How Long to Bake Chicken at 400°F?

Baking chicken is a versatile and delicious way to prepare this popular protein. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned home cook, knowing how long to bake chicken at 400°F can make a significant difference in achieving that perfect balance of crispy skin and tender, juicy meat. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that influence cooking time, share a basic recipe, and offer tips to ensure your chicken comes out of the oven perfectly every time.

Understanding the Basics

Before delving into the specifics of cooking times, it’s essential to understand a few fundamental principles of baking chicken at 400°F:

Chicken Cuts: Different cuts of chicken require different cooking times. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook faster than bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks.

Thickness: The thickness of your chicken pieces greatly affects the cooking time. Thicker cuts take longer to cook through, while thinner ones require less time.

Oven Variability: Ovens can vary in temperature accuracy, so it’s essential to monitor your chicken’s internal temperature to ensure it reaches a safe and delicious level.

Resting Time: Allow your baked chicken to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. This helps redistribute juices, ensuring a moist and flavorful result.

Now, let’s break down some specific cooking times for various chicken cuts and preparations at 400°F.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are a popular choice for their lean meat and quick cooking time. To bake them at 400°F:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Season the chicken breasts with your preferred spices or marinade.
  • Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a greased oven-safe dish.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • Allow the chicken to rest for a duration of 5 minutes before proceeding to slice and serve it.
  • Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
  • Chicken thighs are known for their rich, flavorful meat and forgiving nature when it comes to cooking times. To bake bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs at 400°F:
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Season the chicken thighs generously with herbs and spices.
  • Arrange the thighs on a baking dish or a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) and the skin is crispy.
  • Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Whole Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken at 400°F is a delicious option for a family dinner or special occasion. To bake a whole chicken at 400°F:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Season the chicken inside and out with your favorite herbs, spices, and aromatics.
  • Place the chicken in a roasting pan or on a rack in a baking dish.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes per pound (450g) or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Allow the chicken to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Tips for Success

Use a Meat Thermometer: Investing in a digital meat thermometer is a game-changer when it comes to cooking chicken. It ensures that your chicken is cooked to perfection without overcooking.

Pat Dry and Season Well: Before baking, pat your chicken dry with paper towels to ensure crispy skin and season it generously with herbs and spices for flavor.

Baste or Use a Marinade: Basting or marinating your chicken while it bakes can add extra flavor and moisture. Just be sure to follow food safety guidelines when using marinades.

Elevate on a Rack: Elevating your chicken on a wire rack allows for even cooking and better air circulation, resulting in crispy skin all around.


Knowing how long to bake chicken at 400°F is a fundamental skill for home cooks. By understanding the basics of chicken cuts, thickness, oven variability, and resting time, you can confidently prepare delicious chicken dishes that are both safe and satisfying. Whether you choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on thighs, or a whole chicken, following these guidelines and tips will lead you to culinary success in your kitchen. So, preheat that oven, season your chicken, and get ready to enjoy a mouthwatering meal with your loved ones!

The Image used in this article is from Pinterest.

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