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.

Chicken Cuts

If you prefer the darker meat of chicken thighs while wanting that juicy-inside, crispy-outside texture, definitely try this Air Fryer Chicken Thighs recipe!

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.

Chicken Marinade

If you prefer a different flavor profile to your chicken, you could try a marinade. For a more in-depth look at the importance of marinating and the different components of a marinade, see my best-ever Chicken Marinade post and recipe.

This Chicken Thigh Marinade is another favorite that you could use to marinate the chicken in this recipe too.

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

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

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

4.89 from 36 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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  1. The chicken came out sooooo very nicely. I was making it for my sons lunch. After chicken was done he said “wow I’m excited for my lunch tomorrow!!”
    Thanks for the recipe. It was my first meat done in our new air fryer!!!!5 stars

  2. Okay I never comment on recipes which I suppose is a bit unfair of me apologies but it is a truth I don’t normally comment on recipes unless I have like a question about it and even then almost never. Which is a really bad introduction for this comment when really what I want to say is that for the first time in 53 years of my life I love chicken breast because of this recipe! Simple, quick, perfect and delicious – you were not kidding! Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Gary! This is air fried. It’s not mentioned because the air fryer I use doesn’t have all of the other settings you are referring to. All of my air fryer recipes will be cooked air fried. Hope this helps!

    1. hi! i did not have to brine but i made sure to pound the chicken to equal thickness and let them come to room temp (about 30+ mins). they were so juicy that it overflowed my cutting board as they rested; the juices flowed out of the holes where i inserted my instant read thermometer.5 stars

  3. The never ending array pop up ads is very distracting and do not give a positive impression of your web site. Why make it so hard?

    I will try the recipe.

    1. Hi Doug, I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster plus a print button so you can have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

  4. Wonderful! Didn’t know chicken could be this juicy! Didn’t brine and it was still great! Agree with comments about ads.5 stars

    1. Hi Carol, so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster plus a print button so you can have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Mariann, I’m confused because I see it on my end. The full recipe with the measurements was right in the recipe card above the area where you commented. There is also a “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page as well to help get you to the recipe card faster. Can you please double check? Thanks!

  5. I made this tonight and nowhere in your recipe does it say to wash off the brine before cooking. I did the dry brine then put the seasoning on and cooked it in the air fryer. It came out way too salty. You need to revise your recipe to include this step or you will ruin your chicken.2 stars

    1. Hi Russ, it’s not necessary to wash off the brine. Did you use kosher salt as stated in the recipe?

    2. Did you add extra salt when seasoning? Because it is not included in the seasonings after. I think the amount of salt you used may have just been user error.5 stars

      1. Thank you Lola! I think the issue tends to be is that I always use kosher salt (as stated in the recipe) and most people use table salt. Table salt is a finer grain, so if using it, it’s actually way more salt then what the recipe calls for.

  6. I didn’t brine the chicken because I didn’t have time, but it still turned out incredibly tender and juicy. I will try brining the next time and I’m sure it will be even better. The spices are spot-on. I added 1 tsp smoked paprika for a smoked flavor and the color. This recipe is a keeper! Thank you very much for sharing it!5 stars

  7. Made this for a salad topping tonight. Delish! It took about 13 minutes @375’ Turned off AF but left chicken in AF closed for 5 minutes. So moist and perfect flavor. I did not brine, but I did flatten so it was all the same thickness. After dinner I instantly placed this on my Pinterest board. Loved it will make again (and probably again)!5 stars

  8. My first time ever using my new Instant Pot Duo Air Fryer was to make a couple pieces of chicken for a recipe. Wow, the chicken was amazingly juicy but with a crisp skin (it was bone-in, skin-on chicken breast half and thigh). I cooked it initially at 400 degrees since it had the bones in, 10 minutes. It wasn’t quite browned so I left it in, skin down, for another 5 minutes at 400. Perfect! Thank you for helping me have a great first effort with my IP Duo!5 stars

  9. We loved this chicken- it was so moist, flavorful and easy! The video was great!
    Thank you for making my first air fryer meal a success- I can’t wait to make it again!5 stars

  10. I’m a bit nervous but have tried your other recipes with much success. I sliced my chicken length wise and pounded it. I didn’t measure the salt but sprinkled each breast on both sides. I hope it’s not too thin now and I didn’t over salt!! I will be back.5 stars

  11. This recipe made me look like a rockstar! My chicken was thin but moist and delicious. I used McCormick Monterey Grill Seasoning. Served it with Roasted Brussel Sprouts and sweet potato wedges… It was slightly salty to me but shame on me for not measuring my salt. I’m not a salt user so a slight bit can seem much to me…

    Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Mary! Thanks for reporting back and so glad you enjoyed it! Did you use kosher salt? You can always adjust the seasonings based on your taste! Thanks!

  12. Be careful how much salt you use for the dry brine! I sprinkled over each breast as stated and let it sit in the fridge for about 45 minutes and holy moly… this was WAY too salty (I saw another reviewer said the same thing). I saw in another comment you said to use 1/2 cup of kosher salt for the two breasts which shocked me! I think I probably used 1 Tbsp of kosher salt for each and that was way too much.

    Otherwise, so delicious and juicy. Will be making again, but with far less salt/brine :)4 stars

    1. Hi Mary! That was a typo in the comment, it’s a 1/2 teaspoon as stated in the recipe. Did you use kosher salt?

  13. very rarely do i make chicken breast, unless i am grilling them, but this was a definite game changer! i followed the recipe and ended up with the juiciest results i had ever had… EVER. i did not even have to brine prior to cooking. don’t make the mistake of crowding your basket– max would be 2 breasts as a time to allow the proper air flow. follow the instructions carefully as far as bringing to room temp and pounding to equal thickness. cooked mine at 375 degrees for 13 mins, using the “turn” function on my Gourmia (7 qt. from Costco). when done cooking they temped around 155 degrees. it was incredible how the juices flowed out as they were resting on the cutting board.5 stars

  14. This is now my favorite way to make chicken. It came out so juicy and I used the dry brine method for 30 min. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Lisa! All the information you need for brining the chicken for this recipe is in the recipe card instructions. If you’d like to dig a little deeper into the brining process, check out my Baked Chicken Breast post for additional information. I hope this helps!

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