Perfect 20-Minute Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts — Super juicy, flavorful, EASY, and tender baked chicken breasts that are ready in 20 minutes and made on ONE sheet pan!! Nothing complicated or fussy about this PERFECT chicken that everyone LOVES!!
The BEST Oven Baked Chicken Breasts
Generally, I am not a fan of baking chicken breasts because they tend to turn out dry and don’t usually have as much flavor as say grilled chicken.
This baked boneless chicken breast recipe changes all that, I promise.
The chicken is tender, juicy, moist, easy, ready in a half hour from start to finish, and best of all, made on one sheet pan. Cleanup is as easy as tossing away a sheet of foil.
This recipe makes 3 pounds of chicken. Yes, that’s quite a bit, but it’s great to keep this leftover chicken in your fridge to throw over salads in the upcoming days or for any way you like to use your chicken. Such as in tacos, burritos, omelets, on its own with a side of roasted veggies, you name it.
It freezes great too, but if you don’t need that much, halve the recipe.
Baked Chicken Tip
If this sounds good to you, make sure to check out my 20-Minute Baked Lime Cilantro Chicken Breasts recipe as well.
It’s a spinoff on the Perfect Chicken recipe – but with lime and cilantro flavors.
What’s In Oven Baked Chicken Breasts?
For this easy oven baked chicken breasts recipe, you only need a few common fridge and pantry staples:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper, optional but recommended
How to Bake Chicken Breasts
Cooking chicken in the oven doesn’t have to be challenging.
Follow my basic and straightforward steps for baked chicken success.
- Simply add the chicken breasts to a baking sheet and pound them to a uniform thickness. The reason for pounding is that chicken breasts are thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges. If you don’t pound them, the edges will become dry and can burn before the center is cooked through. Additionally, the pounding helps to tenderize the protein.
- Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, seasonly generously with salt and pepper, and then add a dry rub to both sides.
- Bake that chicken off and get ready to enjoy the fruits of almost no labor.
- But first, let it rest for a few minutes.
- Slice and serve!
How Long to Bake Chicken Breasts
What temperature to bake chicken breasts? For the best oven baked chicken breasts, I suggest baking them at 425 degrees F.
How Long to Bake Chicken Breasts? Once pounded to an even thickness, these baked boneless chicken breasts will need to cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F).
Not Sure How to Judge Doneness? Use a digital thermometer. It’s the only way to know for sure! Don’t just guess.
What Should I Use to Pound the Chicken ?
Obviously a meat tenderizer is the obvious choice, but not everyone has one. I know I didn’t for many years.
But do you have an empty wine bottle laying around? Champagne bottle if you’re fancier? Those work very well! Use the plastic or paper the chicken comes in to create a barrier between chicken + bottle.
You’re not pounding the bitter life out of it so don’t worry about breaking the bottle. Plus the bottle then goes straight in the recycling so it’s one less thing I need to even wash. I am always thinking about the easiest possible way out with the fewest dishes, trust me.
But if you are concerned about using a glass bottle, a rolling pin (need to dust mine off) or a heavy skillet will all suffice.
You don’t need to pound it overly thin, just make sure it’s of uniform thickness.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying About Easy Perfect Oven-Baked Chicken
“Can confirm, this recipe makes PERFECT chicken breasts! I was taught to bake chicken at 350, which takes ages and always resulted in dry chicken for me. But baking at 425 is a game changer! I’ll definitely use this as a base recipe for different spice combinations in the future — although I really loved the smoky-spicy-sweet spice blend you shared. You’re so good at creating unique flavor combos with “normal” ingredients!”
“I received this recipe in my email. It was the luscious picture that hooked me. It was the description that landed me. I made it that evening(yesterday). It was sooooo phenomenal that I made it again tonight. My family adored it. Thank you, thank you. This was exactly as the email stated – “perfect.””
Tips for Making the Best Baked Chicken Breasts
Lining your pan with foil is highly recommended in case there are a lot of juices and runoff that gets dark and sticky, it’s one less thing to clean up.
The brown sugar in the rub can cause it to be prone to burning. However, about the same time that could possibly happen, the chicken will be done, so I don’t worry too much. It’s the part that is going to be running off on the pan that could get a bit dark, not what’s on the chicken itself.
But before slicing in, I strongly recommend you let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes. It seals in the juices. Nothing worse that slicing into a steak and watching the juice run everywhere. Same principle here, so relax a minute, and let the chicken do the same. Cover it with a sheet of foil if you want to keep it warmer.
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Perfect 20-Minute Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, 4 extra-large breasts or 6 average
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons paprika or smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh herbs, optional for garnishing (parsley, cilantro, basil)
- Preheat oven to 425F (use convection if you have it) and line a baking sheet with foil (optional but highly recommended, see Notes below)) for easier cleanup.
- Place the chicken on the baking sheet, and pound to an even thickness. I use an empty wine bottle, but a meat pounder or tenderizing tool, a rolling pin, or a heavy frying pan all work. The chicken doesn't need to be pounded 'thin', but it needs to be of pounded to a uniform thickness so it all cooks through at the same time.
- Evenly drizzle the chicken with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper; set aside.
- To a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients (except the fresh herbs), stir to combine, and evenly spoon the dry rub over the chicken on both sides. I add a bit more to the side that's facing up than the side that's on the bottom in contact with the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (165F) and done. Allow chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into it (cover with foil if desired to keep it warmer). Resting the chicken really helps lock in the juices and moisture so don't skip this step. Optionally garnish with fresh herbs before serving. Chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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Originally posted June 15, 2020 and reposted April 28, 2023 with updated text.