How To Get Juicy Breasts

ha!

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Now let’s Learn how to make delicious baked chicken breasts in 5 easy steps!

This week I have been looking for easy recipes that I can’t mess up, make for my family quickly, and share with you. I discovered a GREAT blog with such a clever name Gimme Some Oven 🙂 see, what’d I tell ya?! clever! After you’re done with me go check her out and giver her a follow.

This recipe is extremely easy, requires minimal prep, and is absolutely foolproof (even I can’t mess this up) for making juicy chicken breasts that you can either serve by itself, cut up into strips for a salad or burrito, or even shred for your favorite meal. If you’re into meal prepping you can also bake up an extra-large batch to prep for the week and/or freeze the leftovers to use later.

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They’re 5 important steps for making a perfect baked chicken breast:

  1. Brine
  2. Brush
  3. Rub
  4. Roast
  5. Rest

 Step 1: Brining the chicken breasts.

Many people are in the habit of brining a turkey for Thanksgiving, and until this recipe I have never considered brining chicken breasts. It’s super easy, makes your chicken extra juicy and moist (yes, I used the “m” word), what’s super awesome is that brining can be effectively done in just 15 minutes!  Brining the chicken in warm water also helps bring the chicken to room temperature, which makes for more even cooking.

To brine the chicken, simply fill a big bowl with warm (not hot, it’s not time to cook it yet) water.  Stir in a handful of salt until it mostly dissolves.  Then add your chicken breasts and let them sit in the saltwater to brine for at least 15 minutes. Please note; If you are doing this in advance, you can cover and refrigerate the bowl of chicken and saltwater for up to 6 hours. Then when you’re ready to go, remove the chicken from the brine, rinse it with cold water, then pat it dry with some paper towels.  Again, don’t skip this step!!!

Step2: Brush the chicken breasts…

…with melted butter.  Or at least, I highly recommend using butter.  It adds great flavor and helps give a nice golden crust on the outside.  But if you’d rather use olive oil (or another favorite cooking oil), feel free.  Brush the breasts liberally on both sides, partly so that the chicken does not stick to the pan on the bottom, and also to help the seasonings stick.  Then place them in a large baking dish.

Step 3: Rub the chicken breasts with your desired seasoning.

If you’re really wanting to keep things simple, you can simply rub on some salt and pepper.  But again, chicken will pick up the flavor of whatever seasonings you add.  So YOU DO YOU BOO! 🙂

Step 4: Roast that chicken!

 

Depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts (and note — be sure to pound them beforehand if needed with a meat mallet so that they are uniformly thick for even cooking), roasting them at 450 should require a cooking time between 15-18 minutes. It’s speedy and it’s easy. But I love it most because cooking at high heat quickly develops a nice crispier “crust” on the outside of the breasts, which also locks in those juices and keeps the chicken perfectly tender on the inside.

I highly recommend investing in a small cooking thermometer to measure the temp of the chicken in order to tell if it has fully cooked (160-170 degrees F)

5. Rest your chicken.

This is where that “patience is a virtue” stuff comes in. You must, must, must let your beautifully baked chicken breast rest before cutting into it. This goes for any meat, really. If you cut in right away, you lose all of the amazing juices and some of the tenderness that we’re going for!

“Gimme Some Oven” recommends loosely tenting a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan to keep the heat in while the chicken rests, so I did what she recommends. Then after 5-10 minutes….

…you can finally serve and enjoy your perfectly-cooked chicken breasts.   And enjoy every last bite.

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Feel free to slice (like mine above), shred, dice, or serve them whole.  Whatever sounds good to you.  Or if you’d like to save them for later, these chicken breasts can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Along with the broken down recipe below I have included “Gimme Some Oven’s” Youtube video if you’re a visual person 🙂

PREP: 15 MIN.      TOTAL TIME: 20 MINS      YIELD: 4 SERVINGS 

INGREDIENTS

BAKED CHICKEN BREAST INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, that have been pounded to even thickness and brined in saltwater (*see easy instructions below)
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (I prefer smoked paprika)

DIRECTIONS

*To brine your chicken breasts, simply fill a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt.  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.  Or you can also cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.  Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with some paper towels.

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a large baking dish.  Brush on both sides (turning once) evenly with the melted butter or olive oil.

In a separate small bowl, whisk the salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika until combined.  Then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides.

Bake for 15-18* minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.  If you use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature thickest part of the breast, it should be between 160-170 degrees F.

*Or, if you’re like me and want the chicken to be a little bit browned and crispier on top, you can turn the broiler on high for the final 3-5 minutes and broil the chicken until it is cooked through and extra browned on top.  Keep a close eye on the chicken so that it does not overcook and/or burn.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the oven and loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Let the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes.  Then serve immediately. Or, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

I really hope you have enjoyed this EASY recipe as much as me! I’ll be posting a new recipe for you to enjoy every Friday. Feel free to share and let me know how yours goes for you, I’d love to hear all about it! and hashtag #loveofallofthethings

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CHEERS TO THE FREAKIN WEEKEND! I’ll see you next week!

XOXOXO