Easy Baked All-Purpose Chicken
Learn how to make juicy, tender, delicious baked chicken breasts with this easy foolproof recipe. This tender, seasoned chicken is ideal as is and will enhance basic chicken salads and any recipe calling for cooked chicken. Double the recipe to later use and freeze for convenient meals at the ready.

A simple spice rub elevates the flavor of the brined chicken. It's just 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of all the other seasonings. Easy. Baste the uncooked chicken with melted butter (my favorite) or olive oil, and then sprinkle just over 1/2 teaspoon of the mix on each chicken breast--front and back--and rub in. The stated rub amount is just enough for four boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If cooking more chicken, increase the amount of the spice rub proportionately. The mixture may be mixed ahead and stored in a jar in a cool, dark place.


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (pound to even thickness and brine in saltwater for best results) (*see easy instructions below)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil (butter adds an extra layer of flavor)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (not onion salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (_smoked_ paprika is a delicious option)


  1. *To brine your chicken breasts, simply fill a large, non-reactive (ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel, for example) bowl, pot, or casserole dish with 1 quart of water and 1/4 cup kosher salt. Stir until the salt is absorbed. (To dissolve the salt more easily, I often start with a cup or two of warm water and stir in the salt. It will dissolve more easily in warm water. Once dissolved, add the remaining amount of cold water and proceed.) Add the chicken breasts to fully cover and let them soak for 1 to 2 hours if you have the time, at least 20 minutes if you’re in a major hurry but want the reap some of the benefits of brining. Remove the chicken breasts and pat them dry with a paper towel when ready to use. (Patting them dry is an important step!)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 or 425 degrees F. (See notes**.) For easy cleanup, line a rimmed baking sheet or pan with foil for easy cleanup and set aside. There is no need to grease at this point.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.
  4. Place the chicken breasts (patted dry if you have brined them) on the prepared baking sheet, and brush both sides with the melted butter or olive oil. Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken, rubbing it in a little to evenly coat the chicken.
  5. Bake the chicken at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until a quick-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken reads between 160-170 degrees F. (Food safety guidelines have been raised to a recommended cooked temperature of 170 degrees F; I prefer to remove the chicken at 160 degrees as the chicken continues to cook for several minutes once removed from the oven. Cooking times will vary according to the size of the chicken breast and individual oven making a thermometer especially helpful.) Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting to allow the juices to redistribute. If desired, tent with foil to retain the heat. Enjoy hot or at room temperature. You may cool the chicken and refrigerate for later use. The chicken may also be frozen for future use.


  • **I have baked the chicken at a variety of temperatures and, when the cooking was stopped at the correct temperature, the difference was minimal. Higher temperatures yielded slightly more golden brown color and a hint of a crusty outside. Again, a quick-read thermometer or oven probe (for those whose ovens have this feature) will guarantee perfectly cooked chicken every time.
  • Most testers slightly favored the chicken that was basted with butter to the chicken that was basted with olive oil.
  • TIPS: For even cooking, you may wish to lightly pound the chicken to an even thickness.

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