I know a secret….it’s the best way to bake chicken breasts! Chicken is a staple dinner item that is so versatile. It can be used in so many ways and in so many different recipes. Over the years I have perfected the most delicious baked chicken breast recipe to share with you all. My hands down favorite way are to bake it with a special topping of herb and spice-infused mayonnaise. I will show you step by step the best way to bake chicken breasts that are tender, moist, and full of flavor.
Baked Chicken Breasts
This is a very easy recipe using only a few simple ingredients. All you need is boneless chicken breasts, mayonnaise, and seasonings. This is a great meal for busy weeknights and can be on the dinner table in a half hour. Everyone needs one or two favorite chicken breast recipes and this one is full of amazing flavors for the whole family to enjoy (even the picky eaters).
How do you bake chicken breasts without them drying out? The secret to juicy chicken is topping them with mayonnaise that is infused with herbs and spices. Take a small bowl filled with mayonnaise and mix in any spices you like.
Think about what flavors you enjoy and create your own seasoning. Some great options are curry, coriander, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, thyme, basil, garam masala, creole seasoning, cayenne, taco seasoning, or black pepper. Make sure you salt them as well. There are so many different flavors to turn regular chicken breasts into a delicious chicken dinner.
Preparing Chicken Breasts For Baking
For my family of five, three boneless skinless chicken breasts are just the right amount. You can also use whatever oven-safe cooking vessel you prefer depending on what type of meal you are making. My 12″ cast iron skillet (one of my favorite things) is perfect for baking two to three chicken breasts. (10″ skillet also works for two breasts)
Unwrap the chicken breasts and pat them dry from any of the liquid they were packaged in. This will give the skin a better texture and allow the topping to coat the chicken better. It is possible to bake them from frozen but you will need to adjust the cooking time and they may bake unevenly. I have been in a time crunch before and had partially frozen pieces of chicken that did bake up ok. But, it’s best if they are not frozen.
Start by smearing a bit of your mayonnaise infusion on the bottom where you will place your chicken breasts. Then nestle your chicken on top, arranging them so they have some room between them for more even heating. Using the back of a spoon, spread the topping all over the chicken breasts. Make sure to coat it entirely sides and all.
Best Way to Bake Chicken Breasts
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. You want to cook the chicken breasts hot and fast. I found using a lower temperature will make the texture more rubbery. So get your oven nice and hot. Place the prepared chicken breast skillet inside and bake uncovered for around 20 minutes.
Have a digital thermometer ready and check it at the 20-minute mark. Chicken is ready for the broiler when it reaches 160 degrees F. Suppose your reading is less than 160 degrees keep cooking and check again every few minutes. Total time is between 20-25 minutes. Mine usually take 22 minutes. It will depend on your oven and how big the chicken breasts are.
At this point, I like to turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown up the top. As soon as you see 165 degrees or higher take it out of the oven and let it rest. The residual heat will still bring the temperature up a few degrees.
Resting And Cutting The Best Baked Chicken Breasts
After the chicken comes out of the oven, move it to a platter and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes. By letting the chicken rest you are locking in the juices to be reabsorbed. If you cut into the chicken breast too soon, all the juices will run out leaving your pieces dried out. You can tent it with foil while it rests, but I usually don’t bother.
When the chicken has rested, slice it into wedges using a sharp knife. We like about 1/2″ pieces. Drizzle any leftover juice (lots of flavors!) from the pan over the top and serve hot. In 30 minutes you can have this easy dinner on the table.
Cleaning The Cast Iron Skillet
I love using cast iron. With a little good housekeeping, you can use and maintain your skillets with hardly any extra effort. One of the best ways to do cast iron cleanup is to do it right away. Do it while the pan is still hot and the food hasn’t had a chance to set. After I removed the chicken from the pan and used all the juices, I cleaned it immediately. Just take it over to the sink and using very hot water, rinse it well.
Use the spray of your kitchen faucet to dislodge any big food particles, then use a scrub brush and gently scrub in a circular motion (like 5 seconds). Turn it upside down to drip for a second, then wipe it with a paper towel to dry, and then add a few drops of olive oil. Using the same paper towel, rub the surface with the oil. Done. The entire process takes less than one minute
Make Ahead Best Baked Chicken Breasts
When you are making a big batch for simple meal prep, you can easily make this baked chicken to save for later. Sometimes I make four at a time to have meal prep ready to go from the freezer. Just bake it, slice it, and let it cool.
To store the chicken breasts, freeze either one or two breasts together side by side in a quart-size bag. Ziploc freezer bags work great to keep it fresh. Try and squeeze out all of the air and label it with the contents and the date. You can also arrange the slices on a baking sheet and flash freeze them, then store them in a freezer bag. They are good in the freezer for six to nine months. We use a deep freezer that allows them to keep longer (up to a year).
To use, let them thaw in the refrigerator and heat them however you like. Dice them up for stir-fry or fajitas and warm them in a skillet with vegetables. Reheat them in the microwave on low power and top your favorite pasta dish. Chop them up cold and throw them on a salad. There are endless possibilities and many new recipes to use chicken breasts in.
Wrapping Up The Best Baked Chicken Breasts
My family and I love this delicious recipe. It’s been in the dinner rotation for years and we never tire of it because there are so many ways to use it. Mexican night? Indian Food? Italian? Salads? Top them with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese or a creamy sauce. If you make extra and have leftovers, use them to make chicken soup or make chicken salad for a quick lunch. One of the best things about baked chicken breasts is that they go with everything.
Use this same method and make sheet pan chicken dinners. Arrange the prepared chicken breasts on a baking sheet with potatoes and vegetables. This is the best way to bake chicken breasts and could be one of your new favorites.
You can substitute olive oil for mayonnaise for a more healthy dinner but it will be a bit less juicy – still delicious! This would be a good alternative for cutting calories. If you use olive oil, be sure to watch it closely and check often with a thermometer.
I love to serve these chicken breasts alongside my homemade mac & cheese for a delicious meal. Another easy weeknight dinner would be to serve these chicken breasts with a side of brown rice and green beans. These are just a couple of easy chicken dinners for you to make that the entire family will enjoy. Enjoy!
Best Way To Bake Chicken Breasts (30-Minute Meals) Recipe
- 2 chicken breasts (not frozen)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 thyme
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the mayonnaise with the spices in a small bowl.
- Smear a little of this onto a cast iron skillet and place chicken breasts on top.
- Pat dry if necessary.
- Using the back of a spoon, spread the mayo mixture over the chicken breasts to coat.
- Place the chicken into a preheated oven uncovered and bake for 20 minutes.
- Check with an instant thermometer until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. (checking every few minutes). Mine take about 24 minutes. Do not overbake.
- Turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown up the top. This will increase the internal temperature to 165 degrees.
- Take out of the oven and let rest at least 10 minutes.
- Slice and enjoy.
Use any combination of spices that you like.
Use real mayonnaise
Freezes well for 6-9 months
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