Baking chicken breast at 425 helps caramelize the outside of the chicken and lock in the juices quickly. It results in a tender, juicy chicken breast every time.
You may be wondering, "is chicken at 425 too high?", and we go into detail why this is the perfect temperature. We've tested several baked chicken breast recipes, with varying sizes, and have a guide to cook the perfect chicken breast (no dry, tough chicken!).
Chicken breast is one of the most common ingredients in an easy, healthy dinner. It's versatile, neutral in flavor, and easy to cook. It's why I have so many chicken recipes!
If you need recipe inspiration for using your juicy chicken breast once it's cooked, we highly recommend using it in our easy curry chicken salad (that takes less than 20 minutes to make!) or our chicken salad stuffed avocados.
We also love using boneless chicken breasts on some of our favorite salads, like this Fall Salad with chicken, apples, and butternut squash or put it on top of our grilled peach salad.
Baking Chicken Breast at 425
The best way to cook chicken is at a high temperature; it's the secret to gorgeous caramelization on the outside while giving you juicy chicken breast on the inside.
It also takes less time to bake chicken at a higher temperature, getting your dinner on the table faster. Baking chicken in a 425-degree f oven is our favorite temperature.
The Size of Chicken Breast Matters
Buying chicken that's too large results in woody, rubbery chicken. I always opt for organic boneless skinless chicken breasts.
What's the ideal size? If the size of the chicken breasts is too large (8 ounces are more), I recommend slicing them! This creates chicken cutlets that help them cook evenly.
One of the biggest mistakes home cooks make is cooking chicken breast that is too large or uneven. Really thick chicken breast is prone to burning on the outside before the inside is cooked through. Similarly, the uneven chicken will finish cooking at the thinner end before the thicker part of the breast is done.
Pro tip: pound your chicken breasts to an even thickness for even cooking. Place it in between to pieces of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a frying pan to even it out. Alternately, slice it in half lengthwise to make chicken cutlets.
How Long to Bake Chicken Breast at 425
Bake a 4-6 ounce chicken breast for 18-20 minutes at 425°F or until the internal temperature reaches 165°. This cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken and your specific oven. Always use a meat thermometer for the best results.
Related: Learn how long to bake chicken wings for the best party appetizers.
Internal Temperature of Baked Chicken Breast
While cooking time will give you an estimate of how long to bake chicken breast, the most important factor is making sure the internal temperature of your chicken is appropriate.
Chicken breast is considered done when an instant read thermometer reads 165°F.
Pro tip: Remove the chicken from the heat when the thickest part of the breasts reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit to allow for 5 degrees of carryover cooking while you let the chicken rest.
Gas and electric ovens can all have slightly different ways of heating and cooking your recipes so cook time may vary. Keeping in mind that the size of chicken breasts will vary and knowing that oven temperature may differ slightly from oven to oven.
How to Bake Chicken Breast at 425
Preheat the oven to 425. line a baking sheet or baking dish with foil or parchment paper. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and pound the chicken down to an even thickness using a meat mallet, rolling pin, back of a frying pan, or even your fist.
Season: Place the chicken upside down in the prepared pan or dish and sprinkle with half of the seasoning and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Use your fingers to rub the seasoning into the chicken. Flip the chicken over and repeat with the remaining seasoning and olive oil.
Bake: Bake in the 425-degree preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165.
Choose the Best Chicken Marinade
We have a full list of details on how to marinate chicken. A good marinade includes acid, olive oil, sweetener, and herbs. A marinade is a great way to not only add maximum flavor, but also tenderize the meat, making it extra juicy.
Looking to fire up the grill? Learn how long to grill chicken breast.
There are several common mistakes that people will make when cooking chicken breast. Follow these simple steps and be left with delicious results every single time!
- Bake on high heat. It is better to cook on a higher temperature than a lower temperature, especially for boneless chicken breasts. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Pat the chicken dry. Using paper towels, pat your chicken dry.
- Use chicken marinade or brine (like this chicken wing brine) to tenderize the meat.
- Ensure your chicken is an even thickness. Using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a frying pan to get your chicken breast to an even thickness, around a half-inch thick. Pounding out the meat not only ensures the chicken breast will cook evenly, but also tenderizes the meat!
- Bake with similar-sized chicken breasts. To allow for even cooking, the size of the chicken breasts on your baking sheet should be a similar size. A chicken breast that is 2 inches thick will cook much differently than one that is 1 inch thick.
- Always use a meat or instant-read thermometer. Our recommended cook time is 18-20 minutes but what's most important is that the internal temperature of the chicken reach 165 °F. Cook times can vary from oven to oven and a meat thermometer will assist with any inconsistencies from oven to oven.
- Let your chicken rest. Before you do anything with your chicken breast (like cut into slices), it is important to let the chicken rest! By letting the chicken rest, you will have a juicier chicken breast.
- Store your leftover cooked chicken in an airtight container. It will last in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cook time may vary based on your oven, but we recommend cooking your chicken breast 18-20 minutes. The most important thing is that the internal chicken breast temperature is at least 165°F.
To get a juicy chicken breast, it is better to cook chicken breast at high heat; therefore, 425°F is better.
You do not have to cover your chicken when baking. In fact, we recommend leaving it uncovered to caramelize and brown the outsides.
You can warm leftover cooked chicken breast in the oven to keep it juicy. Brush the cooked chicken with a bit of olive oil. Place in an oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until it's warmed enough to your liking.
Our Favorite Side Dishes for Baked Chicken Breast
When I think of baked chicken breast, I immediately think of how well it pairs with some of my favorite side dishes. Here's a list of our go-to recipes.
- Use this cilantro lime marinade recipe and serve your chicken breast with this Mexican street corn pasta salad.
- Love a salad that's not technically a salad? This Peach Burrata Salad, Burrata Caprese, and Grilled Zucchini Salad all feature fresh summer produce.
- For a side of leafy greens, enjoy your juicy chicken breast alongside our kale salad with goat cheese or strawberry spinach salad.
- Serve it alongside classic summer sides like Italian pasta salad, sweet potato salad, or garlic-roasted mini peppers.
- Pair these creamy garlic mashed potatoes and green bean casserole with your juicy chicken breast for a delicious meal. Both recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free!
I also love to repurpose my leftover cooked chicken breast. Use your leftover chicken in this chicken Caesar pasta salad or add it to one of our favorite soups, like this healthy chicken tortilla soup!
No matter how you use your cooked chicken breast, you are sure to create a delicious meal if you follow our simple steps to cooking chicken breast!
How to Bake Chicken Breast at 425
- 4 (5-6 ounce) chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness (Note 1 Large Chicken Breasts)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 minced garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves Note 2
- Pinch of red pepper flakes optional
- Sheet pan or baking dish
- Instant-read thermometer
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet or baking dish with with foil or parchment paper. Alternately, grease it lightly with olive oil.
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and pound the chicken down to an even thickness using a meat mallet, rolling pin, back of a frying pan, or even your fist.
- Mix the seasoning including the salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, garlic, and thyme in a small dish.
- Place the chicken upside down in the prepared pan or dish and sprinkle with half of the seasoning and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Use your fingers to rub the seasoning into the chicken. Flip the chicken over and repeat with the remaining seasoning and olive oil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from the oven and allow the chicken breasts to rest for 5-10 minutes to lock in the juices.