One of the healthiest foods to eat is chicken. Instead of consuming so much red meat, it would be a wise choice to start eating more chicken. Chicken can be prepared in any number of ways from southern fried to grilled or baked. Today, we will focuse on how long to bake a chicken breast.
One of the most important things to remember when cooking chicken is that it needs to be cooked all the way through. Raw chicken not only tastes bad, but it can be hazardous to your health. Bacteria can flourish if chicken is not properly cooked and that can lead to food poisoning and other ailments.
Some people think they can tell when chicken has baked long enough just by eyeballing the breast. If it looks done, it must be done is at best a guess and at worse, a chance to have undercooked chicken.
One of the best ways to be certain that your chicken breast has been cooked enough is to use a thermometer. Place the thermometer firmly into the fattest part of the chicke breast and wait a few seconds before taking a reading. If the temperature is right about 165 degrees, then you know that it is properly cooked and can be safely eaten.
You can get a good food thermometer in the kitchenware section of most big box retail stores. They come in either analogue or digital design. Digital is preferred for the ease of accurately reading the temperature.
On to baking a chicken breast just right. First thing to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, remove the skin from the chicken breast and place on a shallow baking pan. You can season with any seasoning that you enjoy. Garlic owder, onion powder, paprika and ground pepper are some of the spices that go well with baked chicken breast. Other connoisseurs of baked chicken prefer a marinade or rub made especially for poultry. There are even a few others , either for health reasons or because they like bland food, put nothing on their bird.
Once you have added the spices, rub or marinade, you are ready to place it in the oven. Take the baking sheet, insert it in the oven and set your timer for 45 minutes. During the cooking process, juices will be released from the chicken breast. About halfway through cooking, grab your oven mitts and remove the tray from the hot oven. Take the chicken off the tray and let the juices drain. Don’t worry if you don’y get every drop as your goal is simply to remove most of the fat that has settled on the baking sheet.
Place your chicken breast(s) back on the baking sheet and insert back into the oven. At this time you should notice the outer edges starting to brown. If you want more browning and a little crispier edge, go ahead and cover with a little butter. It may not be the healthiest thing to do, but it sure adds flavor to your chicken breast.
As the remaining time ticks by, you will start to smell the aroma of the spices and you’ll know it is almost time to eat. You can check the temperature of the chicken breast by carefully opening the oven door and sticking the thermometer in one of the breasts. If it is just under the desired temperature of 165 degrees, push it back in the oven and wait another few minutes.
Remove the chicken breast and recheck the temperature. If it is in range, you have properly cooked your chicken breast and can enjoy your first bite.