This Air Fryer Turkey Breast has juicy, tender meat and crispy golden skin. It is super easy to make and is perfect for a smaller holiday crowd!
If you are like our family and have no need cooking an entire turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I got your back. Try my juicy boneless turkey breast roast, this turkey breast in an Instant Pot, or a bone in turkey breast.
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Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to cook a whole turkey. Air fryer turkey breast is hands down the easiest way to get roasted turkey on holiday table when serving a smaller crowd.
If you have ever wondered whether you need to sacrifice moist turkey meat for that crispy skin when using the air fryer method, the answer is a hard no!
We sure do love our oven baked turkey legs for their dark meat and crispy skin. Served with cauliflower stuffing or my easy Instant Pot baked potatoes, and healthier cranberry sauce. My mouth is watering a I type this!
But air frying turkey breast is our second favorite! Plus it has perfectly crispy skin without the oven or a broiler.
Ingredients and Notes
For this super easy air fryer turkey breast recipe you will need a turkey breast and a few basic ingredients blended into a compound butter.
Although many grocery stores carry various turkey parts only seasonally, you should be able to find Jenni O and Butterball turkey breast year round. Also be sure to look in the freezer section.
- Turkey breast: You can use boneless turkey breast or bone-in turkey breast with a slight cooking time adjustment as noted below. Also, be sure to keep the skin on for maximum flavor and crispy skin.
- Butter: I use salted butter but you can also use unsalted butter. Frankly, salted butter tastes better and you might have to season turkey breast more if using unsalted butter.
- Garlic cloves: If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, substitute with garlic powder. While you’re at it, toss in some onion powder as well.
- Herbs: I use staple dried rosemary and oregano. You can use fresh rosemary and fresh oregano instead, as well as adding some sage or thyme. Add your favorite poultry seasoning or try my turkey breast dry rub full of savory spices, smokiness and sweetness.
- Salt and pepper: The usual dynamic duo of seasoning to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients and add its own.
- Smoked paprika: This is an optional spice you can add if you enjoy that bit of smoky flavor to your meat.
How to Cook a Turkey Breast in Air Fryer
Wondering how to cook a juicy turkey breast in the air fryer while making the meat flavorful and skin crispy? My air fryer method is the best way to cook it in fraction of the time while saving precious oven space.
- Prep: Make butter mixture in a small bowl by adding the cubes of butter, dried herbs, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Mash together with a fork until well combined. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Coat the turkey breast: Sometimes turkey breast will come wrapped in a mesh. Cut it off with scissors and discard. Pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels. Use your hands and coat all sides of the turkey breast with herb butter. Get under the skin as well.
- Air fry turkey breast: Place the turkey breast skin or bone side down into the bottom of the air fryer basket and cook for 15 minutes. Flip it over and continue air frying for another 10 minutes.
- Check for doneness: Insert instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. As per USDA guidelines, it’s ready when it has an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. This temperature will rise as the turkey settles as seen on my thermometer below.
- Remove and let rest: Transfer the turkey to a tray or cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let it sit for 10 minutes, the juices will redistribute as turkey rests.
- Slice and serve: Using a sharp knife, slice as thin or as thick as desired. Serve warm with your favorite side dishes.
How Long to Cook Turkey Breast in Air Fryer?
Here is a table for your quick reference how long to cook a turkey breast in air fryer depending on its weight.
Of course, every air fryer is different and even turkey breast is different, so you always want to use a meat thermometer for the most accurate reading.
If you have a large 5.8 quart air fryer like mine, the maximum turkey breast size you want to use is 4 pounds.
- 2 lbs turkey breast: Boneless breast – 12 minutes per pound, bone-in breast – 15 minutes per pound.
- 3 lbs turkey breast: Boneless breast – 15 minutes per pound, bone-in breast – 18 minutes per pound.
- 4 lbs turkey breast: Boneless breast – 18 minutes per pound, bone-in breast – 21 minutes per pound.
Tips for Best Results
- Make sure it fits: I used a 2.5 pounds turkey breast and it fit in my large 5.8-quart Cosori air fryer. I could fit up to 4-5 lbs. Buy turkey breast depending on the size of your air fryer, to make sure you can close it and cook.
- Cook time: Size of the turkey breast and whether there’s a bone or not, will determine the precise time to cook it. Please refer to cooking timetable above. The only accurate way to check if it’s done is to use a kitchen thermometer.
- No excess moisture: Be sure to pat dry with paper towels before seasoning. Any added moisture will hinder the crispiness of the turkey skin.
- Ensuring juicy meat: Allowing cooked turkey to sit for a while before slicing into it, will help the juices settle and keep them from running out and drying out the turkey.
How to Carve a Turkey Breast
Part of the convenience of an air fried turkey breast and not the whole bird is not having to figure out how to actually carve the thing! Carving a turkey breast is super easy, and as you can imagine, much like cutting a chicken breast.
- Using a sharp chef’s knife will help you get nice thin slices.
- Place the breast on a cutting board. It helps to use a 2 prong meat fork to sturdy it with one hand while you slice with the other.
- Boneless turkey breast: Starting at one end, cut against the grain finishing down the other end of the breast.
- Bone-in-turkey breast: Start on one side of the breast from the narrowest tip, slicing diagonally across the grain and as close to the breast bone as possible. Turn to the other side and repeat.
What to Serve with Turkey Breast?
You are probably wondering how do you make the gravy?! I have this turkey gravy without the drippings which is perfect when cooking a lean turkey breast.
Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner? Pick one of these healthy and easy sides dishes for turkey breast.
How to Store, Reheat and Freeze
Make ahead: If you’re making this easy recipe for the holidays, save yourself some time and season the turkey breast, cover, and refrigerate it up to 24 hours in advance. Before you add it to the air fryer, bring it to room temperature.
Store: Any leftover turkey breast can be stored in an airtight container for a week. Keep it whole or slice it first, it’s up to you. Cold turkey straight out of the fridge is so good!
Freeze: Freeze cooked turkey in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: To prevent white meat from drying out, I recommend to reheat this tender meat in a microwave or back in the air fryer. Just follow my easy instructions for warming up chicken in air fryer.
I don’t recommend it. You should really try and thaw turkey breast first. But if you are going to use a frozen turkey breast, get one that already comes seasoned. Otherwise, you won’t be able to season a plain turkey breast. Foil wrap it and cook 2 pounds breast for 45 minutes, then cook for another 15-30 minutes.
Yes. Cook 2 lbs tenderloin for a total of 25 minutes, flipping once.
Yes. You can make it the same way I make my air fryer chicken breast. Skinless!
A general rule of thumb is to aim for 1/2 lb of turkey meat per person with having a little extra for bigger appetites. Just in case someone wants extra or just to have leftovers to make turkey noodle soup or turkey tetrazzini.
Yes and no. It’s not necessary as it is meant to withstand heat and won’t burn. But I prefer to remove mine so I can get the butter underneath the skin as well as on top for maximum flavor.
If you choose to leave it on, remove it with scissors gently after cooking. Sometimes some of the meat and skin can get stuck to it.
More Air Fryer Recipes to Try
I hope you enjoy cooking the best turkey breast in air fryer along with a variety of my air fryer recipes!
Air Fryer Turkey Breast
- In a small bowl, add butter, garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until well combined.
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- If your turkey breast is in a mesh, cut with scissors and remove. Pat dry with paper towels and rub with herbed butter on both sides and under the skin. Take your time and spread it as best as you can.
- Place turkey breast skin side down in the basket of the air fryer, and cook for 15 minutes – if boneless, 20 minutes – with bone-in.
- Flip it over and continue to air fry for another 10 minutes – if boneless, 15 minutes – with bone-in, or until internal read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165 degrees F.
- Remove turkey breast from air fryer and tent with foil for 10 minutes, allowing meat to rest.
- Slice with sharp knife and serve warm as you wish.
- Store: Refrigerate roast whole or sliced in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Freeze: Freeze leftovers sliced or cut into bite sized pieces in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator.
- Air fryer turkey time chart: The size (and whether there’s a bone or not) will determine the precise time to cook it. Here are some general cooking times:
- 2 lbs turkey breast: Boneless – 12 minutes per pound, bone-in – 15 minutes per pound.
- 3 lbs turkey breast: Boneless – 15 minutes per pound, bone-in – 18 minutes per pound.
- 4 lbs turkey breast: Boneless – 18 minutes per pound, bone-in – 21 minutes per pound.
- The size of the breast: I used a 2-3 lb turkey breast, but depending on the size of your air fryer you could go up to 4-5 lbs. I use large 5.8-quart Cosori air fryer.