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Baked Chicken

Sometimes simple is best, and that’s when we make this perfectly baked chicken. Just the right thing to add to salads, grain bowls, pasta dishes or as the star of its own show!

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baked chicken sliced on a plate seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika & brown sugar
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Back Pocket Baked Chicken (You Need This Easy Recipe!)

A little olive oil rub, followed by a perfectly simple spice blend, and you’re halfway to the most flavorful and tender baked chicken. We’ve explored many variations of spices, and have landed on a balance of savory with a tiny hint of sweet (surprise!) that yields the most juicy and delicious baked chicken breast.

raw chicken on parchment paper next to bowls of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and brown sugar

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How To Bake Chicken

  1. Brine your chicken breasts. This can be done for at least an hour, and up to overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the center position.

  3. In a small bowl, make your spice rub.

  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pat dry. Brush with olive oil and season all over with the spice rub.

  5. Bake! Arrange chicken in a 9x13-inch baking dish and bake for about 18 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.

  6. Broil! Cook until the tops are golden brown, about 3 minutes more.

raw chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika & brown sugar in a baking dish
baked chicken in a casserole dish seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika & brown sugar

Hot Topics For Baked Chicken

You want the juiciest, most tender, finger-licking good chicken breast, right? Here’s our tips to get just what you’re looking for.

  • Brine: Why brine chicken breast? It seems like an unnecessary step, right? We strongly advise you not to skip this step. Brining chicken breasts helps the meat retain moisture as it cooks.

  • Pat dry: Should you pat dry chicken breasts? Yes! This might feel like just another finicky step that might take a tiny bit of extra time, but trust us, it yields a lovely golden brown top! Pat, pat, pat!

  • Time: How long to bake chicken breast? Our recipe calls for a bake time of about 18 minutes, but every chicken breast is a little different. This is why an instant-read thermometer is a real lifesaver. The chicken breasts get a final toast under the boiler to enhance their golden crispy glow.

  • Temperature: Is it better to bake chicken at 350 or 375 or 400 or 450? Since we’re using skinless and boneless chicken breasts for this recipe, we recommend baking in a hot oven so the chicken breasts cook evenly and yield tender and juicy meat. You’ll want to avoid overcooking the chicken (no dry chicken breasts here!), and the most surefire way to make sure you get perfectly baked chicken breasts is to use an instant-read thermometer. Baked chicken temperature should reach 165°F.

What Should I Serve with Baked Chicken?

We can think of one million different tasty ways to enjoy baked chicken, but the easiest is to think of it as a building block for a really great meal. Roasted vegetables like Roasted Fennel, Roasted Carrots, Roasted Onions, or Roasted Beets would all make jazzy sides. Build a bowl with a foundation of Lemon Rice, or Coconut Rice, plain White Rice, and even beautiful Jeweled Rice would all make a great start. Or top your favorite salad–Simple Italian Salad or Caesar Salad to name a couple–with baked chicken for a healthy and delicious meal.

baked chicken in a casserole dish seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika & brown sugar

Tools You’ll Need

More Recipes To Help You Learn Cooking Basics

We believe that kitchen confidence comes from making recipes like our easy baked chicken recipe, and we encourage you to keep flexing your cooking muscle with these great kitchen fundamentals:

baked chicken in a casserole dish seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika & brown sugar

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Did you make our best baked chicken recipe? Show us your stuff with a quick snap and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Baked Chicken

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  1 hr 5 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 242

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Add chicken and 1 tablespoon of the salt to a large bowl. Fill with cold water, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the center position.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and sugar (if using).

  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pat dry. Brush with olive oil and season all over with the spice rub.

  5. Arrange chicken in a 9x13-inch baking dish and bake for about 18 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.

  6. Turn the oven to broil. Cook until the tops are golden brown, about 3 minutes more.

  7. Divide the chicken between plates and serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories242
  • Protein40 g
  • Carbohydrates2 g
  • Total Fat8 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol96 mg
  • sodium353 mg
  • Total Sugars1 g

Baked Chicken

Questions & Reviews

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  • Samantha

    Can I do the overnight brining if the chicken is still frozen? Or better to completely defrost first? Thanks in advance!

    we'd thaw it before brining. Hope you enjoy Samantha!

  • Eilish

    How do you recommend brining chicken?

    Step one of the recipe is the brining part.

  • Vanessa

    When you switch the oven to broil, do you move the chicken breasts to the upper rack?

    No need!

  • Blair Marie

    I have made this twice and both times it has turned out wonderful. Juicy and flavorful!

    Thank you Blair! We are so happy you love it!

  • Andi

    Just made this for dinner with salad and baked potatoes. Delicious! I’m going to premix the rub and store it in a jar to always have on hand in a pinch. Thanks for a quick and easy recipe!

    Thanks Andi, so glad you loved it!

  • Kay

    Turned out truly incredible, thank you!

    Thanks, so glad you loved it!