In this jam-packed article, we will take a look at how long to bake chicken breast at 350, 375, and 400 degrees. We will also take a look at which of these temperatures are the best for baking chicken breasts and some other handy tips to make them come out juicy, tender, and most importantly, cooked.
If you want to learn more about chicken, you can take a look at some other informative articles I have. Some that my readers find handy include How Many Chicken Breasts Are In A Pound, How Long To Bake Chicken Wings At 400, and How Long To Boil Chicken Thighs.
What Affects The Time For Cooking Chicken Breast?
There are MANY factors that will influence how long your chicken breasts take to cook.
Baking Temp For Chicken
This is one of the biggest factors that will ultimately change the baking time for chicken. However, there are lots of things to consider before choosing the best baking temperature for chicken. But more on that later.
The higher the temperature is, the quicker the chicken will START baking. Emphasis on “start.” Because you can bake chicken at 500ºF (260ºC), but that doesn’t mean it will cook through before the outside is completely burnt to a crisp!
So then, at what temperature do you bake chicken? Really anything that will allow the inside to reach 165ºF (74ºC) without burning or charring the outside. This usually includes baking temperatures between 350 and 400.
Size Of Chicken Breast
This is a common rule I mention often when looking at baking times for different kinds of meats and ingredients. The larger or thicker the item, the longer it will take to bake.
This is especially important with meats that need to reach a specific internal temperature.
It takes a lot longer to get 165ºF (74ºC) on a 2-inch thick chicken breast than it is on a 1/2-inch tenderized piece of chicken breast.
The average weight of a chicken breast is about 6 ounces (174 grams). When we talk about the size of a chicken breast, we don’t always use measurements as indicators.
Smaller cuts weigh about 4 ounces each (113 grams) and larger breasts can weigh more than 8 ounces (226 grams).
Type Of Chicken Breast
This is one that many people don’t realize. If you cook chicken breasts with the skin on and bone still inside, they will actually take longer to cook than if you bake a deboned, skinless chicken breast.
On average, breasts that still have their bones inside will take about 15 minutes longer to bake completely because it weighs more. As you can see, it makes quite a massive difference!
You can take a look at how the bones and skin affect the final weight of the chicken breast and ultimately, the baking times.
How You Bake
And finally, let’s say you cover the chicken breasts with foil. The baking time will increase by around 5-10 minutes (depending on the baking temp and size of the breasts).
That’s because the foil reflects heat away from the meat. Ultimately, that causes the meat to bake slower and therefore you will need to increase the baking time.
Remember, chicken has to be cooked until it has reached an internal temperature of at least 165ºF (74ºC) at its thickest part.
So, How Long To Bake Chicken Breasts?
This mostly depends on the baking temperature you use. So, for a more accurate answer, we will have to take a look at the baking times at various temperatures.
How Long To Bake Chicken Breast At 350?
This temperature is ideal for any kind of chicken breast. It will cook the inside while keeping the outside soft and tender.
If you have skin on your chicken breast, keep in mind that it won’t crisp up as nicely as it would at a higher temperature. But you can always just finish it off under the grill for a couple of minutes.
At 350ºF (180ºC), the average-sized BONELESS chicken breast will take between 25-30 minutes to bake. If the chicken breast still has its bone-in, it will take about 35-45 minutes.
Larger chicken breasts (boneless) will take longer to bake. You can easily expect that to be anywhere between 30-45 minutes. And, if the bone is still inside, anywhere between 40-60 minutes, again, depending on the size.
And naturally, smaller chicken breasts will take slightly less time to bake. This also goes for large breasts that have been tenderized.
To test when your chicken is perfectly cooked, use a probe or internal thermometer to test the thickest part of the piece. It should read 165ºF (74ºC). That’s the only accurate way to know when your chicken is done (and ultimately the exact baking time).
How Long To Cook Chicken In The Oven At 375?
Now, this baking temperature is slightly higher. However, it does still have quite a big effect on the final baking times. Especially if you factor in bone in versus bone out, the use of foil, and the size of the breast. It could make a MASSIVE difference.
The benefit of baking at 375ºF (190ºC) is that the skin on the chicken breast will definitely crisp up to some degree. The longer the piece has to bake (larger pieces, for example) the crispier the skin will become.
An average chicken breast without the bone or skin will take roughly 15-20 minutes to bake, depending on its exact size. If the bone is still inside, it can take between 25-35 minutes.
For larger chicken breasts without their skin or bone, the baking times will be between 20-30 minutes. And, if the bones are still in, around 30-45 minutes.
Naturally, smaller breasts will take less time, as you know by now. You can still expect them to take between 10-18 minutes without any bones or skin. And with the bone in and skin still on, they will take about 15-25 minutes.
How Long To Bake Them At 400?
I regularly use 400ºF (200ºC) for baking chicken breasts. Especially if they still have their skins on and their bones in. This temperature makes the skin crispy while the inside remains juicy and tender.
However, at this higher temperature, you need to monitor the chicken more closely. The skin can easily start to burn before the inside reaches the required minimum temperature.
Also, the higher temperature doesn’t mean the baking times will continue to decrease. At some point, the chicken still needs to be baked for a minimum amount of time. It just takes less time for it to overcook.
At 400 degrees, an average boneless and skinless chicken breast will take between 18-25 minutes to bake. With the bone still inside, it can take between 20-30 minutes.
Larger chicken breasts will take about 20-25 minutes. With the bone still in, they will take between 35-40 minutes.
Smaller chicken breasts without the bone or skin will take 12-15 minutes. With the bones still in and the skin still on, they will take about 15-20 minutes.
What Temperature Do You Bake Chicken At?
I left the ultimate question for last: what is the best baking temperature for chicken breasts?
The answer: there is none. Each of these temperatures offers different advantages.
Lower temperatures do take longer. But they can offer extremely juicy, tender, and fall-off-the-bone meat. Higher temperatures on the other hand, can help give you crispy skins.
So, you really need to think about what you want or what you are making with the baked chicken breasts. That will ultimately help you determine which temperature will work best for you.
I highly recommend resting chicken for at least 5 minutes before serving or cutting it. This helps the meat retain some juices without them leeching out when the fibers are cut. It also prevents the meat from getting tough quickly.
This is essentially the same as asking what temperature should you bake at. Personally, I love slow-baked chicken at a low temperature. It leaves the meat uber tender and extremely juicy. You also have better control over the doneness. However, you don’t always have 2-12 hours to do this. So, whatever works best for you.
The only time I cover my chicken breasts is when I bake them at high temperatures, and the skin starts burning or getting crisp too quickly. However, I don’t like the steaming effect foil creates. So, I always bake chicken uncovered. It also reduces the overall baking time and wastes fewer resources (foil).
Monitoring the doneness of your chicken is the biggest thing you can do to avoid it becoming dry. But, if you are really worried, you can bake it covered with foil or bake it in a braising liquid. This can be salted water if you want it to! But you can also make a delicious stock-like mixture.