Have you tried baked chicken breast only to have it come out dry or overcooked? This post will show you how to make moist baked chicken breasts that juicy and tender with just a few simple steps. You’ll never have to worry about dried out chicken breasts again.
This popular post has been recently updated with extra tips, more photos, and a recipe video for easy baked chicken breast.
Oven baked chicken breast is a healthy and simple ingredient that can be used in lots of recipes. It requires little hands-on time and you can bake large amounts at once, and store extras in the fridge or freezer.
Moist Baked Chicken Breast
There are many ways to oven bake chicken, but the most important thing is to not overcook, otherwise, you’ll have tough, dry chicken. Dark meat with bones is typically the moistest part of a chicken, however white meat can still be tender.
Moist chicken breast in the oven is possible once you know how a few basic tips. When looking for oven baked chicken breast recipes, it’s important to know the basics. Read on for how-to and tips for baked chicken breasts.
Tips for chicken breast in the oven
- Bone in chicken breasts will be juicer, but baked boneless skinless chicken breasts are just as yummy.
- Bring chicken to room temp, about 30 minutes, before baking for more even cooking throughout.
- Cook at a lower heat for longer to keep the chicken breast tender and juicy. Bake just until internal temp reaches about 160º F, then let sit under foil to cook to a safe internal temp.
- Line pan or baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Olive oil keeps chicken moist and adds extra flavor.
- Salt is critical for enhancing flavor. Salt does not actually have a flavor; it brings out and enhances the flavor in meats. However, too much salt will overpower the food with a sodium sensation.
- Change baking time according to the thickness of chicken breasts. See the section below for tips on this.
- Let cooked chicken rest at room after baking 3-5 minutes to hold in more juices.
How to bake chicken breast
Follow these easy steps for moist baked chicken breasts.
- Preheat oven to 325º F. Line large baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or other seasonings or your choice). Rotate chicken breasts and repeat for the other sides.
- Let chicken sit at room temp 30 minutes.
- Bake 30-33 minutes, or to an internal temp of 165 degrees F with a digital instant-read thermometer. Note: This is for 8-ounce chicken breasts, smaller or larger breasts will slightly change the cooking time.
- Remove from oven and let rest under foil 5 minutes before serving.
If you prefer gas grilling, this Grilled Chicken Breast guide will teach you.
Answers to common questions
How to keep baked chicken breast moist
The safe internal temperature for chicken is 165º F, however, it’s best to bake chicken slightly under this as it will continue to cook as it sits. I recommend baking to 160º, removing chicken from the oven, and covering tightly with foil for 5-10 minutes to rest.
This will hold in moisture and continue to build up more heat, cooking to a safe internal temp while staying moist.
Do I need to bring chicken to room temp before baking?
It’s not required but will create more even internal cooking. Otherwise, the outside will cook much faster because the center will take longer to heat up. 20 to 30 minutes at room temp is recommended. Plus this will allow more time for salt and seasonings to soak into the meat.
To save time you can skip this step, but the chicken breast may not be as moist.
How long to bake chicken breast at 325º F
An average 8-ounce chicken breast will take about 30 to 33 minutes to bake at 325 degrees.
How long to bake chicken breast at 350º F
An average 8-ounce chicken breast will take about 25 to 28 minutes to bake at 350 degrees.
How long to bake chicken breast at 375 F
Many baked chicken breast recipes recommend baking at this temp, but I find it’s much easier to overcook. It will speed up cooking a bit and takes about 20 to 23 minutes.
Should I cover chicken while baking?
It’s not recommended to cover chicken in the oven. This especially true for chicken breast or other cuts with the skin on, as the skin will be soggy and not crisp up. Chicken will bake evenly without being covered.
Why did my chicken breast come out dry?
The most common reason is that it was baked at too high of a temp and/or for too long.
Pro tip: If you bake chicken a bit too long, an easy way to solve this is to top it with some sort of liquid when serving, such as pesto sauce, dressing, hot sauce, salsa, or a marinade. Even some melted cheese on top will make it seem moister. This also a great way to add extra flavor and make it unique.
Do you need to let baked chicken breast rest?
While not required for food safety reasons, it’s best to let all cuts of chicken rest 3-5 minutes at room temp to hold in juices, allowing for more moist chicken.
How long will leftover baked chicken store?
- Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3–4 days.
- Freeze shredded or chopped pieces tightly sealed up to 3–4 months. I like to freeze in separate smaller bags for easy leftover portions.
How healthy is baked chicken?
Baked chicken is a great source of lean protein without a lot of calories and almost no saturated fat. Here’s the nutrition breakdown:
A 6-ounce serving of chicken breast has 170 calories, 35 grams of protein, 3.6 grams of fat, and zero carbs. It also doesn’t contain any fiber, so it’s important to eat healthy complex carbs, such as vegetables, with chicken for a complete meal.
Thickness and size affects cooking time
If the chicken breasts are larger and thicker, they will take longer to cook. Smaller breast tenderloins take much less time to cook. The instructions in this baked chicken breast recipe are for average chicken breasts that are roughly 8 ounces, and about 1-inch thick.
- Larger chicken breasts that are still 1-inch thickness should cook the same. Add 5-10 minutes for extra thick chicken breasts, about 40 minutes total.
- Thinner and smaller chicken breasts cook much faster, about 20-25 minutes total.
- Plan ahead and bring chicken breasts to room temp before you plan to cook, about 30 minutes, or do this while the oven is pre-heating.
- If not defrosted, you can cook from frozen. See below for tips on how to bake frozen chicken.
- Cut larger chicken breast in half to reduce thickness and cooking time
- Bake at a higher temp such as 375, as baking time will be less. However, it’s easier to overcook chicken at this temp.
- Cook chicken breasts in bulk for leftovers, easy meal add-ins, or meal prep.
How to bake chicken breast from frozen
You can bake chicken breast from frozen, but need to add a bit more baking time.
- Preheat oven to 325º F.
- Place frozen chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet or pan
- Drizzle both sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pro tip: oil is critical in this step to add moisture, flavor and help salt and pepper stick to frozen chicken
- Place on oven uncovered and bake 40-45 minutes to an internal temp reaches about 160º F, then let sit under foil to cook to a safe internal temp of 165º.
Note: 10-15 minutes cooking time was added for frozen chicken.
Ways to flavor baked chicken breast
You can flavor roasted chicken with different herbs. Try sprinkling on some dried herbs such as Italian seasoning, basil or oregano. Fresh herbs such as fresh rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and tarragon also work well.
You can also add spices. Try all-seasoning salt, poultry seasoning, lemon pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, curry powder and/or cayenne pepper just to name a few.
Or go a step further and try spinach stuffed chicken breast by butterflying it (cut down one side of the chicken to create a pocket without cutting all the way through) and stuffing with mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh basil.
To make baked chicken breast even more unique, try my simple Keto Breaded Chicken Breasts.
Sides to serve with chicken
- Creamy mashed potatoes
- Fingerling potato salad
- Au gratin potatoes
- Sausage stuffed mushrooms
- Baked potato wedges
- Kale salad
- String bean casserole
Kitchen items needed
Learn how to make moist BBQ Baked Chicken Drumsticks for another easy chicken dinner.
Want more chicken breast recipes?
The following recipes make great use of leftovers:
Want more baked chicken recipes? View all chicken recipes from Plating Pixels→
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Baked Chicken Breast
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 8-ounces each
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, light
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 325º F. Line large baking dish with foil or parchment paper.
- Lightly drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or other seasonings or your choice). Rotate chicken breasts and repeat for the other sides. Let chicken sit at room temp for about 30 minutes.
- Bake 30-33 minutes or until internal temp reaches 160º F with a digital instant-read thermometer and chicken is no longer pink inside. Note: The safe internal temp for chicken is 165º F, but it will continue to cook as it rests.
- Remove from oven, lightly cover with foil to hold in heat and hold in moisture. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Bringing chicken to room temp creates more even cooking throughout, but can be skipped in a pinch to save time.
- Lining baking dish with foil or parchment paper makes cleanup easy.
- Try adding extra flavor with herbs, seasonings, and spices such as Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, curry powder and/or cayenne pepper.
- Instructions are for chicken breasts about 1-inch thick. Add or reduce 5-10 minutes of baking time depending on thickness.
- If cooking frozen chicken breast, add 10-15 minutes baking time.
- Do not open oven until chicken is close to done as this will let steam out. No need to rotate chicken during baking.
- To save leftovers: Allow baked chicken to cool on a plate. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3–4 days. Store whole, shredded, or chopped pieces tightly sealed in freezer up to 3–4 months.