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4 Tips for Cooking a Juicy and Flavorful Chicken Breast

4 Tips for Cooking a Juicy and Flavorful Chicken Breast


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Chicken breast doesn’t have to be bland or dry

Cook chicken breast perfectly every time with these simple tricks.


One of the inherent problems with chicken breast is that one end is much thicker than the other. An easy fix? Use a heavy object, like a rolling pin, to pound and flatten each piece of chicken to make it one, uniform thickness.


Marinades add flavor to otherwise bland chicken breast, and many of the common ingredients in your marinade can help break down the fibers in the chicken. That means your cooked chicken breast will be more tender as well as tastier.

Slice Against the Grain


If you’re going to slice your chicken before cooking it, make sure you’re slicing against the grain, or across the chicken breast in the direction that will produce shorter strips. All meat — including poultry — is made up of bundles of tough muscle fibers, and cutting those fibers apart will produce a more tender piece of cooked chicken.


Though we often remember to rest a roast or whole bird before carving it, most of us don’t allow smaller cuts of meat or poultry to rest before slicing into them. It’s important to let the cooked chicken breast sit for 5—10 minutes before serving; this allows the juices to redistribute themselves throughout the meat, making it juicier.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.


BAKED CHICKEN BREAST | juicy, tender, easy, and oh, so flavorful!

Perfectly baked chicken breasts that are juicy, tender, and loaded with flavor! If you’ve ever struggled with dry, rubbery, and just flat-out boring chicken breasts, you’re in luck, because today’s recipe is about as easy as they come. Just whip up my special seasoning mix, give the chicken breasts a generous coating of it, and bake until juicy perfection.

This healthy, baked chicken recipe is perfect to serve for a weeknight dinner with a few side dishes, or slice it up and meal prep it for the week. It’s naturally gluten-free, low-carb, and keto friendly, and one of the best dinner recipes! Make sure to check out the blog post below for extra tips and storage suggestions.

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► TIMESTAMPS:
00:00 Intro
00:31 Tips for juicy and tender baked chicken
01:33 Make the seasoning mix
02:00 Coat the chicken in oil and seasoning
03:10 Bake the chicken breasts
04:46 Serve the chicken breasts with side dishes
05:09 Meal prep and save the chicken breasts for future meals
05:23 Taste test

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How to Make Juicy Chicken Breasts

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Chicken breasts are notorious for becoming unpleasantly dry during the cooking process. To keep your chicken juicy, preparation is key. Don't remove the bones or skin, since they keep the meat juicy during cooking. Pound the raw breasts with a meat tenderizer until each piece is of equal thickness. Submerge the prepped chicken in a brine or marinade for a few hours to ensure a juicy and flavorful result. When you're ready to cook the breasts, do so quickly using high heat. Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature and remove the breasts from heat when they reach 160° F (71° C).


How to cook juicy and flavorful chicken breasts

Selection. Always try to choose fresh, unfrozen chicken breasts. If they are very large and thick, cut them in half and flatten them a little to reduce their volume, so they can cook evenly inside and out.

Seasoning. To give your chicken breasts a delicious flavor, sprinkle a few teaspoons of Knorr® Chicken Flavored Bouillon on both sides. If you wish, you can also add chopped garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil, oregano and other seasonings.

Tip: Place the seasoned breasts in an air-sealed bag and leave them in the refrigerator for a few hours so they absorb all the flavor.

Cooking method. The cooking time and method are key for the breasts to turn out juicy inside and out. Cooking on a frying pan is a good method, like when you make Chicken in Pipián Sauce. Use a non-stick pan and cook the chicken over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. If you cook them too much they could dry out.

Tip: If you are going to cook the breasts in the oven, place them in a nonstick tray, then brush some baking paper with oil and cover them completely. This will keep them from losing too much juice while cooking.

Now that you know how to cook tasty and juicy chicken breasts, put these tips into practice when you make a delicious Lemon Chicken and Chipotle Dip.


How to bake chicken breasts:

To make this easy and delicious dinner, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Brine: Brine the chicken according to the steps above. Let it brine for at least 30 minutes to absorb all the flavors.
  2. Rub it: I like rubbing the poultry prior to baking. This adds an additional layer of flavors. You can use your favorite seasoning, or use my Italian seasoning.
  3. Brush it: I highly recommend brushing the breasts with melted butter. Or at least, I would say using butter while cooking it. This will add great flavor. Also, it will give it a nice golden crust and color on the outside.
  4. Roast: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and bake it.
  5. Rest: Prior to slicing and serving, let it rest for 5-10 minutes. This way, the flavors, and all the juices will come together.

How to season the Chicken Breasts with seasoning blend?

Prepare the seasoning by mixing together garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, dried parsley, basil, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Then, simply sprinkle the seasoning over the meat, or rub it. Make sure not to over-power the bird with too much seasoning, so keep it simple.

Also, you can use other seasonings, such as Cajun seasoning, Taco seasoning, or poultry seasoning. Adjust per your taste.

What temperature to bake chicken breasts?

Over the years we have tried cooking the breast meat at various temperatures, and we concluded that cooking it at 400 degrees F yields the perfect result. Chicken breasts are naturally lean, so it is important to set the right temperature when cooking.

Also, you want to rest the meat for at least 10-15 minutes before baking. This will allow the butter and herbs to absorb into it.

How long to bake chicken breast at 400 degrees?

Depending on the thickness of the breast, roasting at 400 degrees F requires a cooking time of about 25-30 minutes. Cooking at a higher heat develops a nicer and crispier crust on the outside of the breasts, which also locks the juice better, and keeps the meat perfectly tender on the inside.

It is recommended to start checking on it after about 25-minute mark, to ensure it is not overcooked, sooner for a smaller size meat cut. Check with a cooking thermometer, as the internal temperature should be around 160 degrees F. Once it hits this mark, we usually remove the meat from the oven and let it rest for additional 5-10 minutes.

Resting it will let the temperature to climb on its own to 165 degrees F internally, and ensure the meat is not over-cooked. Similarly, it will let the juices reabsorb into the chicken, resulting in perfectly tender meat.

What goes with oven-baked chicken breasts as a side dish?

For a complete meal, add some veggies to the same pan in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time. Some great additions are:

How to store baked chicken breasts?

Before refrigerating the meat, make sure it is completely cooled. Then, transfer it into an airtight container and refrigerate it up to 4 days.


Tips & Tricks for Perfectly Baked Chicken

If you want a perfectly baked chicken breast, you’ll definitely want to follow my top 3 tips:

  • Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness of about 1-inch. This will ensure even cooking and it also helps tenderize the chicken.
  • Use an instant read thermometer an internal temperature over 165˚F will result in dry chicken.
  • Do not cut into the baked chicken right away let chicken rest for at least 5 minutes so that the juices reabsorb into the chicken.


How Long To Cook Chicken Breast

Nobody loves a dried out breast. Trust me, I know how tasteless they can be. My mom always cooked her chicken to death! The secret to moist and juicy chicken is the hot oven. And I mean hot! 450 F degrees hot. A medium chicken breast will only take about 18 to 25 minutes to bake at this temperature.

However, keep in mind that cooking times can vary greatly based on many different factors such as thickness of chicken, all ovens are different, etc. The best way to always tell if your chicken is done, is by using an instant-read thermometer.


This is a slow grilling method that uses a "reverse searing technique" for the chicken breasts. It is initially cooked with indirect heat then finished over direct heat to finish cooking.

The method I describe here mirrors the Cook's Country method. It is a bit fussy but has been tested thoroughly and does great.

Having said that, I have done this recipe multiple times with both this reverse searing technique and my normal chicken breast technique. The results are nearly identical, and I find my less confusing. See How to BBQ Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast on a Gas Grill if you want an example.

Charcoal Grill: Since this technique uses high heat and an indirect heat area, it will be fine on a charcoal grill but the time may be a bit less.


Ingredients

  • 4 (6-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Nutritional Information

  • Calories 244
  • Fat 8.9g
  • Satfat 1.8g
  • Monofat 3.6g
  • Polyfat 1.8g
  • Protein 38g
  • Carbohydrate 0.0g
  • Fiber 0.0g
  • Cholesterol 127mg
  • Iron 1mg
  • Sodium 557mg
  • Calcium 10mg
  • Sugars 0g
  • Est. added sugars 0g

More Easy Chicken Recipes

  • Here’s another excellent way to cook chicken: Our Perfectly Poached Chicken is soft, tender, and flavorful.
  • These Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas are so flavorful and this shredded chicken is perfect for the filling. We toss chicken with salsa verde, sour cream, garlic and cheese.
  • If you are wondering whether or not you can make this in a slow cooker, you can! Hop over to our Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Recipe to see how easy it is.

Recipe updated, originally posted June 2015. Since posting this in 2015, we have add a recipe video and tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne