This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Learn the easiest, most reliable way to make all-purpose, basic baked chicken breasts that turn out epically 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 don’t need to stress out. Bake a batch of chicken breasts for dinner in less than 30 minutes. Or put them in the fridge to use all week in an almost endless list of creative ways — for weekly meal prep, salads, and casseroles. Follow these steps and for baked 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.
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.
- Serve chicken with a few simple sides such as buttered orzo and quickly-cooked broccolini for a healthful dinner.
- If you enjoy easy oven recipes, try my tasty baked chicken legs next!
Stress-Free Baked Chicken Breasts (Super-Juicy)
- 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.