Easy baked chicken breast is a great kitchen basic to have in your back pocket. They are delicious served with your favorite side dish (think popcorn broccoli or creamy garlic mushrooms) and are also a perfect protein to add to your weekend meal prep.
Baked Chicken Breast
Boneless, skinless baked chicken breast tends to get a bad wrap because often times it’s over cooked, leaving the chicken dry and flavorless.
But, I promise you, this does not need to be the case and I would never encourage someone to choose health over flavor when we can have them both!
And the good news is that making juicy baked chicken breast is very easy to do, once you know these simple chicken-baking techniques.
So let’s bake some chicken, shall we?
Baked Chicken Breast | What You Will Need
To make this baked chicken breasts recipe, you will need:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: You can but them fresh or frozen, just be sure to let them defrost and come to room temperature before baking. I like to look for organic pastured chicken, and often use chicken that comes in my monthly delivery from Butcher Box.
- Avocado or olive oil: I prefer to use avocado oil when baking at high temperatures because it’s a very stable oil but olive oil (or even butter) would certainly work.
- Seasonings: I went with a simple blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika because it’s easy and delicious. But you can use any dry seasoning blend you prefer. This is where you get to play and have some fun!
Also, if you make baked chicken regularly in the oven, I recommend having a heavy, sturdy rimmed baking sheet and a cooking thermometer on hand.
A rimmed baking sheet is one of my most used kitchen essentials and a thermometer is the easiest way to ensure that your chicken is not over or under cooked.
These are the tools that I use and recommend:
- Rimmed baking sheet: I use these pans for so many things in my kitchen and definitely consider them a kitchen staple.
- Instant-read cooking thermometer: I just ordered this one on Amazon. It has excellent reviews and is reasonably priced at $10.99.
How To Bake Chicken Breasts
Baked chicken breasts are super easy to make and if you follow these easy steps, you can rest assured your chicken breasts will be tender and juicy each and every time.
- Pull chicken out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before you get it into the oven. The closer the chicken is to room temperature, the more tender and juicy your chicken will be.
- Gently pound the chicken to create a uniform thickness all around. This step will help to ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and you don’t end up with any areas that are over or under cooked.
- Brush both sides of chicken with oil. You can use avocado oil or olive oil (you can even use butter) to coat the chicken. Be sure to brush the breasts liberally on both sides to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan, and also to help the seasonings stick.
- Season with your favorite seasonings. You can never go wrong with the simple combo of salt, pepper, and garlic powder; it’s a great base. But of course, have some fun here and experiment with your favorite dried herbs and spices.
- Bake at 450ºF for 12-18 minutes, depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. If you are new to baking chicken, I highly recommend using your thermometer to make sure that you do not over cook your chicken. Pull the chicken out of the oven when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160ºF (as the chicken rests, the residual heat from the chicken will raise the internal temperature to 165ºF, which is where you want the final temperature of your baked chicken to be).
- Rest your chicken once it comes out of the oven. Yes, this is the hardest part, but it will give the juices an opportunity to redistribute and allow the chicken to come up to 165ºF without overcooking the chicken. If you cut in right away, you will lose all of the delicious juices and some of the tenderness that we’re going for.
baked chicken breast topped with creamy garlic mushrooms
How To Store Baked Chicken Breast
Often times I will make this chicken breast on the weekend when I am doing my meal prep, so I can have a quick and convenient protein option during the week.
The easiest way to store it, is in an airtight container right in the fridge where it will last for up to 5 days.
Side Dish Ideas
Looking for some side dishes to serve with your baked chicken? Here are some of my faves:
Baked Chicken Breast
- 2 boneless chicken breast 6 ounces each
- 2 teaspoon avocado oil
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the chicken breasts from the fridge and allow them to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking. The closer to room temperature that they are, the better.
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Lay the chicken breasts between two pieces of saran wrap or wax paper and gently pound with a meat mallet*, starting from the center and pounded towards the edges. The goal is to create a chicken breast that is uniform in thickness so that it cooks evenly.
- Place chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet a drizzle each side with avocado oil and season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
- Rest the chicken for 10 minutes so the juices can settle and the internal temperature rises up to 165 degrees. Serve and enjoy.