How to Bake Chicken Breast

Three Parts:Readying Your Chicken for BakingBaking Chicken BreastStoring Baked Chicken Breast

Want to wow your friends, foes, and family alike with your awesome cooking skills? A superbly baked chicken breast can be the star of any meal. Follow these simple steps to make delicious baked chicken.

Part 1
Readying Your Chicken for Baking

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    Defrost the chicken if you are using frozen chicken. Moving the wrapped chicken from the freezer to the refrigerator 24 hours before cooking is the easiest method. There are also several other methods that take less time.
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    Rinse the chicken in cold water. When you are working with defrosted chicken or fresh chicken, you might want to wash it to rid it of any preservative fluids on its surface. Run the chicken under cold water. You cannot use warm or hot water--warm water promotes bacterial growth. Pat dry with a paper towel.[1] (However, there has been some recent controversy about the benefits of washing raw chicken, so don't worry if you don't rinse yours [2])
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    Give your chicken flavor. Plain chicken is not the most riveting of dishes, so add some excitement to your chicken by seasoning, marinating, or brining it.
    • Add oil and seasonings to your chicken. If you want your chicken to have a bit of a crunchier exterior, rub your chicken with olive oil. Use any combination of herbs and seasonings. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper! To thoroughly coat your chicken, place the oil and seasonings in a plastic, sealable bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and shake. Your chicken will come out thoroughly coated and delicious.
    • Use a spice rub. Grocery stores often carry premixed rubs that can pack a powerful punch. Try a Cajun rub, a spicy chili rub, or any other rub you find at the store.
    • Marinate to really bring out the flavors in the chicken. Use a bowl or a large resealable plastic bag and let the chicken sit in the marinade for two to eight hours in the refrigerator. You can create your own marinade or follow a recipe. To make a salad dressing marinade, pour a cup or two of Italian, balsamic, or another vinaigrette-type dressing into a small mixing bowl. Add any combination of minced garlic, coarse salt, pepper, citrus (lemon, lime or orange) juice, or herbs such as rosemary and oregano. Whisk together and use as marinade. You can also set some aside to go with a side salad.
    • Brine the chicken to give your chicken a salty flavor. Again, put the chicken in the fridge for two to eight hours so that it can absorb the flavor of the brining solution. in the brining solution. The salt in the brine will help the chicken absorb moisture. Mix coarse salt in two cups of warm water. Pour the mixture into a bowl of cool water. Add pepper, garlic powder, citrus (lemon, lime or orange) juice, or herbs such as rosemary or cumin.

Part 2
Baking Chicken Breast

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    Preheat the oven. Different recipes may call for different temperatures and therefore different cook times. Consult the recipe you are following to determine what the oven temperature and cook time should be. Remember, you want the chicken to slowly bake all the way through; baking on a significantly higher temperature will cook the outside too quickly and make the breast dry.
    • If you are not following a recipe, know that a standard oven temperature for baking a chicken breast is 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).[3]
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    Prepare a baking dish. Line a baking pan or dish or cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and coat the foil with a non-stick cooking spray. This not only makes removing the finished chicken breast from the pan easier, but it will also speed clean-up.
    • You can also use a baking pan that has just been greased, rather than lined with foil.
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    Place the chicken in the pan. Make sure that none of the breasts are overlapping. They should be laid flat and spaced evenly throughout the pan.
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    Bake the chicken. Follow your recipe’s cook time instructions. If you are not following a recipe, bake the chicken until the juices from the chicken run clear. While the chicken is being cooked, its juice will have a white tint to it. When it has been fully cooked, it is easy to see the transition to a clear liquid.
    • As a general guideline, bake boneless chicken breasts at 325-350° F for 15-25 minutes.
    • As a general guideline, bake bone-in chicken breasts at 325-350° F for 30-45 minutes.
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    Check to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. Use meat thermometer to do this. Insert the thermometer horizontally into the end of the chicken, aiming for the center of the breast. For a completely cooked chicken, the thermometer should read between 160 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit (71 to 74 degrees Celsius).
    • If you do not have a meat thermometer, make a small cut into the chicken. If there is any pink coloring, or if the meat seems to have a greyish color and gooey texture, it is not done. Bake the chicken for a couple more minutes and then make another cut and check the meat again.
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    Remove the chicken from the oven when it is fully cooked. Let the chicken sit for five minutes. Allowing the chicken to "rest" outside the oven for a few moments settles the flavor and finishes the cooking process - the chicken will still cook for a bit after you remove it from the heat. After five minutes has passed, remove the chicken from the baking dish and serve.

Part 3
Storing Baked Chicken Breast

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    Let the baked chicken cool for 30 minutes. Be careful when handling chicken that has just come out of the oven, as it will be very hot.
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    Wrap each chicken breast in a piece of wax paper. Wrap each breast individually. Waxed paper is a moisture-proof wrapping material, which makes it excellent for storing baked chicken.[4]
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    Place the chicken breasts in a large freezer bag. If you baked a lot of chicken breasts, divide them up between two freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags and seal them tightly.
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    Place the sealed chicken in your freezer. Baked chicken that is then frozen can be stored in your freezer for up to four months.[5]
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  • Beware of salmonella. Raw chicken is a common carrier of salmonella. Fortunately, the bacteria can be killed with complete cooking, but take care to always wash your hands after touching raw chicken. Immediately dispose of any marinade or brining solution, and place utensils used on the raw chicken into the sink or dishwasher. Wash down your prep area with a cleaning solution.

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