How Long to Bake Bone-In Chicken Breasts at 400°F: A Foolproof Guide

Are you craving juicy, flavorful chicken that’s easy to prepare? Look no further than baking bone-in chicken breasts at 400°F. This simple technique yields tender, succulent meat with a crispy skin that’s sure to impress. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the secrets of perfectly baked bone-in chicken breasts, including the ideal cooking time and temperature, plus tips and tricks to ensure restaurant-quality results every time.

The Benefits of Bone-In Chicken Breasts

While boneless, skinless chicken breasts are convenient, bone-in breasts offer several advantages that make them worth the extra effort:

  • Flavor: The bone and skin contribute a depth of flavor that’s often lacking in boneless cuts.
  • Moisture: The bone acts as an insulator, helping to keep the meat juicy and preventing it from drying out.
  • Cost-Effective: Bone-in chicken breasts are generally less expensive per pound than their boneless counterparts.

Preparing Your Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Before we get to the baking process, let’s ensure you have everything you need:


  • Bone-in chicken breasts
  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
  • Your favorite herbs and spices (optional)


  • Rimmed baking sheet or oven-safe dish
  • Pastry brush (for applying oil)
  • Instant-read thermometer

Prep Work

  1. Pat the chicken dry: Use paper towels to pat the chicken breasts dry, removing any excess moisture from the surface. This step helps promote browning and crispy skin.
  2. Season generously: Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil or cooking spray, and season liberally with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs or spices.
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet: Place the seasoned chicken breasts skin-side up on a rimmed baking sheet or oven-safe dish, ensuring they’re not touching each other.

Baking Bone-In Chicken Breasts at 400°F

Now, it’s time to bake! Here’s what you need to know:

Oven Temperature and Time

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C).
  • Bake the chicken breasts for 25 to 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast (without touching the bone) registers 165°F (74°C).

Tips for Perfect Results

  • Let it rest: After baking, let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring maximum tenderness and moisture.
  • Broil for crispier skin (optional): If you prefer extra-crispy skin, broil the baked chicken breasts for 2 to 3 minutes at the end of the cooking time, keeping a close eye to prevent burning.
  • Use a meat thermometer: An instant-read thermometer is your best friend when baking chicken. It takes the guesswork out of determining doneness and helps prevent overcooking.

Serving Suggestions

Baked bone-in chicken breasts are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways:

  • Main dish: Serve the chicken breasts whole, accompanied by your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.
  • Shredded or diced: Once cooled, shred or dice the chicken and use it in salads, soups, sandwiches, or wraps.
  • Meal prep: Baked bone-in chicken breasts make excellent meal prep options. Simply portion them out and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer for convenient, protein-packed meals throughout the week.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bake frozen bone-in chicken breasts?

Yes, you can bake frozen bone-in chicken breasts, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Add an extra 50% to the cooking time (approximately 37 to 45 minutes) and use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

Can I brine bone-in chicken breasts before baking?

Absolutely! Brining your chicken breasts in a saltwater solution before baking can help keep them extra juicy and flavorful. Aim for a 30-minute to 1-hour brine time, and be sure to pat the chicken dry before seasoning and baking.

How can I prevent my chicken skin from getting soggy?

To achieve crispy chicken skin, make sure to pat the chicken dry before seasoning and baking. Additionally, arrange the chicken breasts skin-side up on the baking sheet, and consider broiling them for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time.

Can I use this method for other chicken cuts?

Certainly! This baking method can be applied to other bone-in chicken cuts, such as thighs or drumsticks. Just adjust the cooking time according to the size and thickness of the pieces, and use a meat thermometer to ensure they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).


Baking bone-in chicken breasts at 400°F is a simple, foolproof way to achieve juicy, flavorful chicken with crispy skin. By following the guidelines in this article, you’ll be able to consistently produce restaurant-quality results in the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re serving them as a main dish or using them as a protein base for salads, sandwiches, or meal prep, perfectly baked bone-in chicken breasts are sure to become a staple in your kitchen.

How long does chicken take to bake at 400?

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