Cooking chicken breasts is an art, we must admit it. How long should you cook chicken breasts, in the oven at 350, is often the question.
How many times have you had dinner at someone’s house where there was overcooked chicken? The chicken was so dry that you had to add moisture with a large sip of water, or you had to dip the chicken into mustard or ketchup. Dreadful.
Then, think of a time when you cooked chicken absolutely perfectly – and voila! It was moist, flavorful, and succulent every bite of the way. Your whole family commented on how great it was, and your visiting friend asked you how you cooked it because she could never get the moistness right. Was it the cooking temperature? The method? Both? Or something else.
You may not have known what exactly you did to make it perfect but you will after reading this article.
Types of Chickens
First, let me explain there is a difference in the types of chicken you purchase, especially if you start with whole chickens.
- Storebought Pasture Chicken (Free Range)
- Heritage Chickens
- Broilers, Roasters, Fryers
- Stewing Chickens
Storebought Pasture Chicken (Free Range)
Pasture chickens eat everything you would expect to find on a healthy pasture – bugs, grass, grains, and legumes. They do everything a chicken was made to do – scratch, forage, explore, and sleep in a coop at night. Their lifestyle makes them happy birds – and you can taste it in their moist meat, which is higher in Omega-3 fats which keep it moist. They are usually antibiotic-free and always GMO. Pastured chickens are healthier than chickens raised commercially.
Did you know the Heritage chickens are genetically similar to the chickens the Pilgrims ate and before “Big Chicken” took over the industry? Heritage chicken breeds are flavorful although their breasts are much smaller. These birds reproduce and are pastured. In addition, if a chef is going to enter a cooking contest, he will always choose a heritage chicken. Nothing beats the flavor or moisture from the high Omega-3 fats.
Broilers, Roasters, Fryers
Broilers, Roasters, and Fryers are usually Big Chicken’s young chickens but maybe pasture chickens raised specifically for their meat (check the label). They can be used for any type of chicken recipe but do keep in mind the cooking time may be a little longer for larger pieces.
Stewing Chickens may be part of Big Chicken’s herd that were primarily hens that laid eggs their whole lives and their meat tends to be tougher and stringier. If pasture chickens, the meat quality is better. This meat is best if you are making casseroles or stews where the added liquid helps hydrate the meat. Their cooking time will be longer.
Now that we have this down pat, consider which type of chicken you’re going to purchase. Most people will buy #1, 2, or 3. None of these types of chickens are more allergenic than the others. If you are allergic to chicken, eating the heritage chicken won’t make any difference and you’ll still have a reaction.
How Long to Cook Chicken Breast in Oven at 350 When Frozen
Your answer is 30 to 35 minutes.
How To Do It: The standard way is to season frozen chicken breasts with an extra generous portion of your favorite herbs and spices. Allow breasts to thaw at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to cook more evenly.
Tip: I love to season frozen or already thawed chicken in a stainless steel pot for a few hours in the refrigerator with pineapple juice that acts as a tenderizer before baking. It also adds flavor. The spices can be added to the pot as well.
Bake at 350°F: After the seasoning time is over, place the seasoned skinless chicken breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Flip them over after 15 minutes. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Remember that when cooking chicken, how long to cook chicken breasts in the oven at 350 (frozen) is dependent on the internal temperature when done. Furthermore, it must be 165°F.
How Long to Cook Chicken Breasts in Oven at 350 (Defrosted)
Your answer here is 22-25 minutes. But again remember that how long to cook chicken breasts in the oven at 350 (defrosted) is dependent on the internal temperature when done.
How to Do It: Thaw breasts overnight in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours to preserve the chicken‘s texture and moisture. Once thawed, season the chicken breasts. Add a touch of olive oil to keep them moist during cooking. Then keep at room temperature for 15 minutes before placing in the oven.
Place the seasoned breasts on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for about 22-25 minutes in total time. Turn the breast over after the first 10-12 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer and continue cooking if necessary.
Helpful Tips for Juicy Chicken Breasts
- Overcooking is the big killer of flavor, although if you use a heritage chicken, the amount of Omega-3 fats in the bird is a little more forgiving.
- As with other meats, allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes prior to serving.
- Flavor variations: Experiment with different marinades, herbs, and spices to add new flavors to your chicken breast recipes.
- The internal cooking temperature used to be 180 degrees years ago but has changed to 165 degrees F.
Mastering the art of cooking juicy chicken breasts in the oven at 350°F is quite easy. Always remember how long to cook chicken breasts in the oven at 350 is dependent on your trusty meat thermometer, but count on about 30-35 minutes. Finally, making it juicy depends a lot on your initial choice of chicken breasts. Happy cooking!