Got some chicken strips or thinly sliced chicken breast that you want to bake but don’t know how to go about it? We’ve got you covered!
How long to bake thin sliced chicken breast at 350°F? Whether you use chicken strips or a large slice of a thinly cut chicken breast, you should ideally cook it for around 25-30 minutes. You can cook it for longer but then the slices might become overly dry. As a rule of thumb, try to cook for at least 25 minutes for the best flavor.
Read below for more information on how to properly cook a delicious and juicy slice of chicken breast without overdoing it!
Baking Chicken: Basics
Baking chicken is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy this lean and tender meat.
While you could fry or grill it, baking will preserve the natural flavors of the chicken without adding additional and unwanted flavor notes.
Baking chicken can come in handy when you are on a diet and want to reduce your overall caloric intake or when you want juicy and tender chicken with all the seasonings intact.
There are many ways to go about baking chicken meat, but for this guide, we will be focusing mainly on how to bake thinly sliced chicken breast.
Chicken breast is extremely versatile and is one of the healthiest types of white meat that you can have.
It has minimal fat and is loaded with protein and nutrients. There are hundreds of recipes that you can try, all using just a single breast fillet!
For example, the breast can either be used whole or you could slice up some thin slices of breast meat and use it in sandwiches, salads, pasta, and more.
Want more? Then thinly slice the breast to form vertical strips and then use them to make goujons, chicken strips, chicken fingers, and much more.
However, if you are looking to make chicken strips at home using an oven then there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
Most people don’t know how to properly cook chicken strips which leads to either undercooked or highly overcooked chicken breast.
So, what’s the proper way? Well, more than temperature, you need to keep time and texture as the primary measures for doneness.
If you believe that a thinly cut chicken strip will take less time because there is less meat to cook, then you are both right and wrong.
See, the thing with baking chicken in the oven is that you are essentially indirectly cooking the meat using ambient heat—which generally takes more time, regardless of the thickness of the meat.
Of course, the thinly sliced breast meat will cook quicker than a thick piece of breast meat, but either way, you will need to give the chicken at least 20-25 minutes at 350°F or even 30 minutes in some cases.
Plus, to make things more complicated, there is also the debate of the best cooking temperature for chicken.
How To Bake Thin Sliced Chicken Breast
When making chicken breast you need to make sure of 2 things:
- All of the pieces should be sliced evenly, and we mean EVENLY. Chicken cut with varying thickness can lead to you serving undercooked or even burnt chicken for dinner.
- You will need to preheat the oven at a stable temperature of either 350°F, 375°F, or even 400°F.
Now let’s break down these two tenets:
The first one is pretty self-explanatory and if it does not make sense to you, then you ought to ask someone experienced to supervise you when you cook the chicken.
If the chicken is cut in varying thickness levels, then it will directly impact the overall cooking time by several minutes. For example, the thinner slices will cook faster and will eventually dry out by the time the thicker pieces are done cooking.
Some discrepancy is fine and you don’t have to bring out scientific equipment to precisely cut even slices of chicken.
Just make sure that the pieces are as uniform as possible. Even if you end up with a few thick pieces, you can lightly hammer them until they are even.
Do not attempt to forcibly cut thin slices of chicken. This can prove to be very dangerous, especially if you are doing it for the first time.
The hammer method should be the default way to ensure the same thickness in all the sliced pieces of chicken breast.
Now, let’s move on to the second point, which has everything to do with temperature and cooking times.
When cooking chicken, you ought to give it at least 20 minutes at 350°F to thoroughly render it but of course, this time is highly dependent on the oven temperature.
If you increase the temperature to 375°F or even 400°F, then you might have to use a timer and you should also manually check the chicken for doneness too.
There is no difference in cooking chicken at 350°F or 400°F other than a slightly different overall cooking time.
You don’t magically add flavors with increasing temperatures, but if the goal is to add a layer of caramelization, then your best bet would be to move the chicken slices closer to the heat source during the final 5 minutes to sear them.
Other than that, when baking chicken, you should just stick with 350°F as it is easier to control and you can expect the same outcome almost every time.
Also, since the chicken isn’t introduced to scorching heat, it won’t lose a lot of its moisture, which is extremely important in breast meat.
Trust us, no one likes dry chicken, and it’s better to give the slices some time and attention than to just roast them to kingdom come.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you cook chicken the right way:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Always use thawed meat, especially when you are cutting the chicken into thin slices. Thawed meat is easier to work with and you won’t butcher the texture of the meat. Using a sharp knife, cut thin slices as required in your recipe. You can go for either horizontal or vertical cuts.
- Breast meat is naturally uneven. If you look closely, the top portion of the breast is going to be the thickest and the bottom portion will taper down and become a bit thinner. To even out the thickness of the slices, use a meat hammer to even out the slices. Put cling wrap over the chicken before you hammer it to secure its juices and to avoid getting any bits on you.
- Season the chicken or marinate it and then store it in the fridge or freezer as required. If you plan to use the chicken the same day, then just refrigerate it and cook it after 4-8 hours.
- Lay the slices out on a lightly oiled baking tray and put the chicken pieces side by side.
- Put the tray in the oven using the middle rack and make sure that the chicken receives heat from the top and bottom. You should turn on both the heating elements if you have that option on your cooking range.
- Bake the chicken for about 20-25 minutes. At the 20-minute mark, check for doneness by assessing the color of the meat. The meat should turn from pink (raw) to white (cooked). Also, the size of the strips should have been reduced due to the loss of moisture.
- At this point, you could either serve the chicken as it is, or if you want a bit more color then you can move the tray closer to the top heating element to give the slices a golden-brown color. Just make sure that you don’t bake them at the top rack for more than 5 minutes on each side.
Here are a few important tips to keep in mind:
- When baking the slices with other foods like cheese or ingredients that would otherwise cover the top of the chicken, you might want to cook the slices for a bit longer. Ideally, bake cheesy chicken slices for about 30 minutes until the top cheesy layer turns slightly golden yellow.
- Always preheat the oven, this will ensure that the slices are added and baked at a stable temperature, or else you might end up with unevenly cooked chicken as the oven heats up during the first 10-15 minutes.
- If you have baked the chicken at 350°F for 20-25 minutes then you could also take it out and give it a quick sear with butter or any other fat using a skillet. This is the best way to get some color on the meat without overcooking it.
- The best way to check for doneness is to use a cooking thermometer. Check the slices at random by sticking a thermometer in the center. If the temperature reads 165°F then you have successfully cooked the chicken and it is ready to be served!
Baking sliced chicken breasts is one of the easiest ways to get a nutritional meal without using any fancy cooking techniques. All you need is the right temperature and cooking time!
Now that you know how to properly cook chicken breast in the oven, here are some related questions:
Can you bake frozen slices of chicken meat?
The best way to ensure safely cooked chicken is to use thawed pieces. Using frozen pieces will add to the cooking time and you may have to adjust the temperature accordingly too.
However, it is completely okay to use refrigerated (not frozen) chicken.
How long can you bake chicken breast at 400°F?
Chicken breasts will take around 15-18 minutes at 400°F in a preheated oven. Furthermore, you can also cook the chicken at 375°F which would take approximately 18-22 minutes.
Always use a cooking thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken.
If you’re looking for a new way to cook chicken breast at home, here’s a great recipe from the folks over at Babish Culinary Universe!
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