It’s the chick’n you’ve been missin’: Air Fryer Chicken Breast.

Healthy air fryer chicken breast on a plate

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Seasoned outside and tender inside, this juicy chicken breast defies the (often justified) stereotypes that come along with boneless, skinless chicken breast—namely that it is rubbery, dry, bland, and something to be eaten out of an obligation to be “healthy,” versus actual craving.

As I shared with my go-to, melt-in-your-mouth tender Baked Chicken Breast, Grilled Chicken Breast, and Baked Bone In Chicken Breast, it doesn’t have to be this way!

With one simple tip, you can transform your chicken breast into a juicy, versatile protein that is ideal for keeping on hand for fast, healthy meals throughout the week.

  • This guide will tell you how to make sure your air fryer chicken turns out juicy, not dry.
  • You can rub the chicken with any of your favorite herbs and seasonings (I’ve included my go-to blend below).
  • This is air fryer chicken with no breading (but if you prefer a crispy breading texture, try Air Fryer Fried Chicken Breast). It’s my favorite to meal prep, because it is so versatile. You can add it hot or cold to salads, wraps, sandwiches, and more.
Two chicken breasts in an air fryer

Using the Air Fryer for Chicken

Ever since getting my air fryer a few months ago, I’ve become hooked.

An air fryer is a high-powered, countertop convection oven that blows hot air down and around the food to cook it. It’s more versatile than I expected!

You can use an air fryer to…

Since chicken breast is lean, it benefits from high-temperature baking for a shorter period of time, and the air fryer offers it in spades.

After testing a variety of temperatures, I found that 375 degrees F is the best temperature for air frying chicken.

Because the air fryer uses convection heat, you do not need to set it as high as you would an oven (in a regular oven, 425 degrees F is best for baking chicken, like Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast).

A sliced air fryer chicken breast

How to Cook Juicy Chicken in the Air Fryer

My #1 secret to juicy chicken breast is brining.

Even just 30 minutes of brining can make a massive difference in your results.

Tip!

  • Brining is the process of salting meat and letting it rest prior to cooking.
  • During brining, the meat absorbs extra liquid and salt. The salt flavors the meat all the way through, so your chicken tastes completed seasoned, versus seasoned outside and bland inside. The liquid helps keep it moist.
  • You can use a wet brine (saltwater solution) or a dry brine (sprinkling the meat with salt). Personally, I prefer a dry brine because it is less messy.

My other secret to juicy chicken is DO NOT OVERCOOK THE CHICKEN BREAST. I really cannot overstate this.

If your air fryer chicken breast is dry, it is mostly likely because you overcooked it.

  • Use an inexpensive instant read thermometer to check for doneness.
  • Chicken is considered cooked at 165 degrees F.
  • I typically remove my chicken around 155 to 160 degrees F. During the resting period, the carryover cooking will bring the chicken to temperature and make it safe to eat.

How Long to Cook Chicken in the Air Fryer

The amount of time it takes to cook chicken in an air fryer will vary based on the size of your chicken breasts.

  • Small Breasts (5 to 7 ounces): 7 to 10 minutes
  • Medium Breasts (8 to 10 ounces): 10 to 12 minutes
  • Large Breasts (11 ounces or more): 12 to 16 minutes

You do need to flip the chicken halfway through cooking to ensure it cooks evenly.

Two air fryer chicken breasts with seasoning

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken

Ready to make the melt-in-your-mouth tender chicken? Let’s do it!


The Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts. Despite their reputation for being dry and boring, chicken breasts can truly shine when prepared correctly. Not only are these air fryer chicken breasts tender and succulent, but they’re also packed with lean protein and vitamins.
  • Olive Oil. A little olive oil helps the seasonings adhere to the chicken breasts and keeps them moist.
  • Seasoning Blend. While there are endless options for how to season your chicken breasts, my favorite mixture is paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. It’s flavorful, versatile, and delish!

Spice Things Up!

For a spicy air fryer chicken, add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper to your seasoning blend.

The Directions

  1. Lightly pound the chicken on a cutting board.
  2. Season the chicken with salt, then refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Let the chicken come to room temperature.
Two raw pieces of meat in a bowl
  1. Stir the spice mixture together.
  2. In a bowl, combine the chicken, olive oil, and spice mixture.
Two raw pieces of meat in a basket
  1. Cook the chicken (smooth side down) at 375 degrees F for 6 minutes.
  2. Flip the chicken over. Cook for 2 to 8 more minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then ENJOY!

Using Frozen Chicken Breast

Yes, you put raw frozen chicken in the air fryer!

You won’t be able to brine it first or pound it to an even thickness (so the results are not *as* juicy) but if you forget to thaw your chicken, it’s a great option to have on hand.

  • To Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees F. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season as desired. Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick spray then air fry the chicken for 18 to 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Air fryer chicken breast on a plate with broccoli and rice

Ways to Use Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Once you’ve made your chicken in the air fryer, here are some tasty ways to use it:

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate chicken breasts in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm chicken in the air fryer or oven at 350 degrees F. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Leftover Ideas

Dice air fryer chicken breast to serve over your favorite green salads, like this Spinach Strawberry Salad, fold it into a wrap (like these Thai Peanut Wraps), or shred it to fold into a simple Crustless Quiche.

Air fryer chicken breast with rice and broccoli

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Air Fryer

This larger size is great for cooking batches of crispy French fries, chicken, salmon, veggies, and more!

Healthy air fryer chicken breast on a plate

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Buh-byeeee bland. Hello, crave-worthy air fryer chicken breast!

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Healthy air fryer chicken breast on a plate

Air Fryer Chicken Breast

5 from 11 votes
The BEST juicy air fryer chicken breast. Golden outside, moist and tender inside and seasoned to perfection. Enjoy on its own or use for meal prep.

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 48 mins

Servings: 2 chicken breasts

Ingredients
  

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with a large sheet of plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, meat mallet, or your palm, lightly pound into an even thickness.
  • To Dry Brine*: Place the chicken on a plate and sprinkle all over with the kosher salt. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day—if you will not be dry brining, skip this step.
  • When ready to air fry: remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper (if you did not dry brine the chicken, add the salt now)
  • Place the chicken in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the top. Toss to coat the chicken, ensuring you rub the spices evenly over both sides.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F (my model takes 3 minutes to heat). Place the chicken presentation side (smooth side) down in the air fryer and let cook 6 minutes.
  • Remove the air fryer basket, then with tongs, carefully flip the chicken over. Continue cooking until the chicken registers between 155 and 160 degrees F, 2 to 8 minutes more. Chicken is considered safe to eat at 165 degrees F, but I like to remove mine a few degrees early, then let the carryover cooking finish the job. The total cook time will vary based on your model and the size of your chicken. Smaller breasts (about 6 ounces each) will need only around 8 minutes total; larger ones may need 14 or more. Check the chicken often towards the end to monitor its progress. DO NOT overcook or it will be dry.
  • Remove the chicken to a plate. Cover and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

  • *While dry brining isn’t 100% mandatory (the spices, cooking temperature, and cook times listed in this recipe are still correct for the best air fryer chicken breasts), brining works magic on meat. It improves its texture (it makes it juicy, plump, and meaty, not rubbery) and its flavor, because the meat will taste more seasoned all the way through, not just on the outside. If you have time for brining, I highly recommend it.
  • This is the air fryer I used for testing. Total cook time may vary based on your model.
  • No air fryer? Make my juicy Baked Chicken Breast instead.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken breasts in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm chicken in the air fryer or oven at 350 degrees F. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1small, 6-ounce chicken breast (of 2)Calories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 36gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgPotassium: 670mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 545IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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23 Comments

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  1. will be making this soon can i use mushrooms or tofu as am a vegan can i use oven as i dont have air fryer at home perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. Hi Ramya! Since this recipe was developed for chicken breast, I can’t recommend swapping either of those ingredients. I’d suggest trying my Grilled Portobello Mushrooms or Crispy Tofu instead. I hope this helps!

      1. Oops ok i will try the mushrooms and tofu instead will dm you if i make them and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

  2. Oh my, Erin promised juicy chicken breast and she delivered!. The best ever! The only way to make chicken breast.5 stars

  3. I’m a big fan of the air fryer, and this recipe showed why. I do think it’s a juicer way of making chicken breast.5 stars

  4. I tried this recipe for the first time tonight and it will not be the last. The chicken was cooked perfectly and not too dry! It was so delicious, the whole family loved it! Thanks Erin!5 stars

  5. This one has blown my mind. I can not get over how good this chicken is, even sliced up and cold! I’ve made it twice now and each time I should have made more for leftovers. I don’t know if it is the brine or the air fryer but the combination is insanely good and easy!!! Thanks Erin!5 stars

  6. Thank goodness for this recipe! My chicken breast whether fried, baked or air fried always came out “chewy” not tender. I followed your instructions and the chicken breast were tender and so delicious. Thank you so much!5 stars

  7. I made this chicken twice and it is awesome!! I used Montreal Chicken seasoning by Grill Mates the first time and Kickin’ Chicken by Weber the second time. I use the leftovers to make chicken salad for lunches. It is amazing!

    Thanks for the great recipe!5 stars

  8. Winner…winner chicken dinner. I made the air fryer chicken bone-in without brining because we started dinner late. The chicken’s juiciness was incredible. The seasonings were spot on too. We added a salad and dinner was done. Erin, this is another awesome recipe. Sooo glad I found you🐓💖5 stars