Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Breast

by Erin @ Food Doodles on September 5, 2021

Air fryer frozen chicken breast is the quickest and easiest way to get tender, juicy chicken breasts with minimal effort. It takes less than 30 minutes, and with just a simple seasoning, you’ll be feeding the whole family a healthy and satisfying meal.

I don’t know about you, but once summer ends and school begins, life gets busier and busier. I’m always looking for the easiest way to feed my family nutritious meals, and using frozen chicken in the air fryer is a lifesaver on busy weeknights.

With only pantry seasonings, this recipe makes dinners super simple yet satiating especially when served with your family’s favorite side dishes. If you’re into BBQ, then you definitely want to try this Air Fryer BBQ Chicken recipe.

plate with sliced air fryer chicken breast

There are many ways you could use these air fryer frozen chicken breasts if you’re looking for a twist. Try it with this Cajun Chicken Pasta for a healthier pasta dish with a cheese-based sauce. Or for a quick lunch, use the chicken breast in these Cream Cheese Quesadillas.

Plus, if you’re following a keto or paleo diet, then this recipe is a must-make.

Using the air fryer eliminates having to defrost the chicken breasts, (how many times have we all forgotten to do this 😁) and it just makes cooking dinner so much easier with fabulous results every time.

air fryer frozen chicken breasts pin 2

Ingredients:

  • Frozen, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Hot or smoked paprika
  • Granulated garlic
  • Black pepper

ingredients shown for air fryer frozen chicken breast

How to make frozen chicken breasts in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat the air fryer.
  2. Spray the frozen chicken with a little oil and rub on the seasoning.
  3. Place them in the air fryer.
  4. Flip them once halfway through the cook time.
  5. Garnish and serve!

Here are the baking times for different sized chicken breasts:

  • 1/2 inch (1.2cm) thick: about 10 minutes
  • 1 inch (2.5cm) thick: about 15 minutes
  • 1 1/2-inch (4cm): about 20-22 minutes
  • 2-inch (5cm): about 28–30 minutes

Tips:

  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s done. Insert it into the thickest part of the chicken. When the temperature reaches 165 °F (74°C), it’s done. Let it sit for 5 minutes to rest, then cut and serve.
  • Just remember the cooking time depends more on the thickness of the breast than the weight.
  • Mix the spices together and apply the seasoning liberally on both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Don’t overlap or stack the chicken breasts in the air fryer. Leave a little breathing room in between each breast for best results. If cooking for a larger group, just cook them in batches.
  • Be careful when putting the breasts in the air fryer. Because it is preheated, it can be quite hot, so take care when placing them in the basket.
  • When the chicken breasts are ready, remove them from the air fryer and place them on a plate. If you leave them in the basket they will continue to cook and you will have overcooked, dry chicken for dinner.
  • Using frozen chicken breasts only takes a little more time than using fresh chicken. Just make sure you take the temperature to ensure it’s cooked thoroughly.
  • Use similar-sized chicken breast with the same thickness, so they each cook evenly and are ready at the same time.
  • Spray the chicken with a little oil, but if you don’t have a sprayer just use a teaspoon of oil and spread it evenly.
  • Before you slice the chicken, let it sit for 5 minutes before you slice it. Slicing it directly after removing the chicken will make the juices run out, leaving the chicken less tasty.
  • Remember that not all air fryers are the same. When you flip the chicken breasts take note as to how quickly it cooked and adjust the time accordingly.

2 frozen chicken breast in air fryer basket

How to store leftovers?

Keep these air fryer chicken breasts stored in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. To reheat just place them back into the air fryer at 360°F (182°C) for about 5 minutes and enjoy.

What kind of oil can I use?

Extra virgin olive oil and vegetable oil are best for this recipe. They have low smoke points and work great in the air fryer.

If you’re interested in learning about the best oils for air fryers, I found a comprehensive post of the Best Oils for Air Fryer from the Air Frying Foodie that you might want to save for future reference.

Why use the air fryer?

Using an air fryer is so convenient, it’s energy-efficient and it takes less oil and less time. It’s perfect for frozen foods because you don’t have to defrost them. It’s as easy as popping it in the air fryer and in minutes, it’s perfectly cooked.

You don’t have an air fryer yet?

I get it! I was very hesitant to buy one, but once I did, I understood the frenzy. In the photos, you see the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer. It has a round basket and works nicely.

I love this countertop version Ninja SP101 Foodi 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry. It does just about everything and has a sleek design that doesn’t take up too much space.

And the air fryer is great for baking in small batches, so if you want a quick sweet treat, you should try these Air Fryer Brownies or these Air Fryer Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Looking for other air fryer recipes? Check out this Popcorn Chicken Air Fryer recipe. They make great snacks or a quick and easy, fun family meal.

You can also try these Frozen Chicken Wings in the air fryer. They’re just as easy, just pop them in the air fryer, slather them in spicy sauce and have a finger-licking good dinner.

Or for an Asian twist, try this Air Fryer Sesame Chicken. It’s a great addition to busy weeknight meals.

 

2 baked chicken breasts in air fryer basket

Do I have to use oil?

If you want to reduce the oil, just spray the basket lightly so the breasts don’t stick to the surface of the air fryer basket. 

I prefer to spray a little oil on the chicken which helps the spices stick nicely, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Just don’t overcook the chicken or it could be dry.

Do not use PAM or any aerosol spray in your air fryer. Aerosol sprays are known to chip the air fryer baskets because they have harsh ingredients that ruin the coating. If you don’t have an oil sprayer, it’s definitely worth investing in if you have an air fryer. That way you can use natural oils and have healthier meals.

What if I don’t have frozen chicken breasts?

Not a problem, just lightly spray fresh chicken breasts with oil, rub on the seasoning and follow the cook time chart above minus a couple of minutes. It’s always best to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

When using a thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the chicken. When the temperature reaches 165 °F (74°C), it’s done. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Just remember the cooking time depends more on the thickness of the breast rather than the weight.

If you have a lot of chicken breasts and you want to freeze your own, it’s easy, but do it safely.

close-up of air fryer frozen chicken breast

How to freeze chicken breasts:

It’s important to freeze each breast individually so they don’t stick together.

You can vacuum seal each chicken breast in a separate bag or use a freezer-friendly zip-locking bag, but make sure the pieces don’t touch. Or to avoid pieces sticking together you can:

  • Pound the chicken to the same thickness.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place each chicken breast on the baking sheet leaving a little room in between each piece.
  • Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the freezer and place each frozen breast in a freezer bag.

This method freezes each breast individually, and you don’t run the risk of them sticking together as you would if you just threw the chicken breasts in a bag and put them directly into the freezer.

plate of air fryer frozen chicken breast

What to serve with chicken breasts:

  • This Panzanella Salad is a hearty, Tuscan-style bread salad that would be fantastic with these air fryer chicken breasts.
  • I love sneaking in extra nutrition, and this Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese is amazingly creamy and no one will know that it’s healthier with the sweet potatoes.
  • Speaking of sweet potatoes, this Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Salad is delightful.
  • Good ol’ Mashed Potatoes are a fantastic pair with chicken breasts. These are dairy-free, but if you can have dairy, I’ve listed traditional ingredients, as well.
  • These yeast-free Dinner Muffins are great and they’ll stay soft and fluffy for days so you can have a quick and easy slider during the week.
  • And if you’re aiming to please, these Air Fryer Carrot Fries are healthy or try these super cheesy Air Fryer Garlic Fries.

Air fryer chicken is my new favorite cooking hack! It makes a fantastic meal in minutes, and it’s perfect every time. If you’re looking for other family meals, follow me to Fooddoodles.com to find your favorites.

Did you try this recipe? If so, I want to hear all about it! Leave a comment below or take a pic and tag #fooddoodles recipes on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, so I can easily find them. Have fun and eat well.

air fryer frozen chicken breasts pin 1

5 from 1 vote
frozen chicken breasts in air fryer basket
Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Breast
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
 
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer, chicken breast
Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 2-3 frozen, skinless chicken breasts (whatever will fit in your air fryer in one layer)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil.
  2. Spray or rub each chicken breast with oil and season each side with seasoning.
  3. Preheat the air fryer to 360 ºF (180 ºC).
  4. Put the chicken breast in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes (see below for baking times based on chicken thickness), flip, and cook for another 5-15 minutes or until you have an internal temp of of 165 (74 ºC).

  6. Keep these air fryer chicken breasts stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. To reheat just place them back into the air fryer at 360°F (182°C) for about 5 minutes and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

Here's how long to cook frozen chicken breast in the air fryer, according to the thickness of the breast. Flip half-way through:

  • 1/2 inch (1.2cm) thick: about 10 minutes
  • 1 inch (2.5cm) thick: about 15 minutes
  • 1 1/2-inch (4cm): about 20-22 minutes
  • 2-inch (5cm): about 28–30 minutes

Leave a Comment

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nart October 6, 2021 at 08:48

Love this recipe. So easy and healthy. Who would have thought the texture of the chicken could be so nice after being cooked in the air fryer!

Reply

2 Erin @ Food Doodles October 6, 2021 at 20:09

I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! And I agree with you. I was hesitant to try it! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂

Reply

3 Uma September 13, 2021 at 21:40

I am thinking of buying an Air fryer for Thanksgiving deal. This looks easy and quick.

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4 Amy Nash September 13, 2021 at 08:01

This approach to chicken is a total game changer for weeknight dinners! I legit sent my husband the link and asked him to start this on our way home from soccer practice for the kids, then we just made a quick salad from a bag and ate it with crusty bread. Delicious and so easy!

Reply

5 Sara LaFountain September 11, 2021 at 18:09

The chicken in the air fryer came out so moist! What a great way to make chicken breasts.

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6 Linda September 11, 2021 at 07:33

This is out favorite recipe these days – so easy and delicious!

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7 Marie September 10, 2021 at 20:18

What a handy recipe–I especially love the fact that you cook the chicken from frozen. A life-saving tip for those who forget to plan dinner in advance, which happens to me more often than I care to admit!!

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8 Tammy September 10, 2021 at 17:59

It doesn’t get any easier than this! I’m in love with my air fryer since I’ve gotten one. This is such a great recipe for the busy weeknights!

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9 Lauren Michael Harris September 10, 2021 at 15:23

I have never thought to put frozen chicken in the air fryer! What a time saver this is – thanks for this awesome recipe!

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10 Leslie September 9, 2021 at 20:49

I will say YES to this air fryer chicken recipe any day! I’m not great at making chicken and this is so perfect!!

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11 Kayla DiMaggio September 9, 2021 at 19:57

I am always in a pinch for time so being able to make a quick dinner in the air fryer is perfect!

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12 Heidy September 9, 2021 at 14:04

I love this recipe for Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Breast. It turned out so tender and juicy with just the right texture on the outside. I will definitely make it again!

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13 Priya Maha September 7, 2021 at 17:22

I love the fact that this recipe is not only super quick and easy, it’s absolutely delish too! My kids love this recipe!

Reply

14 Charlotte Moore September 6, 2021 at 00:32

It sure does look tasty. Never dreamed you could cook it frozen.

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