Editor’s note: This is a straightforward article on baking chicken breast, which will give you direct answers to all your questions. In other words, you can expect lots of bullet points.
As a general rule, you should bake chicken breast for around 30 minutes at 350°F (177˚C). Well, it would be great if things were that simple, right?
The right cooking time for chicken breast greatly depends on the baking method, whether it’s frozen or boneless, and so on. So, how long does it take to bake chicken breast at 350°F? Let’s see!
Do You Bake Chicken Breast In The Oven Or With An Air-Fryer?
Normally, I prefer baking chicken in the oven. When I’m on a tight schedule, an air fryer is an absolute godsend for quicker and easier cooking.
So, depending on whether you use an oven or air-fryer, here’s how long you should bake chicken breast at 350°F:
• In the oven: 20 – 35 minutes
• With an air-fryer: 15 – 20 minutes
Do You Bake Frozen, Bone-in, Or Boneless Chicken Breast?
I remember when I was baking frozen chicken in the oven and I was frequently checking whether it was done baking. That didn’t help for sure. Opening the oven door more times than needed resulted in letting the heat escape which prolonged the cooking process.
Learning from my mistakes has always been my favorite self-improvement method. So, here’s how long you should bake frozen, bone-in, or boneless chicken breast at 350°F:
• Frozen chicken breast: 40 – 45 minutes (25 minutes with an air fryer)
• Bone-in chicken breast: 30 – 40 minutes
• Boneless chicken breast: 20 – 30 minutes
Why Should You Bake Chicken Breast At 350°F?
I don’t know about you, but no matter what I do I like to know the reasons why I’m doing it. The same applies to cooking. So, why should you bake chicken breast at 350°F and not 400°F?
There are several reasons for that:
• Baking chicken breast at a higher temperature increases the risk of drying it out.
• Baking it at a lower temperature helps preserve its flavor and texture.
• The chicken breast doesn’t cook long, so baking it at a lower temperature helps prevent potential overcooking.
• Baking it at a lower temperature helps preserve its nutrients.
• Because you can. 😉
How To Know If Chicken Breast Is Cooked
To avoid overcooking, here are a few ways to know when the chicken breast is done baking:
• Use a meat thermometer: This is one of the safest ways to know when the chicken breast is cooked. All you need to do is insert your food thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. According to the USDA, “all poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer”.
• Color: If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also check the color of chicken breast. If the chicken breast is white with no pink tones, then it’s done baking.
• Size: Generally speaking, the size of the cooked chicken breast will shrink in comparison to the size of raw chicken breast. That’s how you know it’s cooked.
• Firmness: You can also use your finger to poke into the thickest part of the breast. If it feels firm, then the chicken is done baking or should be done soon. If not, then you should continue baking it until it reaches a firm texture.
HOW TO Bake Chicken Breast To Perfection
Baking chicken breast to perfection is not that complicated when you know what things to pay attention to. With these how-to tips, everyone can become a “chicken breast specialist”:
How to keep chicken breast juicy and tender when baking
After a few failures, I’ve finally learned the best methods to keep chicken breasts moist and tender when baking. Here’s how to successfully avoid eating rubbery chicken:
• Use aluminium foil: If you cover chicken breast with aluminium foil while baking, it will help keep the juices inside. As a result, you get a juicy and tender texture of the chicken. Pro tip: You can use aluminium foil in an air fryer as well.
• Use olive oil: Olive oil keeps chicken juicy and it also adds extra flavor.
• Soak the chicken in milk: Soaking chicken in milk for at least 4 hours (or overnight) and placing it in the fridge helps the chicken preserve its juiciness and tenderness. How? Thanks to the lactic acid that breaks down muscle fibers in the meat.
• Marinate the chicken for a few hours: Marinate the chicken breast in a Ziploc bag for at least 2-3 hours before baking. Once it absorbs the marinade, the chicken will stay juicy after baking. Pro tip: You can also marinate the chicken overnight.
• Bake at 350°F: Baking chicken breast at a lower temperature for longer decreases the risk of drying it out.
• Don’t skip the resting period: Allow the meat to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and eating it. This will result in a more tender texture.
• Basting: This is one of my favorite methods for preserving juiciness. The basting method means pouring the oil or butter onto the chicken a few times while it’s baking.
How to season chicken breast for baking
The chicken breast doesn’t have an accentuated flavor like pork or lamb. Instead, it has a mild flavor, and adding the right seasonings can do wonders regarding its flavor profile.
I prefer marinating chicken breasts whenever I can, but when I’m in a hurry I just add some Cajun seasoning to it and the result is always the same – pure deliciousness. When I run out of it, I use Adobo seasoning as a substitute for Cajun seasoning.
If you aren’t sure how to season chicken breast for baking or you want to learn some new seasoning combos, here are a few ideas:
• Taco seasoning
• Cajun seasoning
• Olive oil + smoked paprika + garlic powder + salt + pepper
• Olive oil + salt + pepper + lemon zest + fresh herbs
• Italian seasoning or Italian seasoning substitutes
• Chicken seasonings bought from the store
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp black pepper (ground)
- 4 chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
- 1 tsp paprika or hot chili powder
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177˚C). In the meantime, rub the chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, rosemary, black pepper, and paprika or hot chili powder. You can also use the same seasoning mix to marinate the chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag and leave it in the fridge for 2-3 hours before baking.
2. Place the chicken breasts on a greased baking pan, and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes. Reminder: The chicken breasts should reach an internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C).
3. Once baked, let the chicken breasts rest for a few minutes. This will result in a more tender texture.
4. Don’t forget to share this recipe with your loved ones. Bon Appétit!