This zippy oven-baked chicken breast gets me super excited every time I make it. It’s very easy to prepare and I like its lightness and summery brightness. Skin-on chicken breasts and lemon go so well together as the acidity of the lemon perfectly balances out the fat in the chicken skin.
The recipe was inspired by a recipe I came across in Fifty Shades of Chicken. In the book’s recipe, the chicken breasts are roasted at 450F, which is quite a bit higher than the typical temperature range I use for baking chicken breasts. I tried it and failed miserably: the chicken came out somewhat tough and chalky even though I pulled it out at 160F. The juices evaporated and slices of lemon burned and stuck to the bottom of the baking dish. Something was missing there but the flavors overall were really good.
The next time I made this dish I went with my tried-and-true, super easy baking method for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts – 375F oven temperature and about a 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of chicken broth at the bottom of the baking dish. It worked like magic: chicken breasts came out tender, juicy and succulent. If you are looking for a reliable and a really easy chicken breast recipe, or, rather, a baking method, this one is it.
I find that the best side dish for this chicken breast is something like dirty rice or hibachi rice, where brightness of lemon helps cut through richness of butter. That said, steamed, roasted or sauteed vegetables are great choices here as well. As well as a bowl of freshly made pasta.
Easy Baked Chicken Breast With Olive Oil, Lemon, And Rosemary Recipe
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 3 pounds total, patted dry with paper towels)
- 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon (thinly sliced)
- 4 small sprigs rosemary (broken into pieces)
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (good quality)
- 3 whole rosemary sprigs (optional)
Season the chicken breasts all over with salt and pepper. Let rest while the oven preheats to 375°F.
Lay the lemon slices and rosemary pieces all over the bottom of a roasting pan. Carefully pour the chicken broth into the baking dish.
A little bit of chicken broth in the baking dish is essential to easily making chicken breasts moist and tender, and I've been successfully using this technique for years. It never fails. If the pan is dry and the air in the oven is dry, the rate of removal of moisture from the meat surface gets very high, which dries out the meat pretty quickly. A little bit of liquid in the baking dish creates humid environment in the oven, which slows down the rate at which moisture is removed from the surface of the meat. This results in very moist, succulent chicken breast meat.
Place the chicken on top, leaving space in between the breasts so they have room to crisp up. Drizzle with the olive oil.
Baked until the breasts are golden and cooked through, and reached the internal temperature of 160F. Depending on your oven and the size of the breasts, this will take about 30-45 minutes.
If you want the tops to be more browned, turn on the broiler for a few minutes towards the end of baking. Keep a close eye on the chicken breasts as they will brown quite quickly.
Remove the breasts from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Let rest for 5 minutes then serve with the pan juices spooned all over the flesh.
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