I’ve tried a lot of recipes for a baked chicken breast and this is so far my favorite one. The key to juicy and tender meat is a good marinade and baking temperature. Marinating meat overnight also works wonders but even 30 mins will do! This is definitely my favorite marinade for a chicken breast, it‘s aromatic and very lemony. You need to try it! 🙂
Check out my other recipe for an oven-roasted chicken breast: balsamic chicken with figs!
How to make it step by step:
Ingredients: You will need 2 small chicken breasts (about 11-14 oz / 300-400g), 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, zest grated from 1/2 lemon, 1 large pressed garlic clove, and 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves. Chicken – it’s best to get small chicken breasts because they bake more evenly. Instead of fresh thyme, you can use 1 tsp of dried thyme.
You can whisk all the marinade ingredients directly in a small baking dish.
Pound the chicken breasts slightly in their thickest part – they will bake more evenly, but don’t pound them too thin – they should still resemble breasts and not fillets.
Season the meat with salt and pepper, then place in the baking dish and cover with the marinade. Leave to marinate for up to 1 day (in the fridge), overnight, or just for 15 minutes. Longer marinated meat will be more tender and flavorful, but even 15-30 minutes make wonders on the meat.
Bake in an oven preheated to 175 ° C / 345 °F / Gas Mark 3/4 and bake for 22 minutes.
Let the meat rest for 5 minutes, then you can cut it into bite-sized pieces. Resting time ensures that all the juices will be distributed evenly through the meat and it will be so juicy. Drizzle with the sauce from the baking dish – it is so yummy!!
Baking time will vary depending on the meat size. 22 minutes will be perfect for 2 small chicken breasts that weigh 11-12 oz / 300-350g. Larger chicken breasts need to be baked longer.
Baking temperature: 175 ° C / 345 °F is my favorite temperature to bake chicken breasts. It’s easier to control the moment when the meat is ready in comparison to baking at high temperature. It comes out perfect every time.
How to check if the chicken is ready: The easiest way to check if the meat is ready, is to measure its internal temperature, it should be 75 °C / 165 °F. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
This recipe is perfect to make ahead or prepare for a crowd – you can easily double or triple the recipe and bake in a bigger pan.
Cooking method – baking vs pan-frying:
You can also pan-fry this chicken but I really don’t like to do that. When the marinade comes in contact with the hot oil on the pan it splashes all over the kitchen. Baking the chicken is easier, hand-free and cleaner.
Lemon-thyme chicken breast – baked in the oven
2 small chicken breasts, about 11 oz/300g, skinless and boneless
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest from ½ organic lemon
- 1 large clove garlic pressed
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 ts dried thyme
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Pound the chicken breasts slightly, so that they are uniformly thick for even cooking (more or less, don‘t pound it too thin, like for cutlets).
- Mix the ingredients for the marinade together (you can do that directly in your baking dish).
- Place the meat in a small baking dish and rub on both sides with salt and black pepper, then cover with the marinade.
- Cover the dish with plastic foil and set aside for a minimum of 15-30 minutes, but preferably overnight in the fridge to marinate.
- Bake at 175 ° C / 345 °F / Gas Mark 3 ¾ (no fan) for about 22 minutes (baking time may vary depending on the oven and the size of the meat. If you have a convection oven reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer's instructions). The easiest way to check if the meat is ready, is to measure it‘s internal temperature, it should be 75 °C / 165 °F . Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
- Leave the chicken breasts for 5 minutes to rest, then cut into slices and serve. Drizzle with the sauce from the baking dish.
- It’s best to get small chicken breasts because they bake more evenly, but bigger breasts can also bu used, just pound the thickest part of the breast slightly.
- The chicken can also be pan-fried, but I prefer to bake it since the marinade splashes all over the kitchen.
- This recipe is perfect to make ahead or prepare for a crowd – you can easily double or triple the recipe and bake in a bigger pan.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!