If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the hunt for the best ways to cook oven-baked chicken. Unlike other types of meats that get boring over time, the same can’t be said for chicken.
Chicken is versatile enough that it always ranks high on my dinner list. Whether I’m making chicken alfredo, chicken marsala, or dicing up my chicken to become the star of my burrito bowl, the opportunities for using this ingredient are endless.
However, one of my favorite recipes is french baked chicken breasts.
There’s just something about oven-baked chicken that is so melt-in-your-mouth good. First, it keeps all the juiciness in, making for an extra moist piece of chicken, but baking is a healthier alternative to grilling or frying in a pan or deep fryer.
So then, exactly how long to bake chicken breast at 400 degrees? Depending on the size of your chicken, anywhere from 22 to 26 minutes.
In this article, we not only answer how long you have to bake the chicken for optimal flavor but whether you should leave it uncovered and if you have to use a different process if your chicken breasts are frozen.
Whether this is your first or fifth time baking chicken, it’s always important to have a refresher handy.
How Long Does it Take to Bake Chicken Breast at 400?
As noted above, the time frame for baking the perfect, tender chicken breasts will vary depending on the size of your chicken.
In most cases, chicken breasts are close in size, with some being notably larger than others if you’re buying them frozen.
Larger chicken breasts weigh about 7 oz. Should be cooked for about 20-25 minutes, depending on girth. Smaller cuts of chicken, around 5 to 6 oz., should be cooked for 18-20 minutes.
Since chicken is a naturally-lean piece of meat, you want to refrain from overcooking it.
Like many other types of meat, when they get cooked for too long, overcooked chicken can develop a tough texture. It can also have a stringy appearance.
Likewise, you want to avoid undercooking your chicken breasts, as well. Not only will this make them raw and unsafe to consume (experts recommend the ideal chicken breast temperature be 165 degrees Fahrenheit), but they can have a rubbery, dense appearance and texture.
When it comes to chicken, it’s one type of meat you can’t go under or overcook.
Is it Better to Bake Chicken at 350 or 400?
The answer to this question is that: it depends. The higher the temperature is, the faster your food will cook. However, that may not always be exactly what you’re looking for.
For example, the higher your oven’s temperature is, the more likely your chicken will develop crispy skin.
This is why it’s recommended to bake your chicken at a higher temp (usually between 400 and 425 degrees).
However, the longer your chicken bakes, the more likely it is to lose a little bit of moisture. This is why people opt to bake chicken between 350 and 375 degrees.
So, when it comes to determining which is better, the answer is that it depends on what your flavor preferences are. If you like crispy skin, then bake it at a higher temperature.
If you prefer a juicy piece of chicken, then bake it at a lower temperature. Or, if you want to get the best of both worlds, bake your chicken at 400 degrees, and then after 15 minutes, lower it to 350. This will give you crispy skin and some juiciness.
Should I Cover Chicken with Foil When Baking?
When it comes to baking, the goal of using tin foil is to help keep the meat’s moisture.
So, should you cover your chicken breast with foil when baking? Yes – if you’re using skinless breasts.
Since chicken skin gets a bad reputation for being unhealthy, many people opt for skinless chicken breasts as a way to cut calories. Unfortunately, skinless chicken breasts tend to dry up faster than if they have the skin on.
As such, cooking it with foil is necessary to prevent it from drying out.
If your chicken breasts still have the skin on them, then foil isn’t necessarily crucial to keeping the moisture in, but it would allow you to bake it at higher temperatures for a longer time.
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How Long to Bake Chicken Breasts at 400 in Foil?
So if you’ve opted for the baking-in-foil method. The time it’ll take to bake will vary depending on the cut of your meat.
For leaner slices of chicken, you’ll want to bake them for about 25 minutes. For larger cuts of chicken, you’ll bake them for 30 minutes.
This will cut down on additional preparation you have to do (and cleaning later, since all you have to do is pop the foil from the pan and rinse off).
How Do I Bake Chicken Breast Without Drying it Out?
You can use foil, of course, as this is a reliable method. However, you can also brine your chicken ahead of time.
Brining is the simple process of combining proteins (such as baked chicken) with sugar and salt to season the meat, but keep it firm and juicy even after it’s done cooking.
To brine your chicken, all you have to do is combine your slab of chicken with water and a few tablespoons of salt of your preference and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
This will not only give your chicken breast a little extra flavor but give you an incredibly tender piece of meat. Brining will help you make the best-baked chicken breast 400 that you and your family will love.
How Long to Bake Chicken Breast at 400 Uncovered?
If left uncovered, you may be wondering how long to cook chicken breast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit?
The answer is anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breast and if it has a lot of skin.
As noted before, skinless chicken breasts will dry out faster the longer they’re cooked at a high temperature, such as 400 degrees.
However, if you want to keep them as juicy as you can, try rubbing a little butter or olive oil on your chicken before sliding it into the oven, this will help keep everything as moist as possible.
If your chicken is completely frozen when it goes into the oven uncovered, your cooking time may be up to 40 minutes. However, keep checking the chicken’s internal temperature to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
How Do I Know When My Chicken is Done?
The easiest method is to use a kitchen thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken.
If it reaches between 165 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit, your chicken breast is considered fully cooked. But what if you don’t have an internal thermometer?
In this case, there are several methods available to you. The first is to simply eyeball the chicken. When chicken is fully cooked, it tends to shrink.
So, if your chicken breast looks smaller than when you put it in the oven, it’s probably fully cooked.
Another method is to cut into the chicken to view the inside. If it’s still pink, it’s not cooked, so place it back in the oven for a few more minutes. Once the inside of the chicken is white, it’s fully cooked.
How Long to Bake Chicken Breast at 400 in Air Fryer
Air fryers are known for reaching the same kind of consistency as a deep fryer but without a high number of calories.
To bake chicken at 400 in an air fryer, season it beforehand and cook it for about 10-15 minutes.
You can use any of the methods mentioned above to confirm that your chicken breast is fully cooked, but just remember that the larger and thicker your chicken breast is, the longer it’ll take to fully cook.
When using an air fryer, keep in mind that it needs to heat up first. Let it preheat to 400 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes before adding your chicken into the basket.
How Do You Keep Chicken Breast Moist When Baking?
Baking chicken breast in the oven at 400 degrees is a great way to get a juicy piece of meat to serve for dinner.
However, what tricks should you use to keep them extra moist while baking?
First, as mentioned above, you can cover your chicken breasts with foil or brine them.
However, another way you can keep your chicken moist is to bring it to room temperature before popping it in the oven. If doing this, let the chicken sit out for about 30 minutes.
How Long to Bake Chicken Breast at 400 From Frozen?
More often than not, your chicken breast will be frozen. After all, one of those bags has enough chicken to make dinner for several nights in a row, depending on the size of your family. They’re also pretty cost-effective!
But how long to cook chicken at 400 if it’s completely frozen?
As mentioned earlier, the cooking time will vary based on how large your chicken breast is. When it comes to baking something frozen, you always have to account for thawing times.
This is why it’s recommended to put your chicken in the fridge before you leave for work if you plan on baking it once you return home.
Generally speaking, frozen chicken breasts need to be cooked for approximately 40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re baking them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to bake them for 30-45 minutes to account for the lower temperature.
A good rule of thumb is that the lower your temperature is, you should double your normal baking time.
So, if regular chicken breasts cooked at 400 need to be cooked for 20 minutes, your frozen chicken breasts will need to bake for 40.
How Long Do You Cook Frozen Chicken Breast at 375?
The average cooking time for frozen chicken breasts, depending on size is about 45 minutes.
This is if your chicken breasts are completely frozen through and not thawed at all.
To bake chicken at 375 degrees, add it to a baking dish that’s been covered in a non-stick spray, and then add your seasoning and sauces once it’s cooked down a little bit.
Once the thickest part of your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F, it’s fully cooked and ready to serve and enjoy.
Simple Baked Chicken Breasts Recipe
We hope the information mentioned above inspired you to make your own baked chicken recipe tonight! The secret ingredient in baked chicken is salt.
The addition of salt on your chicken breast won’t make it too salty; rather, the salt cooks down in the oven and enhances the natural flavor of the chicken, so you’re getting a tasty bite with each forkful.
Traditional white coarse salt is recommended. However, you can swap it out for any type of salt you prefer. Himalayan pink salt offers the same flavor as white coarse salt, whereas salt/garlic hybrids will add a little burst of flavor.
Here’s how to make delicious, oven-baked chicken tonight for dinner: