How To Air Fry Chicken Breasts For Actually Flavorful Results

Air fryers have completely changed the way we cook. The trend of using countertop convection ovens is so huge that many food packages now include specific instructions on how to prepare their contents in the air fryer, along with microwave, stove, or oven instructions. The kinds of things you can cook with such appliances range from the obvious (hash brown patties) to the surprising (hard-boiled eggs). When it comes to chicken, it's not only nuggets that can be cooked to perfection in an air fryer — but chicken breasts as well.

While no one is going to accuse boneless, skinless chicken breasts of being the most flavorful part of the bird, you can't discount how versatile and nutritious they are. You can eat chicken breasts as a main course or you can put them into salads, soups, sandwiches, enchiladas, tacos — the list goes on. Plus, it is high in protein and amino acids and low in calories. But with very little fat in them to keep them moist, chicken breasts can turn dry very quickly — especially when they're not cooked in any kind of liquid. Air fryers might be the epitome of dry heat cooking, but they can turn out some pretty juicy chicken breasts if you can believe it. The high heat that completely surrounds the food inside ensures a quick cooking time with juicy, not dry, results.

How to get your chicken breasts just right in an air fryer

If you have the time, it's always a good idea to brine your chicken breasts the day before you're going to cook them. Chefs and home cooks have been swearing by brining chicken and turkey for years to achieve maximum juiciness. But, if you don't have that kind of time, try to season the chicken breasts an hour or two before you plan on putting them in the air fryer. Coat the meat in a little oil and then season with anything from salt and pepper to a good spice rub. You could also use a liquid marinade. Because you'll be working with convection cooking, the temperature of the fryer shouldn't need to be set as high as you'd set your standard oven to bake chicken breasts. Recipes vary, but 375 to 400 Fahrenheit should be the perfect setting.

Chicken breasts are done when they hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, so have a meat thermometer on hand to check this because chicken breasts come in a huge range of sizes. The larger the chicken breasts, the longer the cooking time will be — but no matter the size, the breasts should be flipped over halfway through cooking to ensure even heat and a nice brown color. With the speedy cooking time and the delicious, juicy flavor, you may decide to not prepare your chicken any other way.