Juicy oven-baked chicken breasts can be tricky to nail. Many people wonder how to bake it without drying it out! However, by knowing the right tips and tricks (plus a delicious marinade) you will make it a staple at home. These chicken breasts come out extra juicy and the meat is really thin so you know they’re going to be evenly baked.
How to bake chicken breast without it drying out?
Ah, this is the century-old question. Particularly with oven-baked chicken breasts, there’s always the fear that they will dry out. The fear is less so in pieces like thighs or wings because they have a higher fat content that keeps them juicy even when overcooked slightly. With chicken breasts, though, you want to be intentional in the cooking. The key elements you want to take care of are thickness and cooking time.
Juicy oven-baked chicken breasts
So let’s get to it! Here are my tips for baking juicy chicken breasts:
- Pound the breasts: Pounding the chicken breasts before baking will ensure there’s a more uniform thickness and allows for even cooking. Otherwise, what will happen is that the thin tip will cook first and it could take a long while to cook the centre of the thickest part.
- Don’t overcook it: Dryness comes from overcooking. The internal temperature that you need to reach in the thickest part of the breasts is 164F/73C. You measure this using a meat thermometer.
- How long does it take to bake a chicken breast at 400 F / 200 C? If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a good amount of time at 400 F / 200C is 25-30 minutes. The time depends on the size of the breasts and given that you pounded the chicken breasts prior to baking them in the oven.
Is it better to bake chicken covered or uncovered?
Many people wonder if it’s better to bake chicken covered or uncovered. I like to make these juice oven-baked chicken breasts uncovered. The reasoning behind this is that this allows the top to become golden and gives some texture interest. Otherwise, if it’s covered, it will look pale and more like it was boiled. Also, the marinade prevents the chicken exterior from drying out too much, so that’s a failsafe we have installed there.
Tasty and juicy oven-baked chicken
Listen, I’m all about taste. Sure, you could rub the chicken in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake it in the oven. However, these juicy oven-baked chicken breasts have an extremely tasty marinade. You want to try to marinade for at least an hour before baking so that the seasoning penetrates the meat. I used my favourite seasonings for this and you can change it to your liking. I always recommend that you try the recipe as is once and then once you’ve had it, you can start to play around.
Side dishes for these chicken breasts
Let’s talk sides, that’s always fun! In the photos you can see that I served my oven-baked chicken breasts with mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food for me and with the pan juices from this chicken they’re just glorious. However, of course there are other alternatives you should consider:
Juicy Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts
For the marinade
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves minced of finely grated
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the chicken
- 4 pieces of chicken breasts
For the marinade
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl using a small whisk.
For the chicken
- Cover the chicken with baking paper and pound them using a rolling pin. We're aiming to decrease the thickness of the thickest side of the breasts.
- Cover the breasts thoroughly with the marinade, on the top and bottom. Let marinade for 1 hour.
- Lay the chicken breasts one next to the other on a baking dish.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 200°F/400°F for 25-30 minutes or until the temperature at the centre of the breasts reaches 73°C/164°F. 25 minutes works well for average-sized breasts and 30 is perfect for thick and large breasts.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving with the juices from the dish.