When it comes to chicken, each cut has its purpose. Yet, chicken breast seems to be the favourite. And, we cannot lie – we love it too. The humble chicken breast is great for several reasons. It’s healthy, it’s versatile, and of course, it’s delicious. Yet, how you prepare your chicken will decide how “healthy” it truly is. Therefore, this month, we have decided to focus on cooking chicken breast in the oven. It’s one of the healthiest ways. So, if you’re seeking new ways to add chicken to your diet without added fats, this month’s blog is for you. We will also go over the added benefits of chicken breast. Let’s get started.
Why do people love chicken so much? Well, to start, it’s lean. In general, chicken is leaner than red meat. Comparatively, chicken breast is leaner than chicken thighs. This is because one is white meat, and the other is dark. White meat is less fat and more protein. So, what’s not to love? Chicken breast is also easy to prepare and great for meal prepping. It keeps well and can be used for the week. But, let’s dig a little deeper…
Chicken breast contains very little fat. In fact, without the skin, it’s less than 3 grams. And only 1 gram of that is unsaturated fat. Remember, that’s the kind you want to avoid. And when you choose to cook chicken breast in the oven, you are also keeping the fat count down. Cooking chicken breast in the oven allows you to create a depth of flavor without all the added fats. Choose oils with healthy fats such as olive oil when it comes to cooking.
If you’re looking to add more protein to your diet, cooking chicken breast in the oven is the way to go. It’s a simple way to meet your protein needs. Again, without adding more fat. Did you know that in a single serving (3oz), you’re getting around 26g of protein? That’s about half of what you need for the day. Not bad if you ask us!
In addition to being low in fat and high in protein, chicken breasts also have a few other benefits. For example, they are a good source of phosphorus, vitamin B6, and niacin.
As promised, we will walk you through the best ways to cook chicken breast in the oven. Preparation is key; what you add while cooking will determine how healthy this protein stays. So, easy up on the sauces and spices. You can omit the salt and sugar with sacrificing taste. It’s easier than you think.
Start by thinking fresh! We always suggest starting with fresh herbs. This is an easy way to add incredible flavor to your chicken breast in the oven. You can usually find fresh herbs at your local grocer. But if not, dried herbs make for an easy replacement. You can add them in a marinade or just before cooking. The choice is yours!
Try out this easy chicken marinade next time you cook chicken breast in the oven:
Olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and garlic. That’s it. You’d be surprised how much flavor these simple ingredients will add. We suggest marinating overnight. However, 30 minutes will be enough if you’re tight on time.
Next, it’s time to talk about the temperature.
You have a few options here. One way to cook chicken breast in the oven is low and slow. On the other hand, we suggest a higher temperature for a shorter time. Not only does this save on time. It also helps create that crispy exterior we love in a chicken breast. You want that happy medium, so we usually go with 375°. Not too high, but just right.
Usually, 20-30 minutes is plenty. However, you will need to use a meat thermometer to be sure. Your chicken breast is done when it reaches 165°. Remember, poultry must be cooked all the way through. Unlike beef, you cannot eat chicken if it is pink in the middle.
Above, we gave you a simple marinade for cooking chicken breast in the oven. But, if you’re looking to spice things up a bit, we’ve got some options for you.
Let’s start with a few of our favorite dry rubs. Mix and keep sealed. We like to use little jars, but a plastic bag will also work in a pinch.
This rub is great for anything. Use it whenever you want to add a bit of flavor to chicken breast in the oven.
Smokey (with a hint of spice)
The smokey rub is perfect for chicken used in fajitas, tacos. Or if you are going for that BBQ chicken vibe.
When using a dry rub, mix with a bit of oil and rub into the meat. This allows for even coating and maximum flavor. Use for up to 24 hours before or right before cooking. Either way, it will pack a punch.
In terms of a marinade, it’s super easy to make your own. Avoid buying pre-made if you can. Store-bought marinades are often full of salt and sugar. All you really need is 3 components: Acid, Oil, and Flavour. So choose as you will. However, if you need some inspiration, you’ll find some here. All these marinades are free of refined sugars and gluten-free. Try them out!
Of course, we couldn’t leave you without a few ways to use up your chicken breast. There are so many ways aside from eating it on its own. Whether it is a quick dinner or a meal prep – we’ve got something for you. After you cook your chicken breast in the oven, try out one of these ideas:
For more ways to use the humble chicken breast, check out our blog Chicken Breast Recipes and More.