Air fryer turkey breast is tender and juicy turkey with crispy skin. This is an ideal low prep recipe for when you want to cook turkey fast! Perfect for a small Thanksgiving dinner or a weeknight meal, a boneless turkey breast is a great option that will serve 6 people and still leave some extra for leftovers!
When it comes to cooking I am always looking for ways to save time, especially around the holidays. Cooking a turkey breast in the air fryer takes about an hour, which is a huge time savings!
I still remember family Thanksgivings where my mom had to up early to get the turkey started. Not me, I want to sleep in on holidays! So if you are planning a small gathering a simple turkey breast cooked in the air fryer is a fantastic option.
And remember, turkey doesn’t have to just be for the Thanksgiving table! Turkey is a tasty meat that is low in fat, healthy and goes well in many recipes. This air fried turkey breast recipe is quick enough that it can be a family favorite all year round.
Why You Will Love Air Fryer Turkey Breast
- The skin is amazingly crispy. If skin is one of your favorite parts of the turkey you will be amazed at the crisp, golden brown skin and amazing flavor.
- The turkey meat is juicy and tender. Because the turkey cooks so quickly it doesn’t have time to dry out.
- This is a simple recipe. Even if you have never cooked turkey before you can make it with this easy recipe.
- You can get the best turkey taste without filling up your refrigerator with an entire turkey and spending all day cooking it.
- You don’t have to try to find the giblets inside a still partially frozen turkey, which is always my least favorite Thanksgiving tradition.
- On Thanksgiving using the air fryer frees up the oven for more important dishes like cornbread stuffing, pie and macaroni and cheese. At least in my family these are the most important dishes!
- With this quick and easy way to make turkey you can enjoy leftover turkey more often. You don’t have to wait for the holidays to make Instant Pot turkey soup or leftover turkey pizza.
Which is Best, Bone in or Boneless Turkey Breast?
Either one works well in this recipe. The cooking times will vary slightly. For these pictures I used boneless, but I give the cooking times for both in the recipe card below.
Boneless turkey breasts are usually covered in netting, which helps hold them together so they cook evenly. Because the netting keeps everything tightly together it takes a little longer to cook.
The biggest advantage of a boneless is that it is easier to carve, since all you have to do is slice it. But a bone in breast will also give you excellent results with juicy turkey breast.
The most important thing is to make sure the at that whatever you pick fits into your air fryer basket! I have a 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer and I had no problem fitting a 4 pound boneless turkey breast.
This is a very simple recipe with only 3 ingredients – turkey, seasoning and oil. I used herbs de Provence seasoning for this recipe.
I like herbs de Provence because it smells so good! It includes lots of the spices usually used for poultry, like thyme, rosemary and marjoram in the mix, along with lavender which makes it very fragrant, and the flavor goes amazingly well with turkey.
But any kind of poultry seasoning or even a barbecue rub would work fine on turkey. Use whatever your favorite seasoning is or whatever you find in your pantry. If you are using a seasoning that already has salt skip the salt in the recipe.
Step by Step Instructions
Take the turkey out of its plastic wrapper and pat it dry. If your turkey breast is covered in netting leave the netting on while it cooks.
Spread the oil over the turkey skin and sprinkle on the herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. The oil helps the seasonings stick to the skin and makes the skin extra crispy.
2. Air Fry
Put the turkey breast in the air fryer and set it at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. It doesn’t really matter which side goes up and which side goes down. After 20 minutes use tongs to flip the turkey to the other side and continue to cook it for another 30 minutes. Then check the temperature with an instant read thermometer.
Make sure you put the thermometer in the middle of the meat for a boneless breast and near but not on the bone for a bone in one. The turkey is done when the center reaches 145 degrees F. The cooking time will vary depending slightly on the size and whether it has a bone or not.
Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.
I find in my air fryer a boneless breast takes about 60 minutes total cooking time, while a bone in one takes about 50 minutes total cooking time. If the turkey needs extra time put it back in the air fryer and check it again every 5-10 minutes.
3. Let the Turkey Rest
Once the turkey is done put it on a platter and let the breast rest, covered with aluminum foil, for 10-15 minutes before carving. This will enable the juices to reabsorb and make it easier to slice.
If the turkey breast has netting take it off after it has rested. The netting is nice for holding it together, but it can be a little tricky to take off. If you just yank if off some of the crispy skin will go with it, which would be a shame!
The best way to take it off is to use scissors (or a knife) to cut through it all the way along the top. Then gently peel it down each side, making sure to keep the crisp skin on the turkey.
How to Serve
Slice the turkey into thick slices and serve it with gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes or whatever your favorite turkey side dishes are.
You can also quickly wipe out your air fryer and cook up some air fryer butternut squash while the turkey rests.
How to Store
If you have leftover turkey you can store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and use it for sandwiches or some fun turkey leftover dishes like Thanksgiving Leftover Hand Pies.
This recipe is also excellent for making turkey for meal prep or for slicing for lunch sandwiches. Freshly cooked roast turkey breast is much better in sandwiches than pre-sliced deli meat!
Since this recipe is quick, easy and hands off it is a great one to make year round, not just for Thanksgiving.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, for best results you should thaw it before air frying. Because of the relatively small size a 3-5 pound turkey breast should thaw in 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Brining the turkey adds moisture to it and makes it juicier. The turkey breast will be moist without brining, but it will enhance the flavor some. Check out my recipe for apple cider brine for a great turkey brine.
There isn’t any reason you couldn’t cook an entire turkey in an air fryer except for size. It would have to be a pretty small turkey or an extremely larger air fryer.
A 4 pound boneless turkey breast will serve 6-8 people. If you want leftover turkey assume you can serve 6.
Find More Air Fryer Recipes
- 3-5 pound bone in or boneless turkey breast
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon herbes de Provence seasoning or poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, optional
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, optional
- Take the turkey breast out of its packing and pat it dry. If it has a netting leave it on.
- Spread the oil over the turkey skin and then sprinkle on the herbes de Provence, coating all sides of the turkey breast. Sprinkle the salt and black pepper as well, if desired.
- Put the turkey breast in the air fryer basket and set it at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. It doesn't matter which side goes down.
- When the air fryer is finished use tongs to flip it over and cook it at 350 F for another 30 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of the turkey with an instant read thermometer. The turkey is done when it reaches 145 degrees F internal temp. If you have a boneless breast check the temperature in the middle. If it is a bone in breast check the temperature near the bone, but not touching the bone.
- If the turkey needs extra time put it back in the air fryer at 350 degrees F and check the temperature again every 5-10 minutes.
- Once the turkey is done take it out and let it rest on a serving platter, covered with foil, for 15 minutes before cutting.
In my air fryer a boneless turkey breast has 60 minutes total cook time and a bone in one was done slightly more quickly in 50 minutes. But air fryers vary and turkey breast sizes vary, so always check the internal temperature with a thermometer, don't rely on time.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 576Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 302mgSodium: 790mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 114g
Nutrition facts are estimates.