You can stop looking for the best baked chicken breasts recipe – this is it! It’s deliciously 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 could not be any easier! Brown chicken in spices, pop in the oven, and finish with a squeeze of citrus!
Here’s How You Make It
- First, preheat the oven to 375 and then mix all the spice blend ingredients together.
- Then, 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 (165 degrees in the center on a meat 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.
- You canreplace smoked paprika withregular 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 and put it in the oven to bake
- 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!
More Tasty Chicken Recipes
- Tuscan Garlic Chicken
- Cajun Chicken and Rice Skillet
- Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce
- Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice Skillet
Did you make this deliciously juicy and flavorful baked chicken recipe? YAY! Please rate the recipe below!
Best Baked Chicken Breasts
- 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.