When it comes to easy chicken dinner ideas, you can’t beat this recipe for air fryer chicken breasts! They're juicy, tender, and done in a matter of minutes.
If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for ways to make chicken that are a little bit healthier—without sacrificing flavor.
Air fryers use hot air to cook food, so there's no need to add a lot of oil or butter to get good results. They can cook chicken evenly and quickly, so you get juicy, perfect results every time! The same goes for my air fryer whole chicken which requires very little oil and is mostly hands-off, yielding gorgeous results!
How does the air fryer work to cook chicken?
Chicken cooked in an air fryer requires very little oil on the surface. Unlike a deep fryer, the air fryer uses convection cooking which circulates hot air. This allows chicken to cook quickly and uniformly, and prevents it from drying out. This chicken also has no breading, making it low calorie and super juicy on the surface, all the way to the center.
What you’ll need
- boneless skinless chicken breasts – Make sure all of the chicken breasts are fairly uniform in size for even cooking.
- olive oil - or preferred cooking oil
- sea salt and black pepper - essential seasonings
- paprika – Hungarian sweet paprika is perfect, or use smoked paprika for a hint of smoky flavor.
- onion powder and garlic powder - you can use as much or as little as you like.
You can scale this recipe up or down as needed, depending on the size of your air fryer. Simply add or remove any number of chicken breasts that your fryer will accommodate without crowding the food.
Can you put raw chicken in the air fryer?
Yes, raw chicken can be safely cooked in an air fryer. That's the beauty of it! There’s no need to prep or pre-cook your chicken. Simply follow the recipe below and make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF before serving.
The best air fryer to cook chicken
Any air fryer will work for this recipe. The basket you see in my photos is part of my 5.8 quart air fryer. I have two oven-style fryers, but this drawer/basket model wins every time for weeknight tasks.
How to make air fryer chicken breast
Ready for a quick, easy chicken dinner? Here’s what you’ll need to do!
Season the chicken. Rub the chicken breasts with the olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Stir together the paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl and rub the mixture evenly over the chicken.
Air fry the chicken. Place the chicken smooth-side-down in the air fryer basket or tray and cook at 380ºF for 10 minutes
Flip. Use clean tongs to flip the chicken over and cook it for about 5 minutes more, or until an quick-read thermometer registers a temperature of 160ºF.
Rest. Use clean tongs to transfer the chicken from the air fryer basket to a flat surface. Cover and rest chicken for 5 minutes to allow the residual heat (carryover cooking) to continue cooking the chicken, raising it to 165ºF.
Serve. Serve the chicken warm, or refrigerate it for meal prep.
At what temperature do you cook boneless chicken breast in an air fryer?
I set my air fryer at 380°F instead of the commonly used 400°F because I find this temperature cooks the chicken breast perfectly. Cooking chicken breast too high can cause the outside to overcook and the inside to undercook.
Easy chicken meal prep ideas
Having cooked chicken breast on hand gives you a leg up on weeknight dinner prep! Shred the chicken and use it to make:
- Chicken Shepherd's Pie
- Better Than Takeout Chicken Fried Rice
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Skillet
- Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Teriyaki Chicken Fried Rice
Find more chicken recipes here.
Tips for Success
Here are a few simple tips for making chicken breasts in your air fryer!
- Don’t crowd the air fryer. Because the air fryer cooks by circulating air around food, the chicken breasts need to have some space between them. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you should be able to cook 1 to 4 chicken breasts at once.
- Wash your tongs after flipping. To minimize contamination risk, be sure to wash the tongs with soap and water (or switch them out with a new pair) after you flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time.
- Making gravy. If you’re using a basket style air fryer, you can save the juices to make gravy.
How to store and reheat leftovers
To store air fryer chicken breast, always cool to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days. I recommend reheating your chicken in the air fryer at around 350ºF for about 5 minutes, or until it's warmed through the center.
Can you freeze cooked chicken breasts?
Yes, cooked chicken breasts (including this air fryer chicken recipe) can be frozen for up to 4 months in a freezer bag or airtight storage container. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat it in the air fryer as outlined above.
Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, about 8 oz each
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil, or preferred oil
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- Coat CHICKEN BREASTS with OLIVE OIL, SALT, and PEPPER.
- Combine PAPRIKA, ONION POWDER, and GARLIC POWDER in a small mixing bowl and rub evenly over the surface of chicken breasts. Alternatively, you can skip mixing the seasonings and sprinkle them on the chicken to your heart's content.
- Place chicken smooth side down in the air fryer basket or tray.
- Air fry chicken breasts at 380°F for 10 minutes.
- Use clean tongs to flip the chicken over, and cook another 5 minutes, or until a quick-read thermometer registers a minimum of 160°F.
- Transfer chicken breasts to a plate, cover, and allow to rest 5 minutes. During this time, carryover cooking will bring it 165°F.
- Serve immediately or use as an ingredient in your favorite recipes.
- To store, allow to cool at room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Traci's Recipe Tips
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.