You can stop looking for the best baked chicken breasts recipe – this is it! These easy baked chicken breasts are boldly seasoned with a slightly crispy crust outside, and a moist, juicy, citrusy inside that’s perfect for any meal!
I’m always looking for a new way to spruce up boring old baked chicken. I love to play around with different spice blends before baking to find that perfect one. It took me a couple tries but I got it! This one has just the right amount of garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and Italian herbs to create a nice crust on the outside. Then, they finished with a squeeze of citrus for some tang at the end. Trust me when I say you’ll be putting these on rotation quite frequently!
Why This Recipe Works
Pantry spices –A pinch of this, a pinch of that, these spices are all ones commonly found in spice drawers. And, if you don’t happen to have something, they are all easy to find at any grocery store. No hard-to-find ingredients here.
Great for meal planning – If you’re the type that likes to make food ahead of time then eat it all week, these healthy baked chicken breasts check that box and then some.
Healthy – No bad oils, frying, fattening sauces, or anything unhealthy here. Just high-protein chicken, simple spices, and a splash of citrus make these baked chicken breasts delicious and a healthy addition to any meal.
Simple – Not only are the spices simple but the preparation is so quick and straight-forward, turning this into such an easy recipe. Brown chicken in spices, pop in the oven, and finish with a squeeze of citrus!
- Chicken breasts – I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you could also use bone-in, skin on, or chicken thighs.
- Olive oil – My favorite, go-to oil in most situations is extra virgin olive oil, but you use what you have.
- Butter – Typically, I tend to stick to unsalted butter but since this isn’t baking, you can really use any kind of butter you like.
- Citrus Juice – I much prefer freshly squeezed juice because it just tastes so much better in any recipe. Use any combination of lemon, lime, or orange juice you like.
- Italian Seasoning – Any blend of Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence works great here.
- Garlic powder –Garlic powder is easy to sprinkle on top of the chicken alone or when mixed in with the spice blend.
- Ground cumin – Cumin is key in this spice blend for the chicken. It adds a nice smoky, earthy flavor.
- Salt – Any salt works here in this spice blend for baked chicken.
- Chili powder – I use whatever store-bought chili powder I can find when I’m at the store – they all taste the same to me.
- Smoked paprika – No smoked paprika? That’s okay you can use regular or leave it out.
- Cracked black pepper – A fresh grind or six of cracked black pepper is always best in my mind.
Here’s How You Make It
- First, preheat the oven to 375 and then whip up your spice rub by stirring all the spice blend ingredients together.
- Next, pound the chicken breasts to even thickness (read below for more info on how to do this).
- Rub the chicken breasts with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Then season them on both sides with the spice blend.
- In an oven-safe skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and then add another tablespoon of oil.
- Now put the breasts in the skillet, browning each side for about 2 minutes.
- Put the whole skillet into the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or till the chicken is cooked all the way through (internal temperature should read 165 degrees in the center on a meat thermometer or instant read thermometer).
- Pull the chicken out of the oven, then squeeze fresh citrus (lemon, lime, orange, or a combination) over the baked chicken right before serving. Serve the chicken whole, or slice or dice for use in other favorite dishes.
How To Pound Chicken
The reason I suggest pounding the chicken into an even 1-inch thickness before seasoning and baking is so that the chicken all browns and then cooks at the same time. This ensures evenly, easy baked chicken and avoids having a variety. You know how it goes: You get one overdone, chewy piece, then one that’s still pink in the middle, etc. By pounding the chicken, you will avoid this problem all together.
What I do is put each chicken breast individually on a cutting board, then cover it with plastic wrap and either whack it or roll it with a rolling pin till it reaches about an inch thickness, then I move on to the next breast till they’re all the same thickness.
You’ll want to cover the breasts to that you’re not spreading raw chicken juice all over your kitchen. Another way to contain the mess is to roll out or pound the chicken while it’s inside a Ziploc bag.
Be sure to clean the whole area with bleach when you’re finished with this step.
- No Italian seasoning? No problem. You can DIY your own Italian seasoning by stirring together 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, oregano, parsley, and oregano.
- Ensure even cooking throughout the chicken breasts by first pounding them out (with a meat mallet or similar) to an even thickness.
- You can replace smoked paprika with regular paprika in a pinch, or even leave it out altogether if you don’t have any – but definitely put it on your grocery list for next time, you’ll love the flavor it adds to this chicken!
- If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, instead brown the chicken in any skillet you do have, then transfer it to a greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper OR a greased baking dish and put it in the oven to bake.
- Let the chicken rest before slicing – this is so important and is the key to super juicy (never dry!) baked chicken breasts.
- This spice blend is enough to stretch for up to 6 chicken breasts. If serving more than 6, double the spice blend. Or do what I do and make up a big bunch of it, put it in an old (clean) spice jar and use it whenever you want to cook up a lot of healthy baked chicken for the week or to feed a crew!
What is The Best Temperature to Cook Chicken At?
What temperature you use to bake chicken depends on what type and size of chicken you are cooking and for how long you want to cook it.
For example, you can roast or bake with an oven temperature between 325 and 450. If it’s roasting a whole chicken you’re after, you can do that around 400 degrees then you lower the temperature to about 350 after about 15 minutes for another 30 minutes or so, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
For baking boneless, skinless chicken breasts, those can be baked in a more low-and-slow temperature, starting at 350-375 and baking for about 15 minutes.
Legs and thighs can be baked at temperatures ranging from 350 to 425 degrees, depending on the size of the chicken parts and also whether or not you’re cooking something else alongside the chicken (like vegetables).
What Internal Temperature Should Chicken Be Cooked To?
Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. To check the temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the center of the piece of chicken you are cooking to get the best read.
More Tasty Chicken Recipes
If you like this recipe, you’re going to love my go-to Best Baked Chicken Thighs recipe!
- Tuscan Garlic Chicken
- Cajun Chicken and Rice Skillet
- Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce
- Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice Skillet
- Easy Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken
- Sheet Pan Chicken and Asparagus
- Baked Teriyaki Chicken
- Baked Sweet and Spicy Chicken
- Sheet Pan Balsamic Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots
Did you make this deliciously juicy and flavorful baked chicken recipe? YAY! Please rate the recipe below!
Oven Baked Chicken Breast Recipe
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - + 2 teaspoons, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed citrus juice - any combination of lemon, lime, or orange (see note)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning - or Herbs de Provence
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika - see note
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and stir together all Spice Blend ingredients.
- Pound chicken to even thickness (max 1 inch thickness at any given part).
- Rub the 2 teaspoons olive oil all over the chicken breasts. Season all over with the spice blend.
- In a large, oven-safe skillet (see note for alternate method) melt butter over medium heat and stir in 1 tablespoon oil.
- Brown chicken in the butter and oil for about 2 minutes on each side.
- Transfer skillet to preheated oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees in the center).
- Squeeze fresh citrus (lemon, lime, orange, or a combination of any of the three!) over baked chicken just before serving. Serve whole chicken breasts, or dice or slice chicken for use in your favorite dishes.