Air fryer chicken breast is the easiest way to cook chicken. Brining the chicken breast gives perfectly juicy chicken, every time.
Air Fryer Chicken Breast Recipe
The circulating hot air of the air fryer makes the quickest, juiciest, most flavorful chicken breasts. Slice them up and serve them with your favorite sides, use it in chicken salad, in bowls, salads or casseroles. If you are new to air frying, you can see more air fryer recipes like these Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets, or Air Fryer Chicken Tenders. And even more from my latest cookbook, Skinnytaste Air Fryer Dinners!
I usually prefer chicken thighs over breast meat because they are juicier since they have more fat. But using this chicken recipe in the air fryer results in a juicy chicken breast with so much flavor. It’s great for adding to salads, for meal prep, or simply served with a side dish.
How does brining add moisture to meat?
When you salt a chicken breast, the meat absorbs extra liquid and salt during the brining period. Some of this liquid gets lost during cooking, but by soaking in salted water, it results in a juicier and more flavorful final dish. This is particularly great for lean cuts of meat, such as chicken breast and turkey breast that tend to dry out during cooking. Basic brine ratio: The basic ratio of salt to water for a brine is 4 tablespoons of salt per 6 cups of water.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts (I prefer organic which is usually smaller)
- Brine: Water and kosher salt (I used Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which has less sodium than Morton’s).
- Seasoning Blend: I use smoked or sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and dried parsley. You can use your favorite spice rub, or cajun blend of spices.
How To Make The Juiciest Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
- My Number #1 Tip for the juiciest air fryer chicken breast is brining.
- To brine a boneless, skinless chicken breast, start by pounding the thicker end of the chicken to make both sides leveled out so they cook evenly.
- Fill a large bowl with about 6 cups of lukewarm water and add 1/4 cup kosher salt, stirring to dissolve. Although this may sound like a lot of salt, only a small amount is absorbed.
- Add the chicken breasts to the brine and let them sit 1 to 2 hours (any longer and the chicken will be too salty).
- Remove from water, pat dry with paper towels and discard the water.
- Spritz or rub the chicken breast with olive oil. Make a dry rub with your favorite herbs and spices, then coat.
- Air Fry the chicken breast 380F about 4 to 6 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness.
How Long To Cook Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
The amount of time it takes to air fry chicken breast will vary based on the thickness and size of your chicken breasts. The internal temperature for cooked chicken breast should be 165 degrees F using an instant read thermometer.
Chicken Breast Air Fryer Cook Time:
- Small Chicken Breasts (5 to 6 ounces): 8 to 10 minutes
- Medium Chicken Breasts (7 to 8 ounces): 10 to 12 minutes
- Large Chicken Breasts (9 ounces or more): 12 to 14 minutes
(Always flip the chicken breast halfway through for even cooking.)
Other variables that can effect the cook time:
- How much much chicken you have in the basket. One piece vs a full basket can vary in time from 1 to 2 minutes.
- Air fryer cook times can vary by air fryer. Some of these factors include the wattage and type of air fryer (basket style vs toaster style air fryer). Get to know your air fryer and make adjustments as needed.
- Letting the chicken rest to room temperature before cooking vs cooking straight from the refrigerator may need a minute or two more.
Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days or freezer up to 3 months.
More Air Fryer Chicken Breast Recipes:
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
- Herbed Buttermilk Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Chicken Milanese
- Bacon Wrapped Air Fryer Chicken Breast
How To Make Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
- kosher salt*, see notes
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
- olive oil spray
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 cayenne pepper
Air Fryer Method:
- Pound the thicker end of the chicken to make both sides leveled out so they cook evenly.
- Fill a large bowl with 6 cups of lukewarm water and add 1/4 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt, stir to dissolve.
- Add the chicken breasts to the water and let them sit, refrigerated 1 to 1 1/2 hours to brine. Remove from water, pat dry with paper towels and discard the water.
- In a small bowl combine 3/4 teaspoon salt, with the remaining spices. Spritz the chicken with oil and rub all over, then rub the spice mix over the chicken.
- Add the chicken to the air fryer basket and air fry in batches 380F 5 minutes on each side, 10 minutes total until browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside. See notes below for larger breasts.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat an oven safe or cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes until it is very hot.
- Place the chicken on the hot skillet, and cook for 1 minute. Turn, and cook 1 minute on other side.
- Transfer skillet to the oven and bake until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear and a thermometer reads 165F inserted in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes.
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- Small Breasts (5 to 6 ounces): 8 to 10 minutes
- Medium Breasts (7 to 8 ounces): 10 to 12 minutes
- Large Breasts (9 ounces or more): 12 to 14 minutes
- Always flip the chicken breast halfway through cooking to ensure it cooks evenly.
Photo Credit: Plays Well With Butter