Juicy chicken breast is a mealtime hero that never disappoints! With its tender and seasoned lean meat, it pairs well with any side dish, making it a versatile option. Whether you’re looking for a quick dinner or meal prepping for the week, baked chicken breast is the go-to ingredient.
Mastering the Lean Meat
Chicken breast, a lean protein, is a time-saving superstar that cooks quickly in a hot oven with little effort. In just 30 minutes, you can have a delicious and healthy dinner on the table. The secret to a tender and juicy result lies in flattening the chicken to an even thickness. This ensures uniform cooking throughout and minimizes moisture loss.
Prepare a Seasoning Mix
To elevate the flavor of your baked chicken breast, create a seasoning mix using dried spices and herbs. I recommend using paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. If you enjoy a grilled flavor, add some smoked paprika. Kosher salt and pepper will provide a savory note with a hint of spiciness. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences. You can store any leftover mixture for future use or make a big batch for meal prep.
Flattening for Even Cooking
To achieve the perfect thickness, it’s essential to pound the chicken breast to an even layer. The top part of the breast is wider than the tapered end, so aim for just under ¾-inch thickness. Work on one piece at a time, placing the meat between two pieces of plastic wrap or inside a large resealable bag. Use a rolling pin or mallet to gently flatten the chicken.
Seasoning the Surface
Before applying the seasoning mix, brush each piece of chicken with olive oil. This step creates a protective coating that prevents moisture loss and enhances Maillard browning. The result is a flavorful crust with hundreds of new surface flavors.
Bake to Perfection
For optimal results, I recommend using a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. This allows for easy cleanup and promotes faster cooking. Bake the chicken at a high temperature of 425ºF (218ºC). The cooking time will vary depending on the width of the chicken pieces, but generally, it takes under 20 minutes. Ensure the meat is no longer pink in the center and reaches an internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees.
Baked chicken breast pairs well with a variety of sides. Here are some delicious options to consider:
- Steamed broccoli
- White rice
- Mashed potatoes
- Roasted carrots
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use bone-in chicken for this recipe?
- How long can I store the seasoning mix?
- Can I marinate the chicken instead of using the seasoning mix?
- Can I freeze baked chicken breast for later use?
Remember, baked chicken breast is not only a healthy option but also a blank canvas for your culinary creativity. Experiment with different seasonings, sauces, and side dishes to make it your own.
Ekilove is your source for more exciting recipes and mealtime inspiration. Try our baked chicken breast recipe today and experience a delicious and hassle-free meal!