Whip up the perfect turkey dinner any night of the year with this juicy, tender air fryer turkey breast. Roasted turkey flavor in a fraction of the time it usually takes, with none of the hassle. Thanks air fryer!
Why you’ll love air fryer turkey breast
- Allows you to cook just what you need – no huge bird required.
- Perfect for meal prepping turkey for lunches, sandwiches, salads.
- 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 around 50 minutes in the air fryer.
Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer turkey breast recipe, or read on for all the details!
What do you need?
Quantities for all ingredients are given in the recipe card below.
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).
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.
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 prefer (see the recipe card below for details of substitutions).
Of course, 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 pound / 450g of turkey breast. Make sure that your turkey seasoning includes salt, and if not, add around ¼ teaspoon per pound/ 450g.
The recipe below uses light olive oil, which is a good choice for air frying. However, you can substitute another cooking oil with a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, avocado oil, and corn oil are all good options.
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:
- Season the turkey breast. Mix the oil, herbs, and salt together on a plate. Pat the turkey breast dry with a paper towel, then press it into the herb-oil mix, turning and pressing again until it is well coated in the oil-herb mix. Preheat air fryer 350°F/ 176°C.
- 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.
- Air fry turkey breast at 350°F/ 176°C for 30 minutes.
- 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.
- Rest the turkey breast. Remove the 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.
It is important to rest meat following cooking so the juices can reabsorb into the meat so it stays succulent and juicy.
How long to cook turkey breast in the 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.
Use an instant read thermometer to measure the temperature in the center of the thickest part of the meat for an accurate temperature reading.
This air fryer roasted turkey breast makes a quick and easy main dish for holidays or special occasions. Serve it carved and plated like a classic roast turkey. Pair it with traditional side dishes like mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce and gravy for a delicious meal.
Here are some easy side dishes 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 balls – 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: Homemade Turkey Gravy (without drippings)
Other tasty ways to serve This air fried turkey breast include:
- Sliced and stacked on bread or rolls with mayo, lettuce, tomato and cheese for classic turkey sandwiches.
- Diced or shredded and mixed with barbecue sauce, ranch and cheddar for bbq turkey sliders.
- Chopped and combined with mayo, celery, cranberries and nuts for an easy turkey salad.
- Diced and stuffed into omelets or breakfast burritos with eggs and cheese.
- Piled high on nachos and topped with cheese sauce for turkey nachos.
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
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).
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.
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.
Air Fryer Turkey Breast
- 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
- Preheat air fryer to 350°F / 176°C.
- Pat turkey breast dry, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the herbs and salt. Rub the oil and seasoning into the turkey breast so it is well coated.
- Place turkey breast in air fryer basket (skin side down).
- Air fry turkey breast at 350°F / 176°C for 30 minutes.
- Flip the turkey breast over, then air fry for another 20-30 minutes until it reaches 165°F/ 74°C in the center of the thickest part [Note 3]. If required, air fry for additional 5 minute intervals until it reaches the safe temperature.
- Remove turkey breast from the air fryer, cover with foil, and rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- If you have no fresh garlic you can substitute 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.
- If using fresh herbs chop the leaves finely before use.
- 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.
Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.