flatten to even thickness
  3. Season the surface
  4. How long to bake chicken breast?
  5. Check for doneness
  6. What to serve this with
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. Baked Chicken Breast Recipe

Chicken breast is a lean protein that cooks quickly in a hot oven with little effort. In just 30 minutes, you can have a delicious healthy dinner on the table. For this recipe, I have a fantastic dry-seasoning mixture to sprinkle on the meat’s surface that instantly delivers a flavorful crust. Got leftovers? Use it on a cobb salad or chicken enchiladas.

The key to tender and juicy chicken is to flatten all the pieces into an even thickness. The extra effort ensures uniform cooking throughout. More moisture is lost when we wait longer for the thickest part to cook. Cooking chicken breasts in the oven creates an enclosed heated environment. This swiftly bakes the meat with less risk of drying out. Slice and serve with vegetables or grains for a complete meal.

Prepare a seasoning mix

Close up of a bowl of homemade seasonings.
Step 2. Mix the seasonings

Dried spices and herbs are concentrated in taste, so a little goes a long way. I use paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning, typically containing oregano, parsley, and basil. I recommend adding smoked paprika if you like a more grilled flavor without having to head outdoors.

Kosher salt and pepper add the savory note with a hint of spiciness. Add as little or as much as you like. You can store any leftover mixture in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks for the best taste or even make a big batch for meal prep. Alternatively, if you have more time before dinner, try this chicken marinade.

Flatten to even thickness

Flattening a chicken breast between plastic with a rolling pin.
Step 3. Flatten the pieces

It’s important to pound the chicken down to an even layer. The top of the breast is almost double the width of the tapered end. Don’t go too thin. I find that just under ¾-inch is the right thickness. Work one piece at a time.

Place the meat between two plastic wrap pieces or inside a large opened resealable bag, then smash it with a rolling pin or mallet.

Season the surface

Boneless skinless chicken breasts have very little fat and cook quickly. This choice is ideal for those looking for a lean protein option. The downside is that the flavor alone is pretty bland without some seasoning or sauce.

But before applying the seasoning, brush each piece of chicken with olive oil. This process creates a protective coating on the surface, preventing moisture loss and steaming. The oil also enhances Maillard browning, which is key to developing hundreds of new surface flavors.

How long to bake chicken breast?

Close up of a golden browned piece of chicken with surface seasonings.

I recommend cooking on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. This pan makes for easy cleanup, and the shorter sides allow the chicken to cook faster than in a standard baking dish. Heat can circulate more freely than a pan with higher sides.

Bake at a high temperature of 425ºF (218ºC). When flattened to about ¾-inch thickness, chicken breasts of any size can cook in under 20 minutes. However, the cooking time depends on how wide the pieces are, as it will take longer for the heat to reach the center.

Check for doneness

The meat is done cooking when no longer pink in the center. It should be ivory in color and opaque throughout. Remove the chicken from the oven and place the probe through the side and center using an instant-read thermometer.

Once the internal temperature on the meat thermometer reaches between 160 to 165 degrees, it’s ready. You can serve individual pieces with sides or shred the chicken and use it for sandwiches.

Chicken breast on a plate served with rice and green beans.

What to serve this with

Frequently asked questions

Can you freeze oven-baked chicken breast? 

The cooked pieces can be individually wrapped, placed in a resealable bag or airtight container, and frozen for up to 4 months.

How do I bake chicken breast without drying it out? 

Baking at a high temperature of 425(218ºC) quickly cooks the chicken, keeping the pieces juicy. Alternatively, you can brine the chicken before baking to retain more moisture and better seasoning throughout the meat.

What are other spices to add to baked chicken breast?

Cumin, coriander, ginger, and mustard add a deep earthy flavor. Make it spicy with chili powder, cayenne, or chipotle. Fresh or dried spices like rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, or sage. Feel free to mix in brown sugar, cinnamon, or allspice if you like a little sweetness.

Fork piercing into slices of chicken breast.

Benefits of resting meat

Even though cutting right into the chicken is tempting, it’s best to let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes. This allows the flavorful juices to redistribute back into the muscle fibers, keeping them locked in the food instead of all over the cutting board or plate. Just this short period keeps the breast moist.

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Baked Chicken Breast

Baked chicken breast is one of the most versatile meals! Each tender and juicy piece of seasoned lean meat pairs well with any side dish.
4.69 from 29 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, about 2 to 2 ½ pounds total
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika, sweet or smoked
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, dried
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing

Instructions 

  • Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 425ºF (218ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly grease with oil to help prevent sticking.
  • Prepare the Seasoning – In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Flatten the Pieces – Thoroughly dry each chicken breast with a paper towel. Place one breast between two plastic sheets or inside a large plastic bag and pound to an even thickness, about ¾" thick. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
  • Season the Meat – Generously brush olive oil on both sides of the chicken. Evenly sprinkle the seasoning mixture on both sides, about ½ to 1 teaspoon per side, depending on the size and desired seasoning level. Store extra seasoning in an airtight container for later use.
  • Bake – Place the breasts on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the internal temperature reaches between 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 14 to 17 minutes, depending on the thickness.
  • Rest – Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Storing: The chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
  • Freezing: Individually wrap the cooked and cooled chicken breasts. Store in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container for up to 4 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating. 
  • Reheating: Cover and microwave on high setting in 15 to 30-second increments until hot. 
Nutrition Facts
Baked Chicken Breast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 255 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 72mg24%
Sodium 1005mg42%
Potassium 430mg12%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 280IU6%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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10 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. EJ says

    Wow! We had these last night and my husband, chicken hater, loved them. Today we are having the leftovers in salad.

    Thank you for this delicious recipe.

  2. Leti says

    Hello! I just wanted to know if the chicken breast is turned over half way during cooking time for this recipe?
    Or should the oven be closed the entire time?

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