The secret recipe for tender juicy oven-baked chicken breasts made with a simple marinade. Quick and easy weeknight dinner with loads of flavor. Say hello to hands-free, no-mess cooking!
Healthy baked chicken breast recipe overview
Finally, easy baked chicken breasts with exciting flavors all over. No more bland, rubbery chicken that needs sauce or ketchup.
How many times have you tried to cook chicken breasts seasoned or marinated even for hours only to end up with disappointing results? We have all been there!
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are lean and healthy, but when it comes to cooking, they are quite tricky.
NO SKIN + NO BONES + NO FAT = RUBBERY FLESH
I have tried and tested different rubs and marinades, set different timings and temperatures but the results were the same. The rubs (with loads of sugar) make the chicken LOOK juicy and caramelized, but are ALWAYS bland on the inside. As for the marinades, it was the same result, even if I marinate overnight.
I HAD to come up with an oven-baked chicken breast recipe that gives soft and juicy chicken and also ticks all the boxes:
- quick and easy dinner after a long day.
- pop in the oven and relax; no flipping, basting, baby-sitting, etc, etc.
- minimal clean-up, so no frying and stove-top mess
- lesser pans to wash (I told you, it’s been a long day)
- healthy (after all, we’re going healthy-ever-after!)
Bone-in, skin-on chicken legs (like the sheet pan lemon garlic chicken legs) turn out juicy when baked. The fat from the skin keep them from drying out. But with breasts, it’s a different story.
Easy chicken marinade (rub)
The key is to TENDERISE the chicken breasts. Pounding and brining doesn’t help much either.
This marinade, or should we call it a wet rub, is the answer. This seasoning is half-way between a dry rub and a marinade.
The problem with dry rubs is that they don’t have an acidic component that tenderizes the chicken. So I tried adding lemon juice to a basic seasoning mix with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika and rosemary. Voila! You can see the results in the picture above.
But wait! There are a few more things you have to take care of.
The secret to juicy baked chicken breasts
- The chicken breasts should be about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. If it is more than that, slice the breasts horizontally.
- This is important because you are going to cook the chicken breasts covered, so there’s no way to check for doneness in the middle of cooking.
- Poke a few holes on the chicken breasts with a fork, so the marinade will be absorbed well.
How long to marinate chicken for baking?
Marinate for at least 15 minutes. Or if time permits marinate overnight in the fridge. Wait for the chicken to reach room temperature before cooking. There’s no need to refrigerate if you’re marinating for only 15 minutes.
How long to bake chicken breasts at 450°F?
Cooking chicken at high heat for a shorter time yields the best results.
Preheat the oven to 450°F/ 230°C.
Place the marinated chicken breasts in a baking tray lined with parchment paper (easy clean-up) and seal with aluminium foil.
Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. That’s it, guys! Let the oven do the rest. Meanwhile, you have the luxury of time to check your emails, take a good shower or chop up a salad like how I did 🙂
The delicious rosemary-garlic flavor will be wafting through your kitchen in no time! Once done, remove from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before opening.
Ah yes, before I forget, this recipe gives you a BONUS as well! The pan juices can be drizzled as a dressing on the salad.
Common questions about baking chicken breasts
There! You’ve learnt the secret to get the best juicy chicken breasts baked in the oven with very little effort and time.
A tip for more browning (the same tip I gave for baked tandoori chicken) – dab a little butter on each of the chicken breasts before baking for that extra “browned” effect.
I didn’t use it here, though 🙂
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Thank you and happy cooking!