Chicken breasts are often baked and served as an entree. These basic chicken breasts are an excellent choice for sandwiches, chicken salads, casseroles, and other recipes that call for cooked chicken. While rotisserie chickens and packaged cooked chicken breast strips are convenient options. Making your own cooked chicken is much easier on the budget.
Make sure to time the chicken breasts based on their thickness so they'll cook thoroughly but won't become too dry, and if possible, use an instant-read food thermometer to check for doneness. The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F.
These chicken breasts get their flavor from some simple ingredients: olive oil, salt, and pepper. Feel free to sprinkle them with the optional dash of onion powder or garlic powder, or top them with some sprigs of fresh herbs or a sprinkling of smoked paprika. Melted butter or bacon drippings are excellent alternatives to the olive oil. See the tips for some complementary herb and spice recommendations.
- 6 to 8 boneless chicken breast halves (or as many as you need for a recipe)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Dash kosher salt (or to taste)
- Dash freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- Optional: 1 dash onion powder (or garlic powder)
- Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).
- Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and oil it lightly.
- Pat the chicken with paper towels to dry.
- Arrange chicken breast halves on the foil and brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Sprinkle the chicken with onion powder or garlic powder, if desired (see other complementary herbs and flavorings below).
- Bake for about 22 to 28 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Check with an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached the minimum safe temperature (for poultry) of 165 F (74 C).
- Let the chicken breasts rest for about 5 minutes before slicing or dicing.
- Four small chicken breast halves (like the ones pictured) will yield about 2 cups of diced cooked chicken.
- Thaw chicken breasts before baking. To thaw frozen chicken breasts, place them in the refrigerator overnight. For faster thawing, leave the chicken in its packaging and submerge it in cold tap water. Change the water about every 30 minutes. Individually wrapped chicken breasts will thaw in 30 minutes to an hour. A large package might take 2 to 3 hours.
- A serving size of cooked chicken is considered to be 3 ounces for adults, 1 ounce for children under 4, and about 1 1/2 to 2 ounces for children from 4 to 12. If you are feeding guests and don't know their eating habits, err on the side of more. A raw 5-ounce boneless chicken breast will yield approximately 3 1/4 ounces of cooked chicken.
Flavors That Complement Chicken
- Soy Sauce
- Star Anise