How Long To Bake Chicken Breast (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 30 minutes

Chicken breast is not a favourite among people. Already a cut with less fat, chicken breast stripped of their skin and bones can go from pink to chewy and dry in minutes.
Bringing out flavour from such a cut of meat can be quite a challenging task that can even stump an experienced home cook. The key to this dilemma is to know the correct cooking times.

The baking time of chicken breast depends on three factors- the temperature, presence of a bone and whether or not it is frozen. Generally, one can cook a chicken breast in 30 minutes if it is boneless and 55 minutes if it is not.

How Long To Bake Chicken Breast?

There are two varieties of chicken breast available-bone-in and boneless. Overall, a bone-in chicken breast takes longer to cook than a skinless, boneless chicken breast.

At 325 degrees, a boneless cut of chicken breast cooks in 33 minutes to 35 minutes, and at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it bakes in 30 minutes. A chicken breast thoroughly cooks in 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

At temperatures higher than 375 degrees, chicken breast cooks quite quickly. It takes 20 minutes, 18 minutes and 10minutes at 400 degrees, 425 degrees and 450 degrees Fareignheight, respectively.

On the other hand, bone-in chicken breast takes 60 minutes to cook thoroughly at 325 degrees and 55 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Chicken breast bakes in 35 to 40 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, 30 minutes at 400 degrees, 22 to 26 minutes at 425 degrees and in 15 to 20 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

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One more factor affecting the cooking time of chicken breast is whether or not it is frozen. Generally, frozen chicken breast takes 50 per cent longer than its unfrozen counterpart. Therefore, if an unfrozen breast takes 20-30 minutes to cook, a frozen one will take 30-45 minutes at the same temperature. 

There are two things to be mindful of when cooking a chicken breast. Firstly, one must not bake chicken breasts at higher temperatures (from 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit ) for a long time as this could overcook the meat making it stringy and dry. Secondly, one must cook the chicken till the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The high internal temperature destroys all bacterial contaminants.  

In summary,

Temperature At Which Chicken Breast is CookedTime Taken (Boneless)Time Taken (Bone-in)
325 degrees Fahrenheit33 to 35 minutes60 minutes
350 degrees Fahrenheit30 minutes55 minutes
375 degrees Fahrenheit 20 to 25 minutes35 to 40 minutes
400 degrees Fahrenheit 20 minutes30 minutes
425 degrees Fahrenheit 18 minutes22 to 26 minutes
450 degrees Fahrenheit 10 minutes15 to 20 minutes

Why Does It Take So Long To Bake Chicken Breast?

A chicken breast is not as robust as its extensively used leg counterpart. As the muscle fibres in a chicken breast are tender, to begin with, it takes less time to cook thoroughly. 

Moreover, these not so active muscles do not have many connective tissues. Connective tissues, also called collagen, turn into gelatin at high temperatures, giving chicken its juicy texture.  As the connective tissues in chicken breasts do not require as much time to tenderize, they cook quickly. 

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Furthermore, these processes happen very fast at high temperatures. Therefore, the cooking time at high temperatures is lower. 

A bone-in piece takes longer to cook because of how heat radiates throughout the meat. The bone in a breast conducts heat differently from the flesh, therefore increasing the cooking time.  A boneless, skinless breast contains no bones to conduct heat and no skin to retain moisture. Therefore, it cooks faster. 

Lastly, cooking a frozen chicken requires baking the chicken for a longer time. Studies indicate that chicken breast up requires 50 per cent more time to cook thoroughly. Hence, if the breast cooks in 20 minutes, cooking frozen chicken breast will take 30 minutes. 

Conclusion

A chicken breast is not as sought after as the well-liked and tasty chicken leg. Hence, cooking time plays an essential role in making the dish delicious. Baking the meat for just the right time will give a perfectly cooked, brown chicken breast and prevent it from becoming dry and chewy. Furthermore, cooking the breast for the appropriate time helps prevent microbial contamination in the food that may cause stomach infections.

References

  1. https://publications.csiro.au/rpr/pub?list=BRO&pid=procite:7989b6bd-c7a3-4488-8487-55fdc4ae3761
  2. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.1201/9780203734285-5/meat-donald-mottram
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