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Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Skinless, boneless chicken breast and the seasoning of your choice are all you need for simple and juicy air fryer chicken breast. This is a fast and protein-filled solution to meal prep or a weeknight dinner – made in 20 minutes.

Continue reading for recipe details, cooking tips, reheating/storing info, and more.

sliced chicken breast on cutting board

Chicken breast gets such a bad rap, right? The idea of juicy, white chicken breast over a salad gives us all the warm, healthy fuzzies, but it rarely turns out that way. 

Instead, we endure the dried-out version of our meal prep and make-ahead dinner dreams. No matter how much you dip, sauce, or serve, chicken breast is usually just plain ole miserable. 

If you’re like us, you’ve tried grilling, baking, poaching…and never quite dialed it in. Before you give up and throw in the towel, try this Air Fryer Chicken Breast. This is on a regular rotation in our home and soon it will be for you, too. 

whole chicken breast on cutting board

Just like baked chicken breast, this is a great base for so many dishes. Use this as pre-cooked chicken for chicken noodle soup, chicken divan, or top salads and pasta dishes. This would even work for a healthier version of chicken parmesan.

Want more chicken recipes? Try Balsamic Chicken Breasts or Dutch Oven Roasted Chicken

Since this version of air fryer chicken isn’t breaded, it’s not actually fried. Which means there’s no oil, grease, or mess to clean up afterward. Depending on the seasonings you choose, it’s mostly a “clean eating” recipe.

Boneless Skinless Air Fryer Chicken Breast

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use your favorite seasoning, brine, or marinade. Plus, the flavors can be switched up whenever variation is needed, so there’s no need to suffer through plain-jane chicken anymore!

The flavor and texture are similar to grilled chicken but without the charred flavor. The result of this air fryer version is a slightly crisp outside with a smooth, white, tender texture on the inside. It’s easy, simple, and a practical recipe to keep handy.

How to Cook Chicken in an Air Fryer

In a nutshell, here’s how to air fry chicken:

  1. Marinate or season the chicken accordingly.
  2. After the chicken has marinated, transfer the meat to the basket of your air fryer. 
  3. Set to temp and cook!

With any chicken recipe, a marinade or seasoning is a must. With this recipe, you can use your favorite marinade or seasoning. I’ve listed a couple of ideas (and products) I’ve used below to make this recipe even more fool-proof.

Ingredients and tools for the best air fryer baked chicken recipe:

  • Air Fryer (I like my Ninja Foodi)
  • Tongs
  • Meat thermometer
  • Chicken Breast
  • Seasoning or marinade of your choice (see suggestions below)

Why make this in an air fryer?

If you’re here, you’re already well aware of the qualms with chicken breasts. Chicken breast is known to be dry and bland, which is why an air fryer is a terrific option for preparing chicken.

Air fryers work as small, convection ovens. These appliances use a heating element and a fan to circulate the air around the food, creating an evenly cooked result. The heating element is directly above the food, so it will get a little color, too. 

In turn, meats prepared in air fryers are more tender and juicy than from the grill or a conventional oven.

How to Marinate Chicken Breast

Here are a few wet and dry flavoring ideas for this recipe. Place the chicken breast in a zip-top bag, add the seasoning or marinade and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.

Simple Chicken Marinade

Marinating prevents the meat from drying out and gives it flavor. The same can be achieved with a wet brine. For the simplicity of this recipe, I recommend sticking to a marinade and/or a dry seasoning.

Here are a few really great marinade ideas with suggested times. Most of these are premade and store-bought.

  • Italian dressing. An old reliable option for tender chicken. The oils and vinegars give it a juicy tang in flavor. Marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking, or for up to 3 days.
  • Dale’s Seasoning. This is a liquid marinade that’s a favorite! It’s great on steaks and pork chops, too. Marinate for no more than 15-20 minutes.
  • Lawry’s Bottled Marinades. This brand has many varieties, so pick a flavor that compliments the rest of your meal.

Chicken Seasoning Ideas

These are dry seasonings (also called dry rubs). There’s no “marinating” time for these. Feel free to season ahead of time for slightly more flavor. Seasoning right before they hit the air fryer will still yield a flavorful result.

  • Homemade dry rub. This is my own recipe that I use for chicken wings, brisket, pork chops, or any other grilling meat. It’s a great multi-purpose option.
  • Taco seasoning. A great idea for Mexican flare. Then, shred the chicken and add to tacos or nachos.
  • Salt and pepper. A no-fail classic! This is a great option if you are preparing the chicken to be added to a casserole, like Chicken Divan, or a soup.
  • Seasoned salt. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt is a popular choice. Be cautious with the amount added to the chicken and the salt content.
  • Italian seasoning. Usually a combination of dried oregano, parsley, and marjoram, these dried herbs provide a lot of flavor. A great option for a non-breaded chicken parmesan.

How long to cook chicken breast in an air fryer

The cooking time depends on the size of the chicken breast and the air fryer unit. Generally, an 8-ounce chicken breast takes about 20 minutes to cook at 385F in the air fryer.

sliced chicken breast with whole chicken breast in the background

Tips for Making Air Fryer Chicken

  • Spacing the chicken. Make sure the chicken breasts are not overlapping in the air fryer. Depending on the size of the unit and chicken, most air fryers can hold 2-4 breasts at a time.
  • Use a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer is key to meat that’s cooked perfectly to temperature. Cutting directly into the meat to check for doneness isn’t a sure-fire method and can cause the meat to dry out further.
  • Timing. Depending on the size of the chicken and your unit, it may cook faster or slower than others. A good gauge in temp increase: For my unit, the temperature increases 15 degrees for every five minutes after flipping. 
  • Resting. Just like with most meats, chicken regains its moisture when it rests after cooking. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving or slicing.
  • Flavoring. Adding flavoring to the chicken is key. While brining is a great method for juicy grilled, baked, or smoked chicken, it’s not necessary for this recipe. No brining necessary!

Substitutions, reheating, and storage

  • Reheating: To reheat the chicken, slice or keep whole and microwave at 30 second intervals until warm.
  • Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Make several pieces, shred, and freeze to easily add to soups, casseroles, or pasta dishes.

Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Skinless, boneless chicken breast and the seasoning of your choice are all you need for simple and juicy air fryer chicken breast. This is a fast and protein-filled solution to meal prep or a weeknight dinner.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 8 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Marinade OR 1-3 tablespoons of seasoning see notes for suggestions*

Instructions

  • Season or marinate chicken according to marinade directions. (use 1-3 tablespoons for dry seasoning)
  • Turn the unit on to the air fry setting. Preheat the air fryer to 385F for 5 minutes.
  • Place the chicken in the air fryer basket. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165F with a meat thermometer.*
  • Remove from the air fryer basket and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

Please read the entire post for details, tips, and more!
Serve this with:
White Rice
Mashed Potatoes (IP version here)
Green Beans
other side dishes

Substitutions, reheating, and storage

  • Reheating: To reheat the chicken, slice or keep whole and microwave at 30 second intervals until warm.
  • Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Make several pieces, shred, and freeze to easily add to soups, casseroles, or pasta dishes.

Marinade and Seasoning Suggestions:

– Italian dressing
– Dale’s Seasoning
– Lawry’s bottled marinade
– Homemade dry rub
– Taco seasoning
– Salt and pepper
– Seasoned salt
– Italian seasoning

Tips for Making Air Fryer Chicken

  • Spacing the chicken. Make sure the chicken breasts are not overlapping in the air fryer. Depending on the size of the unit and chicken, most air fryers can hold 2-4 breasts at a time.
  • Use a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer is key to meat that’s cooked perfectly to temperature. Cutting directly into the meat to check for doneness isn’t a sure-fire method and can cause the meat to dry out further.
  • Timing. Depending on the size of the chicken and your unit, it may cook faster or slower than others. A good gauge in temp increase: For my unit, the temperature increases 15 degrees for every five minutes after flipping. 
  • Resting. Just like with most meats, chicken regains its moisture when it rests after cooking. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving or slicing.
  • Flavoring. Adding flavoring to the chicken is key. While brining is a great method for juicy grilled, baked, or smoked chicken, it’s not necessary for this recipe. No brining necessary!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 797kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 43g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 18741mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 16g
Recipe Rating




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