Did you know that “healthy baked chicken breast recipes” are one of the most highly searched things on Google? I realized that while I have a lot of chicken recipes, I hardly have any that call for chicken breasts, and they are actually something I cook A LOT around here. For years I have been using a method that yields the most tender and juicy chicken, which is important because let’s face it, chicken breasts, especially baked, are usually bone dry. It’s so easy to dry out chicken breast because there’s very little fat. So how do you rectify that? By adding fat of course! But the good kind – the EVOO kind.
This is my go-to method that I’ve been using for years. I use it for a quick and easy chicken dinner, and I will also cook extra and save it to add to soups and casseroles. Keep it in a sealed bag in the fridge for a few days, or pop it in the freezer if you’re not using it right away.
How To Make A Healthy Baked Chicken Breast Recipes Without Drying It Out?
Baked chicken breasts can be tough to get just right. It’s all too easy to overcook them and end up with dry, rubbery chicken. I’ve got lots of tips to share when it comes to my favorite chicken breast recipes. Here are some of my best tips from keeping your chicken from drying out.
- Rubbing the chicken with a little olive oil before baking helps add moisture to the chicken and also helps the seasonings stick to the breast.
- I use a very simple seasoning of salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder or paprika. Oregano, thyme, or even taco seasoning are also great to use.
- Chicken breasts do best at a high temperature (roasting) around 425-450 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows the meat to cook quickly and retain a lot of moisture. Lower temps result in a longer cooking time and a higher chance of dry chicken, which is not something anyone wants!
- Make sure to let your chicken REST. This is so important when cooking any meat, but especially with this recipe. When cooked at a high temperature the juices in the chicken quickly rush to the center, so when you cut into it right away, all those juices come pouring out and boom – dry chicken. Resting allows the juices to redistribute through the chicken breast and gives you a tender, juicy piece of meat every time.
- Slice against the grain. This will result in the most tender, easy to chew chicken.
- I use this baking dish for making my Baked Chicken Breasts. You could also use a foil or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet, but a high sided baking dish seems to do better at keeping the meat juicy.
How To Bake Chicken
- Pound chicken to an even thickness. Place chicken between two pieces of parchment paper or in a sealed plastic bag and lightly pound. This will tenderize the meat and also help the chicken to cook evenly.
- Rub all over with olive oil. You could also use melted butter, or a variety of different types of oil, like avocado or corn oil.
- Season the chicken well. Rub salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder all over the chicken. I like to add a sprinkling of salt over the top just to make sure it’s probably seasoned. Sometimes I’ll use paprika in place of chili powder.
- Place the chicken side by side in a glass baking dish. Arrange each piece of chicken in the opposite direction and you should be able to fit 4 chicken breasts in a 13×9-inch dish. For best results, the chicken pieces can be close together but not on top of each other. They will shrink slightly as they cook.
- Roast in the oven at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but at the higher temperature the chicken will cook fast.
- Once chicken reaches the optimal temperature, remove the pan from the oven and ten with foil to allow the chicken time to rest.
Does This Recipe Work With Other Types Of Chicken?
The seasoning blend I use for this chicken recipe, is simple and easy, using spices that are usually readily available. It is my favorite blend and I use it with a variety of recipes. It works great with boneless or bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks, and in the oven, on the stovetop or even on the grill! Just rub the seasoning into the chicken and cook accordingly. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be cooked at the same temperature as this recipe but may need an extra 5 minutes. Bone-in chicken will always take much longer; at least an extra 20 minutes.
Chicken tenders work wonderfully as well but you won’t need the same length of time. It should just take about 10 minutes.
How Long Does It Take To Make A Healthy Baked Chicken Breast Recipes?
Boneless skinless chicken breasts are very lean, so it’s easy to overcook them and dry them out.
I always cook chicken breasts at 450 degrees. But maybe you want to cook something else at the same time and need the oven at a lower temperature. You can still get good results for cooked chicken breasts using this guide:
- 350 Degrees: 30-35 minutes
- 375 degrees: 25-30 minutes
- 400 degrees: 22-25 minutes
- 425 degrees: 18-22 minutes
Keep in mind that the exact time needed will depend on the size and thickness of the meat.
What Temperature Should Chicken Be Cooked To?
All chicken, no matter what part of the bird, should be cooked to 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer and stick the pointy end into the center of the thickest part of the meat, or for bone-in chicken, the thickest part near the bone. Once it registers at least 160-165 degrees you know it’s time to tent and rest. The time it takes to reach the proper temperature can vary by size. These times are based on 450 degrees in my recipe:
- 5-6 ounce breasts: 13-16 minutes
- 8 ounce breasts: 16-19 minutes
- 11-12 ounce breasts: 22-26 minute
10 Healthy Baked Chicken Recipes
1. Cuban Baked Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Yellow Rice
This Cuban-inspired recipe is a great way to introduce unfamiliar flavors to wary eaters. A small amount of turmeric and cumin (less than one teaspoon of each) adds beautiful color to the rice without overpowering the other ingredients, like mild peas and sweet bell peppers.
2. Baked Orange Chicken and Brown Rice
3. Garlic Chicken and Potatoes
4. Lemon Chicken Breasts
Ina’s quick-fix baked chicken takes just 15 minutes to prep and will become an instant family favorite, thanks to crispy golden-brown skin and a white wine-lemon sauce
5. Chicken Parmesan
6. Chicken and Rice Paprikash Casserole
7. North African Chicken and Chickpeas Sheet Pan Dinner
Lemony chicken, creamy chickpeas and exotic spices come together in this simple sheet pan dinner. Make sure to spoon up the juices on the bottom of the pan for the perfect sauce to complete this meal.
8. Oven-Fried Chicken
9. Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers
10. Chicken and Broccoli Roll-Ups
We’ve turned a classic frozen dinner that you’d find at your local supermarket into an easy, healthy option.