Air fryer chicken breasts are quick to make, delicious and healthy. With the air fryer, you can achieve the perfect flavorful chicken breasts with a slightly crispy exterior, all while keeping the inside juicy and tender.
Why Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
If you are looking for a healthy and delicious way to cook chicken breast, then you should definitely try using an air fryer. This air fry chicken breast recipe is perfect for busy weeknights or when you’re craving something flavorful but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.
- HEALTHY – Air fryers use circulating hot air to cook, which means you can enjoy a crispy and juicy chicken breast without the added calories of traditional frying methods. Chicken breast is already a lean protein, but cooking it in an air fryer ensures that you are not adding any extra oils or fats to your meal.
- DELICIOUS – The air fryer creates perfectly cooked chicken with a slightly crispy outside and tender and juicy inside.
- FAST – All you need are 20 minutes to cook a delicious tender piece of chicken that can be used in salads, on pasta, or with an easy side like crispy potatoes. You’ll have a delicious and healthy meal on the table in no time!
- VERSATILE – In addition to being a healthier option, air fryer chicken breast is also incredibly versatile. You can season it with your favorite herbs and spices, or marinate it in your favorite sauce for added flavor.
Air Fryer Chicken Recipe Ingredients
With just a few simple ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store, you can make a delicious and healthy meal.
Here’s what you’ll need with the full ingredient details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post:
- CHICKEN BREASTS – It is important to use chicken breasts that are the same size to ensure that they cook evenly. You can use a meat mallet to pound them to an even thickness if needed.
- OLIVE OIL – The olive oil helps to keep the chicken moist and adds flavor.
- SPICES – The dried thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper are all seasonings that will give the chicken a delicious taste.
HELPFUL TIP: Make sure to mix the seasonings together in a small bowl before adding them to the chicken. This will ensure that the spices are evenly distributed.
Choosing the Right Chicken
USE FRESH CHICKEN – Always choose fresh chicken breast. Frozen chicken breast may contain ice crystals that can affect the texture and flavor of your plain chicken breasts.
Boneless and skinless chicken breasts are the best for air frying. They cook more evenly and quickly, and you won’t have to worry about removing the skin or bones before cooking.
SAME SIZE IF POSSIBLE – Choose chicken breasts that are similar in size so that they cook evenly. Aim for chicken breasts that are around 6-8 ounces each.
CHECK EXPIRY DATE – Look for chicken breasts that are pink and firm to the touch. Avoid chicken that has a grayish tint or feels slimy.
It’s so easy to change up the flavor of your chicken breasts in the air fryer! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- CHICKEN MARINADE – Marinate chicken breasts using one of our popular recipes overnight, then air fry for delicious tender flavor.
- PARMESAN CHICKEN – We used this flavor in our delicious parmesan chicken legs. Mix together grated parmesan cheese, paprika, and onion powder. Coat the chicken breasts in the mixture before air frying.
- SWEET AND SPICY – Combine brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce to make a glaze for the chicken. Brush the glaze onto the chicken breasts before air frying, and then again halfway through.
- BARBECUE FLAVOR – Rub the chicken breasts with a mixture of onion powder, paprika, and thyme. Brush on barbecue sauce just before cooking, and then again halfway through.
- HONEY GINGER – Whisk together grated ginger, soy sauce, honey, and vinegar. Marinate the chicken breasts in the mixture for at least 30 minutes before air frying.
- BANG BANG CHICKEN – Coat the chicken breasts in panko bread crumbs before air frying. Mix together Greek yogurt, hot sauce, and honey. Serve with the yogurt sauce on the side.
How To Air Fry Chicken Breasts
Here’s a quick overview of how to make air fryer chicken breasts, with the full instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post:
- PREHEAT – Preheat your air fryer to 375°F for 5 minutes.
- PREP – Mix together the olive oil, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Drizzle over the chicken breasts and rub in.
- COOK – Place the chicken breasts in the air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure they are not touching. Cook for 18-20 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through.
- LET SIT – Let the chicken breasts rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Helpful Tip: Check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts using an instant-read thermometer. The temperature should reach 165°F to ensure they are fully cooked.
Storing and Reheating
After air frying chicken you may have some leftovers that you want to store for later. Here are some tips on how to store and reheat your chicken breast properly:
- REFRIGERATE – Let the chicken cool completely to room temperature before storing it. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
- TO FREEZE – I love to batch prep a larger amount of chicken and freeze half for future meals! You can wrap the cooled chicken tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place in a large freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. It can last up to four months in the freezer.
- TO THAW – Thaw frozen chicken breasts before reheating. You can let it thaw in the fridge overnight or pop it back in the air fryer at 350°F for a few minutes until thawed. Another quick way to thaw is to place chicken in a plastic bag in a bowl of cold water until it’s thawed.
- TO REHEAT – Once your chicken breast is thawed or if it has been in the fridge, you can reheat it in the air fryer for a few minutes at 350°F. You can also reheat it in the microwave or oven. Make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F before eating.
What are some tips for cooking chicken breast in an air fryer?
- PREHEAT AIR FRYER – It is important to preheat your air fryer before cooking chicken breast. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and is crispy on the outside.
- SEASON CHICKEN – Do not cook the chicken without first adding spices or marinating! Season your chicken breast with your favorite spices and herbs. This will add flavor to your chicken and make it much more delicious.
- USE COOKING SPRAY – Some air fryer baskets may need a quick coat of nonstick cooking spray. To prevent your chicken from sticking to the air fryer basket, spray it with cooking spray before placing the chicken in the basket.
- SINGLE LAYER – Avoid overcrowding the fryer basket, as this can cause uneven cooking. Place each chicken breast in a singer layer where they don’t touch each other. Cook in separate batches if you need to.
- FLIP CHICKEN HALFWAY – Flip your chicken breast halfway through the cooking process to ensure that it is cooked evenly on both sides. If you have thicker chicken breasts, increase the cooking time by a few minutes.
- USE MEAT THERMOMETER – To ensure that your chicken is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should reach 165°F.
- LET IT REST – After cooking, let your chicken breast rest for a few minutes before slicing it. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make your chicken more tender and juicy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take a chicken breast to cook in an air fryer?
The cooking time for chicken breast in an air fryer will depend on the thickness of the meat. Generally, it takes about 20-30 minutes to cook a chicken breast in an air fryer.
However, it is important to use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165°F.
Can you put raw chicken in an air fryer?
Yes absolutely! You can put raw chicken in an air fryer, just make sure it is fully cooked before you take it out and eat.
How do you keep chicken breast from drying out in an air fryer?
Two things can help with this. First, marinate the chicken in a flavorful sauce. This will help to create more tender chicken meat.
Second, avoid overcooking the chicken. You can use a meat thermometer to check this. Poke it into the middle of the chicken for a proper reading.
Lastly, let the chicken rest on a plate for 5 minutes to allow the internal juices to circulate.
What To Serve With
Here are some delicious and easy side dishes that will complement your chicken perfectly:
- ROASTED VEGETABLES – Roasting vegetables in the oven or air fryer is a great way to add some color and nutrition to your plate. Try roasting some cabbage steaks, lemon parmesan broccoli, buffalo cauliflower bites, easy healthy green beans, crispy carrots or brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and black pepper to create a tasty and healthy side dish.
- SALADS – A fresh and simple salad is a perfect side dish for your air fryer chicken breast. Try our beautiful quinoa salad (great for meal prep). Toss some baby spinach leaves with fresh berries for a yummy strawberry spinach salad, or keep it simple with an easy greek side salad.
- MASHED POTATOES – Mashed sweet potatoes are a delicious and healthy alternative to regular mashed potatoes. Simply boil some sweet potatoes, mash them with a fork, and add a pinch of salt and black pepper for a flavorful side dish.
- RICE – There are so many ways to create rice with incredible flavor. Check out our 8 easy rice recipes blog post for some ideas.
- LEFTOVERS – Add cooked chicken breasts to some of our favorite recipes including taco chicken salad, topped on this popular sweet potato taco bowl, or make a casserole like our chicken broccoli rice bake.
In just 20 minutes, you can have a juicy and flavorful chicken breast that’s tender and juicy on the inside. Using an air fryer is a great way to cook chicken breasts as it ensures they are cooked evenly and quickly.
Consider this the perfect base recipe to serve alongside salads, rice, veggies and more! It’s great for meal prep too. A batch of cooked chicken breasts can be sliced and frozen or prepped for healthy lunches.
Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
- Heat the air fryer at 375℉ for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, dried thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix everything together.
- Add two chicken breasts and toss with the seasonings, spreading it on to both sides.
- Add the chicken to the preheated air fryer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Flip and cook for 10 minutes more, or until the chicken is fully cooked and reaches an internal temperature of 165℉ when poked in the center with a meat thermometer. Remove and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes to allow juices to circulate. Serve and enjoy.