We cook with a lot of chicken breasts in our home. It’s easy to make ahead and add to burritos, tacos or pasta dishes for quick week night meals. The problem with chicken breast is it’s easy to end up with dry, tough chicken. Chicken doesn’t have a lot of fat and coupled with no skin there’s not a lot of moisture.
Over the years I picked up a few tips that make for a better, juicier chicken breast. I’ve already written about one approach you can read here.
This second approach is great if you want to bake chicken breasts for shredded chicken to use in tacos or chili. Personally, I find this to be a simple approach that makes a big difference in how your chicken turns out.
- Buy chicken breasts that are uniform in size. If it’s much larger on one end, pound the large part down a bit so you don’t get uneven cooking.
- Drizzle each breast with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper or I like to use garlic salt and a small pinch of pepper.
- *The Most Important Step* — Place a piece of parchment paper right on top of the chicken breast to make a fake skin (parchment paper should be touching the chicken not covering the pan like you would with foil wrap). This keeps your chicken moist.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until completely cooked.
- Let the chicken sit for 5 to 8 minutes before cutting so the juice will settle into the fibers of the meat.
- Cut and serve! If shredding, shred away!
Note: over cooking will always end up making your chicken dry even with the above steps. Sometimes it takes awhile to get the cooking time down. Larger pieces will need more time and smaller pieces less time. Keep playing with your cooking times until you’ve got it mastered.
I make garlic chicken (sprinkle garlic salt instead of regular salt) weekly and use it in the following ways: