by Olena

Best Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast (No Breading)

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Olena Osipov
5 from 3 votes

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Learn how to make the juiciest Air Fryer Chicken Breast in 25 minutes. It is easy, tender and bursting with flavor!

Close up for air fryer chicken breast sliced on a plate with garnish.

We love healthy chicken breast recipes around here! And we do not settle on dry and flavorless chicken.

I’ve already perfected recipes for grilled chicken breast, oven baked chicken breast and Instant Pot chicken breast. Now it’s time to perfect it in my latest gadget.

Cooking chicken in the air fryer results in juicy, tender chicken breast with a light, flavorful crust and tender, moist middle. Every single time!

My love for air fryer chicken recipes began with crispy air fryer chicken wings, air fryer chicken tenders, and juicy air fryer chicken drumsticks. Today we are making perfectly cooked air fryer chicken breasts!

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • It’s quick: You can have air fryer chicken breast on the table in about 25 minutes.
  • Super easy: Short cooking time and a smaller machine make this recipe more economical.
  • The oil needed is minimal: Just enough to help the seasonings adhere and lock in the juices.
  • Failproof results: You’ll get wonderfully tender, juicy and moist chicken breast every single time!
  • No salt water brining is necessary!
Three chicken breasts in air fryer.

Ingredients Needed

One of the best things about this air fryer chicken breast recipe is that it is so simple and made up of entirely clean ingredients and pantry staples. You only need 6 basic ingredients.

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: I use 8 – 9 oz and around 2-inches thickness breasts. If your chicken is larger or smaller, you may need to adjust the cooking time. See Tips section.
  • Oil of choice: I use avocado oil or olive oil.
  • Seasonings: I use a simple combination of onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and smoked paprika. And salt and pepper.

Want a different spice blend? You can swap out the seasonings I’ve suggested with Italian seasoning, cajun spice or taco seasoning. For heat, add a little cayenne pepper or chili powder to the dry rub.

Chicken breasts, oregano, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and oil.

How to Make the Juiciest Air Fryer Chicken Breast

  • Preheat the air fryer and prep chicken: Preheat it to 380 degrees F for five minutes. Add chicken breasts to a bowl and drizzle with oil. Then rub using your hands or toss with tongs to coat.
  • Rub chicken with seasonings: Add the spice blend, salt and pepper, and then rub chicken to make sure both sides are evenly coated.
  • Air fry chicken breast: Spray the basket of air fryer with cooking spray, add chicken breasts in a single layer and cook for 16 minutes. No need to flip them or shake the basket. 
  • Check the temperature: Open and insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of your chicken breasts to make sure it has reached at least 150 degrees F.

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer

Size Changes Everything

This depends on the size of your chicken breasts. For average-sized chicken breast that’s around 2-inches thick, I recommend between 16-18 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the chicken reaches 150 degrees F.

Here is a handy timetable for quick reference:

  • Small Breasts (5 to 7 ounces): 14 minutes
  • Medium Breasts (8 to 9 ounces): 16 minutes
  • Large Breasts (10 ounces or more): 18 minutes

Let It Rest

Make sure to allow it to rest for 5 minutes to allow juices to redistribute and chicken to finish cooking.

As per food safety website, to be safe to eat, chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. However, there’s no need to cook it until that point. I recommend cooking the chicken until it’s 150 degrees F and the residual heat will then continue to increase the internal temperature while the chicken rests.

You get to avoid dry, overcooked chicken. It is my secret to juicy and not dry chicken breasts.

Chicken Breasts Came Out Undercooked

Thought you had the right time but your chicken came out undercooked? After checking with the instant read thermometer, if you see temperature is below 150 degrees F, cook it for extra 2 minutes.

It sure is a delicate balance and figuring out the cooking time based on size, your air fryer and personal preferences. It is a matter of practice.

Pro Tips for Best Air Fried Chicken Breast

For best results follow the below tips!

  • No need to brine: Dry rub and optimal cooking temperature and method, will take care of juicy chicken breasts.
  • Size matters: I recommend to pick the same size breasts for even cooking when shopping. Also know the weight of each piece to select correct cooking time.
  • Cook in a single layer: The air needs to circulate the chicken to get the job done. Overlapping or stacking the chicken will affect the cooking results.
  • There’s no need to shake the basket: While flipping can help to yield crispier results, this dry rub chicken breast isn’t intended to be super crispy, so leaving it alone will help avoid dry chicken. 
  • Allow it to rest: Once cooked, transfer the air fried chicken breast to a large foil covered platter and allow it to rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle and redistribute. 
Three air fried chicken breasts with juices on white platter.

FAQs

What type of air fryer to use?

Over the years I have tried a few air fryers. There is a basket style air fryer, toaster oven air fryer and a lid attachment for an Instant Pot. They all work great and choice will depend on personal preference.

Are you cooking for 2 or 4 people? Do you have space for another appliance? Are you busy? Take these things into consideration when shopping.

I use a large 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer. I cook for 4 people. I say the biggest concern I hear is that air fryer is too small. The attachment lid or small basket would fit maximum 2 chicken breasts and you would have to cook in batches. You can always pop back in for a minute to reheat the first batch.

Also when air frying food, it needs some space in between to ensure roasted results we all crave from the air fryer.

Is it okay to use raw chicken with an air fryer?


Of course, you can cook raw meat in the air fryer. Just thoroughly wash your air fryer basket with hot soapy water between uses. 

Do I have to brine it?

No, there is no need to brine chicken breasts for air frying. I can guarantee you will have juicy results and save a lot of time with this recipe!

Do you have to flip chicken breasts in air fryer?

No, there is no need to flip chicken breasts. Thanks to the design of air fryer, hot air circulates on top and on the bottom of food, cooking it evenly. Plus we will be serving the breasts same side down anyways.

Is air fried food good for you?

Cooking chicken breast in an air fryer means cooking with less oil. In my nutrition course, I learnt that healthy fats are good for you, in moderation. That’s why I love to use avocado oil in cooking. It also has a high smoke point.

Air frying foods means using even less oil. So, yes, air fried food is good for you. This is especially the case with fried chicken, where you can get amazingly crispy results with just a fraction of the oil!

Serving Ideas for Cooked Chicken Breasts in the Air Fryer

After resting, the chicken breast is ready to serve. I recommend slicing against the grain.

Use this air fryer chicken recipe for weekly meal prep. Or turn it into one of easiest healthy dinner ideas for family serving with:

Variations

Once you have the basic method down, then you can experiment with different spices, marinades, and more.

  • Sauces: Try the lemon dijon sauce from air fryer salmon on chicken breast!
  • Fresh garlic: If you have a little extra time, feel free to use fresh grated/minced garlic over the chicken breasts like I do in air fryer lamb chops!
  • Add vegetables: If you have enough space in the basket, you can add some veggies directly in with the chicken to cook simultaneously. You could include zucchini, brussel sprouts, red peppers, broccoli and asparagus. 
  • For even juicier results: You can marinate the chicken using one of these 5 easy chicken marinades. When marinated, place the chicken straight into the air fryer basket and cook. There’ll be a little more “cleanup” afterward of the basket, but otherwise, it couldn’t be simpler.

Storing and Reheating Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

Make ahead: After rubbing the chicken with the spices, you can allow them to sit, covered, in the refrigerator overnight (up to 12 hours before cooking). 

Storing: Refrigerate the chicken in an airtight container for easy meal prep for up to one week. Make sure to move it to the refrigerator within two hours for food safety and keep it whole for the juiciest results.

Freeze: Cool completely before transferring the chicken breasts to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. I recommend slicing or shredding the chicken before freezing. That way, it’ll thaw faster and can be added to meals immediately.

You can thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before eating or reheating. 

Reheat: I recommend reheating air fryer chicken breast in a lidded pot with a  splash of water or broth to steam them until warm. This will keep the chicken tender and moist compared to trying to reheat them in the air fryer or oven.

More Easy Healthy Air Fryer Recipes

You might also be interested in browsing through my entire collection of air fryer recipes!

Air fryer chicken breast on plate with garnish.
Best Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast (No Breading)

Best Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Learn how to make the juiciest Air Fryer Chicken Breast in 25 minutes. It is easy, tender and bursting with flavor!
5 from 3 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 148kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer at 380 F degrees for 5 minutes. In the meanwhile, in a large bowl or dish, add chicken, drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray, add chicken breasts in a single layer and not touching.
  • Air fry at 380 F degrees for 16 minutes, no need to turn or shake.
  • Open the basket and make sure internal read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads minimum 150 degrees F.
  • Transfer onto a platter, cover with tin foil and let rest for 5 minutes to allow juices to settle.
  • Slice against the grain and serve along any side with a salad. Meal prep for the week, use in salads and casseroles.

Make ahead: Rub chicken with spices, cover and refrigerate overnight (up to 12 hours before cooking). 

    Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

      Freeze: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

        Reheat: Reheat air-fried chicken breast in a lidded pot with a splash of water or broth to ‘steam’ them until warm.

          Video

          Equipment

          Notes

          Here is a handy cooking times timetable for quick reference:
          • Small Breasts (5 to 7 ounces): 14 minutes
          • Medium Breasts (8 to 9 ounces): 16 minutes
          • Large Breasts (10 ounces or more): 18 minutes
          Thought you had the right time but your chicken came out undercooked? Cook it for extra 2 minutes.

          Nutrition

          Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 350mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

          Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.

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          8 comments on “Best Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breast (No Breading)

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          1. 5 stars
            This is a keeper! I’ll be making this again.
            I like that, when I print your recipes, I can adjust the servings, since I would rarely need the full recipe. Thank you.

          2. Thanks. I was statingn to research if the IP air fryer worked & recipes. Plus the comments of those who made c recipes!

            Love your posts & hints.

          3. 5 stars
            Best. Chicken Breast. EVER. I have an air fryer oven so I had to increase the cook time a bit (maybe 25-30 mins) for different sized breast. Removed from the oven as the temps reached 150F + and clear juices. Each one is flavorful and Juicy! Thank you.

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