Super-Juicy Baked Chicken Breasts
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Learn the easiest way to make all-purpose, basic baked chicken breasts that turn out tender and juicy every time! Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Bake them on a sheet pan with halved fresh lemons to make a savory pan sauce to pour over the meat.
With this easy baked chicken breast recipe, you can bake a batch of chicken breasts for dinner in less than 30 minutes. Or put them in the fridge to use all week long for meal prep, in an almost endless list of creative ways. Follow these steps and cook chicken that turns out juicy and delicious every time.
It’s no secret that people love boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Why? Maybe it’s because they’re an economical source of lean protein, convenient to cook and family-pleasing all at once.
My love for chicken thigh recipes holds no bounds, but when it comes to planning weeknight menus, all types of chicken dinner recipes are on the table.
I’m talking adding sliced or chopped chicken breast to low-effort dinner salads, baked chicken pasta, sandwiches, or as a topping for pizza.
White meat chicken is a neutral base to pair with just about any combination of seasonings. I mean, what doesn’t taste good with chicken breasts?!
About the ingredients
Learn this simple method for juicy oven baked chicken breast, starting with a base of four ingredients.
- Chicken breasts: Boneless, skinless breasts weighing 8-10 ounces each will cook in about 20 minutes in the oven. There’s no need to pound them.
- Herbs + seasonings: Along with salt and pepper, I use fresh herbs to add flavor to baked chicken breasts. Sturdy, aromatic herbs like fresh thyme, rosemary, tarragon or marjoram/oregano all pair beautifully with poultry. Use a combination of herbs, or use 2 teaspoons of any dried herb blend or blended spices (like Italian seasoning, curry, za’atar, chili powder). You can also sprinkle with some granulated garlic powder — fresh garlic will burn.
- Lemon: Fresh lemon halves bake right next to the chicken on a sheet pan. The roasted lemons release their tangy juice, mingling with the chicken juices to make a simple pan sauce to pour over the chicken.
- Olive oil: Coating the chicken breasts in a little olive oil keep the meat moist and adds delicious flavor.
Keep chicken breasts juicy
“Why are chicken breasts so dry?” is definitely a question I hear a lot when I teach cooking classes.
The one trick to juicy chicken breast is simple — do not overcook them. Unlike bone-in chicken or other types of meat like pork or beef, chicken breasts have little fat marbling the muscle tissue which means they can dry out quickly.
- Tip: Boneless, skinless chicken breast often vary in size. I used breasts that weighed anywhere between 8-10 ounces when I tested this recipe. If your chicken breasts are slightly smaller (6 ounces) check for doneness about 5 minutes after flipping them over.
- To dry-brine the chicken, season with the salt, pepper and the herbs. Let them sit 30 minutes before baking, or store in the refrigerator up to one day ahead.
- I love to use a ceramic coated non-stick sheet pan to bake chicken because it’s so easy to clean. You can use a piece of parchment paper or foil to line your pan.
- Baked chicken keeps up to a week refrigerated, stored in an airtight container.
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Simple, Super-Juicy Baked Chicken Breasts
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, weighing 8-10 ounces each
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, tarragon or oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried herb of your choice
- 2 lemons, sliced in half
- Preheat the oven to 425 (220 C) degrees.
- Put the chicken breasts on a medium rimmed baking sheet, such as a 13 x 9 inch quarter sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken, then turn them over to coat both sides of the breasts with the oil.
- Sprinkle the herbs and a generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts. Arrange the lemon halves flesh side down in the pan, around the chicken.
- Bake 10 minutes, then flip the breasts over. Bake another 10 minutes. At this point, the breasts should feel firm to the touch and the juices in the pan should be starting to caramelize. An instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read 158-165 F. Keep in mind the meat will carry-over cook as it rests, so it's okay if it's a little under 165 degrees.
- Let the chicken rest in the pan about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate. Squeeze the roasted lemons over the chicken (one half lemon per breast). Add a tablespoon or so of water (or chicken broth) to the baking sheet and scrape up the pan juices. Pour the juice over the chicken and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Tip: Boneless, skinless chicken breast can vary in size. I used breasts that weighed anywhere between 8-10 ounces when I tested this recipe. If your chicken breasts are slightly smaller (6 ounces) check for doneness about 5 minutes after flipping them over.
- The cooked chicken will keep up to 5 days refrigerated.
- To dry-brine the chicken, season with salt, pepper and the herbs. Let them sit 30 minutes before baking, or store in the refrigerator up to one day before cooking.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
I’ve been looking for a simple chicken recipe to make for me and my husband. This looks like a very romantic meal. Rosemary is one of my favorite herb to cook with. Thanks for the recipe.
Thanks Amy! My husband is not a fan of chicken breasts (he prefers the dark meat), but even he likes them prepared this way. Hope you both enjoy! Rosemary is a favorite of mine 😉
This has become a go-to family favorite recipe, thank you so much.
I’m so happy to hear that, Lisa! Thanks for sharing.
Hi! I’m going to try your recipe with turkey cutlets! Yum!
Could this be done in a crockpot?
I know this comment is almost a year late, but I need to say it. This is now my go-to way to make chicken! The taste is just impeccable and the breast stays so juicy… Everyone complimented my cooking. Thank you!!
Ally – oh, I’m so glad to know that! Thank you, and I hope you continue to enjoy the chicken. My family still likes it (and I repeat it often 🙂
This looks delicious. Can I use sea salt?
I used drumsticks with this. Didnt change a thing and it turned out perfect…and delicious!
Wow! My sister recommended this recipe and it is so easy and delicious! I am definitely saving and will use for years to come! Thanks!
It looks great and its so easy , i’m for sure going to try it with my own grown Rosemary
How long would you cook just 2 skin-on chicken breasts? Same time as above?
Hi Melissa – yes, same time for two.
Would it totally ruin the recipe if I used boneless/skinless breasts? That’s what I have in the freezer now. Do you need to adjust the timing at all, etc?
Hi Stephanie – No, not all. I suggest you make sure the breasts have a good coating of olive oil. Skip the 475 degree oven blast; instead roast at 425 until they’re done, about 20 minutes or so.
Last Night’s Dinner: Karen’s juicy Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Lemon. You’re so right, very juicy and so glad I bumped into you on Food 52. Love that sight. Then I learned you live nearby in STL. I live in COMO – home of the Missouri Tigers. I’m always happy to find internet neighbors and real life nearby foodies. Anyway, just wanted to let you know, hubz loved your chicken and its juiciness, flavor even though because of his diet he peeled away the delicious skin. (I didn’t) :”) Success!!!!! So…. thank you for sharing and because of the simplicity of this meal it will always be in my noggin. YAY for a memory bank meal. Have a super day.
Amy – that is fantastic! Thanks for your comment (I do love to hear how things turn out in the kitchen), and wonderful you’re in COMO. It’s a great town, isn’t it? I hope you got to enjoy your hubby’s chicken skin 🙂
hahahaha, tahnk you for sharing. I’ll never overcook my chicken again 🙂
What a gorgeous post! The second picture, in particular, is stunning. Nice work, amica. Oh, and did I mention the recipe… my husband says I must try this.
Can’t wait to hear what your better half thinks of it. You certainly must have trained his palate very well 🙂
Buon appetito Adri!
There’s nothing better than rosemary and lemon with chicken. I love that you finish the dish with the roasted lemons… mouth-watering!
We love rosemary at our house and this looks great. Rosemary is chock full of health benefits. Your pics are lovely and so appetizing. I appreciate recipes with few ingredients, too. Will try it this week. Thanks!
Karen, this looks delicious, what a great simple recipe, I am always looking for different ways to cook chicken.
Thanks Christy – hope you like 😉
Yum! If you used bone in breasts, would cooking time need to be adjusted? Love these flavors!
Great question Janice! Yes, for sure adjust the time for bone-in breasts – 20 minutes at 400 degrees and another 15 at 475.