15 Easy Chicken Breast Recipes You Can Make in Less Than 40 Minutes

Get dinner on the table in no time with these chicken breast recipes.

Photo: Caitlin Bensel

Widely available at grocery stores and butcher shops, chicken breasts are a lean, versatile cut of meat, easily transformed with spices and flavorings. Chicken breasts are quick-cooking and infamous for becoming tough and dry, but if cooked properly they turn out juicy and tender.

When shopping for chicken breasts, you have a few main options to consider: boneless or bone-in, and skinless or skin-on. Boneless breasts cook the fastest, but are easy to overcook and dry out if you're not careful. On the other hand, bone-in breasts take longer to cook, but more reliably yield succulent meat. As for the skin, chicken skin contains a lot of flavor, holds in moisture, and can get nice and crispy with the right technique. With that said, your chicken breast choice is all about your preferences and what sounds best to you. Chicken cutlets are simply thin slices of chicken that can be made by carefully slicing horizontally through a chicken breast. And you don't like chicken breasts, another related option is the chicken tender—a long strip of meat attached to the bottom of the breast.

Here, we've gathered Real Simple's 15 best chicken breast recipes—all call for 40 minutes of hands-on work or less. Read on for a list of chicken breast recipes that won't disappoint!

01 of 15

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans
Christopher Baker

This one-pan meal calls for bone-in, skin-on breasts that turn golden and crisp in a hot oven. Lemony green beans and potatoes get cooked in the same pan for a nourishing dinner that requires minimal effort.

02 of 15

Baked Marinated Chicken

Baked Marinated Chicken
Jennifer Causey

A jar of artichoke hearts works double duty in this clever recipe; the liquid marinates the chicken breasts, and the artichokes serve as a vegetable side. Toasted panko gets sprinkled on top to give the chicken a nice crunch.

03 of 15

Chicken with Salsa, Olives, and Lime

Chicken With Salsa, Olives, and Lime
A saucy, delicious chicken dinner that comes together in 20 minutes? Where do we sign up? Braising chicken breasts in a flavorful mixture of pico de gallo (aka fresh salsa), salty green olives, and tart capers ensures tender, not rubbery, meat. Add homemade garlic bread or warm tortillas to elevate an everyday dinner. Using store-bought pico de gallo saves time—instead of chopping onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, and herbs, it’s all ready to go in a convenient package. Get the recipeChicken With Salsa, Olives, and Lime. Victor Protasio

Searing then braising chicken breasts in pico de gallo, olives, and capers infuses them with punchy flavor and ensures that they stay tender. Serve with lime wedges and warm tortillas for a DIY taco dinner.

04 of 15

Stuffed Chicken Breasts With Tomato Salad

Stuffed Chicken Breasts With Tomato Salad
RealSimple.com. John Kernick

This retro recipe calls for stuffing chicken breasts with an herby, cheesy artichoke mixture, then grilling them until cooked through. A bright tomato salad is the perfect accompaniment to cut through the richness.

05 of 15

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

Chicken Tenders
Greg DuPree

Chicken tenders aren't just for kids! These tenders get dredged in flour, spiced up with paprika, ground mustard, and garlic powder, and served with a Dijon-mayonnaise dip.

06 of 15

Almond-Crusted Chicken With Arugula Salad

Almond-Crusted Chicken With Arugula Salad Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Here, almond flour replaces the more traditional panko for a golden crust. The almond flour not only gives the chicken a toasty flavor and crispy exterior, but also makes the dish gluten-free.

07 of 15

Crispy Chicken and Blue Cheese Salad

Crispy Chicken Blue Cheese Salad
Caitlin Bensel

Here's a secret formula: crispy chicken + green salad = delicious. Fill a plate with greens, dot them with creamy blue cheese, and lay a chicken cutlet on top for an easy, satisfying meal.

RELATED: How to Cook Perfect Chicken Every Time

08 of 15

BBQ Chicken With Slaw

BBQ Chicken with Slaw
Caitlin Bensel

Bone-in, skin-on breasts are the way to go for this recipe, which will bring summer barbecue vibes to your kitchen at any time of year. Store-bought barbecue sauce and shredded coleslaw mix make the process a breeze.

09 of 15

Orange-Chicken Stir-Fry With Rice Noodles

Once you discover how easy it is to make orange chicken at home, you might never order Chinese takeout again. The “orange” part of this orange chicken recipe comes from orange marmalade, which adds the citrus flavor as well as a welcome bitter note to balance the sweet and salty elements. Scrape the pan well when you add the sauce to the chicken so that you can take advantage of any delicious drippings. Noodles offer a fresh take on the classic recipe, but if you prefer white or brown rice, either will work. Get the recipeOrange Chicken Stir-Fry With Rice Noodles. Victor Protasio

Chicken breasts work just as well as chicken thighs in this recipe, which includes a sweet, tangy sauce that's reminiscent of your favorite Chinese takeout. Stick with rice noodles as the base, or try it with white or brown rice.

10 of 15

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Baked Chicken Parmesan
Use thin chicken cutlets and store-bought marinara to shorten your prep time. Get the recipe. Ellie Miller

For a speedy weeknight chicken Parmesan, crank up your oven to 400 degrees and turn to quick-cooking chicken cutlets in pre-made marinara sauce. The result is the same comforting Italian-American dish you know and love.

11 of 15

Crispy Chicken Cutlets With Artichoke Dressing

Crispy Chicken Cutlets With Artichoke Dressing Recipe
Greg DuPree

Instead of pan-frying these cutlets, bake then broil them! You'll save yourself a mess by cooking both the chicken and the asparagus in the oven, and you'll still get super crispy cutlets.

12 of 15

Slow-Cooker Curried Chicken With Ginger and Yogurt

Easy chicken recipes - slow-cooker crock pot Curried Chicken With Ginger and Yogurt
José Picayo

Feel free to swap thighs for breasts in this warming recipe, which comes together in a slow cooker. Disclaimer: this chicken takes three to four hours on high to cook, but the hands-on time is less than 15 minutes. As long as you get started ahead of time, this meal is as easy as can be.

13 of 15

Spicy Grilled Chicken With Shaved Zucchini Salad

Spicy Grilled Chicken With Shaved Zucchini Salad
Jen Causey

This low-effort grilled chicken highlights Aleppo pepper, an earthy, mildly hot spice from Syria. Alongside the chicken is a lemony, herby shaved zucchini salad that offers a bright contrast.

14 of 15

Greek Chicken and Potatoes

Greek Chicken and Potatoes Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

This sheet pan recipe calls for a whole chicken broken down into pieces, but it would work beautifully with all bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts instead. It'll likely take a bit longer than 40 minutes, but it's such an easy, hands-off process that you won't even notice. Bring the flavors of Greece to your table with fresh oregano, lemon, and red onion.

RELATED: The Best Potatoes to Use for Each of Your Favorite Tater Recipes

15 of 15

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken With Coconut Rice

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken with Coconut Rice
Greg DuPree

The spiced yogurt marinade in this recipe not only flavors the meat, but also tenderizes it, resulting in juicy chicken breasts. Coconut rice is the mellow, subtly sweet side the chicken is searching for.

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