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

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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!

Air Fryer Chicken Breast Video

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YouTube video

Air Fryer Chicken Breast

4.89 from 68 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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175 Comments

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  1. I just have an air fryer question … which one do you have? Would you recommend it? Looking for one that is big enough for a family of five and is also a toaster oven.

  2. I never comment on recipes, but I had to because this recipe makes amazing, flavorful chicken breasts! I was starting to avoid cooking chicken breasts because of so many terrible attempts, but this recipe restored my confidence. I will be using this recipe weekly! Thank you!5 stars

  3. I prepared chicken tonight using your recipe and preparation directions and it came out beautifully – juicy and tender and delicious. I started with two fairly large chicken breasts and cooked them for 16 minutes but that was in part because I opened the lid twice in the last 5 minutes to add a little bit of bottled sauce to the tops.5 stars

  4. I was definitely a person who refusd to buy or eat chicken breasts because they were ALWAYS so dry it was hard to swallow! This recipe was amazing! I’m a convert to this method of cooking chicken breasts!5 stars

        1. Hi Sarah! I’m so confused, are you seeing somewhere where it talks about yogurt? There is no yogurt in this recipe. It’s just chicken breast and spices.

  5. have used this recipe over and over again, it is my go to, thank you so much for sharing, we work long hours and this helps us avoid fast food.5 stars

  6. My sister gave me an air fryer for Christmas and I tried out this recipe tonight. It’s so flavorful! I will definitely keep this in my rotation.5 stars

  7. It takes way longer than 8 minutes to air fry. I had to air fry my chicken breast for over 30 minutes

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe, Christine. The method and timing has worked well for myself (and others) but I know how frustrating it can be to try a new recipe and not have it work out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

    1. 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 and a print button to have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

  8. I had to make some chicken for a chicken caesar wrap because I forgot the rotisserie one I usually get. looked up how to cook air fryer. It was absolutely delicious. I didn’t believe it wouldn’t be dry and rubbery, but it was so moist and flavorful. Will save this to make again.5 stars

  9. My husband loved this chicken… I preped it just like the recipe said to and cooked it a little longer since it was a huge breast. It was beautiful on the outside and perfectly juicy on the inside. Added his fave sides, stuffing and peas and the meal was a great success! Thanks!5 stars

  10. This is my go to week night chicken recipe. It’s delicious, juicy, and super easy! Thanks for the great recipe, Erin!5 stars

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