This Air Fryer Turkey Breast is the quickest and easiest way to get a moist, golden-brown turkey with crispy buttery skin in a fraction of the time it would take in a conventional oven. It’s incredibly juicy and loaded with flavor with an herbed-butter rub and it’s ready to serve in less than an hour.
Whether you’re cooking for a cozy Thanksgiving or wanting to shake up your weeknight meals, this turkey breast made in the air fryer is ideal.
Cooking a well-seasoned turkey breast in an air fryer is exceptionally easy, just like this Instant Pot Turkey Breast. You’ll get a scrumptious meal with very little effort, and a lot less mess.
I love holiday meals, but I don’t like the stress that comes with it, which is why I love this air-fried turkey recipe. No matter what I make in the air fryer, it consistently makes things easier, juicier and crisp every time.
I mean, it’s done in less than an hour (including prep), and you just can’t do that in a regular oven, which means you’ll have more time and space for baking! 😉
But hey, this recipe isn’t just for holidays. Turkey breasts are easy to find throughout the year, so this incredible meal can be put on regular rotation.
- Boneless skin-on turkey breast
- Butter & olive oil
- Fresh rosemary
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Lightly mist air fryer basket with olive oil.
- Mix butter, olive oil and seasonings (this turkey rub recipe is also a great choice!).
- Slather the seasoning mixture under the skin, then rub it on the outside of the turkey.
- Drizzle remaining oil over the turkey.
- Skin side up, place the turkey in the basket and cook.
- Remove from the air fryer, and cover with foil to rest for 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 °F (74°C).
- Slice and enjoy.
With only 25 minutes of prep, and 35 minutes of cook time, this air fryer turkey breast will serve 6, and you might even get a turkey sandwich or two with leftovers. 😉
- I highly recommend a boneless turkey breast as it cooks more quickly and more evenly than bone-in.
- The combination of butter and olive oil helps the skin crisp, keeps the meat moist, and adds great flavor. I highly recommend using both!
- I used turkey with garlic and rosemary, but feel free to use any herb you like, such as sage, thyme, etc.
- You definitely want to buy a turkey breast that will fit in the air fryer. I used a 4-pound turkey breast and it seemed to be standard in size. It fits nicely into my 5-quart air fryer basket.
- You also want to make sure that the height of the turkey isn’t too high for your air fryer, so check it before you start.
- You’ll want to let the turkey breast rest before you slice it. If you carve it too soon all the juices will run out, and you’ll have dry turkey. I recommend covering it with foil after cooking and resting it for at least 10 minutes.
- Once the internal temperature of the thickest part of the turkey reaches 165 °F (74 °C), it’s ready to serve.
- Time can vary depending on the size of the turkey breast, so I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature. It’s pretty inexpensive and something you can use on any meat dish.
- If you bought a frozen breast, make sure to remember to put it on a tray or baking sheet in the fridge to thaw overnight.
- Don’t overcook the turkey! We’ve all had dried-out turkey, and the same is true when you use the air fryer. The best way to know it is done is by using a thermometer and letting the breast rest will keep the juices in the meat and not on the platter.
- Air fryers are not all the same. Some will cook faster than others, so I recommend checking the turkey breast earlier than the allotted time just to make sure.
- When the turkey is done and you are ready to let it rest for 10 minutes, make sure you remove it from the air fryer basket. This way, it won’t continue to cook in a hot basket but will come to temperature while resting.
Why use an air fryer?
Using the air fryer rather than a conventional oven is so convenient. It cooks food quickly, easily, and evenly.
It’s healthier because you use less oil, it’s energy-efficient, and it consistently makes food juicy and crispy at the same time!
But the main reason to cook the turkey breast in the air fryer is it immensely reduces the cooking time. It’s done in less than an hour, meaning you can have this amazing turkey dinner on any weeknight throughout the year.
If you’re cooking this air-fried turkey breast for Thanksgiving, even better! It means you can let the air fryer do the work while you relax with your guests.
What air fryer did you use?
I used a Power XL Vortex air fryer. The company boasts its turbo-charged whirlwind vortex of superheated hot air.
Just like with other air fryers, the hot air circulates around the food leaving you with crispy food but with sealed in juices.
Just don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket with anything you cook. Obviously, you can’t cook a whole turkey in the air fryer, which is why we just cook the breast, but if you’re not serving a huge crowd, it’s the simple method that won’t leave you in the kitchen all day. 😉
Turkey internal temperature
You definitely don’t want undercooked meat for your special dinner, so I recommend an instant-read thermometer. It’s nice to have for a variety of dishes, and it will ensure your turkey is thoroughly cooked.
An internal temp of 165 °F (74 °C) is a must, and that’s getting a reading from the thickest part of the turkey breast. If the thickest part of the turkey is done, then the rest of it will be done as well.
I don’t have an air fryer; what do I do?
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can cook this turkey breast in the oven. Just prepare the breast as directed and preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C).
It will take about 2 hours, depending on the size and thickness of the breast to get it golden brown and the internal temperature to 165 °F (74 °C).
If you cook it at 325 °F (163 °C) in the oven, it will take longer and more than likely dry out a bit. Again, the cooking time varies depending on the thickness and weight of the breast. So you can approximate 15 minutes per pound at 325 °F (163 °C).
Cooking turkey breast at 375 °F (190 °C) is too high in a conventional oven, it will cook the skin quickly and dry out the meat or leave you with an undercooked breast but crispy outside.
You’ll notice that for this recipe, the air fryer is set for 375 °F (190 °C), the turkey breast cooks for 30 to 35 minutes to get the golden-brown skin and moist and juicy center.
Above all, you want an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C) no matter what method you use.
How to store leftovers:
Cooked turkey can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
How to freeze leftover turkey breast:
Transfer leftover cooked turkey meat into a freezer bag and put it in the freezer for up to 4 months. If you made gravy, sealing it with the meat will help keep the turkey moist.
To use the frozen turkey, just thaw it overnight in the fridge or use the defrost setting on the microwave.
Why do I need to let the turkey breast rest before carving?
Letting the meat rest for at least 10 minutes will redistribute the juices into the meat for juicier turkey.
But more importantly, the turkey will continue to cook and the internal temperature will rise another 5 degrees. At that point, it’ll be safe to eat.
I suggest transferring the turkey breast to a platter and tenting it with foil for a full 10 minutes. If you cut it right out of the air fryer, the juices will run out on the platter leaving your turkey high and dry.
So, in order to get the juiciest turkey, don’t skip this step.
How to carve a turkey breast:
If you use a boneless turkey breast, you’re in luck! It’s easy to just slice and serve (after letting it rest of 10 minutes of course! You don’t want the juices running all over the platter after slicing.) 😉
If you used a bone-in turkey breast, then you will first need to remove the meat from the bone. You start at the top of the breast bone and run it smoothly alongside the bone down to the cutting board. Then down and around the rib area. If using a serrated knife, you’ll use sawing strokes.
Once the breast is removed from the bones, then you can slice and serve.
How to choose the best turkey breast for air frying:
You’ve got choices: bone-in, boneless, skin-on, or skinless. For this recipe, I used skin-on boneless turkey breast because you get crispy golden outside and juicy tender turkey meat with the least amount of time.
All variations will work with minor adjustments. If you use a bone-in turkey breast, you can preheat the air fryer for 360 °F (182 °C) and cook it on its side for 25 minutes, then flip it and cook for another 25 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
Make sure that the bone-in turkey breast will fit in the air fryer basket! I’ve seen some pretty big bone-in breasts that are too large to fit in the basket.
I suggest staying within the 4- to 5-pound range for a 5-quart basket and you should be fine.
Cooking skinless turkey breast is the same as cooking it with the skin on, only it won’t have that extra crispy texture. The skin helps seal in the juices of the turkey meat.
So to get moist and juicy turkey, you’ll want to spray a skinless breast with an oil mister every 15 minutes of cook time. It’s a little extra effort, but it will still taste great.
What to serve with air fryer turkey breast:
I’m posting this turkey using the air fryer as we are nearing Thanksgiving, but turkey breasts are easy to find throughout the year.
If you’re looking for side dishes for this turkey dinner, here are some of my favorites. And I think this Gluten-free Stuffing would also be great!
For starters, I love these easy Goat Cheese Balls; they are festive and super easy to make with only 6 ingredients.
Whether you like soup or salad, I’ve got you covered. Check out this Cranberry Sunflower Seed Salad or this Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Salad or this creamy Corn Chowder. All work perfectly with this turkey dinner.
If you love mac and cheese, you can have a healthier version with this Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese as it sneaks in nutrition with the added sweet potatoes, but don’t worry, no one will notice.
These Dairy-free Mashed Potatoes are a mainstay at my house. The tips and tricks in the recipe will ensure you never have gummy potatoes again.
With any special meal, I like to serve these Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls. They stay soft and fluffy for days, so you can have a turkey sandwich later in the week.
For something really cute + healthy, check out this adorable Thanksgiving Turkey Fruit Plate!
That’s it! I hope you love this Air Fryer Turkey Breast! If you decide to make it or any other recipe you find on the site, I’d be thrilled to see it. Snap a pic 📸 and tag #fooddoodlesrecipes 📣🤩 so I can easily find them. Enjoy!
Air Fryer Turkey Breast
- 1 4 pound (1814 grams) boneless skin-on turkey breast
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter or olive oil
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 teaspoons fresh rosemary minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil.
- Pat the turkey breast dry with a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, mix together the butter, just one tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and the pepper.
- Gently lift the skin away from the meat. Rub about ¾ of the butter mix evenly under the skin so that it coats the meat.
- Rub the remaining butter mixture over the outside of the turkey.
- Then drizzle the turkey breast with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and rub that all over the breast.
- Put the turkey breast in the air fryer basket, with the skin side up.
- Cook at 375 °F (190 °C) for 30-35 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 °F (71 °C).
- Take the turkey out of the air fryer and cover with foil.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes, or until the temperature has reached 165 °F (74 °C).
- Slice and serve!
- Refrigerate cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.