I’m coming around to the idea of baked chicken breast, guys. I used to be dead set against baking chicken breast because they always turned out so bland, blonde, and just bor-ing. BUT if you slather them with something super flavorful, they can actually be quite tender and juicy, and the cooking method itself is just stupid easy. I get it now. I get why people are always asking how to bake chicken breast. 😂This simple Garlic Herb Baked Chicken Breast is a great go-to baked chicken recipe that you can use as a main dish, as an addition to salads and pastas, or even to fill sandwiches and wraps.
Garlic Herb Baked Chicken Breast
How to Keep Baked Chicken Breast Juicy
For boneless, skinless chicken breast, it’s best to use a quick, high heat baking method. I prefer to bake chicken breast at 400ºF for 20 minutes. The high heat allows the chicken to heat through to a safe temperature quickly, before it has time to dry out. Coating the chicken breast in oil or butter also helps slow the evaporation, which will keep the chicken juicy.
If your chicken breast is thicker than 3/4″ at its thickest end, you will want to pound it slightly to reduce the thickness and ensure quick and even cooking. An ideal thickness is 1/2-3/4″.
This high heat, fast baking method is ideal for boneless breasts only. You can find detailed instructions on how to bake bone-in chicken breast in my Herb Roasted Chicken Breast recipe.
Butter or Oil?
As mentioned above, you definitely want to coat the boneless, skinless chicken breast in some sort of fat to help slow evaporation and keep the meat moist. While testing this Garlic Herb Baked Chicken recipe, I tested both butter and olive oil. Butter was definitely superior, although olive oil still worked. The butter not only added more flavor, but it was much easier to coat the meat in the garlic herb mixture.
Garlic Herb Baked Chicken Breast
- 2 Tbsp butter, room temperature ($0.26)
- 1 tsp dried parsley ($0.10)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp onion powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about .5 lbs. each) ($5.07)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Stir together the butter, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 15 cranks of a pepper mill) until well combined and paste-like in texture.
- If your chicken breasts are thicker than 3/4" at their thickest end, place them on a cutting board, cover with plastic, then gently pound the thick end until it is between 1/2-3/4" thick. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
- Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish, making sure they are not crowded (a couple of inches of space between and around each breast). Spread garlic herb butter over the surface of each breast.
- Place the chicken in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The total cooking time may vary with the size and thickness of the chicken breast, so use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the thickest end of the breast has reached 165ºF.
- Once the chicken has baked through, let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Step by Step Photos
In a small bowl combine 2 Tbsp room temperature butter, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 15 cranks of a pepper mill).
Stir these ingredients together until they are evenly combined and form a garlic herb butter paste.
If your chicken breasts are large and more than 3/4″ thick at their thick end, you will want to pound them slightly to make their thickness a bit more even, which will ensure even cooking. You don’t have to go crazy here and make them totally flat, just reduce the thickness of the thick end a bit, until it gets to 1/2-3/4″ thick. Placing a piece of plastic over the chicken prevents splatter and keeps your rolling pin or mallet clean. Each of these chicken breasts is about 1/2 pound in weight.
Pat the chicken dry to help the butter adhere. Place the chicken on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, making sure each breast has a bit of space around it. You should have about 1 Tbsp garlic herb butter for each breast. Spread the garlic herb butter over the chicken until it is coated from edge to edge.
Bake the chicken in the preheated 400ºF oven for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches at least 165ºF. The exact cooking time can vary a bit with the size or thickness of your chicken breasts. While I was testing this recipe, I had baked past the 165ºF (up into the 180’s) and the chicken was still surprisingly moist and juicy, so there is a bit of wiggle room here if you go over.
Meat thermometers are extremely useful for dishes like this, so there is absolutely no guesswork. They’re very inexpensive and definitely worth it. I recently got this digital meat thermometer (pictured above), but previously had a non-digital meat thermometer, which also worked, just not as quickly. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Once baked through, make sure you let the chicken sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing. This will also help the meat retain its moisture.
And that’s it! Your Garlic Herb Baked Chicken Breast is now ready to top your favorite salad or pasta, stuff into a wrap or sandwich, or just eat as your main dish with dinner. Check out my post for the Garlic Herb Seasoning for more ideas and ways to use this versatile seasoning blend!