This chicken breast bakes in the toaster oven and comes out juicy and flavorful. The recipe includes a simple 3-ingredient spice rub and my top tips for perfectly cooked, moist and juicy chicken.
Be sure to check out more of my toaster oven recipes including my crispy toaster oven chicken wings, 14 minute Toaster Oven Garlic Bread, easy toaster oven chicken drumsticks with a savory spice rub and for dessert, my one bowl toaster oven funfetti cake that is perfect for a celebration.
Chicken in the Toaster Oven
Boneless skinless chicken can dry out very quickly. A medium temperature or 350°F will allow the inside to cook without drying the outside.
With a baking temp of 350°F, the chicken will not brown very much. Here are a few options to make it look delicious:
- Bake the chicken top side down for some browning.
- Once baked, brush the pan juices on the chicken.
- Top with a simple sauce or glaze (see below for suggestions).
- You could turn on the broiler for the last few minutes of cook time, but the high heat could dry out the chicken.
Baking Time for Chicken Breast
Cooking it just enough is the key to moist chicken. It is safe to eat at internal temperature 165°F, so if you cook it to a much higher temp, it will be dry. Unfortunately there are so many factors that affect cook time, including:
- weight and thickness of the chicken breast
- the internal temperature of the chicken at the time it goes into the oven
- the color and weight of the pan you use
- the accuracy of your oven temperature
This makes giving you an exact cook time difficult. The recipe card below gives recommended times but follow the steps below, and you’ll have perfectly cooked chicken.
Tips for Juicy Chicken
Here are my top tips for juicy baked chicken.
My number one tip for juicy chicken is to use a meat thermometer with a probe. It’s impossible to know exactly when thickest part of the chicken is cooked unless you use a thermometer.
This Taylor thermometer allows you to place the wired probe in the chicken before putting it in the oven. The probe needs to be placed into the chicken breast at its thickest part. The probe stays in the chicken during baking and the read out device sits outside on the counter. This allows you to see the exact temp as it cooks.
You can also set the target temperature and the device will beep when it’s ready. This feature allows you to multi-task without worrying about watching the thermometer.
I do not recommend a thermometer that cannot stay in during cooking. Poking a thermometer in and out during cooking will release moisture resulting in dry meat.
Chicken and other meats do not need to stay in the oven until they reach their safe temperature. Meats will continue to rise in temperature (on the inside) for several minutes after you take them out. This is called carry-over cooking. So if you take chicken out of the oven when the thickest part reaches 165°F, it will become over-cooked.
The size and weight of the meat will determine how much the temperature will rise once out. The smaller the piece, the less the temp will rise once out of the oven. An 8 oz. chicken breast can come out of the oven at 162°F. Leave the temp probe in, cover loosely with foil and watch the temp rise.
Finally, let your chicken rest (with the temperature probe in it). Even if it has reached 165,° wait. If you cut into it right away, all of the juices will come spilling out, leaving the perfectly cooked chicken, dry. I try to wait about 10 minutes. The chicken is still warm and the texture is superior.
Chicken breasts vary drastically in weight and thickness so cooking time will vary too. In a single max pack of chicken breasts, the pieces ranged from 9-14 ounces each! I tested this recipe with several different sizes and provide recommendations for cook times. This is a general guide – go by the temp on the thermometer for best results.
The recipe calls for about 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts. They should not be thin cut. Chicken breasts vary in weight from 5-14 ounces. So you will likely have 2 or 3 pieces.
Extra virgin olive oil adds flavor to chicken breasts which have very little fat (which means less flavor). The oil also helps with browning.
Salt is also so important to flavor. You’ll sprinkle on the salt before the spice mix to be sure the chicken is coated with salt on the top and bottom. If you run out of salt, don’t be afraid to use more than the amount in the recipe.
Garlic powder and onion powder (aka granulated garlic and onion) add flavor but make this chicken so versatile. It can go Italian, Asian, Latin and so much more. See below for some quick and easy sauce suggestions.
Sauces for Chicken Breast
I have several super easy, quick sauces that would dress up this chicken perfectly.
- This creamy sesame dressing doubles as a sauce and is ready in 5 minutes.
- My no-tomato, low acid pasta sauce has all the flavors of a traditional marinara sauce.
- Or brush on this sesame teryaki sauce for the last couple of minutes of cook time.
- My raspberry balsamic glaze or any prepared balsamic glaze makes for a super easy topping.
Juicy Toaster Oven Baked Chicken Breast
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- ½ tsp onion powder (aka granulated onion)
- heaping ¼ tsp garlic powder (aka granulated garlic)
- 2 pinches finely ground black pepper
- ¼-¾ tsp salt1
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- IMPORTANT NOTE:I highly recommend using a meat thermometer that can stay in while cooking. The one linked above or something similar is best.Using a thermometer that cannot stay in during cooking means you'll be poking holes in the chicken. This will release the juices, resulting in dry meat.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking pan with parchment. The parchment is optional but will help with the cooking process and make for easier clean up.
- Mix the onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper together in a small bowl.
- Place the chicken breasts on a plate and brush both sides with olive oil.
- Sprinkle the top of each piece with half of the salt, then half of the seasoning mix. Turn over and do the same, salting first. You will bake the chicken top side down.I highly recommend using all of the salt. This will help to flavor the meat on the inside. If you run out of salt before coating all of the chicken, don't hesitate to use more than called for.
- If using a probe thermometer, place the probe into the thickest part of the larger piece of chicken. Slide it in from the side, not the top. **The tip of the probe should be inserted at least ¼ inch or so that it is at the center of the thickest part.
- Place the chicken on the pan top side down – this will help browning.
- Place the pan in the toaster oven. The temperature device is meant to withstand the heat, so you can close the door of the oven directly on the wire.
- Cooking time will vary depending on the weight and thickness of the chicken breast. Here are recommendations for different sizes:5-6 oz piecesBake for minutes 17-20 minutes or until the chicken reaches 163°F.26-7 oz piecesBake for 18-21 minutes or until the chicken reaches 163°F.28-9 oz piecesBake for 21-23 minutes or until the chicken reaches 162°.210-12 oz. piecesBake for 23-26 minutes or until the chicken reaches 161°F.2
- Leave the temperature probe in the chicken and cover lightly with foil.The temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes and should rise to at least 165°F. This is the "safe to eat" temp for chicken. Remove the foil when the thermometer reads 165°F.
- At this point the chicken is safe to eat but will be much juicier if you let the meat rest. If you cut it now, the juice will come pouring out leaving the chicken dry. I recommend letting it rest for 10 minutes before serving (leave the temp probe in). The chicken will still be warm on the inside.
- Drain the juices from the pan and brush on top of the chicken. Top with your favorite sauce or glaze.
- 1/4 tsp salt should work for 5-6 ounce pieces but the amount goes up as the size of the chicken breast goes up.
- Note that chicken is safe to eat at 165°F but will continue to cook on the inside after coming out of the oven.