Apr 13, 2020
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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 easythigh to overcook and dry out.
What is the Best Temperature to Bake Chicken?
The secret to juicy baked chicken breasts is baking them at 375F (190C) and taking them out when the internal temperature has reached 165F (75C). It’s not too low or high, but just right for juicy, baked chicken breasts. This temperature works great for 8 ounce 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.
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 the most common chicken breast size of approximately 8 ounces.
That said, bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves will take almost twice as long and you can expect to dramatically reduce the cook time if you’re using butterflied chicken breasts.
More details in this video, where I walk you through everything you need to know about baking chicken, and in the charts below.
Chicken Temperature Chart
While the best way to cook chicken in the oven is always by measuring the internal temperature of the chicken, the following chart has approximate cooking times you can use when cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Baked Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts Temperature
|Size||Oven Temp||Cook Time|
|small 4-6 oz||350F / 175 C||22-30 minutes|
|traditional 8 oz||375 / 190 C||25-30 minutes|
|traditional 8 oz||400 / 200 C||approx 20 minutes|
How Long to Bake Chicken Breast at 350F (175C)
The traditional and popular temperature for baking chicken breasts that are smaller in size and thickness, about 4 to 6 ounces is 350F (175C) and cooking time tends to be about 22 to 30 minutes.
Because of their smaller size, the lower temperature gives you less of a chance of them drying out.
Again, this temperature and time will vary by the thickness of the chicken breasts and should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165F
How Long to Bake Chicken Breast at 375F (190C)?
375F or 190C is the most common cooking temperature for chicken breast and it will typically take approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Again, this will vary by the thickness of the chicken breast.
This is also the most common temperature for sheet pan dinners because you can bake potatoes and vegetables at the same time as the chicken; making this a very efficient process.
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
Boneless skinless chicken breasts cook almost in half the time (25-30min) as bone-in chicken breasts (40-55min) because bone-in breasts are larger and thicker.
Bone-in chicken breasts tend to be split breasts, meaning, the chicken breast is half of the top side of the chicken, plus the bone, and skin. Oftentimes, this bone-in chicken breast, or split breast, can weigh between 12 and 16 ounces.
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!
Bone-in chicken breasts, or split breasts, will take approximately 40 to 55 minutes to cook at 375F (190C).
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.
More information and charts about temperatures for baking chicken thighs and the best temps for baking chicken legs here.
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.
Baked Chicken Breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 to 3 chicken breasts 1 lb boneless, skinless
- 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 (190C). 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 (75C).
- Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Love it! Thank you so much, Laura. So here, I bow down to my mother. She told me for years how to cook a whole chicken, I didn’t do it for a few years, but now I swear by it. Take that whole chicken (whether frozen or not), rinse it off, and put in a crock pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set the crock pot on low overnight. Be ready for your house to smell like Thanksgiving in the AM, but it’s done when you wake. Cool that puppy off, skin it, and start peeling off your moist and delicious chicken. Make enchiladas, chicken pasta salad, and so much more. WARNING: You will want to eat a lot of this as you skin and bone. I advise to do all this right before garbage pick up. Chicken bits don’t smell great in the tote.
Oh yes. The whole chicken in slow cooker is epic. And you’re right… best smell in the morning!
Not to worry about chicken waste creating a bad odor. Simply
Toss it into a plastic bag and freeze it . When trash pickup is due throw it out THEN.
Much better than stinkin’ up your kitchen !