Over-cooked chicken is one of the biggest culprits to eating a dry, tasteless meal. While marinating, brining, and tenderizing can help keep your chicken moist, the most important thing when it comes to cooking great chicken is knowing what temperature to bake chicken breasts at.
In this post, I’ll be sharing my best tips and recipe for baked chicken breasts so that you can make future chicken dinners perfectly every time.
If chicken a go-to ingredient for healthy and delicious meals, you’re at the right place. My family loves it so I share a lot of recipes with chicken.
I’ve got a log of family-friendly chicken dinner ideas on this site as well as an entire post on how to cook chicken six ways. Everything from how to grill, bake, pan sauteé, oven-roast, fry, and poach- it’s all there.
But today, I’m only focusing on baked chicken breasts, a popular recipe that’s easy to overcook and dry out.
What is the Best Temperature to Bake Chicken?
The secret to juicy baked chicken breasts is baking it at the right temperature, and 375F (190C) is the best temperature for baked chicken. It’s not too low or high, but just right for juicy, baked chicken breasts.
A great tip for avoiding over-cooked chicken is a meat thermometer. Since some ovens can run hot, a thermometer is a much better indicator of when the chicken is done. Once that internal temperature reaches 165F (74C), it’s ready!
How Long Does it Take To Bake a Chicken Breast
The amount of time to bake chicken breasts depends on their thickness and size. Four to six-ounce breasts will cook faster compared to bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves.
Approximately, in a preheated 375F (190C) oven:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts = 25-30 minutes.
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts = 40-50 minutes.
How Long to Bake Chicken Breast at 350F (75C)
The traditional and popular temperature for baking chicken is 350F (75C) and it works great for smaller 4-6 ounce chicken breast fillets. Because of their smaller size, they can take 22-30 minutes and have less of a chance of drying out.
How Long to Bake Chicken Breast at 400F (200C)?
Cooking chicken at a higher temp is a popular way to get perfectly cooked chicken breasts in a shorter amount of time, about 22-25 minutes.
I use this method if I’m making a sheet pan dinner with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes. All the ingredients cook evenly and are finished around the same time.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts vs. Bone-In
When it comes to cooking bone-in chicken breasts vs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, the bone-in chicken will always be juicier and my top choice.
The skin locks in moisture and the bone adds great flavor like in these Mexican Chicken Tacos. That’s one recipe you’ll have to experience for yourself, just know this- it’s the best chicken ever!
However, bone-in chicken breast will take longer to cook, about 10 to 15 minutes longer, depending on the size of the chicken breast.
This is another reason why using a meat thermometer is important to determine whether the chicken is fully cooked.
When checking for doneness, insert the thermometer probe in the thickest part of the bone-in chicken breast and it should read 165F.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to bake chicken breasts that are moist and full of flavor.
Combine ½ cup of your favorite marinade per pound of chicken in a large zip bag. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Place the chicken in a greased baking dish or sheet pan and bake at 375F (or preferred temperature) until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
Once you remove the chicken from the oven, allow it to rest for 5 minutes to lock in the juices and moisture.
What Temperature is Chicken Done?
The magic number is 165F, however, it’s recommended to cook dark meat, such as thighs and drumsticks, to 175F for better flavor.
From personal experience, I’ve learned that one of the best tools for cooking chicken perfectly is a meat thermometer. Recipe times are helpful to gauge when the chicken should be done but a thermometer is the most accurate device to know when the chicken is ready.
To take the chicken’s internal temperature, insert the point into the thickest part of the chicken and wait until it reaches 165F. If the chicken is below that temperature, return it to the oven for additional cooking time.
Frozen Chicken Breasts
I’m often asked, can you cook frozen chicken breasts without thawing them before? The short answer is YES!
It’s happened to many of us before. You have an epic chicken dinner planned but you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw out in the refrigerator overnight.
Related: How to Defrost Chicken, Safely.
The good news is, you can still cook frozen chicken in the oven or stove-top by adding 50% percent of the original cooking time to the recipe. I have an entire post with detailed instructions on cooking frozen chicken in this post.Print
Baked Chicken Breasts
How to get perfectly baked chicken breasts every time!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
- Total Time: 45-50 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: How to
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Chicken Dinner
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2–3 large (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Add the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
- Place the chicken breasts into a large zip bag, add the marinade, and seal. Marinate for 30 minutes- 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the chicken breasts onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
- Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Serving Size: 4 ounces
- Calories: 271
- Sugar: 0.9g
- Sodium: 353.5mg
- Fat: 6.8g
- Saturated Fat: 1.2g
- Carbohydrates: 23.5g
- Fiber: 1.8g
- Protein: 29.9g
- Cholesterol: 82.7mg