Chicken is a versatile protein that can be prepared in many ways. But baking chicken breast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven is a simple and delicious way to prepare the healthy protein. Plus, if you bake a few extra chicken breasts you can use them for lunch or dinner later in the week.
Bake your boneless chicken breast for 25 to 40 minutes in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, or until your chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Baking: A Healthy Cooking Method
According to the USDA, Americans started eating more chicken in the 1940s, but it wasn't until the 1990s and 2000s before chicken consumption surpassed pork and beef. The uptick in chicken intake may be partly because it's lower in calories and saturated fat than red meat. Harvard Health Publishing says that poultry products, including boneless chicken breast, are a heart-healthy source of protein and make a better choice than beef or pork.
Yes, when it comes to protein options, chicken breast is a healthier choice. However, how you prepare your chicken may affect its nutritional quality.
According to a January 2019 study published in The BMJ, regular consumption of fried food increases risk of premature death in postmenopausal women. The researchers specifically noted that daily consumption of fried chicken increased risk of premature death by 13 percent. While this study only included older women, it's not a secret that fried food isn't healthy and everyone should limit their intake.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests when it comes to preparing your chicken, baking, broiling, roasting, stewing and stir frying are the healthiest ways to go. Baking chicken in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit helps your chicken retain its nutritional value.
Bake Chicken at 400
Cooking chicken breast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit can help keep your chicken moist, while making sure the meat cooks all the way through. Baking your chicken at too high of a temperature may lead to a dry, overcooked breast, while cooking at a lower temperature may require a longer cooking time or the chicken may be undercooked.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Coat a baking dish with olive oil.
- Place your chicken breasts in the baking dish, season with salt and pepper and place in the oven.
- Bake chicken at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Serve your baked chicken breast with a fresh garden salad and roasted root vegetables.
When baking chicken in oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, the professional chefs at Epicurious suggest covering your chicken in parchment paper before placing the baking dish in the oven.
Get Creative With Your Chicken
Salt and pepper are essential seasonings for your baked chicken in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can use a variety of herbs and spices to vary the flavor of your boneless chicken breast. In addition to salt and pepper, consider adding oregano, thyme, rosemary, paprika, garlic powder and/or onion powder.
For a citrus flair, place a couple slices of fresh lemon over each chicken breast to infuse flavor while it bakes. Chunky slices of red and green peppers and sweet onions also makes flavorful additions to your baked chicken and can serve as your vegetable side dish.
Also, consider marinating your chicken overnight to infuse more flavor. You can make a simple marinade with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen, such as apple cider vinegar, oregano, thyme, garlic, grainy mustard and olive oil.
If you have a large baking dish, bake a couple of extra boneless chicken breasts for meals later in the week. You can add sliced cold chicken to your salad at lunch or shred your leftover baked chicken breast and reheat it on the stove with your favorite taco seasonings for a quick and tasty dinner.
- USDA: "Food Availability and Consumption"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Protein Sources That Are Best for Your Heart"
- The BMJ: "Fried Food Linked to Increased Risk of Death Among Older U.S. Women"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Fried Foods Linked to Earlier Death"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "25 Heart-Healthy Cooking Tips"
- Epicurious: "Baked Chicken Breast Recipe"
- Food Network: "Marinated Chicken Breasts Recipe"