Air fryer turkey breast is juicy, delicious and perfect for the holidays. It’s made with just 7 simple ingredients and comes together in under an hour so you can get Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas on the table in no time at all.
If you’re hosting a smaller number of guests for the holiday, this is the best way to make your turkey breast! It’s also great if you’re making multiple mains and I love how using the air fryer frees up our precious oven space for sides.
Air Fryer Turkey Breast Recipe
I have a few other small-batch turkey recipes you might want to consider when feeding a small number of people. Try my Roasted Turkey Legs, Roasted Turkey Breast or mouthwatering Garlic Butter Turkey Breast. You can’t go wrong with any of these delicious options!
If you’re feeding a crowd, be sure to check out my fabulous Garlic Butter Roasted Turkey for a full tutorial on roasting a whole bird.
How To Make Air Fryer Turkey Breast
- Turkey breast — Bone-in is best for this recipe.
- Butter — I prefer to use unsalted butter, but salted will work in a pinch. Consider reducing added salt seasoning when using salted butter.
- Garlic — Fresh minced garlic tastes best in my opinion, but if you need to save a little time a jar of pre-minced garlic will work fine!
- Thyme — Fresh chopped thyme adds the best, classic holiday flavor to your turkey. You can also use fresh rosemary or parsley.
- Seasonings — Paprika, salt and pepper. You can also add garlic powder, onion powder or your favorite poultry seasoning.
Prepare turkey breast:
- Remove turkey breast from packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Generously rub the whole breast with salt and pepper!
- Measure butter, minced garlic, chopped fresh thyme, paprika, salt and pepper into a small bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined.
- Use your hands or a spoon to loosen the skin, separating it from the breast meat. Spread a generous amount of your herb butter mixture underneath the skin, then flip the breast over and apply remaining butter on top.
- Last, sprinkle some extra salt and black pepper over the buttered breast.
Air fry turkey:
- Grab your air fryer basket and coat it with some cooking spray or olive oil to help prevent sticking.
- Next, place your turkey breast into the basket, skin side down, and air fry for 20 minutes at 350°F! Flip the breast over and air fry 20-30 minutes longer.
- Starting at 15 minutes, check the internal temperature of your turkey breast often using an instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches 160°F at the thickest part, remove it from the air fryer. Note that poultry is considered safe when cooked to 165°F, but the temp will continue to rise a bit as the meat rests.
Rest, slice, then serve!
- After removing turkey from the air fryer, place it on a large cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for around 10-15 minutes.
- Slice turkey, and serve with all of your favorite sides. Enjoy!
- Many turkey breasts at the grocery store are frozen. They can take a day or two to thaw completely in the refrigerator, so make sure to plan accordingly if you’re making this recipe for the holiday.
- Double check the size of your air fryer before purchasing a turkey breast to make sure it will fit without issue.
- Keep in mind that cook time will vary depending on the thickness and size of your turkey breast. Mine took around 45 minutes to cook through, but you may need to adjust cook time up or down. Be careful not to over-cook as this can result in a dry texture!
- Rest time is really important. Avoid slicing turkey breast immediately as rest time will give the juices a chance to re-distribute throughout the meat, making it extra juicy.
What to Serve with
Any type of potatoes: I love serving potatoes with my turkey breast each year. Cheesy potatoes au gratin, classic creamy mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes are some of my favorites. Of course, you can’t go wrong with sweet potato casserole for the holiday! For a low carb option, try mashed cauliflower!
Casseroles: Green bean casserole, cauliflower casserole or this creamy Brussels sprouts casserole are all winners. You can also make a simple roasted veggie, like my parmesan roasted Brussels sprouts, rather than a whole casserole.
Herbs & spices: I typically use salt, pepper, paprika and thyme for this recipe. Feel free to add in other spices or play around with other fresh herbs like rosemary, oregano or sage!
Add citrus: When making your compound butter, add a bit of orange or lemon zest! This will create a nice, bright flavor profile that perfectly complements rich and savory turkey.
Brine: Air fryer turkey breast will turn out plenty juicy and flavorful with the compound butter. But, if you’d like, you can plan ahead and use a dry rub spice blend to brine your turkey, or you can even submerge the breast in salt water to wet-brine!
How to Carve a Turkey Breast
- Let the air fryer turkey breast chill on a wooden board for around 15 minutes. After that, grab a sharp knife or a carving knife and start with a horizontal slice at the bottom of the breast, keeping it parallel to the cutting board for a steady base.
- Slice the turkey breast against the grain. This means cutting perpendicular to the natural lines in the meat fibers. Aim for thin, even slices to ensure tenderness and ease of serving.
- Continue slicing across the breast, working your way from one end to the other. If you encounter the wishbone, use the tip of the knife to follow its curve and release the meat.
- Arrange the slices on a platter and serve immediately. Enjoy your perfectly carved turkey breast!
How to Store Leftovers
To Store: Allow leftovers to cool and place turkey in an airtight container, then refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 days.
Freezer Instructions: Leftovers are also freezer friendly! Place them in an airtight or in a freezer bag, freezer-safe container or bag and store frozen for up to 6 months.
To Reheat: Easily reheat leftover turkey in the microwave. Covering it with a damp paper towel can help to restore moisture!
Air Fryer: Double check the size of your air fryer before purchasing a turkey breast so you can be sure everything fits!
Meat Thermometer: This handy tool lets you know exactly when the turkey is done so you can avoid under or over-cooking.
Mixing Bowl: A small mixing bowl is perfect for making your compound butter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you definitely can! Just keep in mind that it may take a little bit longer to cook all the way through.
You should thoroughly thaw your breast before sticking it in the air fryer. Often, they come from the store frozen. Check packaging for instructions on how to safely thaw the breast and keep in mind that it could take a few days, be sure to plan accordingly!
It absolutely is! The air fryer is a great way to make perfectly juicy and flavorful turkey in under an hour. Make your holiday cooking less stressful with this modern cooking method.
Watch the Air Fryer Turkey Breast Web Story here.
- Pat the turkey breast with paper towels to remove any moisture. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the butter.
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix all together.
- Use an upside spoon to help loosen the skin from the turkey flesh, if necessary. Then, using your hands, add some butter mixture under the skin, then add some on the top of the breast. Sprinkle some more salt and pepper over the turkey breast.
- Spray some cooking spray in the air fryer basket to prevent the turkey breast from sticking to it.
- Place the turkey into the basket of your air fryer with the skin side facing down. Set the air fryer to 350°F for 20 minutes.
- Flip the turkey breast over and air fry for an additional 20-30 minutes.
- After about 15 minutes, start checking the temperature of the turkey breast. You want the internal temperature to reach 160°F. Poultry is considered cooked at 165F, but please note that its temperature will continue to rise as it rests. Be cautious not to overcook, as it may result in a dry texture.
- Remove the turkey from the air fryer, place on a cutting board and cover with foil. Allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
- Thaw your turkey breast completely before air frying.
- Double check air fryer size before purchasing a turkey breast to make sure it will fit.
- Cook time will vary depending on the size of your turkey breast. Be careful not to over-cook as this can result in dry meat.
- Avoid slicing turkey immediately. Rest time will make it extra juicy!
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.