The Best Roast Chicken Breast

I know it’s a bold statement to call something “The Best” but I’m going to go ahead and call this the best, because I feel that I’ve really nailed the recipe down!  My husband said to me: “this is so much better than going out to eat!” and that says a lot!

I believe the 3 components to a successful roast chicken (in particular breasts, since they dry out so easily is): brining, preserved lemons, and fresh thyme.


  • 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
  • Brine solution
  • 1/2 preserved lemon
  • fresh thyme (~10 sprigs)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Brine the chicken breasts.  This is a very important step, so make sure not to skip it!  Brining is a solution of water, salt and sugar, it allows the chicken to remain moist and flavorful.  A typical brine is 1 gallon of water, 3/4 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup sugar.  For 2 breasts you probably only need half of this, as long as you’re covering all the exposed chicken.  Place the chicken and brining mixture in glass or stainless steel container and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Remove chicken in brine from refrigerator.  Rinse well and pat dry.  Place chicken in a pyrex dish or roasting pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Slice preserved lemons with juice.  Combine with leaves from thyme (~2 TB), minced garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Place lemon mixture underneath skin and then use the remaining mixture to coat outside of skin.  I also add a few thyme sprigs on top.
  6. Cook chicken breasts for 35 minutes in oven or until juices run clear.

Cooks Note:

Preserved lemons can be bought at Whole Foods or you can make them on your own.  They add such a dimension of flavor to roast chicken that cannot be replicated.

Nutrition Note:

The chicken skin contains most of the fat and calories.  I recommend cooking with the skin on to keep the breasts moist, however, remove it before serving to cut back on extra fat and calories.


I served this chicken with homemade mashed potatoes and kale chips.  The breasts were huge (maybe ~8oz of meat), so I had about 2/3 of one breast, I served the skin but did not eat it.  Check back tomorrow for a recipe on mashed potatoes, that taste super creamy and indulgent but are virtually fat free!


23 Responses

  1. Love the sound of this..think I’ll be adventurous and give it a try 🙂

  2. Sounds wonderful! Two questions:
    1. Do you buy organic chicken at a healthfood store or local provider, or do you just buy whatever.

    2. What can I substitute for sugar if I’m trying to stay away from processed sugar?

    Looking forward to exploring your blog, Gloris

    • I buy my chicken from my local supermarket (Whole Foods or Fairway). If I lived close to the Farmer’s Market (Union Square) I would prefer to get it from local farmers but that’s not always realistic for me.

      Most sugar is processed the same in the body and turned into glucose (yes there are some slight differences but research is still being conducted), my recommendation is to not obsess about what type of sugar you are consuming, but to reduce your overall sugar intake as much as possible and sweetening things with fruit instead. If you’re baking, just cut down on the amount of sugar used.

    • i love that food who ever made it can i have your resepee.

  3. Dear Eve.
    Really, I don’t eat chicken’skin.
    Just because, the skin is a filter organ that retry all toxins.
    But, your recipe is very tasteful: with no skin.
    Better eating it degusting a “blanc des blancs”.

  4. Dear Eve.
    Really, I don’t eat chicken skin.
    Just because, the skin is a filter organ that retry all toxins.
    But, your recipe is very tasteful: with no skin.
    Better eating it with degusting a “blanc des blancs”.

  5. That looks fantastic!

  6. yummy! I think it good test.

  7. Eve….Is brining o.k. for people watching their salt intake? Doesn’t it put un-necessary amounts of sodium into the chicken?

    • For people on a very restricted salt intake, I would not have them eat brined chicken. However, for those just watching salt it’s ok as long as you use limited salt in the rest of the meal preparation. The end amount of salt really varies based on how much salt is in the brine and how long it soaks for. If you’re concerned, use less salt in the brine and brine for less time. Hope that helps!

  8. Mmm…this looks awesome! I love that you served it with one of my favorite sides–kale chips. Everything looks delicious! 😀

  9. This looks amazing!! Thank you so much for posting-have been desperate for some direction on delish roast chicken!!

  10. Slipping ingredients between the skin and the meat is a great trick for keeping dry-prone poultry moist!

    For those who are skin-wary, you can peel the skin right off after you’re done using it in the oven to insulate moisture. You might lose a few presentation points, but I don’t think you’re average home-diner is looking for restaurant grade plating from a homecooked meal.

    Also, try a thin layer of liquid at the bottom of whatever you have your chicken in to keep the bird moist if you’re afraid of salty brining.

    Great work!

  11. What’s a preserved lemon?

  12. […] The Best Roast Chicken Breast « Nutrition by Eve: Moderation, Balance & Variety […]

  13. this chicken looks great!

  14. i cannot speak english very well, but, Ithink you are a perfect husband, you husband must be proud with you, because you make a the best roast chiken breast

  15. so can you make this with skinless boneless chicken breasts which is what we normally buy?

    • Yes – just brine and cook for less time. I can’t give exact times because it depends on the weight, but do some google searching once you know how much they weigh to get time estimates.

  16. This looks tasty! Thank you!

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  18. Just by looking at the picture really made me hungry. Thanks for sharing this recipe to us as I would surely try this one out tonight and serve my family a special dinner. It would really go well with a cold glass of coffee krups that is made from my new coffee maker. Kudos!

  19. What is preserved Lemon?

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