A quick but flavorful air fryer chicken breast recipe that is ready in just 20 minutes! With a super simple breading that gets crispy and delicious in the air fryer.
Need to get dinner on the table quickly? This is your recipe! This simple but versatile air fryer chicken breast is a real crowd-pleaser and is so easy to make.
This post was originally published in 04/2018. It was rewritten and republished (with a new video) in 09/2019. Same great recipe!
After tackling the perfect baked chicken breast, it’s time to show you a great way to cook chicken breasts in the air fryer!
With a delicious breading that gets nice and crispy in the air fryer, it adds a ton of flavor to your chicken. And the best part is that it can be on your table in just 20 minutes!
Reasons your air fryer is a great way to cook chicken breast
- it pre-heats faster than the oven
- it cooks the chicken through in just 6 minutes
- you get a delicious crispy texture to the breading without the need for a ton of oil
Don’t forget to pin this post to save it for later!
How to cook chicken breast in air fryer
I bet you’ve never made a breaded chicken recipe that is this simple before! We are skipping the traditional flour/egg/breading routine in favor of a simpler and faster way of getting things done.
Here’s how to cook chicken breast in air fryer:
- slice chicken breasts in half across to make 2 thin slices per breast
- brush with olive oil
- mix up breading: bread crumbs, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and a tiny bit of cayenne
- coat chicken all over in the breading, shake excess off
- cook 2 slices at a time in a single layer in your air fryer basket (see *): 6 minutes total, flipping partway through. You can test with a digital thermometer to make sure your chicken reaches 165°F or cut one open.
* depending on your air fryer model you may be able to fit more in the basket.
Tell me about this air fryer chicken breast breading!
When it comes to the breading, there details are important.
I tried three different options for breading:
- all purpose flour ended up kind of soggy and not great in texture
- panko gave the crispiest texture, but all the seasonings sank to the bottom of the bowl, so it was lacking in flavor
- regular bread crumbs is the winner in this recipe as it gave the best compromise between crispy texture and great flavor
So make sure that you use regular breadcrumbs for best results with this chicken breast air fryer recipe.
Can I prep air fryer chicken breast ahead? Surprisingly, this recipe reheats really well! Cook as directed in the recipe card, then cool and store in an air tight container. Reheat in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes, until heated through and breading becomes crispy again!
Can I make this recipe keto? Some readers have had success with this recipe by swapping the breadcrumbs for pork rinds! I have not personally tried.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free? I bet you could swap the breadcrumbs for gluten-free breadcrumbs, but again, I have not personally tried this.
What to serve with this chicken breast air fryer recipe?
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is so versatile! Here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with it:
- Roasted vegetables– our current favorites are these Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
- Side salad– like this Staple Kale Salad or a leafy salad tossed in this Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Potatoes– roasted in the oven, grilled like these Ultra Crispy Grilled Potatoes, or mashed like these Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Cauliflower– this Fluffy Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower might just be better than mashed potatoes!
Tips & equipment for the perfect air fryer chicken breast
- this air fryer is the one I own, but you may want to consider a larger model like this XL air fryer
- this would work with boneless skinless chicken thighs as well (unsure of the cook time though)
- Looking for more air fryer recipes? Check out these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders, these Air Fryer Chicken Wings and this Air Fryer Shrimp
20 Minute Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (roughly 2 large)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs (see *)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Heat air fryer to 390°F / 200 °C.
- Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally to make two thin chicken breast halves from each.
- Brush each side lightly with olive oil.
- Stir together the breading ingredients. Dredge the chicken breasts in the breading mulitple times until they are thoroughly coated.
- Shake off excess breading, and place in a single layer in the air fryer (2 chicken breast halves at a time).
- Cook for 4 minutes, flip, then two more minutes. Cook time will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts, so either check with a digital thermometer that chicken has reached 165°F or cut one in half.
To prepare ahead
- These air fryer chicken breasts may be cooked 2-3 days ahead and stored in the fridge. Place them back in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes until heated through and breading is crispy again.