You’ll love how moist, juicy, and tender this air fryer turkey breast is. Even though it’s a quick and easy recipe, it makes perfect turkey breast with a gorgeous crispy golden brown skin. It’s ready in less than an hour, and is perfect for Thanksgiving or an easy weeknight dinner.
Air Fryer Turkey Breast
If you love white meat, then this roast turkey breast in the air fryer recipe is for you! It’s juicy, tender, so flavorful, and has ultra-crispy skin.
One of my favorite things about this air fryer turkey breast recipe is the homemade seasoning blend. The combination of thyme, rosemary, onion, garlic powder, and some fresh lemon juice and zest infuses the turkey with the most delicious flavor.
The best part is that it’s cooked to perfection in the air fryer in under an hour, and it frees up precious space in your oven! The result is a turkey breast that’s moist and tender on the inside, with a wonderfully crispy skin on the outside.
This air fried turkey breast is so simple that it’s really a game changer for smaller gatherings, family dinners, or even a quiet Thanksgiving dinner. It’s quick, easy, and the cleanup is a breeze. The end result is a turkey that’s as juicy and flavorful as your traditional oven-roasted turkey, making it the perfect easy Thanksgiving turkey.
Turkey breasts and air fryers are really a match made in heaven. Since the heat circulates evenly around the turkey, it cooks it perfectly and makes the skin deliciously crispy while the meat stays tender and juicy.
I love to brine the turkey beforehand with this delicious turkey breast brine for an extra infusion of sweet and savory flavors. Whenever I have the time to brine it first, it really makes such a difference in making the turkey breast ultra-juicy and tender.
Turkey Breast: Opt for a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast for this recipe. I used a split turkey breast, but this recipe works just as well with a whole turkey breast and there are instructions in the notes of the recipe card to adapt the ingredient list and cooking time. Using bone-in skin-on turkey seals in the juices better than boneless turkey does, which results in a more flavorful dish.
Olive Oil: Olive oil helps the seasoning stick to the turkey and helps create that delicious golden and crispy skin.
Garlic and Onion Powder: These pantry staples add a savory depth to the turkey, enhancing its natural flavors.
Lemon Juice and Zest: The addition of a citrus flavor with lemon juice and zest adds a brightness that balances the richness of the turkey.
Salt & Pepper: These simple spices are essential for enhancing all the other flavors in the dish.
Rosemary and Thyme: These herbs add a warm, earthy flavor to the turkey which complements the meat beautifully.
Paprika: Paprika adds a subtle smokiness to the dish and helps create that beautiful golden skin.
Unsalted Butter: Unsalted butter is used in the gravy. It’s the fat that’s mixed with flour to form the roux, which creates a rich, creamy texture.
Garlic: Fresh garlic infuses the gravy with an aromatic flavor. When buying garlic, look for bulbs that are firm with tight, unbroken skin.
All-Purpose Flour: This is used to thicken the gravy to just the right consistency.
Chicken Broth: This is the liquid used in the gravy, and it adds tons of flavor. I recommend low-sodium chicken broth so that you can control the saltiness of your gravy.
If you’re looking to switch things up a bit, consider substituting the rosemary and thyme with other herbs like sage or marjoram. For the gravy, vegetable or turkey broth can be used instead of chicken broth.
How To Cook Air Fryer Turkey Breast
Prepare the Seasoning: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, lemon juice, salt, rosemary, paprika, black pepper, and lemon zest. Mix together until well combined. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Season the Turkey: Rub the mixture over the turkey breast, making sure it’s thoroughly coated (including under the skin).
Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer. If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat setting, just run it for a few minutes to warm up.
Place the Turkey in the Air Fryer: Place the turkey breast in the fryer basket, skin-side down.
Cook the Turkey: Cook it for a while and then carefully flip it so that it’s skin-side up. Continue cooking until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
Rest the Turkey: Once cooked, remove the turkey from the air fryer and let it rest on a cutting board.
Prepare the Gravy: While the turkey is resting, melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the garlic.
Stir in the flour, whisking continuously to form a roux, then gradually whisk in the broth until the gravy thickens. Season it to taste with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Serve: Slice the turkey and serve it with your freshly made gravy. Enjoy! See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
- Season Under the Skin: Don’t just rub the seasoning mixture on top of the skin, be sure to rub it under the skin as well. This helps keep the turkey breast moist and infuses it with flavor from the inside out.
- Always Rest Before Slicing: After your turkey is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey, making it even more tender and flavorful.
- Keep an Eye on the Temperature: Using an instant-read thermometer is the best way to make sure your turkey is cooked to perfection. Turkey breast needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Do I Keep My Turkey Breast From Drying Out?
The secret to a moist turkey breast is not overcooking it. Using a bone-in skin-on turkey breast helps keep the meat juicy, too. Also, letting the turkey rest after cooking allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and tender turkey.
How To Carve Turkey Breast
- Allow the turkey breast to rest for about 10-20 minutes after it’s cooked. This allows the juices to redistribute, which results in a juicier turkey.
- Place the bone-in turkey breast on a cutting board, you’ll see a bone running down the meat.
- Using a sharp knife, slice down one side of the bone, cutting as close to the bone as possible.
- Continue to slice the meat away from the bone, following its natural curve. Use smooth, even strokes with your knife.
- Once you’ve cut all the meat away from the bone, place the boneless turkey breast flat on your cutting board.
- Slice the turkey breast against the grain into even slices.
Is The Air Fryer Good For Roasting?
Absolutely! An air fryer is excellent for roasting. It circulates hot air around the food, resulting in even cooking and a deliciously crispy exterior.
Should You Let Turkey Breast Rest?
Yes, definitely! Letting the turkey breast rest for a few minutes after cooking allows the juices to redistribute, enhancing its flavor and making it even more tender.
Is It Better To Air Fry Or Bake Turkey?
Air frying is a great option because it uses circulating hot air, which results in a crispier skin. I also love that it leaves my oven free to make all the delicious side dishes. Whether you prefer baked or air-fried turkey comes down to personal preference though.
Can I Use Frozen Turkey Breast?
Yes, but you’ll need to fully thaw it first before cooking it. The best way to thaw a turkey breast is in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey breast. Once the turkey breast is thawed, it should be cooked within 1 to 2 days.
How Should I Store Leftover Turkey?
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Refrigerated leftovers can be warmed up in the air fryer. Cut the turkey breast into slices, and reheat them in a 350F air fryer for 3-4 minutes, or until the turkey is warmed through to 165F.
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our other Thanksgiving recipes. Some reader favorites are:
- Turkey Gravy Without Drippings
- Turkey Tenderloin Recipe
- Boneless Turkey Breast (Butterball Turkey Breast)
- Stove Top Stuffing
- Crock Pot Stuffing
- Paula Deen Green Bean Casserole
- Canned Cranberry Sauce
- Pecan Pie Cobbler
- 1 bone-in, skin-on split turkey breast (about 2 lbs, see notes if you’re using a full turkey breast)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- Optional: For truly next level delicious turkey breast, follow this recipe for turkey breast brine first.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, lemon juice, salt, rosemary, paprika, black pepper, and lemon zest. Mix together until well combined.
- Rub the mixture over the turkey breast, making sure it's thoroughly coated (be sure to get under the skin, too).
- Preheat the air fryer to 350F. If your air fryer does not have a preheat setting, just run it at 350F for about 5 minutes to preheat it.
- Place the turkey breast in the air fryer basket, skin-side down.
- Cook for 20 minutes, then carefully flip the turkey so that it’s skin-side up.
- Continue cooking for another 7-10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F using an instant read meat thermometer measured at the thickest point without touching the bone. Check the temperature after 7 minutes and add 2-5 more minutes at a time if more time is needed.
- Once cooked, remove the turkey from the air fryer and place it on a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- While the turkey is resting, prepare the gravy: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly to form a roux. Gradually whisk in the broth. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Slice the turkey and serve with the gravy. Enjoy!
If you’re cooking a full turkey breast (about 4-5 pounds) instead of a split turkey breast, double all of the other ingredients. When you cook the turkey in the air fryer, cook the turkey for 40 minutes skin-side down, then flip it and cook it for another 15-20 minutes skin-side up, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F using an instant read meat thermometer measured at the thickest point without touching the bone. Check the temperature after 15 minutes and add 5-10 more minutes at a time if more time is needed.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 529Total Fat: 31.1gCarbohydrates: 7.1gFiber: 0.6gSugar: 0.6gProtein: 51.3g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy turkey recipe for Thanksgiving, try this out! It’s the best ever air fryer turkey breast recipe.