Back to Basics #3: Moist, Baked Chicken Breasts
I can’t count how many times I’ve baked boneless chicken breasts, only to have them come out dry and tough. I’ve tried many different ways, and up until now, it seemed liked breading them was the only way to get moist, tender chicken breasts. But I just tried this simple method and it really worked!
This recipe includes brining the chicken…for those people who aren’t really into cooking, brining is just soaking the chicken in salted water for a while before you cook it. I’ve heard of this method for turkey for a long time, but not for boneless chicken breasts, so I was curious. See what you think.
Moist, Baked Chicken Breasts
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded to even thickness)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or whatever you normally use)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika (either regular or smoked, your preference)
Moist, tender, chicken
- After pounding the chicken breasts to even thickness, brine them by filling a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and ¼ cup kosher salt (this salt works best, but you can use what you have). Stir to combine until most of the salt is absorbed. Add the chicken breasts and let them sit in the mixture to brine for 15 minutes. (If making ahead, you can also cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours…no longer.)
- Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a baking dish/sheet or roasting pan. Brush on both sides with oil or melted butter.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika until combined. Then sprinkle the mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Using a meat thermometer, inserting it at the thickest part of the breast, the chicken is done when it is 165°F.