The absolute best air fryer chicken breast

Make the perfect weeknight chicken without having to babysit a stove or oven

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published May 8, 2024 5:46AM (EDT)

Cooking skinless chicken breast with spices in an air fryer (Getty Images/Francisco Zeledon)
Cooking skinless chicken breast with spices in an air fryer (Getty Images/Francisco Zeledon)

I love chicken breasts.

I’ve gone to bat for them many times before, never understanding how or why the “boring” narrative ever got started. There is no other ingredient I cook with more than chicken (well, maybe aside from cheese). It is also far and away the protein that I consume the most.

I love boneless and skinless, I love skin-on, I love bone-in, I love wings — the list goes on and on. 

Something that I’ve started doing lately is a very simple, very quick method that involves two of my absolute favorite things: chicken breasts and the air fryer.

Now, I say “method” because this is much more of a general approach than it is a “recipe,” per se. I’ve found that this is an exceptional method for a quick, hands-off chicken breast that is beautifully crisped, cooked and seasoned  with the added bonus of it cooking away in the air fryer as I work away from the kitchen.

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It also doesn’t take any longer than maybe 25 minutes  although, if you happen to have an enormous air fryer that holds four-plus breasts, you may have a slightly different experience than I do when I’m using my relatively small air fryer to make one or two breasts.

I'm always a sucker for over-done, uber-crisp proteins, so this might even veer on overcooked for a normal person. Cut back the cook time 5 minutes if you prefer a less crisp chicken.

Eat this on its own, wrap it in your favorite bacon, serve it over greens, serve it alongside rice, dice it and fill a taco, slice it and add to a pasta dish, dice it in buffalo sauce, eat it with guacamole . . . it’s your kitchen, so do as you please.  I’m just leading you to water. 

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Air fryer chicken breasts
02 servings
Prep Time
 01 minute
Cook Time
25 minutes


2 chicken breasts

Cooking spray and/or neutral oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Paprika, optional

Garlic and onion powder, optional 

Seasoning salts or blends, optional

Flaky sea salt, optional 

Dried herbs, optional


  1. Place chicken breasts in air fryer.
  2. Spritz with cooking spray, or conversely, slightly drizzle with a touch of oil.
  3. Season as you see fit.
  4. Cook at 400 degrees fahrenheit for about 20 to 25 minutes, shaking and/or turning the chicken about halfway through.
  5. Finish with a touch more flaky salt.

Cook's Notes

-For this method, I'd go for skinless and boneless, but pick your favorite! I will note that the bone will make the cook time a bit longer and the skin might not crisp up as well in an air fryer as it might in a cast-iron pan, but it'll still caramelize pretty well. 

-I love a spritz or two of cooking spray, usually a generic or avocado oil. 

-The salt and pepper are non-negotiables, but you can never go wrong with paprika and onion and garlic powder.

-I sometimes throw on something else, like cumin or Adobo or seasoning salt, but be sure to cut back on the actual salt if you're using Adobo or a seasoning salt. 

By Michael La Corte

Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.

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