Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast

5 from 7 votes
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Make the BEST air fryer chicken breast in under 25 minutes. It’s tender, juicy, perfectly seasoned, and a great healthy protein for any meal!

Air fried juicy chicken cut on a plate

There is a method of preparing juicy chicken breasts no matter your tools, time, and effort preferences. Slow cooker and Instant Pot chicken breasts are simple set-and-forget methods that use liquid for super juicy but not crispy breasts. Meanwhile, oven-baked chicken breasts combine a crisp, golden exterior and tender, succulent middle in under an hour. Now, though, you can achieve the same results in a fraction of the time with this air fryer chicken breast recipe.

Cooking chicken breast in an air fryer requires just minutes of hands-on prep, a handful of simple, inexpensive, pantry-friendly ingredients, and less than 25 minutes of your time to get perfectly tender chicken every time (definitely no rubbery or dry chicken here!).

Best of all, it’s super versatile – both in the seasonings and marinades you can use and the many ways to serve this meal-prep-friendly, delicious protein. My love for air fryer chicken recipes doesn’t stop here, either. Check my blog for air-fried wings, thighs, tenders, and whole chicken.

Cooked chicken breasts in an air fryer

Top Tips for Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Follow just a few tips for the best chicken breasts that are lightly caramelized and crisp outside but tender and juicy in the middle.

  • For the juiciest chicken, brine it: this step isn’t necessary, but brining helps to lock in all the juices to achieve the juiciest meat in a high-heat, liquid-free cooking method.
  • Use a little oil: This helps the seasoning adhere while also locking in all the juices in the chicken and helping create a crispier exterior.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket: Otherwise, it won’t cook evenly or crisp up outside. Cook in batches if necessary.
  • Be careful not to overcook the meat: Otherwise, it can become tough and dry. An instant-read thermometer is a great way to monitor the meat, especially as the size of the chicken pieces and the air fryer model can affect the cooking time. It needs to reach 165°F/74ºC to be safe to eat.
  • Experiment with seasonings and marinades: With this tried-and-tested method helping to achieve the perfect air-fried chicken breast every time, feel free to experiment with different ways to flavor the meat.
  • Allow the chicken to rest: All you need is 5-8 minutes, but during this time, the juices will distribute throughout the meat and settle so they don’t flow out when you cut into the meat.

The Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

  • Chicken breasts: I use boneless skinless chicken breasts of a similar size (for even cooking). You can use skin-on chicken if preferred. If using frozen chicken, ensure it’s fully defrosted first.
  • Olive oil: Alternatively, avocado oil or melted butter will work.
  • Seasonings: You only need a few pantry staples:
    • Garlic powder,
    • Onion powder,
    • Sweet paprika (or smoked paprika),
    • Dried oregano (or Italian seasoning),
    • Salt (omit if brining the chicken first),
    • Black pepper.
Ingredients for air fryer chicken breasts

Optionally, add a small amount of brown sugar for extra caramelization and color and/or cayenne pepper for some heat. Alternatively, use other seasonings like lemon pepper, taco seasoning, chicken seasoning, etc.

How to Cook Chicken Breast in Air Fryer

Here is how to air fry chicken breast in just a few low-fuss, simple steps.

Prepare the Chicken Breasts

For the absolute juiciest results, optionally start by brining the chicken as I do in my oven-baked chicken breast recipe.

First, preheat the air fryer to 375ºF/190ºC. In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings.

If any of the chicken breasts are of a different thickness, use a meat pounder or rolling pin to an even thickness. Place the breasts between two layers of plastic wrap or in a Ziplock bag to avoid splattering raw chicken germs.

Then, pat the breasts with paper towels before rubbing the seasoning all over the meat and gently brushing them with olive oil.

Steps for preparing chicken for air frying

Place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer, with some space in between (no overlapping).

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast in Air Fryer?

Air fry the chicken at 375ºF/190ºC until tender and juicy.

The exact time to air fry chicken breast depends on the size and thickness of the meat.

  • Small (5-7 oz): 7-10 minutes,
  • Medium (8-10 oz): 10-12 minutes,
  • Large (11 oz +): 12-16 minutes.

Make sure to flip the breasts once halfway for even cooking.

Before and after air frying chicken breasts

To ensure the chicken is properly cooked, insert a thermometer into the thickest part. The internal temperature must reach 165ºF/74ºC to be safe. To avoid overcooked, dry chicken, cook it to 160ºF/71ºC. The residual heat will bring it above 165ºF while it rests.

Once cooked, let the chicken rest for 5-8 minutes, loosely tented with foil. This will allow the juices to redistribute and settle for the juiciest air fryer boneless chicken breast. Slice and enjoy!

Cooked juicy chicken straight out of the air fryer

Ways to Serve

Air-fried chicken breast is a super versatile, all-purpose protein you can easily add to heaps of meals, whether whole, sliced, or shredded. Some great accompaning options include:

You can also slice or shred the flavorful meat to use in wraps, sandwiches, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, pasta dishes, over pizza, in casseroles, etc.

Air fried juicy chicken cut on a plate

More Air Fryer Recipes

If you try this boneless chicken breast in air fryer recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast

5 from 7 votes
By: Samira
Make the BEST air fryer chicken breast in under 25 minutes. It's tender, juicy, perfectly seasoned, and a great healthy protein for any meal!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients 
 

  • 20 oz chicken breasts 3 medium-large; boneless skinless breasts of a similar size
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or Italian Seasoning/another dried herb
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions 

  • For the absolute juiciest results, optionally start by brining the chicken breasts.
    Preheat the air fryer to 375ºF/190ºC. In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings.
  • If any of the chicken breasts are of a different thickness, use a meat pounder or rolling pin to an even thickness. Place the breasts between two layers of plastic wrap or in a Ziplock bag to avoid splattering raw chicken germs.
  • Pat the breasts with paper towels before rubbing the seasoning all over the meat and gently brushing them with olive oil.
  • Place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer, with some space in between (no overlapping).
  • Air fry at 375ºF/190ºC until tender and juicy. The exact time to air fry depends on the size and thickness of the meat.
    Small (5-7oz): 7-10 minutes
    Medium (8-10 oz): 10-12 minutes
    Large (11 oz +): 12-16 minutes
    Make sure to flip the breasts once halfway for even cooking.
    To ensure the chicken is properly cooked, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. The internal temperature must reach 165ºF/74ºC to be safe to eat. To avoid overcooked, dry chicken, I recommend cooking it to 160ºF/71ºC. The residual heat will bring it above 165ºF while it rests.
  • Once cooked, let the chicken rest for 5-8 minutes, loosely tented with foil. This will allow the juices to redistribute and settle. Slice and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Can I use frozen chicken breasts? While the results won’t be as juicy, it’s possible. Rub the oil and seasoning blend over the meat and then air fry for about 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s properly cooked (to 165ºF/74ºC).
Do I have to brine air fried chicken breasts? If you have the time, brining will help to achieve the juiciest meat, but it’s not a step you HAVE to complete to achieve tender and juicy results.
Storage Instructions
Refrigerator: Allow the meat to cool and then store it in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Never leave the chicken for longer than 2 hours at room temperature.
Freezer: Store in freezer-safe Ziplocks (in portions) for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using/reheating.
Reheat: Either reheat in the air fryer for several minutes, pan-fry, or add to a skillet with a splash of broth for the juiciest results.
Check the blog post for serving suggestions!
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Global
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 121mg, Sodium: 514mg, Potassium: 451mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 502IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 36mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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