How Long to Cook Chicken at 400

Are you curious about how long it takes to cook chicken at 400 degrees while retaining its delicious moisture? In this article, we will offer some valuable tips for cooking both defrosted and frozen chicken at a higher temperature, ensuring a quicker meal preparation without compromising on taste.

Fear not, cooking chicken at 400 degrees is not only a time-efficient method, but it can also create delectably moist chicken with crispy skin. This approach works well for various chicken cuts, whether starting from defrosted or frozen. Now let’s explore some handy tips for perfecting this cooking technique.

Key Takeaways

  • Cooking chicken at 400 degrees saves time while preserving moisture
  • This method works for both frozen and defrosted cuts of chicken
  • Useful tips will help achieve a juicy interior and crispy skin

How to Properly Bake Frozen Chicken at 400°F

In order to achieve a tender and juicy texture while cooking frozen chicken, it’s best to begin at a lower temperature, such as 350°F, and gradually increase it to 400°F. This process works well for all types of chicken pieces, including breasts, wings, thighs, and drumsticks. To ensure that your frozen chicken cooks evenly and thoroughly, you should increase the cooking time by 50% longer than if the chicken were fresh or thawed.

Here are some helpful tips for baking frozen chicken at 400°F:

  • Keep the chicken pieces separated or in a single layer to ensure even cooking.
  • For added flavor, consider brushing some teriyaki or barbecue sauce on the chicken during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the chicken’s internal temperature – it should reach 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

Regardless of the chicken piece you’re cooking, there are various methods for achieving optimal results, such as:

  • Oven-baked frozen chicken breasts: A popular choice, brushing the chicken with your favorite sauce during the final minutes adds extra flavor.
  • Frozen chicken wings in the oven: These can turn out delicious and are a crowd favorite.
  • Baking a whole frozen chicken: Yes, you can cook an entire frozen chicken in the oven to tender perfection!
  • Cooking frozen chicken thighs: Follow the guidance for proper cooking time to achieve perfectly cooked thighs.
  • Baking drumsticks: Both frozen and thawed drumsticks can be cooked to a tender and juicy finish.

As an alternative, an Instant Pot can make the process even faster, cooking frozen chicken in less than 30 minutes.

Remember to always follow proper cooking times and check the chicken’s internal temperature to avoid undercooked or overcooked meat, resulting in a delicious and safe-to-eat meal.

What Cooking Method Keeps Chicken Moist

To make sure your chicken turns out juicy and tender, consider using some of these techniques when you’re baking, using an air fryer, pressure cooking, or grilling:

  • Brining poultry: Soaking chicken in a brine solution before cooking helps the meat retain moisture. The salt in the solution breaks down proteins in the meat, allowing it to absorb more water and stay moist during the cooking process.
  • Using marinades: A flavorful liquid or sauce can help keep chicken moist and tender. The acid in the marinade, such as lemon juice, helps tenderize the meat and prevents it from drying out.
  • Basting: Keeping the chicken moist during cooking can be achieved by basting it with its own juices or a flavorful liquid. Use a spoon or basting brush to coat the chicken every 15-20 minutes while it’s cooking.
  • Covering with foil: To trap moisture and prevent it from evaporating, cover the top of your dish with foil or a lid during cooking. Remove the cover during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking to allow the chicken skin to brown.

While using these techniques, it’s essential to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken to prevent overcooking. This can cause the meat to become dry and tough. When cooking chicken, use an instant-read thermometer to check its internal temperature and make sure it’s cooked to the proper level without overdoing it. Keep an eye on the thickness of the chicken, as thicker pieces may require longer cooking times. By applying these methods, you can consistently achieve delicious, moist, and tender chicken dishes.

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast at 400

Cooking chicken breasts at 400°F (205°C) requires attention to a few key factors, such as the size, bone content, and thickness of the pieces. Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts typically need around 20-25 minutes of cooking time.
    • Bone-in chicken breasts might require an extra 5-10 minutes, making the total cooking time 25-35 minutes.
  • Other bone-in pieces, such as drumsticks or thighs, usually take about 30-35 minutes to cook.
  • Chicken leg quarters and baked chicken wings often need 35-40 minutes to reach the desired level of browning.

To ensure even cooking, remember these tips:

  • Place the chicken pieces in a single layer on your baking sheet.
  • Flip the pieces over halfway through the cooking process to brown both sides.
  • If you’re adding sauce, do so during the last 10 minutes to allow it to caramelize on top.

Using a meat thermometer is essential to check for doneness. Insert it into the thickest part of the chicken, making sure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C), which is the safe minimum for poultry.

Bear in mind that factors like the size of the pieces and your oven’s heat distribution can affect the cooking time. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your chicken and adjust as needed, starting with the minimum suggested cooking time.

Best Method for Preparing 400-Degree Chicken

If you’re looking to cook chicken at 400 degrees, you have a variety of options depending on your desired taste and texture. It’s important to choose a cooking method that suits your preferences and aligns with the specific cut of chicken you have.

  1. Air Frying Chicken: For a deliciously crispy outer texture, air frying is your best option. This method ensures maximum crunchiness, making it a popular choice.
  2. Roasting: Make sure to preheat your oven before roasting chicken. By placing the chicken in a roasting pan and cooking at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes per pound, you can preserve the juiciness of the meat.
  3. Baking: To bake the chicken, place it in a baking dish and cook it for about 25-30 minutes at 400°F. You can also add vegetables to the sheet pan for a complete one-pan meal.
  4. Grilling: Preheat your grill to 400°F, and then grill frozen boneless chicken breasts or fresh bone-in breasts for about 10-12 minutes per side.
  5. Cast Iron Chicken: Sear the chicken on both sides using a large skillet on high heat. Once it’s golden brown, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake at 400°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Don’t forget to add some flavor to your chicken! Season it with a combination of herbs such as thyme, Italian seasoning, and pepper. You can also use olive oil, lemon, and different marinades for a delightful taste. With these cooking methods and flavorings, you’ll enjoy a perfectly cooked, moist, and appetizing chicken dish.

How Long to Cook Chicken at 400

Another way to cook chicken
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 312 kcal


  • 2-4 pcs. chicken thawed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. After rinsing the chicken, pat it dry to eliminate excess moisture. Combine the spices, herbs, and salt in a dish. Brush the chicken with olive oil on all sides, then season it with the spice mixture.
  • Place the chicken in a baking dish coated with non-stick spray, cover the top with foil, and put it in the oven for the times specified below:
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: ~20 - 25 minutes
  • Bone-in chicken breasts: ~25 - 30 minutes
  • Chicken legs/thighs: ~30 - 35 minutes
  • Chicken quarters: ~35 - 40 minutes
  • Chicken wings: ~35 - 40 minutes
  • Halfway through the cooking time, flip the chicken pieces and remove the foil. If you want to add sauce, brush some on during the last 10 minutes without the foil cover.
  • At the end of cooking time, check that the thickest part of the chicken has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F.


Calories: 312kcal
Keyword how long to cook chicken at 400
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Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should Chicken Breasts Cook at 400°F?

Cooking chicken breasts at 400°F typically takes around 22-25 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the breasts. To ensure they are thoroughly cooked, use a meat thermometer, and make sure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

What is the Cooking Time for Chicken Thighs at 400°F?

Chicken thighs usually take around 35-40 minutes to cook at 400°F. Ensure that they are fully cooked by checking if their internal temperature reaches 165°F with a meat thermometer.

Is it Better to Cook Chicken Covered or Uncovered?

It depends on the desired outcome. If you want the chicken to be crispy on the outside, cook it uncovered. If you prefer the chicken to be tender and juicy, cover it with aluminum foil or cook it in a covered dish.

How Long Does it Take to Cook a Whole Chicken at 400°F?

A whole chicken typically takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook at 400°F. The exact time may vary depending on the size of the chicken. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Is Cooking Chicken at 400°F or 425°F Better?

Both cooking temperatures can produce excellent results. Cooking at 400°F allows for more even cooking, while 425°F can yield a crispier skin if you’re using a roasting method. Adjust the temperature based on your desired outcome and specific recipe.

What is the Ideal Oven Temperature for Cooking Chicken Breast?

The ideal oven temperature for cooking chicken breast is around 350°F to 400°F. This temperature range ensures even cooking and moist, tender meat. Always verify that the internal temperature has reached 165°F with a meat thermometer before serving.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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