Baked Chicken Breast - Back to Basics
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Chicken is a staple in our household. This recipe is for a perfect, tender and moist chicken breast every single time. From this base recipe, you can go darn near in any direction your heart desires. You can add a barbecue rub, an herbaceous seasoning, or keep it simple with some salt and pepper.
I cook this weekly in our household as it's nice to have cooked chicken breast around for salads or quick snacks. My wife has been on an everything seasoning kick lately, photo above:
Cut: Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breast
Heat Source: Gas
Estimated Cook Time: 15-18 Minutes
Actual Cook Time: 18 Minutes
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 450 degrees
Actual Cooking Temperature: 450 degrees
Location of Purchase: Local Grocery Store
Cook Date: June 29, 2020
Boneless and skinless chicken breasts (quantity your decision)
Salt (1/4 cup of salt to 2 cups of water for the brine – I prefer fine salt as it will will dissolve quicker)
Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth it's weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go. I use my Smoke for longer more specific cooks.
Step 1: Prepare the brine - In a non-reactive bowl, fill with enough luke-warm (not hot) water to be able to cover the chicken breasts. Make note of how much water you are adding by keeping track of the cups. The ratio for the brine is ¼ cup of salt to every 2 cups of water. So, if you have 4 cups of water, you need ½ cup of salt. Mix in the salt until it dissolves with a whisk and add the chicken to the brine.
I suggest a minimum of 15-30 minutes in the brine but no longer than 6 hours.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. This helps makes the chicken nice and moist and gives you a buffer if you overcook before drying it out.
Step 2: Shortly before removing from brine, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Step 3: Remove the chicken breasts from the brine and pat dry.
Step 4: Rub some olive oil on the chicken breasts. If you want a bit richer flavor, you can use melted butter as well. Season with whatever dry rub you desire. Again, above, I used Everything Seasoning.
Step 4: Baked uncovered for 15-18 minutes. This is where a kitchen thermometer is really handy and highly recommended. When the internal temp is 165-170, it’s time to remove from the oven.
Step 5: Loosely tent with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes to let the chicken rest.
This is also a critical step, so DO NOT SKIP.
Finally, slice the breast or serve whole.
When working with a plank, you need to pay attention at all times when over direct heat. It just takes a few second for the plank to catch fire and torch a portion of your fish.
I really do recommend a kitchen thermometer for this recipe. There are only a few types of food that I get slightly worried when cooking, especially for others, and chicken is one of them. You don’t want to serve your guests under cooked chicken, nor do you want over-cooked, dry chicken. Having a thermometer ensures you pull at the right temp for a perfect, tender and moist chicken breast.
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)
When cooking with chicken, I really do recommend using a kitchen thermometer. There are only a few types of food that I get slightly worried about when cooking, especially for others, and chicken is one of them. You don’t want to serve your guests under cooked chicken, nor do you want over-cooked, dry chicken. Having a thermometer ensures you pull at the right temp for a perfect, tender and moist chicken breast.