How to Cook Chicken Breasts
People are often afraid of undercooking chicken breasts and other poultry, so they overcook them—and then poor chicken breasts get a bad rep! But they don't have to be dry and boring: You just need to know how to cook chicken breasts right. One of the easiest ways to cook chicken is in the oven: Not only is baking chicken a healthy way to cook the meat, it’s also super simple to customize—add whatever seasonings you like. Just follow this basic recipe and experiment with different flavors each time. You'll be set for all your weeknight dinners: Add the chicken to a salad or grain bowl, shred it up and toss it with pasta, or sandwich it in a quesadilla (one of Ree's favorites!). You can also create your own sheet pan dinner—cook the chicken breasts on a baking sheet with lots of veggies that'll cook in the yummy pan juices (try our Cajun Chicken Sheet-Pan Dinner and see what we mean!). Your whole meal bakes at the same time. Sure, there are tons of other ways to make chicken, but if you want to know how to cook chicken breasts with no mess and no fuss, this oven method is for you.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook best around 425˚. You want the oven to be hot enough to cook the chicken from the inside, while giving the edges a slightly golden crust.
Since chicken breasts are lean, you don’t want to overcook them or else they’ll be dry. And don’t be tempted to cut into the centers as the chicken cooks to check for doneness—you'll just release those precious juices. You should also let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking to evenly distribute the juices before serving.