How long does it take to bake chicken breast at 400° F

baked chicken breast

Baking times at 400° Fahrenheit for chicken breasts differ depending on the size of the chicken breast and the reliability of your oven. Breasts come in different sizes ranging from 4 to 10 ounces. You can also purchase skinless, bone-in, or boneless chicken breasts. Bone-in chicken breast takes a bit longer to cook. Oven reliability is essential if relying on a baking time chart. The older the oven, the less reliable it is. Although the baking times at 400 degrees Fahrenheit below are accurate, having a meat thermometer is recommended. It’ll allow you to accurately track chicken breast’s internal temperature without overcooking it.

I will not show you different chicken breast baking times ranging from 350° F and above in this article. Instead, I’ll explain how long it takes to bake chicken breast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the chicken breast is easy to overcook, there’s a detailed guide explaining how to cook it at 400°F.

How long does it take to bake chicken breast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit?

chicken breast baking times at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and tips
Chicken breast baking times at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and tips

Below you’ll find baking times at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve included times for frozen, bone-in, boneless, with skin, and skinless chicken breasts. Since the air fryer works similarly to the oven, there’s baking time for the air fryer. Baking times are for the 7-ounce skinless chicken breast; however, add or subtract two minutes for each ounce if baking a bigger or smaller breast.

Skinless chicken breast uncovered16-26 minutes.
Uncovered chicken breast with a skin16-26 minutes.
Chicken breast covered 13-23 minutes.
Chicken breast in an air fryer15-23 minutes.
Bone-in chicken breast18-28 minutes.
Baking frozen chicken breast1 hour.
Chicken breast baking times at 400°F

What is the baked chicken breast temperature?

Chicken breast baked at 400° F should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. These guidelines are provided by the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. To track chicken breast’s internal temperature accurately, use a meat thermometer. Below a video explains how to insert it correctly to measure temperature:

How to bake chicken breasts at 400° Fahrenheit without drying them out?

When baking chicken breast at 400 f, it’s essential to track the time using the cooking time chart above. It’s also helpful to have an instant-read thermometer. It’ll allow you to track chicken breast’s internal temperature. One of the most common reasons chicken breast is dry and tough is because it’s overcooked.

You can also use a dry brine, wet brine, or marinade to tenderize chicken breast and make it juicier. Not only it’ll make the chicken breast more tender it will also give you some room for error. If you overcook the chicken breast in a brine, it’ll not be as dry as the breast without marinade or brine. Here’s an article on different ways you can tenderize chicken breast.

how to bake chicken without overcooking at 400° F
How to bake chicken without overcooking at 400° F

To dry brine chicken breast, you’ll need kosher salt. Rub chicken breasts with kosher salt and wrap them with plastic wrap or place it in a container and leave to brine for 4 hours or, ideally, overnight. Salt will draw out moisture from the chicken breast, making salt dissolve. The same salty water will reabsorb back into the chicken breast and will tenderize the chicken breast by breaking down tough muscle fibers. At the same time, the chicken will become juicier even if slightly overcooked.

To make a wet brine take 25 grams of kosher salt and mix it with a liter of water. Submerge the chicken breast and leave it overnight. If short on time for 4 hours is about the minimum amount of time required for the wet brine to work. Chicken breast goes through the same processes as a dry brine.

Marinade chicken with acidic ingredients to make it more tender and moist. Buttermilk is perfect for chicken breast. Place chicken breast in a ziplock back and pour over a cup of buttermilk with a tablespoon of kosher salt. Give it a good shake and leave it in a fridge overnight. The marinade will make the chicken breast juicer more tender and delicious.

How to bake chicken breast at 400° Fahrenheit

chicken breast baked at 400°F
Chicken breast baked at 400°F

Here’s how to bake incredibly tender chicken breast at 400° Fahrenheit:

  • Brine or marinade the chicken breast. It’ll make it more tender and juicier. Above I explained how it should be done.
  • Before baking chicken breast, bring it to room temperature. It’ll allow the chicken to cook evenly throughout. When baking cold chicken breast, the outside tends to overcook while the inside is still undercooked.
  • Before baking chicken breast, remove excess moisture from the breast’s exterior using a paper towel. The dry chicken exterior will brown better, creating a nice crust on the outside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  • This step is optional; however, it’ll make chicken breast crispier on the outside—Preheat the pan on a stovetop over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of light olive oil and place the chicken breast into the pan. Sear for 2 minutes on each side until the exterior caramelizes.
  • Place chicken breast onto a baking sheet or baking dish and slide it into the oven on a middle shelf—Bake for 10 minutes before checking the breast’s internal temperature using a meat thermometer. Continue cooking until it reaches 160° Fahrenheit. Remove the breast from the oven and let it rest. The chicken breast will continue to cook and reach 165° Fahrenheit. This process is called carryover cooking.
  • Rest chicken breast for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size. Resting allows chicken juice to redistribute throughout the interior, making it juicy and tender. If you slice into the breast right after it’s cooked, you’ll end up with dry meat.

Conclusion

Baked chicken breasts are delicious and tender when cooked properly. It’s white meat and tends to overcook fast, especially when cooked at higher temperatures (400° Fahrenheit). For example, chicken thighs require more time to bake because it’s dark meat. White meat doesn’t take that long to bake. It’s especially tricky not to overcook the breast when baking a whole chicken. Whole chicken takes much longer to bake, and it’s pretty easy to overcook wings and breasts.

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