Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (2022)

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (1)

This oven-baked chicken breast recipe makes a succulent and deliciously flavorful baked chicken breast. It’s our favorite and most frequently made chicken breast in our home.

The challenge with cooking chicken breasts

Chicken breasts seem to be the thing nowadays. They are lean, healthy and affordable. Everybody wants to include them in their diet, from bodybuilders to those who want to drop a few, to those who just want to eat healthy. When cooked right they are very flavorful, tender and tasty.

The challenge is that cooking white lean meat like chicken breast can be tricky and frustrating. Even for some who call themselves professionals. How many times have you ordered chicken breast at a restaurant only to find a rubbery and chalky piece of meat on your plate? One theory is that they do it to beon the safe side because rarely can one get sick from an overcooked chicken breast.

On the other hand, overcooking chicken breast is so easy that it only makes sense that the frequency of that happening is fairly high. Cooking it at home is even more challenging when you try to split your time between 10 different things. The chances of cooking a perfect chicken breast dwindle even more.

A perfect way to cook a tender and juicy chicken breast

Here is my solution to the problem: bake low and slow with butter and chicken stock. Don’t get me wrong, you can cook a perfect chicken breast over high heat on the stove. Though, that requires superior skills and hovering over the skilletlike a hawk. I find that splitting chicken breasts in half lengthwise works the best for pan-frying, like when you make chicken piccata. This way the chicken won’t spend too much time in contact with a hot pan to get dry. The much easier approach where you canjust set it and forget it is to bake chicken breasts in the oven over low heat. Why low heat? Because the lower the heat the harder it is to overcook the meat and catch the moment when it is cooked just perfectly.

Cooking Temperature for Baked Chicken Breast

There is no right temperature forbaking chicken breast. It can range from225F toas high as 450F. The challenge is that at 450Fthe internal temperature ofthe chicken risesfrom 30-40F to the USDA recommended safe temperautre of165F in 15 minutes or so. The rise in the final minutes of cooking can be surprisingly fast. Unless you have an accurate digital BBQ thermometer with an alarm, there is a high risk of temperature overshooting and ruining your meal. Another challenge is that at this high temperature the surface of lean meat like chicken breast maydry out before the center is fully cooked.

On the flip side, cooking at a very low temperature like 225F is not very practical. This temperature is desirable for smokingwhen you want longer cooking time toget the right amount of smoke in the meat. This is not the case with the baked chicken breast.

After a number of experiments I settled on325F as being the best of both worlds for the baked chicken breast. At this temperature it takes regular size chicken breastsabout 60 minutes to reach the perfect 165F internal temperature. Slower temperature rise allows for a widermargin of error. Even if you are a fewminutes late your baked chicken breast will only be a few degrees higher than the target instead of 10-20degrees.

Brining

Soaking meats in brine helps achieve a moister and juicier product. This is especially true with poultry. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. The challenge is that brining adds to preparation time. Depending on who you ask, recommended brining time for a chicken breast varies from 30 minutes to 2-4 hours. Some say that even 15 minutes of brining makes a difference, though my experience shows that for good moisture and proper flavor penetration you need about 2 hours. Stanley Marianski, the renowned author of a series of books on production of meats and sausages, suggests 2-4 hour brining for chicken parts. All that said, I am going to recommend skipping brining and try something different this time.You won’t be disappointed.

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (2)

The Alternative to Brining

While watching an episode of some cooking show a while ago, I got inspired to try something else. Instead of brining one of the contestants added butter and some commercial oil and vinegar based marinade to the baking pan filled with chicken parts. Then the pan went right into a smoker. Suffice it to say, his was the winning chicken.

Not being a fan of too much oil orvinegar in my chicken I used a little bit of butter and chicken stock instead. The result – one of the most succulentand flavorful chicken breasts I have ever had. During baking chicken breasts absorbed some of the liquid and the butter, and became wonderfully tender and moist. Even slightly buttery. This is the method I now predominantly use forbaking or smoking chicken breasts.

How to make baked chicken breast?

Follow these three easy steps and you will have one of the best baked chicken breast meals.

(Video) BAKED CHICKEN BREAST | juicy, tender, easy, and oh, so flavorful!

Step 1 – Apply the Rub, add Butter and Chicken Stock

In this recipe I use a little bit of salt, somesugar for a hint of sweetness, some cayenne pepper for a little kick and enough paprika to give the meat its beautiful color and flavor. This rub is perfect if you are looking for mild flavors that just about anyone will enjoy. What I like about this rub the most is that is has a very balanced taste. You may put on a thin layer of vegetable or olive oil before applying the rub. This will ensure that the rub sticks to the meat. Oiling chicken breastsis not absolutely necessary as the rub will stick to wet meat just as well.

Stick pats of butter around the perimeter of the baking pan. As the butter melts it will seep down to the bottom of the pan enhancing the chicken’s flavor and adding to its tenderness.

Pour 1/2 a cup of chicken stock into the pan. Do it carefully so as no to wash off the rub from the meat. You need just enough stock to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch high.

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (3)

Step 2 –Bake

The baking process is very straightforward. I typically baste the meat once with its own juices about 20-30 minutes before it’s done. I do believe that it helps keep the surface of meat adequately moist. Flipping the breasts is not required. As a matter of fact, it may negatively affect appearance. Start checking the temperature after about 50 minutes with an instant read thermometer. My personal favorite is the ThermoWorks Thermapen thermometerSlow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (4) which I’ve been using for many years. That said, any accurate thermometer will suffice.Pull the chicken breasts as soon as they hit 165F internal temperature.

Update from June 29, 2016:

Over the past several months I’ve been experimenting with using my BBQ thermometer while cooking chicken breasts and other larger cuts of meat in the oven. I am blown away by the results! This is now my preferred method of hitting the right temperature. It’s simple and hassle free. You don’t need to run back and forth checking your chicken for doneness. You don’t need to open your oven a dozen of times and let the hot air out, extending the cooking time. Here is how it works:

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (5)

Insert the tip of the probe into the thickest part of the chicken breast and set the alarm to 165F. That’s it. It’s the simplestway to get a perfectly cooked chicken breast every time.

If you are after the most optimal results, bake the breasts to 160F instead of 165F as the temperature will rise by about 5 degrees during the 5 minute rest period. This will ensure that the meat is safe to eat and is optimally tender and juicy.

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (6)

I use theThermoWorks BBQ thermometer withprofessional Type K thermocouple probes. I chose it specifically because of thehigh heat probes that won’t burn out easily when exposed to high temperatures during grilling or smoking, which I do a lot of. These thermometers arefairly expensive and an overkillfor oven cooking. For cooking in a kitchen oven, a regular BBQ thermometer like the very good and the very popularThermoPro TP08will work perfectly welland should last a very long time with proper care.

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (7)

ThermoPro TP08has two probes, one of the food and the other one isfor monitoring oven/grill/smoker temperature. The second probe may not seem like a big deal for the kitchen oven, but it can be very helpful if the thermostat in your oven is not working properly and the actual temperature differs from the set temperature.

(Video) BAKED CHICKEN BREAST | how to make a juicy baked chicken breast

Step 3 – Let it Rest

Letting the baked chicken breast rest after cooking is crucial. During the rest meat fibers will reabsorb some of the moisture they lost whilecooking. If you cutthe meatimmediately, the juices will quickly run off and make the meat drier. Five minutes of rest is enough.

Now, slice your perfectly baked chicken breast and enjoy! You may want to try using the juices from the baking pan as a dipping sauce for the chicken. It’s absolutely delicious.

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (8)

If you happen to have leftover chicken breast, use it to make my Seriously Good Homemade Chicken Pot Pie. You will love it. Or this Mulligatawny Soup. It’s the best.

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender) - Craving Tasty (9)

Slow Baked Chicken Breast (Moist & Tender)

A recipe for a very tender and succulent oven baked chicken breast.

4.95 from 39 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Dinner, lunch

Cuisine: American

Keyword: baked chicken breast, juicy chicken breast, roasted chicken breast

(Video) how to make the JUICIEST ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS with pan sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 4

Calories: 257kcal

Author: Victor

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cane sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 4 Tbsp butter (unsalted; 1/2 stick sliced into 8 thin pats)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325F

  • Prepare the rub by mixing salt, sugar, cayenne pepper and paprika. Cover the chicken breasts with a thin layer of vegetable or olive oil first to ensure that the rub adheres properly. Cover each chicken breast with an even layer of the rub.

  • Place chicken breasts in a deep baking dish. Stick butter pats to the sides of the baking dish. Pour chicken broth into the baking dish carefully so as not to wash away the rub.

  • Bake at 325F uncovered for about 60 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165F. To make sure the chicken tops are nicely browned and do not dry out, baste the chicken breasts in the juices 30-40 minutes into baking.

  • Remove from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes and serve your perfectly baked chicken breast.

(Video) JUICY Oven Baked Chicken Breast Recipe

Notes

You may also want to try baking the chicken to 162F internal for optimal results. If you cook the meat to 162F and let it rest for 5 minutes, the temperature will rise by 3-4 degrees based on my experiments and the chicken will reach the safe temperature of 165F.

Try using the juices from the pan as a dipping sauce for the chicken. It's delightful.

Nutrition

Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 631mg | Potassium: 467mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 980IU | Vitamin C: 3.4mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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(Video) MOIST AND JUICY (chicken) BREASTS!!

FAQs

What makes chicken moist and tender? ›

To start, brine your chicken in a mixture of water and a few tablespoons of salt for about 20 to 30 minutes. This will boost the natural flavor and moisture of the chicken breasts and will leave you with a super tender piece of meat. This is the one step that will really ensure your chicken won't be dry or tough.

Does slow cooking chicken make it taste better? ›

Slow-cooking mellows the flavors of ingredients. That can be great—think of the sweetness of roasted garlic versus the bite of fresh garlic, for instance. It can also be a problem, and it's why some people think all slow-cooked food tastes kind of the same.

How do you make chicken breast tender and soft? ›

Instructions
  1. Flatten the chicken breasts. ...
  2. Season the chicken breasts. ...
  3. Heat the pan. ...
  4. Cook the chicken breasts over medium heat for 1 minute without moving. ...
  5. Flip the chicken breasts. ...
  6. Turn the heat down to low. ...
  7. Cover the pan and cook on low for 10 minutes. ...
  8. Turn off the heat and let sit for an additional 10 minutes.
May 3, 2019

Can you cook chicken breast low and slow? ›

Chicken breasts are a lean cut and the key to slow cooking them without drying them out involves the right amount of moisture. Add just enough liquid to come 1cm up the side of the bowl. Cover and cook on High for 2 ½-4 hours or on Low for 4-6 hours.

How do you keep chicken moist in the oven? ›

Cook at a lower heat for longer to keep the chicken breast tender and juicy. Bake just until internal temp reaches about 160º F, then let sit under foil to cook to a safe internal temp. Line pan or baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Olive oil keeps chicken moist and adds extra flavor.

What happens if you slow cook chicken? ›

If you are planning to cook chicken in a Crock-Pot, the poultry should be completely thawed first. Placing frozen chicken directly into a slow cooker puts you at risk of food poisoning because it will take a long time for the chicken to reach a safe internal temperature.

Does slow cooked make food taste better? ›

The longer cooking time and the low heat complement each other perfectly. As a result, even though the meat is cooked for far longer, it doesn't dry out because the temperature is low. As a result, this is the best way to retain all the natural juices of the meat. It also makes the meat far more flavorful.

What happens if you slow cook chicken too long? ›

Can you overcook chicken in the slow cooker? Yes, it is possible! If the meat is cooked too long it could end up dry and not juicy and tender. The recommended times in my recipe are ideal for juicy results, but if you use less chicken than the recipe calls for I would recommend checking it sooner.

How do you keep chicken breast moist after cooking? ›

Simple Ways To Keep Your Chicken Breast From Drying Out
  1. Sear The Skin. Instead of putting the chicken breast directly into the oven, throw it on the stovetop first. ...
  2. Be Mindful Of The Internal Temperature. ...
  3. Let It Rest. ...
  4. Cockaigne. ...
  5. Dry-Poaching. ...
  6. Put It In Milk. ...
  7. Turn To A Darker Meat.
Feb 9, 2018

How do you tenderize cooked chicken breast? ›

Chicken breasts benefit greatly from being marinated or treated with a dry or wet brine, or rub. Pile on the flavor with aromatics like ginger and chiles, brown sugar (to help the meat caramelize when cooked), vinegar (to help tenderize), and yes, salt.

Does chicken breast get softer the longer you cook it? ›

Does chicken breast get softer the longer you cook it? Chicken becomes more tender the longer it cooks. … Boiling a chicken produces very moist, tender and flavorful meat that can easily be removed from the bone to be eaten on its own or used in salads, pasta dishes and stuffings.

Is it better to cook chicken slow or fast in the oven? ›

The slower you cook chicken, the better. That's the overall rule for cooking protein.

Is chicken better in the oven or slow cooker? ›

YES! Using a slow cooker yields mouthwatering results for a whole chicken. Compared to roasting which uses dry circulated heat, the moist heat cooking method of a Crock Pot simmers and steams the ingredients at around 209ºF.

How long do you cook chicken breasts in a slow cooker? ›

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with plenty of salt and pepper. Cover your crock pot and cook chicken breasts on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Chicken is done when the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. Use chicken in your favorite recipes.

What is velveting in Chinese cooking? ›

What is velveting? Velveting is a Chinese method of marinating which keeps delicate meat and seafood moist and tender during cooking. The velveting technique is very easy and gives amazing results.

Why is Chinese food meat so soft? ›

Velveting meat is a Chinese cooking technique used in Chinese restaurants. The process of velveting is one where you marinate raw meat in cornstarch and egg white or bicarbonate of soda to give it a soft, slippery, velvety texture.

How do Chinese velvet tenderize meat? ›

Velveting meat is a common practice in Chinese stir-fries: By marinating strips of meat with egg white and cornstarch, then dipping then in a hot oil bath before finally stir-frying them, the meat develops a texture that is tender, silky, and smooth.

Is it better to bake chicken at 350 or 400? ›

For the best skin, heat the oven to 425°F.

If the oven isn't hot enough—only in the 350° to 400°F range—the chicken will overcook before it can brown.

How many calories are in a baked chicken breast? ›

One skinless, boneless, cooked chicken breast (172 grams) has the following nutrition breakdown (1): Calories: 284.

Is it better to cover chicken with foil when baking? ›

Do you cover a chicken when roasting? We generally like to roast our chicken uncovered so the skin crisps up and turns an appealing golden brown. If the chicken starts to get too dark before it reaches the proper internal temperature, you can tent a piece of foil over the top to protect the skin from burning.

Should you slow cook chicken? ›

Chicken Breast Cooking Times

Cook on LOW for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Always cook your boneless skinless chicken breasts on LOW for the best results. I do not recommend cooking boneless chicken breast on HIGH, as it will become very dry, even if you check it early.

Is it OK to cook chicken on low in slow cooker? ›

Dear Marilyn: As long as your slow cooker is functioning correctly, and you follow a few basic guidelines, the chicken will be cooking at a temperature well within food safety limits, even on the low setting. The low setting cooks at about 200 F., and the high setting cooks at about 300 F.

What makes chicken chewy and tough? ›

The poultry industry has a fowl problem: an emerging phenomenon called "woody breast." While it's not harmful to humans, the condition causes chicken breasts to be tougher because of hard or woody fibers that lace the meat.

Does slow cooked soup taste better? ›

That's because the low, slow style of cooking lets the flavors simmer together for hours, creating a much richer and more flavorful meal for you at the end of the day.

Is slow cooking meat healthier? ›

Slow cooking does not destroy more nutrients. In fact, the lower temperatures may help preserve nutrients that can be lost when food is cooked rapidly at high heat. What's more, food cooked slowly often tastes better.

What is the purpose of slow cooker? ›

A slow cooker is an electric appliance that simmers food at a low temperature over a long period of time. Because of this low-and-slow method, slow cookers are great for breaking down and tenderizing large pieces of meat like pot roasts or beef stews.

Can I slow cook chicken for 24 hours? ›

Most slow cooker recipes need 6 to 8 hours of slow heat. Leaving the appliance on for days is definitely not recommended. Hence why most cookers have a 24-hour programmable cycle. After the 24 hours are over, the cooker will shut off automatically.

How do you tenderize tough chicken breast? ›

Marinating your chicken in something overnight can help make it all the more juicier and tender. You can use a gluten-free, acidic marinade (like olive oil and lemon juice) or something breadier (like baking soda, egg whites, and buttermilk).

Can you slow cook chicken all day? ›

If you are new to cooking or slow cookers, or if you are just looking for ideas to make weeknight meals all the speedier, I can't recommend this slow cooker chicken enough. It is one of my favorite cooking time-savers! Your crock pot will do all of the work for you (I set mine for during the day while I'm at work!).

How do I make chicken more tender? ›

Marinating your chicken in something overnight can help make it all the more juicier and tender. You can use a gluten-free, acidic marinade (like olive oil and lemon juice) or something breadier (like baking soda, egg whites, and buttermilk).

How do you keep chicken moist when frying? ›

Basting is the process of pouring the oil or butter (or any other source to cook chicken) on to the chicken while it is cooking. Basting helps chicken stay moist and distributes the juices equally during the process.

How do you make dry chicken moist? ›

Chicken stock or broth is the best liquid to impart flavor and moisture back into dry chicken. Warm your broth over a medium heat until it is hot but not boiling. Place your shredded chicken in the pan until it is barely covered with enough broth to coat the chicken.

How do you tenderize meat with chicken? ›

Learn How Now: How to Prepare a Chicken Breast - YouTube

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