Chicken breasts are one of the most versatile types of meat and can be cooked in a variety of ways, one of the most popular being roasting. To roast chicken breasts, start by gently rinsing the meat and removing any excess fat, skin, or bones as desired. Then, thoroughly season the meat and set your oven to a high temperature. After the chicken breasts have cooked for a few minutes, turn the temperature down to let the meat continue cooking until it reaches a safe internal temperature.
Most home cooks choose to rinse the meat before they roast chicken breasts. This can remove any fluids or blood that has accumulated in the package in which the chicken was purchased. To prevent splattering any juices around your kitchen, which can cause harmful bacteria to end up on other cooking surfaces, use a gentle stream of water to rinse the chicken, and then pat each breast down with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Once you’re done, disinfect your sink and the surrounding area to make sure that it is clean.
In most cases, it is a good idea to use a sharp paring knife to remove any excess fat from the meat. If you want bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, you can simply remove any extra skin from the edges of the chicken, or leave it as is. In the event that you have a bone-in, skin-on meat, but would prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts, carefully remove the skin and cut the breast away from the bone. You can also choose any combination of this preparation step: you can remove the skin and leave the meat on the bone, or vice versa. In general, when you roast chicken breasts, leaving the skin and bone in place can help to keep the chicken moist and flavorful.
Before you roast chicken breasts, it is important to season the meat thoroughly. Salt and pepper is the most basic form of seasoning, although you can use any dried herbs, spices, or marinades that you like. If you are cooking skin-on chicken breasts, make sure to season the meat underneath the skin as well as on top of it.
Once the breasts are seasoned to your liking, preheat your oven to about 450°F (232°C). Place the chicken on a baking sheet, roasting rack, or broiler pan, and put it in the oven on the middle rack once it is up to temperature, and let the chicken cook for 10 to 15 minutes. This stage allows for the outside of the chicken breasts to develop a deep crust, sealing the juices inside of the meat and adding to its flavor. You can also sear the chicken breasts in a pan on the stovetop prior to placing the meat in a lower-temperature oven.
For the remainder of the cooking process, turn your oven’s temperature down to about 350°F (176°C). After about 15 to 20 minutes, check the internal temperature of the roast chicken breasts with a cooking thermometer. It is important that the tip of the thermometer be in the center of the flesh and not make contact with any of the bones, as this will yield an inaccurate reading. The chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C) before it is ready to be removed from the oven. It should then rest for at least 10 minutes, during which time the chicken will continue to cook, and will reach the safe temperature of 170°F (76°C).