This Air Fryer Lemon Chicken recipe is moist, delicious and full of bright fresh lemons, fresh garlic and rosemary flavors. It's perfect as an a main meal, quick meals with a side salad, for meal prep and to use in other dishes. It's a great low calorie, low carb dish with cooking time about 15 minutes!
Lemon chicken breast is a lean recipe with fresh ingredients and the best flavor. The flavor is light and fresh with options to bump up the lemon taste.
It's an easy air fryer recipe which makes it versatile both for planning ahead as well as a great way to get a tasty meal on the table any night of the week.
What makes this skinny?
- Boneless skinless chicken breast is a lean protein lower in calories. When cooked well it's juicy and tender as well as takes on the flavors of the marinade.
- We've added olive oil (a healthy fat) to the marinade which is needed to transfer the marinade flavors to the chicken and keeps it moist, tender and juicy. There is less than 1 teaspoon of oil in each 4-ounce serving.
- Using an air fryer. An air fryer cooks through convection (it's like a countertop convection oven), meaning it circulates hot air around the food to cook it. The best part is it does not require extra fats to cook the food.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
These simple ingredients are all available at any grocery store.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts. Use 4 8-ounce chicken breasts. They should be about ¾-inch thickness. Choose chicken breasts of similar size (thickness and weight) so they cook evenly in the same amount of time. Pat dry with paper towels; do not rinse.
Garlic cloves. You'll need 4 medium size cloves minced.
Rosemary. Use fresh sprigs of rosemary (you'll need two).
Lemons. You'll need 2. One will be juiced for the marinade (we use a handheld juicer which extracts the maximum amount of juice). The second lemon will be halved and air fried then used to squeeze over the chicken before serving.
How to make Air Fryer Lemon Chicken
Printable recipe card at the end of the blog post.
STEP 1. Marinate the chicken
Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and season them lightly with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
Place chicken, olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice in a large bowl or gallon Ziploc bag (my preferred method because you can massage the marinade into the chicken from outside the bag) and stir. Add the chicken to marinade; coat evenly on all sides (photo 1).
Cover (if using a bowl) or seal (if using a bag) and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes up to 4 hours.
STEP 2. Air Fry
Remove chicken from the marinade allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl or plastic bag (discard leftover marinade). Place in a single layer in the air fryer basket (photo 2) (note: depending on the size of your air fryer you may need to cook in two batches).
Place the halved lemons in the air fryer. NOTE: if your air fryer basket has a non-stick coating we recommend placing the lemons cut side up.
Place the chicken in a single layer into the prepared air fryer basket and cook at 370 for 13-16 minutes (use tongs to turn over halfway through) or until the thickest part of the chicken internal temperature reaches 165F with a food instant read thermometer (photo 3).
STEP 3. Rest the chicken
Set the cooked chicken aside to let the chicken rest for 2-3 minutes before slicing (this will make the juiciest chicken).
Halve the cooked lemon halves and serve with chicken to squeeze on more lemon flavor or garnish if desired!
Expert Tips for Best Results
Don't overcook the chicken. Chicken breasts are lean so can dry out if overcooked. Monitor the chicken to avoid this from happening.
Use a meat thermometer. An instant-read thermometer for food quickly and accurately determines if meat is fully cooked. The internal temperature of the chicken should read 165 degrees F internal temperature. Checking the color of the juices is an unreliable method to check if the chicken is done.
Pick same size chicken breasts. The thickness and size of your chicken breasts will determine its cooking time. Use chicken breasts the same size so they cook in the same amount of time. For this recipe we base it on 8-ounce boneless chicken breasts.
All air fryers cook slightly differently so the cooking time may vary slightly. The size and wattage of your air fryer will effect how long it takes to cook food. It's important to monitor when cooking to ensure food is done but not overcooked.
Rest the chicken. After cooking allow the chicken it sit, 'rest' for 2-3 minutes. Resting meat after cooking allows the juiced to redistribute before slicing giving the best juicy chicken.
Don't marinate longer than 4 hours. Lemon juice (or other acids) can tenderize meat but when marinating for longer durations begin to break the meat down. This recipe only uses juice of one lemon but we still recommend marinating no longer than 4 hours.
Do not reuse chicken marinade. Discard any marinade that has been used for raw chicken breasts. The marinade can include harmful bacteria from the uncooked chicken that can make you ill. This is not a concern ON the chicken because it will cook which kills any bacteria.
How to Use
How to store
Store any leftover lemon chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
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