You pull some chicken breasts out of the freezer. Now what? Find out how to bake chicken breasts that won’t dry out and leave your family asking for more!
Chicken is one of those things that I just flat out don’t like to touch…. or undercook.
I remember one time going to one of those places where you pay to make meals. They have the stations, ingredients, recipes and instructions – and all you have to do is assemble, take home, and freeze.
One of the meals was a chicken type meal. It was a pan full of chicken of some sort. I think it might have been chicken parmesan.
Anyway, long story short, the cooking time was too little and I didn’t realize it until about halfway through eating that the chicken was partially raw. I was horrified and grossed out. This was probably 15 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday.
Ever since then, I would cook them probably twice as long as I should have. To the point where my husband now HATES chicken breasts and every time I would say I was making them he would cringe.
His preference was chicken thighs because it is harder to dry them out I think!
But then one day, I learned how to cook chicken breasts that are perfect. And now I want to share it with you!
How to Bake Chicken Breasts That Won’t Dry Out
It is actually pretty simple!
First and foremost we need to get the cooking temperature right. If you google How To Bake Chicken Breasts, you’ll find a massive range – anywhere from 350-450 degrees F. Most range from 375-425 degrees F.
I’m going to challenge you to step outside the oven for a moment and consider baking it at 450 degrees F. I never wanted to raise the temperature because I thought they would dry out more. So I would bake them at 350 for like 9,000 minutes. Ok, not really, but close.
Hubby and I were making Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts (YUM!!!) and he begged me to just TRY to cook them at a higher temperature for a lower (much lower) amount of time. So I conceded and agreed. I told him sternly that he would be responsible if I died of salmonella poisoning.
So, we stuffed the breasts and cooked them for (get ready for this) 25 minutes at 450. Sure enough, they were fully cooked (we checked visually, by touch and by temp).
How do you know when chicken breasts are done cooking?
Now that you are going to start cooking chicken breasts differently, how do you know when they are done cooking?
There are several ways to check.
By sight – cut into the breast and visually inspect the meat. If it is white, then it is done. If it is pink, it is not done.
By internal temperature – using a thermometer, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees F. Make sure to check the center, not just the outside.
By touch – this last one floored me when I learned it. I found the below method on SimplyRecipes.
I made a quick 30-second video to demonstrate as it can be kind of confusing to explain.
Here are the basics, from what I’ve learned. And let me just say that I am still perfecting this and I usually end up cutting into it, just to be sure! I’m just weird that way.
Anyway, if you open your palm and then press into the fleshy below your thumb with your other hand, this is what raw meat will feel like. Then you touch your pinky to your thumb and feel the same spot and this is what well done feels like. Then do the same with your ring finger and this will be medium. Your middle finger will show medium-rare and finally, your index finger will show rare.
Sounds weird and you have no idea what I’m talking about, right? Well, watch the 30-second video below!
Enjoy your MOIST (yes, I said that) chicken breasts!