The Best Temperature to Bake Chicken

Christine Albury

Discover the ideal temperature to bake chicken, for perfect results every time!

Once you know the temperature to bake chicken, you can quickly and easily create simple meals, or cook up a batch to use in tasty chicken sandwiches and more!

Which parts of the chicken are best for baking?

You can bake ANY part of the chicken, so the choice really depends on what you prefer. 

Crispy Cast Iron Chicken Thighs Photo

If you like dark meat, which tends to be juicier and has a stronger flavor, then opt for chicken legs or thighs.

If you prefer white chicken meat, then go for the breast. 

The most economical option is to bake chicken whole, then cut it up and use the parts as needed. One chicken can be used for several meals - for example, you could serve up the legs for dinner with mashed potato and broccoli, and save the breast for making sandwiches or salads.

Garlic Baked Chicken Picture

Although it's cheaper to bake the whole chicken, we actually prefer baking a variety of pieces instead. They cook much more quickly and you don't need to worry about carving, so sticking with pieces is a real time-saver.

So what temperature should I use?

We find that the best temperature to bake chicken is 400°F (which is about 200° C). At this heat, a tray of chicken pieces will be ready to eat in around 20 to 30 mins. 

Some people like to cook chicken at a lower temperature  (around 350°F) for a longer time (at least 30 mins). You can also cook it at a high heat (450°F) for a shorter amount of time (around 15 minutes). You can try both methods and see which one you prefer.

Garlic Baked Chicken Image

Whatever time and temperature you use, the important thing is to check for done-ness. The most effective way of doing this accurately is to check it with a meat thermometer. When properly cooked, baked chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Top tips for tender baked chicken

When you're baking chicken breasts, always leave the skin ON. You may decide to remove the skin once it's cooked if you're cutting down on calories. But if you remove it before cooking, the chicken will dry out in the oven and become rubbery and unappetizing.

The darker meat (such as the legs) fares better if baked skinless, because the meat itself contains a higher proportion of fat. This keeps it juicy as it cooks. 

Tequila Lime Chicken Pic

Another way to ensure your baked chicken is as juicy as possible is to brine it. Brining is easy - you just fill a bowl with lukewarm water and add a handful of salt. Stir unti the salt has pretty much fully dissolved. Then, pop in the chicken and leave it to sit for a minimum of 15 minutes. 

Once the time is up, take the chicken out of the bowl, rinse it under the tap and pat it dry with some paper towel. You can then cook the chicken as usual.

Bourbon Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner Photo

Important note: some chicken is already brined before you buy it. This should be noted on the packaging - so make sure you check before brining!

Now that your chicken is cooked, why not use it to make this Chicken Noodle Casserole, or this tasty Chicken Fajita Casserole. Or check out these tasty Baked Chicken Seasonings for recipe inspiration.

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Christine Albury

About Christine

I'm a mom of 5 and love making healthy baby food with wholesome, natural ingredients. In 2005 I started the Homemade Baby Food Recipes website, sharing recipes for everything from simple fruit purees to gourmet curries for the baby food connoisseur! You'll also find plenty of tried and tested tips to help encourage even the most reluctant diner to enjoy a wide range of nutritious new foods. If you enjoy cooking, then you will LOVE learning to become head chef for a very special little customer!