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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How to cook turkey breast in an air fryer
Turkey is super healthy, low in fat, and a rich source of protein and vitamin B6, as well as the essential amino acid tryptophan. But unless you have a very large family you probably won’t be roasting a whole bird on a regular occasion. Luckily, turkey breast is quick easy to roast, and cooking it in the air fryer makes it even quicker and easier!
Not only is air frying a great option for your Thanksgiving turkey, it also makes a great family dinner at any time of the year.
Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer turkey breast recipe, or read on for all the details!
Quantities for all ingredients are given in the recipe card below.
I usually use single split boneless turkey breast. You can air fry skin-on or skinless turkey breast, though I usually roast it skin-on, 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 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.
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:
- Sage and onion
- Black pepper and paprika
- Lemon or other citrus
- Italian seasoning
You will need approximately 1 teaspoon of seasoning per lb of turkey breast.
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.
Step 1: Season the turkey breast. The best way I have found to season the turkey breast is to mix oil, herbs and salt together on a plate and press the turkey breast into it, turning and pressing until it is well coated in the oil-herb mix.
Step 2: Air fry turkey breast. Preheat air fryer (320°F/ 160°C) if required for your model. Then place turkey breast into the air fryer basket skin side down.
Air fry the turkey breast at 320°F/ 160°C for 30 minutes. 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 and 165°F/ 75°C in the center of the thickest part. More details on cooking times/ temp in section below.
If the turkey breast needs more cooking time cook for additional 10-minute intervals until it is done.
Step 3: Rest. Remove turkey breast from the air fryer to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving.
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/ 75°C in the center of the thickest part.
An instant read thermometer is a good option to do this. Another good option (and what I use) is a wireless leave-in thermometer called the Meater*.
This is a truly wireless meat thermometer. It is like a skewer that you stick into the thickest part of the meat you are cooking, and then it uses Bluetooth to tell your phone when it is ready. It is awesome to use with an air fryer as there are no wires and you don’t need to open the air fryer to check on progress during cooking.
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, stuffing and gravy. 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.
Alternatively, for a quick and easy gravy, try this recipe for making gravy with stock cubes.
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/ 75°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 Recipe Card
How to cook turkey breast in an air fryer.
- 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 320°F (160°C).
- Mix the oil, herbs and garlic on a plate. Place turkey breast in the herb mixture, and turn to coat the turkey breast well.
- Place turkey breast into the air fryer basket (skin side down). Air fry the turkey breast for 30 minutes.
- 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 it reaches 165°F/ 75°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.
- Rest covered 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/ 75°C.
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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.
You may also like:
- Air fryer chicken breast
- Air fryer whole chicken
- Air fryer roast beef
- Air fryer roast pork
- Air fryer Cornish hen
- Air fryer half chicken
- Instant Pot turkey tenderloin
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