Do you know how to meal prep chicken breasts by baking them in the oven? Follow this easy recipe for perfectly juicy chicken every time.
Oh the Possibilities with Chicken Meal Prep
Making meal prepped chicken is a great way to reduce time in the kitchen on busy days down the road. While you’ll still have to put in some leg work now, you’ll thank yourself later for having the forethought and energy to get it done.
Having chicken breasts already baked and ready to go is a great way to cut down on meal preps during a busy day or even a hot one. We all know how tiresome it can be to stand in front of a hot oven when the heat of the summer has us feeling miserable. Cooking can also be a luxury on those busy days where you hardly have enough time to confirm if your shoes are tied. So having chicken already cooked is like a saving grace.
What makes it even better is that you can prep one or many breasts at a time and have them ready to go. Simply bake, cool, and store as needed. You can shred them, dice them, or slice them thin for adding to pasta and salads (just some examples).
The options are pretty limitless and even if you want the chicken warmed later, it’s so much quicker to reheat an already cooked breast than to cook one from scratch so time is still saved in the end.
Meal Prep Chicken Ingredients
Chicken breasts: While you could use any size, I find that using medium sized chicken breasts works best for me. If you use larger or smaller, take note of the oven baking time and internal temperatures so that you don’t over cook them or undercook them.
Olive oil: Using olive oil can help to cook the chicken will help to give it a nice skin and color as it bakes while helping to trap moisture inside.
Seasonings: I like to keep my seasonings simple with just salt, pepper, and paprika, but you can add on other seasonings if you already know how the chicken will be used. Adding specific flavors may limit your options later, but if you have a plan in mind, go for it!
How to Season Meal Prep Chicken Breast
I keep the seasonings really simple, just salt, pepper, and a little paprika for color. After the chicken is done baking, be sure to let it rest for a few minutes to cool before putting it in the fridge (I love these storage containers). And whatever you do, keep all that delicious juice in the pan and then after you let it rest! That’s where all the flavor is.
How to Cook Chicken Breast in Oven
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pat dry chicken breasts and place them on a baking sheet, try to make them nice and flat.
- Drizzle the tops with olive oil and then sprinkle with your seasonings. Flip the chicken breasts over and repeat to the other side.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees F.
- Let the chicken rest until it’s cooled.
- Store the breasts for later or use right away as desired.
How to Bake Moist Chicken
The first tip to keeping the chicken moist is to choose chicken breasts that are similar in size to bake. That way everything is done at the same time and you aren’t over-cooking some of the meat while you are waiting for the rest to finish cooking. I find medium-sized chicken breasts work best for this.
What Temperature to Cook Chicken
I also remove my chicken from the oven at 160ºF and let it rest to come up to a final doneness temperature of 165ºF. You can read more about cooking temperatures in this post!
Then it’s totally up to you on how you use them! I love to toss my meal prep chicken in salads for a quick lunch. Here are 4 easy homemade salad dressing recipes you can make with the chicken!
Should I bake chicken covered or uncovered?
I recommend baking chicken uncovered. By baking it uncovered you get the nice browning on the top and bottom. This adds to the flavor.
How Long to Cook Chicken Breast in Oven
The amount of time it will take to cook the chicken breasts in the oven will depend on their size. For medium-sized chicken breasts, it will take about 20-25 minutes.
FAQs about meal prep chicken breast
Meal prepped chicken should not be kept in the fridge for more than 4 days according to the FDA. This will help to prevent food-borne illnesses and allow you to eat fresher chicken ith your meals. If you plan to prep further in advance, freeze the breasts for later use.
Cooking the chicken properly is a big part of keeping your chicken breasts nice and juicy but storage can be just as important. It’s a good idea to invest in good airtight containers for storing your cooked chicken breasts to ensure maximum freshness and no flavorloss.
Meal prepping can be a lot cheaper than other things. While there’s always an upfront cost, making food and buying groceries in advance can save you money later. When you do the math, eating in or homecooked meals is cheaper than going out or ordering delivery.
Yes, meal prepped chicken is safe as long as you’ve followed proper food safety guidelines.
Use meal-prepped chicken within 5 days to ensure it is fresh.
How to Cook Chicken Breast in Oven for Meal Prep
- 4 medium sized chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pat chicken dry and place on baking sheet, making each chicken breast as flat as possible.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices. Repeat on other side.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees.
- Let rest until cool.
- Package for later use (along with any accumulated juices) or use right away!
Poultry should be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit
Yes, it comes up to temperature during the resting after you remove it from the oven. It is very common (and recommended) to remove meat 5 degrees shy of the doneness temperature you are going for as it will continue to cook once removed from the oven.
Do you ever butterfly your chicken?
If the chicken is really thick I will!
Sammi Windley says
This was so helpful!