How Long to Bake Chicken
Learn How Long to Bake Chicken with tips and tricks for making the most flavorful, tender and juicy baked chicken. If cooked too long, chicken will turn out dry and tasteless while undercooked chicken poses the risk of bacterial contamination. Here we show you how to get the best results every time!
Chicken is a staple in cuisines from around the world. It’s delicious, comforting and easy to make. Cooking chicken in the oven is healthier than stir-frying or deep frying.
HOW LONG TO BAKE CHICKEN
The cooking time and temperature for baking chicken depend on the cut, weight, and recipe. The safe internal temperature for poultry is 165°F (74°C) and you should always use an instant-read thermometer to check it. 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?
Baking Chicken at 350°F
This is a traditional method. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast should be roasted at 350°F (177˚C) for 20 to 30 minutes.
Baking Chicken at 400°F
Using a high temperature for a shorter time is the secret for getting juicy chicken! Baking your chicken breast at 400°F for 22-25 minutes will yield juicer meat.
HOW LONG TO BAKE CHICKEN BREASTS?
Bake times vary depending on oven temperature and the size of a chicken breast, which varies from 4 oz to 10 oz. Simply follow the baking time chart below 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|
Note: Cooking bone-in chicken breasts is similar to baking boneless chicken breasts. You just need to add 8-10 minutes of additional cooking time.
Remember that using an oven’s convection/forced air will reduce baking time by 5-10 minutes. Always check doneness by using an instant-read thermometer instead of relying on cooking time alone.
HOW LONG TO BAKE CHICKEN THIGHS?
For bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, you can bake them at 400°F for 35-40 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160-165°F. Note that chicken legs bake for a similar amount of time as chicken thighs.
HOW LONG TO BAKE A WHOLE CHICKEN?
If a whole chicken (unstuffed) that weighs 4 lbs is baked at a temperature of 350°F, it will take about 80-90 minutes to cook. If the chicken weighs 7 lbs, it can take as long as 2 hours and 20 minutes. You generally want to add 20 minutes of cooking time for each additional pound.
Also, allow an additional 15 to 30 minutes of baking time for stuffed chicken.
HOW TO BAKE CHICKEN
Oven baked chicken is very easy to make, and the key is to get the cooking time and temperature right.
- 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 in the meat, immersing it completely in the solution. Let it sit for 1-4 hours in the refrigerator.
- Rub with oil or butter: rub your chicken with oil or butter before baking. It will add moisture as well as making the seasoning stick to the chicken. Toss with optional seasoning.
- Bake: following the baking time and temperature guidance provided above until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Allow it to rest: this final step only takes 5-10 minutes, but makes a big difference. Don’t cut into the meat right away, as juices will be lost and the chicken will dry out.
HOW TO TELL WHEN THE CHICKEN IS DONE
According to the USDA, chicken has to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. When a knife tip or meat thermometer is inserted, clear juices should just seep out of your chicken breasts indicating it’s cooked through. If the juices are red, the meat is not cooked. Remove chicken from the oven when the thermometer registers 160°F, as the temperature will rise a few more degrees while resting.
It’s best to check 5 minutes before the total bake time (peek through the oven door without opening the oven). You will notice a little pool of clear juice coming out from the chicken breasts, and the pool will get bigger and start to sizzle. Then you need to take the chicken out immediately.
LEFTOVER CHICKEN RECIPES
There are some mouthwatering recipes to make use of your leftover chicken after a holiday or dinner party. Chicken Avocado Rollups, Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Fried Rice are some great options. You can find more information on how long cooked chicken last in the fridge.
More Easy Chicken Recipes:
View All Chicken Recipes
How Long to Bake Chicken (+Video)
- 3-4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 1 lb small red potatoes, halved
- 12 cherry 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.
- 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. If chicken looks pale, broil for the last 3 minutes.
- Let your chicken rest covered with foil for 5-10 minutes before serving to let the juices retreat back into the meat.
- 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.
Please read our nutrition disclaimer.
KITCHEN TOOLS FOR BAKING CHICKEN
A sheet pan or roasting pan is ideal for flavorful baking chicken. To test doneness, an instant meat thermometer is extremely helpful. Just insert the tip of the probe into the center of the chicken and check it reads the safe temperature of 165°F.
Editor note: Published Feb 6, 2018 and updated Oct 13, 2019.
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