We can never have too many delicious and quick chicken recipes, can we?! You’ll love this healthy, juicy Italian Baked Chicken Recipe. Boneless skinless chicken breasts prepared with a simple spice mixture, garlic and olive oil, and finished with fresh parsley and basil! Afraid to serve dry chicken breasts? Be sure to check out my tips and watch the video at the bottom of this post.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts a great source of lean protein, that’s why they are a dieter’s best friend. They are also convenient. They may even look less intimating to cook than say bone-in chicken thighs (this cilantro lime chicken is my favorite thigh recipe, by the way).
But, even renowned chefs will tell you that boneless skinless chicken breasts are the least forgiving. Let’s face it, they can just be plain boring and, often times, dry.
Not this Italian baked chicken recipe. Just a few tips ensure this easy baked chicken recipe is flavorful and juicy. You’ve got this, trust me!
4 Tips for Baked Chicken Breast
1. Pound the chicken. I’m a big fan of pounding chicken breasts into thinner, more evenly flat pieces; it helps it cook faster and more evenly. And by pounding, you’re also mechanically tenderizing the chicken breast, which means you’ll end up with a juicer and tastier chicken dinner.
2. Add Enough Flavor. To begin with, be sure to season chicken breasts well on both sides with salt and pepper. Then, layer more flavor in the form of spices and aromatics. I use a simple mixture for this Italian baked chicken: oregano, fresh thyme and sweet paprika along with fresh minced garlic. To bring everything together, a generous drizzle of my favorite Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. The key is to toss the chicken well to coat evenly with the mixture. And if you leave it just for 10 minutes or so, this little bit of time helps the flavoring process.
3. Avoid Baking Too Long. This is the thing about cooking chicken breast, one minute makes a difference. I found that when baking, covering chicken breasts for the first 10 minutes or so was helpful in allowing steam to cook the chicken a bit from the inside first. Then, once uncovered, it finishes cooking quicker (again an attempt to avoid dry chicken breast). Always watch carefully, and test using an instant thermometer to avoid baking too long (Once chicken registers 165 degrees F, it’s ready. 18 to 20 minutes at most.)
4. Let Chicken Rest Before Serving or Slicing Through. This is a known rule, just like with a good steak, once chicken breast hits that magic 165 degrees F, remove from heat and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes so that the juices redistribute. And this time, I actually covered the chicken while it rested. I’ve found that to work even better.
Now, let me show you how easy this baked chicken is to make…
Step-by-Step for this Italian Baked Chicken Recipe
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. First, pound chicken breasts to thinner, more even pieces. A clean way to do this is to place the chicken breast in a zip-top bag first, then pound on your cutting board. (sorry, I’d removed the zip-top bag in this picture.)
2. Season with salt and pepper, then combine with remaining spices and fresh garlic. Add a generous drizzle of Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil and juice of about 1/2 lemon. Work it! Make sure chicken is well coated with the spices etc.
3. Prepare a lightly oiled baking dish like this one. Spread red onion slices on the bottom to make a bed for the chicken. Now Arrange chicken on top and throw in tomatoes (’cause Italian!)
4. Cover and bake for 10 minutes, then uncover and finish baking until chicken’s internal temperature reads 165 degrees F, about 10 minutes more or so (depending on how thick your chicken pieces are.)
Don’t forget. Remove from heat and let chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes (you can cover it during this time). Garnish with fresh parsley and basil.
Favorite Sides to Serve Along
There are endless sides and salads I can recommend with this baked chicken. This easy Mediterranean olive oil pasta carries similar flavors and the same sorta theme. Other sides I love: this simple grilled zucchini salad; roasted potatoes; or the obvious choice, Italian roasted veggies.(Prepare the sides ahead, since the chicken takes little time to cook).
Watch the Video for How to Make this Italian Baked Chicken:
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Easy Italian Baked Chicken, flavored with a simple spice mixture along with fresh garlic and olive oil, and finished with parsley and fresh basil. Be sure to read the tips for best results.
- 2 lb/907.185 g boneless skinless chicken breast
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsp/3.6 g dry oregano
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (from 2 springs of thyme)
- 1 tsp/ 2.1 g Sweet paprika
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp/ 44.4 ml Extra virgin olive oil (I used this one)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 5 to 6 Campari tomatoes (or small Roma tomatoes), halved
- Handful chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Pat chicken dry. Place a chicken breast in a large zip-top bag and zip the top (make sure to release any air in the bag first), then place it on your poultry cutting board. Using a meat mallet like this one, pound to flatten the chicken. Remove from zip-top bag and reuse bag and mallet to repeat the process with the remaining chicken breast pieces.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and place in a large mixing bowl or dish. Add spices, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice. Combine to make sure the chicken is evenly coated with the spices and garlic.
- In a large lightly oiled baking dish or pan, spread onion slices on the bottom. Arrange seasoned chicken on top, and add the tomatoes.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 10 minutes covered, then uncover and bake another 8 to 10 minutes or so. Watch carefully. This can take less or more time depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. To be sure chicken is cooked through, use a instant digital Cooking or Meat Thermometer for the proper temperature of 165 degrees F.)
- Remove from heat. Let chicken breasts rest (cover with foil or another pan) for 5 to 10 minutes or so before serving. Uncover and garnish with fresh parsley and basil. Enjoy!
- Important Cook’s Tips: Do not skip pounding the chicken (step #2). Pounding the chicken into thinner, and more evenly flat pieces helps it cook faster and more evenly. And by pounding the chicken breast, you’re also mechanically tenderizing it, which means you’ll end up with a juicer and tastier chicken dinner.
- Cook’s Tip: Let chicken rest before serving to allow juices to redistribute.
- Visit The Mediterranean Dish store to check out our all-natural spices and olive oil selection.
- Category: Entree/Poultry
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian/Mediterranean
Keywords: Easy Baked Chicken, Italian Chicken, Baked Chicken Breast