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Perfect Baked Chicken Breast

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Let's face it, chicken breasts are really bland. Especially when there's no skin (i.e. fat and flavor). And baked chicken breasts have a reputation for being even worse! When you don't sear it at all over the stovetop, you're losing out on texture too. It doesn't have to be this way. There are ways to make this innately boring cut of meat into something really delicious that will have the whole family excited. And no, it doesn't always mean stuffing the chicken

At what temperature should I bake chicken? 

We find that a 375° works perfectly. With the spice rub, you'll get some nice color and caramelization, and the chicken will cook through nice and evenly. 

How can I make my baked chicken taste better? 

Make a spice rub! It's kind of amazing how much of a difference brown sugar, garlic powder, and paprika (all ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry) can do. Not only does it add a slightly smoky, sweet taste, but it makes your chicken look way prettier. (Naked salt-and-pepper chicken breasts are a very sad sight to behold.) 

This is by no means the only seasoning route you can go. Craving Tex-Mex? Try 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. The flavor combinations are endless. Just remember that in the world of spices, a little bit goes a long way.  

Placing chicken breasts over a bed of lemon slices is an easy and affordable way to infuse a ton of fresh flavor. Limes and oranges work well too!

Do I need to cover the chicken while it's cooking?  

It's not necessary. In a baking dish without a TON of extra room, and on top of a bunch of lemon slices, the chicken stays nice and juicy. 

What pairs well with this chicken? 

A LOT. The flavors from the spices go well with something super simple like Spinach Salad with Apples and Feta or salad with a bit more flair, like our Southwestern Chopped Salad. It's a wonderful cookout main that will compliment anything from Potato Salad to Elote.

How long should I bake the chicken breasts?  

It depends on the size of your chicken breasts. If they're large, you're looking at 20 to 25 minutes. One of the most common mistakes with baked chicken breasts is leaving them in the oven for too long. For people without a ton of kitchen confidence, it can be tricky to tell if chicken is cooked through unless you slice into it, which can cause all those flavorful (lemony) juices to escape. 

You'll get the hang of being able to tell just by feel (it should be firm but not rock solid) but until then, we recommend using a thermometer. 165° is your magic number for cooked-through chicken.

Do I need to let the chicken rest? 

Yes. Regardless of how hangry you are, let the baked chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Cut too early, and you might end up a dry and bland chicken breast atop a messy pool of juices. 

For more amazing chicken recipes, check out our cookbook Insanely Easy Chicken Dinners.

How should I store the chicken?

We recommend letting the chicken cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. Leftovers will keep 3-5 days after baking. 

What are fun ways to use leftovers?

Our go-to: throw it in a quesadilla! You can also bulk up a simple salad or make a super flavorful chicken salad sandwich. 

How to prevent dried baked chicken 

There’s a couple things you could do to prevent “dried chicken” when baking. Creating a brine with salt, sugar, and water is a great way to sustain moisture in chicken. It’s not going to make the chicken sweet or salty, it's just going to aid in making a tender juicy chicken. Also consider   cooking the chicken breast with the bone in. This can help supplement juiciness as well. 

How to use this chicken in other recipes

A simple easy chicken breast recipe like this could be used in a few ways. You could add the chicken on top of the rice like the curried chicken and garlic golden rice. How delicious would it be if you made a chicken salad sandwich with baked chicken breast. Get inspired to amplify your pasta salad similar to this chicken pasta salad.

Have you made this recipe? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below. 

Editor's Note: This recipe was edited July 19th, 2022

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 5 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 40 mins
1 tbsp.

brown sugar

1 tsp.

garlic powder

1 tsp.


1 tsp.

kosher salt

1 tsp.

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)


lemon, cut into thin slices

Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Drizzle oil all over chicken and generously coat with seasoning mixture, shaking off excess. Scatter lemon slices in baking dish then place chicken on top.
  2. Bake until chicken is cooked through, or reads an internal temperature of 165º, about 25 minutes.
  3. Cover chicken loosely with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley, if using.

Parker Feierbach
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