For the best, juicy, and tender chicken breasts remember these three things: marinate first, bake loosely covered, and use a meat thermometer. We marinate the chicken breasts in a magical mixture of fresh lemon, garlic, Dijon mustard, and parsley before baking in the oven. If you’re short on time, marinate as close to an hour as you can. If you’re flexible, go for a whole two hours. And since we want to keep things safe, it’s best to marinate the chicken in the refrigerator (no matter how long you do it for). We highly recommend using an internal thermometer when cooking meats.
2 large lemons
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a large knife or minced
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, roughly chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
Peel or zest the thin, yellow skin (zest) from 1 lemon, and then juice the lemon so that you have 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice. (Use half of the second lemon to make up the 1/4 cup of juice if the first lemon was not enough).
Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper together until the salt has dissolved. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest, and parsley (if using). Refrigerate and use within 1 to 2 hours.
Add the chicken breasts to the marinade and marinate for 1 hour and up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a baking dish large enough to fit the chicken breasts arranged in one layer. Oil one side of a sheet of parchment paper that is large enough to cover the baking dish.
Quarter the second lemon. Transfer chicken breasts to the prepared baking dish and remove any large pieces of garlic that might be stuck to the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, scatter lemon wedges around the chicken then cover with parchment paper — oiled side down towards the chicken. Loosely tuck the parchment paper around the chicken.
Bake until the chicken is opaque all the way through and an internal thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Check for doneness around 25 minutes then go from there. Most chicken breasts will take 35 to 40 minutes.
Let chicken rest about 10 minutes then serve drizzled with some of the liquid left in the baking dish or slice the chicken and place back into the baking dish with all the leftover cooking liquid (our favorite).