How Long to Bake Chicken
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Learn how long to bake chicken so it’s perfectly tender and juicy every time! We cover the temperature for baking chicken breasts and how to check doneness along with tips to easily bake any kind of chicken.
Baked chicken is not only delicious, but it happens to be healthier than deep frying or stir frying. However, if you overcook it and you’ll get chewy, dry meat. On the other hand, undercooking it risks bacterial contamination.
So read on to find out how to get the best results each and every time!
How Long to Bake Chicken
Cooking times and temperatures will depend on the cut, weight, and recipe. The safe internal temperature for poultry is 165°F (74°C) and you should always check it using an instant-read thermometer. Also, you need to rest your chicken after baking to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and keep it extra moist.
What Temperature to Bake Chicken?
There are two options for baking chicken:
- Baking at 350°F: This is the traditional method whereby a 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast is roasted at 350°F (177˚C) for 20-30 minutes, according to the USDA.
- Baking at 400°F: Baking for less time at a higher temperature is a great way to get juicier chicken! Try baking chicken breasts at 400°F for 22-25 minutes.
How Long to Bake Chicken Breasts
Bake times will vary mainly by the size of the chicken breasts and oven temperature. As general guidance, follow this bake time chart for 6-oz chicken breasts:
|Oven Temperature||Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Bake Time|
|350°F (177°C)||25-30 minutes|
|375°F (191°C)||23-30 minutes|
|400°F (204°C)||22-25 minutes|
|425°F (218°C)||18-22 minutes|
|450°F (232°C)||15-18 minutes|
Turning on an oven’s convection/forced air will usually reduce baking time by 5-10 minutes. Instead of relying on cooking time alone, always check doneness by using an instant-read thermometer.
Bone-in Chicken Breasts: Simply add 8-10 minutes to the bake times shown above.
How Long to Bake Chicken Thighs
Bone-in Chicken Thighs: Bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160-165°F. Similarly, chicken legs require a similar amount of baking time.
Bake boneless chicken thighs the same way, but for 10 minutes less, or about 15-20 minutes.
How Long to Bake a Whole Chicken
Unstuffed: A 4-pound whole chicken will take about 80-90 minutes at a temperature of 350°F, while a larger 7-pound chicken could take up to 2 hours and 20 minutes. In general, add 20 minutes for each additional pound.
Stuffed Chicken: Follow the guidance above, adding an extra 15-30 minutes of baking time in total.
How to Bake Chicken
While baking times and temperatures are important, there are a few other tips for juicy baked chicken:
- Brine (optional): If your chicken is not pre-brined, you can dissolve ¼ cup salt in 1 quart (4 cups) of water in a large pot. Then add the meat, immersing it completely and placing in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours.
- Rub with oil or butter: Rub your chicken with oil or butter before baking. It will help to keep it moist while making seasoning stick to the meat.
- Bake: Following the guidance above until your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Rest: Instead of cutting into the meat right out of the oven, let it rest covered with foil for 5-10 minutes so the juices can redistribute through the meat. This simple step produces much juicier chicken.
When is it Done?
While the safe temperature for chicken is 165°F according to the USDA, you can remove it from the oven at 160°F and the temperature will rise 5°F more while resting.
If you don’t have a thermometer, look carefully at the juices coming out of chicken. They’ll run perfectly clear when the meat is cooked. Any tinges of red or pink indicate the meat needs more time.
More Ways to Baked Chicken:
View all chicken recipes
How Long to Bake Chicken (+Video)
- 3-4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 1 lb baby red potatoes, halved
- 12 cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes
- 1 lemon, sliced into rings
- 4 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, optional
- 3/4 lb green beans, trimmed
- fresh parsley, for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F and set your oven rack to the top half. Set aside a large baking sheet.
- Scatter potatoes and tomatoes across the baking sheet. Add chicken breasts in the middle a few inches apart. Rub chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon oil.
- Sprinkle minced garlic, oregano and thyme across pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle the rest of olive oil evenly across. Toss to mix well. Place several lemon slices on top of chicken.
- Butter a piece of parchment paper, and cover the chicken and vegetables with buttered parchment paper (butter side facing down)
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, adding green beans for the final 10 minutes. If the chicken looks pale, you can always put it under the broiler for the final 3 minutes.
- Check doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the chicken breast. Remove from the oven as soon as it reaches 160°F (71°C). Alternatively, as soon as clear juice starts to seep out of your chicken breasts, it means that they are cooked through.
- Remove the chicken to a serving plate or carving board. Cover with foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat before serving.
- Smaller chicken breasts (4 oz) need to be baked for 18-20 minutes, while larger chicken breasts (8-10 oz) will take 25-30 minutes to bake.
- Add 8-10 minutes of additional baking time if you use bone-in chicken breasts.
- Remove chicken from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 160°F, as the temperature will rise a few degrees during resting.
- Use leftover baked chicken to make Chicken Avocado Rollups, Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Fried Rice. Cooked chicken lasts 3-4 days in the fridge.
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