Baked chicken breast can hardly get much better and it definitely can’t get much easier than this one. This chicken breast recipe is perfect for busy nights when time is scarce or you just don’t want to be in the kitchen for long.
This is probably my most favorite baked chicken breast recipe due to its simplicity, effortlessness and outstanding results. In this recipe, you don’t need to worry about a thermometer – although it’s a good idea to use it – and you can hardly mess it up. The leftovers are great for next day lunch: chicken wraps, salads, or sandwiches.
What makes this baked chicken breast recipe so simple?
There are several reasons why this recipe is so simple and worth getting excited about:
- You really only need salt, pepper, garlic, onion, some dry herbs, oil and chicken broth to make it – just the basic ingredients that practically every kitchen has. There is no need to remember to buy any additional ingredients, and there are no additional expenses.
- No prep is necessary. Just rub the seasonings over the chicken breasts and bake. The hands on time is literally only 3-5 minutes.
- Finally, there is no need to worry about baking time or checking internal temperature of the chicken. Just put it in the oven and remove when the time is up. It will be perfectly cooked, and tender and juicy inside.
Why does this baked chicken breast recipe work so well?
- Every time I bite into this chicken I am amazed at how richly flavored the meat is all the way though, without having been brined or marinated whatsoever. The explanation is simple: chicken meat happily absorbs broth during early stages of baking, which also keeps the chicken meat moist during baking and doesn’t let it dry out.
- The recipe uses bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts. Bon Appetit places going boneless and skinless as number one mistake when cooking chicken breast. Skin and bone protect lean chicken breast meat and help achieve the most tender and juicy breast meat. Cook’s Illustrated agrees and adds that skin also adds a lot of flavor to chicken breasts.
- 375F seems to be the perfect temperature for this recipe. It’s not too high and it allows chicken breasts enough time to get flavorized. Besides, high heat tends to make lean breast meat lose moisture way too fast, resulting in dry, chalky texture.
- There is enough time for a nice browning of chicken skin, without resorting to the use of a broiler. It’s just another thing you don’t need to worry about.
- Feel free to add any other seasonings you like to pair with chicken and that you have on hand. I like adding minced shallots, cayenne pepper, paprika, dry or fresh parsley, basil, cilantro, etc.
- Use high quality chicken broth or chicken bouillon cubes. The better it tastes, the better your chicken breasts will taste. Salt it just right and use it as a dipping sauce later. You can even thicken it later, if you wish. It makes an amazing gravy.
- You want chicken breasts to fit comfortably, without overcrowding or too much space in between. Overcrowding will lead to poor browning and longer baking times, while too much space in between will lead to broth evaporating very quickly and chicken breasts potentially drying out. I find that a 9″ x 13″ dish size works very well for baking 4 chicken breasts in this recipe.
- Everyone’s oven bakes differently, as they say, so you may want to check the internal temperature and adjust baking time to your liking the first time you make it. At 375F and 60 minutes my chicken breasts come out at slightly higher than 165F internal but that’s never an issue as they taste surprisingly tender and juicy.
- I sometimes let my chicken breasts bake for 75 minutes at this temperature to get better browned tops, and they still came out very tender and juicy. I do recommend 75 minutes of baking time if you use cold broth. That’s the beauty of this recipe: I never check internal temperature as I know that my chicken breasts won’t be under-cooked, yet they will be delicious and succulent.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic (pressed; or use 1 Tbsp powdered garlic)
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley (or basil, cilantro, etc.)
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup chicken broth (hot)
- Fresh limes, cut into wedges (optional)
- Fresh herbs, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and pressed garlic, then sprinkle salt, pepper and dry herbs all over. Set aside.
- Prepare and pour chicken broth in a 9" x 13" baking dish.
- Carefully add the chicken breasts, bone side down. Sprinkle chopped onion all over.
- Bake in the upper part of the oven for 60 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned and the internal temperature has reached 165F.
- Remove from the oven, let rest in the pan for 5 minutes and serve with lemon wedges and fresh herbs. Squeeze some lime juice on the chicken before eating to make it brighter and more flavorful.
How to Cook Bone-In Chicken Breasts (Cook’s Illustrated)