How Long Should You Bake Chicken?
Your best bet when baking chicken is to follow the recipe and use a thermometer. If you’re winging it, we can help.
By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen
Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.
When figuring out baking time, there are several factors to take into account: oven temperature, which part you're baking and its size and whether or not you're using a convection oven. If you’re using our recipes, following the oven temperature and cook time is your best bet - all of our recipes have been tested by pros. For the times you’re baking chicken without a recipe, we’ve got info on oven temperature and baking time that can help you out.
How Long to Bake Chicken
The short answer here is: set your oven to 350 degrees F. Put your whole, unstuffed chicken in the oven, and it’s going to take 20 to 25 minutes for every pound that chicken weighs.
What happens when you change the oven temperature to 425 degrees F? That’s actually a good idea for the first 20 minutes of cook time, because it makes for better browning and crisping of the skin. To determine doneness, you'll want to check the internal temperature of the chicken. When it's cooked through, it'll be at 165 degrees F. If you're curious about the nuances about the best temperature at which to cook chicken, check out our story At What Temperature Do You Bake Chicken?.
How Long Should You Bake Chicken Breast?
Are you baking boneless, skinless chicken breasts or bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts? Here’s the shortest answer we can give you:
For large boneless, skinless chicken breasts: cook them 20 to 30 minutes in a 375 degrees F oven.
For large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts: cook them 35 to 40 minutes in a 375 degrees F oven.
For answers to all the rest of the questions you might have, the article How Long to Cook Chicken Breast In the Oven? will have the answers.
How Long Should You Bake Chicken Thighs?
In general, bone-in, skin-on thighs with skin will take 45 to 50 minutes to roast in a 350-degree F oven.
The factors that may influence the timing are what you’re baking the chicken thighs in and how much room there is between each piece of chicken.
Chicken cooks faster in a very shallow pan, which is why most recipes call for a rimmed baking sheet and not a roasting pan. The taller sides of a roasting pan prevent air circulation around the meat. The same reasoning explains why chicken cooks faster when there's space around each piece: space allows for air flow. Making sure the chicken pieces aren’t touching also helps keep the skin crisp because the steam that is coming off the other pieces of meat as it cooks could make the skin soggy.
How Long Should You Bake Chicken Wings?
Wings are a bit tricky because what most folks want when they’re having wings is a fried experience. Luckily, you can achieve super crispy results by setting the oven at 425 degrees F and baking them for 45 to 55 minutes.
How Long Should You Bake a Whole Chicken?
Take it from our best recipe for whole roast chicken: a 3 1/2- to 4-pound trussed whole chicken will roast on a baking sheet in a 425 degrees F oven for 70 to 80 minutes. Several important steps: let the chicken sit at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour before roasting so it cooks evenly, and take the bird out of the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 degrees F (the temperature will climb to 165 degrees as the chicken rests).
How Long to Bake Chicken at 350, 375, 400, 425, 450 or 500 Degrees F
Let’s start out by saying 500 degrees isn’t a temperature we’d recommend for chicken.
Given the fact that drumsticks and thighs are dark meat and won’t dry out as easily as breasts, the range from 350 to 450 degrees is okay for baking them.
350 to 375 is generally best for breasts.
The best answer to these questions? Simply check the chicken for doneness using an instant read thermometer. Stick it into the thickest part of the chicken, making sure you don't touch a bone if there is one. It'll read 165 degrees F when the chicken is done.
Baked Chicken Breast Recipes
Roasting chicken breasts on the bone with the skin will always give you a juicier chicken breast than cooking boneless, skinless chicken. Starting the chicken on the stove then transferring it to the oven is going to reward you with a restaurant-quality dinner: that’s what the chefs do to end up with plump and juicy results.
If you consider your freezer to be part of your pantry, this is definitely a pantry dinner that you can get on the table in 45 minutes. Baking the chicken straight out of the freezer is brilliant.
Keeping the oven at 375 degrees F will give you a gentle bake for these chicken breasts. That and the bacon they’re wrapped in will ensure juicy chicken.
Baked Chicken Thigh Recipes
Starting with a hot rimmed baking sheet gets you off to a fast start when making these chicken thighs. Making everything on one sheet pan will convince you that the oven isn’t just for baking: it really is your friend when it comes to dinner.
The sugar in the glaze is what gives these sticky-savory-sweet chicken thighs so much flavor and color. You can make the sauce ahead of time - in a double or triple batch - then you can use it on steak, fish, pork, tofu or whatever you’re baking for dinner.
Chicken skin gets super-crispy in a 450-degree F oven while you’re making the salad that goes with them. Drape a towel over the handle of the skillet when you set in on the counter after taking it out of the oven: that’s the universal chefs’ signal for HOT!