Say goodbye to dry chicken! This easy oven baked chicken breast recipe, starring a sweet and savory rub, produces the most tender and juicy chicken. Serve it with rice and veggies, or on top of a salad.
This Oven Baked Chicken Breast recipe proves that boneless, skinless chicken breasts can truly be juicy and flavorful. And you have to love that it takes less than 30 minutes to make, from start to finish, and uses common pantry items. Serve it with one of my favorite brown rice recipes and an easy veggie side, like my sugar snap peas recipe or a simple strawberry arugula salad.
While chicken thighs are more forgiving when overcooked, this method for cooking chicken breasts produces some truly tender and delicious meat. The breasts are lightly coated in olive oil, then rubbed with a brown sugar-rosemary spice mixture that is inspired by my favorite bar nuts recipe from the now-defunct Union Square Café in New York City. A little sweet, a tiny bit spicy and perfectly balanced.
If you’re looking for more recipes using chicken breasts, check out 30 Chicken Breast Recipes, which includes favorites like my Thai Chicken Salad and Caprese Chicken Foil Packets.
What you need for this Oven Baked Chicken Breast recipe:
These are the main components of this recipe (affiliate links included):
- Chicken breasts: You’ll need two large (8 ounces each) skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Alternatively, use four small (5 ounces each) breasts.
- Brown sugar: Regular brown sugar, lightly packed.
- Herbs & spices: Dried rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper can all be found in the spice section of any grocery store. I prefer to buy crushed rosemary. Alternatively, use any dried rosemary and crush it in the palm of your hand before using.
- Olive oil spray: I use the organic olive spray from Trader Joe’s. There are many others available in stores or online, like this one. Avocado oil spray is also a good option.
How to make this baked boneless chicken breast recipe:
- For the chicken breasts, there are two ways to go. In the recipe, I call for two large (8 ounces each) chicken breasts, which are cut in half horizontally. The chicken breasts that we usually buy are in the 8 ounce range (yeah, big suckers!).
- If you buy smaller chicken breasts (5 ounces), use four of them.
- Whether you’re using large breasts that are cut in half or small breasts, you’ll need to even out the thickness so that they cook evenly. Place the chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and gently pound the thick sections with a meat mallet or a rolling pin. This should just take a few taps in each section. Aim for ¾-inch thickness across the breasts.
- Next, coat both sides of the chicken breasts with olive oil spray and the brown sugar-rosemary spice mixture. Line them up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, then bake until done. More on the “doneness” in a minute.
Frequently asked questions:
What temperature to bake chicken breasts:
I find that baking chicken breasts at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time produces the juiciest chicken. Even boneless, skinless breasts come out tender and juicy!
Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean-up.
How long to bake chicken breast at 425:
The answer to this depends on one thing…the thickness of the chicken breasts. Common sense dictates that breasts that are 1 ½ inches thick are going to take much longer to cook than ones that are pounded to a half inch thickness.
Instead of relying solely on time, use temperature to determine “doneness”.
According to the U.S. government food safety site, all chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Insert a reliable meat thermometer into the center of the breast to determine the temperature.
One thing to remember – all meat continues to cook for a few minutes once removed from the oven and the temperature often increases by about 5 degrees F. Take care not to overcook the chicken!
What to serve with baked chicken breasts:
The options are virtually endless! I typically serve some sort of grain or starch, and a vegetable side dish or two. Some of my family’s favorites are:
Grain/Starch side dish:
- Toasted Brown Rice with Mushrooms & Thyme
- Coconut Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Greek Rice Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Vegetable side dish:
- Roasted Mushrooms (irresistibly good!)
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Greek Sugar Snap Peas
- Strawberry Salad with Feta & Basil
Rosemary Oven Baked Chicken Breast Recipe
- 2 (8 oz. each) skinless, boneless chicken breasts (see Note below)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary crushed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Olive oil spray
- 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Cover the breasts with plastic wrap and, using the flat side of a meat mallet or a rolling pin, lightly pound any thick sections so that the thickness of the breasts is as even as possible. The breasts should be about ¾-inch thick.
- In small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, rosemary, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper.
- Place the breasts on the prepared baking sheet. Spray one side with olive oil spray, then sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Turn over the breasts, spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle over the remaining brown sugar mixture.
- Bake until the chicken juices run clear. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, but remember that the temperature will increase by about 5 degrees after the chicken is removed from the oven. Since these chicken breasts are thin, the cook time is about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Let rest for a few minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve.
Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
where did you get the cutlery used in the picture with the chicken and rice?
Hi Don, we've had that cutlery for close to 20 years now! I believe we bought it at Williams Sonoma (not 100% sure of that). I can't imagine they still have the same ones, but they may still carry something similar.
I'm always looking for new ways to make chicken taste, well , better! This works, lots of new flavors compared with my recipe box, thank you!
I had fresh rosemary but no dried, so I mixed together all the other toppings and sprinkled it on the chicken, then snipped fresh rosemary over that. We did one breast and a few thighs. This was excellent. My husband loved it as well. The little bit of cayenne is great and keeps the brown sugar from being too much. It reminded us a bit of a healthier General Tso's chicken, with the sweet followed by the spicy. A definite addition to our dinner rotation! Thank you.