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Air Fryer Turkey Breast

This recipe for air fryer turkey breast is a great alternative to roasting an entire turkey in the oven. Try this super simple recipe for a tender, flavorful turkey roast in a fraction of the time it usually takes!

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Sliced air fryer turkey breast on a wooden board.
Air fryer turkey breast

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s healthy – with minimal oil and no frying, you can enjoy all the taste without the guilt.
  • It’s versatile – serve it as a main dish for Thanksgiving or slice it up for sandwiches and salads throughout the week.
  • It’s a time-saver – no more waiting for hours for the oven to preheat or basting every 30 minutes. This turkey breast cooks up in just 30 minutes in the air fryer.

Thanksgiving just got a whole lot easier (and a whole lot more delicious) with our recipe for air fryer turkey breast! Not only is this air fryer turkey breast juicy and flavorful, but it’s also quick and easy to make.

For some other air fryer roasts you can whip up for a holiday feast, try Air Fryer Ham, Air Fryer Roast Pork, Air Fryer Roast Beef, or Air Fryer Rack of Lamb.

Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer turkey breast recipe, or read on for all the details!

What do you need?

Air fryer turkey breast

Quantities for all ingredients are given in the recipe card below.

Turkey breast

The recipe below uses a single split boneless turkey breast. You can air fry skin-on or skinless turkey breast, though skin-on is best, as it helps to keep the meat moist, and the crispy skin is delicious.

If you have a big air fryer you could roast the whole bone-in breast, though expect it to take quite a bit longer than the times for the boneless breast in the recipe below. Use an instant read thermometer to check to see when it is done (more details on this below).

You could substitute turkey breast tenderloin or thighs, but again, be sure to check the internal temperature during cooking. The cook time for either of these cuts should be shorter than for a turkey breast, so monitor the temperature and adjust the time as necessary.

Note: this recipe is for cooking fresh (thawed) turkey breast. If you have frozen turkey breast ensure you thaw it in the refrigerator before air frying.

Seasoning

When it comes to seasoning turkey breast I usually keep things simple, and just traditional flavors of rosemary, thyme, garlic and salt.

Use fresh herbs and garlic if you have them, though you can substitute dried herbs and garlic powder if you have it (see the recipe card below for details of substitutions).

You can use any other poultry seasoning that you like. Some other flavors that also work really well with roast turkey are:

  • Dried sage and onion powder
  • Black pepper and paprika
  • Lemon or other citrus
  • Italian seasoning

You will need approximately 1 teaspoon of seasoning per lb of turkey breast.

Oil

I normally use light olive oil in my air fryer, but you can substitute any other cooking oil with a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, avocado oil and corn oil are all good options.

Tip

When air frying, choose a cooking oil with a high smoke point to reduce the chance of your air fryer smoking.

How to cook turkey breast in an air fryer

This recipe is very simple to make, there are just a few key steps to getting it just right:

  1. Season the turkey breast. Mix the oil, herbs and salt together on a plate. Pat the turkey breast dry with a paper towel, then pres it into the herb-oil mix, turning and pressing again until it is well coated in the oil-herb mix. Preheat air fryer 320°F/ 160°C.
  2. Place turkey breast in the air fryer basket skin side down. Make sure it is spread open so that it will cook quickly and evenly.
  3. Air fry turkey breast at 320°F/ 160°C for 30 minutes.
  4. Flip the turkey breast. Remove the basket from the air fryer, turn the turkey breast over. Return turkey breast to the air fryer to cook for another 20-30 minutes until cooked through. More details on cooking times/ temp in section below.
  5. Rest the turkey breast. Remove turkey breast from the air fryer basket to a plate or cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving.
Uncooked turkey breast in air fryer basket.
Place turkey breast in air fryer basket, skin side down.
Air fried turkey breast in air fryer basket.
Air fry turkey breast for 30 minutes each side until 165°F / 74°C in the center.

Tip

It is important to rest meat following cooking so that the juices can reabsorb into the meat so it stays succulent and juicy.

How long to cook turkey in an air fryer

The exact length of time that you will need to cook turkey breast in the air fryer depends on a number of factors including how large and how thick the turkey breast is, and how powerful your air fryer model is.

The only way to be sure that your turkey breast is cooked is by using a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 165°F/ 74°C in the center of the thickest part.

If the turkey breast needs more cooking time cook for additional 5-10 minute intervals until it has reached the safe temperature.

Tip

Use an instant read thermometer to measure the temperature in the center of the thickest part of the meat for an accurate temperature reading.

Sliced air fried turkey breast on a wooden board with cranberry sauce.
Serve air fried turkey breast with cranberry sauce on the side.

Serving

Turkey breast is very versatile, and you can serve it in many different styles and with different sides. It is great topped with herb butter and served with a side salad and fries.

For a holiday, I generally serve it as a traditional roast dinner with sides of roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables, and stuffing balls. Here are some options you can serve with it:

  • Air fryer roast potatoes – roast them for 15 minutes before cooking the turkey, then pop them back in the air fryer to finish them off for 10 minutes while the turkey is resting.
  • Microwave steamed vegetables – start them steaming while the turkey is resting.
  • Air fryer stuffing – you can add these around the turkey breast in the air fryer for the last ten minutes of cooking and then let them finish air frying while the turkey breast is resting.

No turkey roast would be complete without gravy! Try this quick and easy recipe for gravy to serve with turkey: How to Make Gravy from Stock.

Storing and reheating

Store any leftover turkey in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, and use within 3 days.

You can reheat the turkey breast in the air fryer, air fry for 3-4 minute intervals until it has reached 165°F/ 74°C in the center of the thickest part.

The exact reheating time will depend on how much turkey breast you have left and whether it is slices or a single piece, so adjust times if needed.

FAQs & Tips

How do you cook turkey in an air fryer?

I would recommend cooking turkey portions in an air fryer (like turkey breast), as you would need a very large air fryer to cook a whole turkey (see below).

What size air fryer do I need for a turkey?

Really the biggest air fryer you can get! A 5.5 quart size air fryer* or larger would be a good option for cooking a small turkey.  Butterball also make a dedicated turkey air fryer, which has a large enough capacity to cook a full-size turkey.

How do I keep my turkey moist?

Air frying turkey breast with the skin on will help to keep it moist, and also the action of flipping it halfway through the cooking time. Because air frying is a quick roasting method it tends to stay more moist than if you had slow-baked it in a regular oven.

Sliced air fryer turkey breast on a wooden board.
Yield: 4 Servings

Air Fryer Turkey Breast

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

How to cook turkey breast in an air fryer. 

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey breast (approx. 4lb/ 1.8kg)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic [Note 1]
  • 3 teaspoons rosemary & thyme [Note 2]
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 320°F / 160°C.
  2. Mix the oil, herbs and garlic on a plate. Pat the turkey breast dry, then place it into the herb mixture, and turn to coat it thoroughly.
  3. Place turkey breast into the air fryer basket (skin side down). Air fry the turkey breast for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the basket from the air fryer, turn the turkey breast over.
  5. Return turkey breast to the air fryer to cook for another 20-30 minutes until it reaches 165°F/ 74°C in the center of the thickest part [Note 3]. If the turkey needs more cooking time cook for additional 5-10 minute intervals until it is done.
  6. Rest covered for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. If you have no fresh garlic you can substitute 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.
  2. If using fresh herbs chop the leaves finely before use.
  3. Cooking times are an estimate only. Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to check that the turkey has reached the safe temperature of 165°F/ 74°C.

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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    4

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 337mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g

    Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.

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    Welcome to Love Food Not Cooking!

    I’m Eliza, busy mom, home cook, and blogger. My goal is to help everyone cook good food. Whether you are short on time, skills, or motivation, there is something here for you! We have dozens of quick and easy recipes for dinner, lunch, side dishes, and more. Our recipes use everyday ingredients, for quick delicious meals your family will love! Read more…

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