Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

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Air fryer chicken breasts are tender and juicy on the inside, with a slightly crispy exterior. I love how perfectly they cook in the air fryer, so I’m going to share my tips & tricks below!

air fryer chicken breasts on white plate with 1 sliced

How to Prepare the Chicken

What I love about this preparation method is that it’s quick and easy. I rub the chicken breasts with olive oil, poultry seasoning, and salt on both sides, and then they are ready to cook!

how to prepare the chicken with olive oil and salt

When cooking more than one chicken breast, it’s important to choose pieces that are relatively the same size and thickness. I’ve found that the cooking time is determined more by the thickness of the chicken, rather than the weight, so the more similar the chicken breasts, the better chance you’ll have of them being done at the same time.

Air Fryer Cooking Time & Temperature for Chicken

In my experience, the best cooking temperature for chicken is 360ºF in a basket-style air fryer. If you have this Cuisinart model, you may want to lower it by up to 50ºF because it tends to run hotter.

To determine the cooking time, I use the thickness of the chicken breast as a starting point. You’ll need to add about 15 minutes of cooking time for every 1 inch of thickness.

For example:

  • 1/2-inch thick: 9 to 10 minutes at 360ºF
  • 1-inch thick: 15 minutes at 360ºF
  • 1 1/2-inches thick: 22 minutes at 360ºF
  • 2-inches thick: 30 minutes at 360ºF

Keep in mind that you’ll want to cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, so these times are just a general jumping off point. If your chicken hasn’t reached the correct temperature, flip it over and cook in 5 minute intervals until it’s done.

thermometer in chicken showing 165

How to Cook Frozen Chicken in the Air Fryer

Frozen chicken turns out amazingly well in the air fryer. I think I might actually like the texture better than using fresh chicken! However, the cooking time definitely needs to increase when you cook frozen chicken in the air fryer.

In my experience, you’ll need to add at least 15 minutes to the cooking time when working with frozen chicken. It’s important to use a meat thermometer, to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

This may mean that you’ll have to check on the chicken and keep adding 5 minutes at a time until it’s cooked through. A frozen chicken breast that is roughly 1-inch thick will cook in 30 minutes at 360ºF, compared to just 15 minutes for a fresh chicken breast. That’s double the cooking time!

So, make sure you set aside plenty of time to cook chicken from frozen. I think the resulting texture is worth it.

air fryer chicken breasts on plate with parsley

Leftover Chicken Recipes

If you have leftover cooked chicken to use up, I recommend trying one of the following recipe ideas.

air fryer chicken breasts on white plate with 1 sliced
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5 from 3 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

Here's how to cook perfecly juicy air fryer chicken breasts, without any breading. They are perfect for meal prep, or as a simple healthy meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine paleo
Keyword air fryer chicken breasts
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 140kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about two 8 ounce breasts; 1-inch thick)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Rub each chicken breast with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, then season both sides with poultry seasoning and salt. I typically just shake the seasonings over the entire surface area of the chicken, which turns out to be roughly 1/4 teaspoon of salt and poultry seasoning per side.
  • Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer on the air fryer basket, to allow for good air circulation, and cook at 360ºF for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken over, and cook for 5 more minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF. (Chicken needs about 15 minutes of cooking time per 1-inch of thickness, so adjust accordingly if using thicker chicken breasts.)
  • Remove the chicken from the air fryer so that it doesn't over-cook, then let it rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before serving warm. Leftover cooked chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

If cooking frozen chicken, you'll need to add at least 15 minutes to the cooking time for a 1-inch chicken breast. Be sure to leave yourself up to double the cooking time listed above, in case it takes that long for the center of the chicken to reach 165ºF.
For fresh chicken, I use these air fryer guidelines:
  • 1-inch thick: 15 minutes at 360ºF
  • 1 1/2-inches thick: 22 minutes at 360ºF
  • 2-inches thick: 30 minutes at 360ºF
But you'll always want to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165ºF before removing the chicken from the air fryer. Don't cook much past 165ºF or the chicken will be dry in texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 4oz | Calories: 140kcal | Protein: 24g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 661mg
Nutrition info above is based on 4 ounces of chicken. Nutrition is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, so it’s an estimate and not a guarantee.

If you try this method, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it! My husband thinks this is the best chicken I’ve ever cooked– so it’s now my go-to method for cooking chicken for “meal prep” when we need it. Let me know if you make any modifications, so we can all benefit from your experience, too!

More Air Fryer Recipes

If you need more ideas for using your air fryer, try one of the following tutorials!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite thing to make in the air fryer?

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Comments

susan

OMG, I just tried this method last night and the chicken turned out so juicy! I’ll be cooking it in the air fryer from now on. Thank you for the detailed instructions about the timing by thickness. It worked out perfectly!

Kathleen

Made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious and came out perfect! Was also a big hit with my husband!

Elizabeth Santos

My husband said it was perfectly cooked. Fantastic flavor.

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