This Air Fryer Turkey Breast recipe is a perfect way to satisfy turkey cravings without making a whole turkey! It's an easy recipe and a low calorie protein option. Perfect for Thanksgiving dinner, busy weeknight dinners and for meal prepping!
You don't have to wait for Thanksgiving or make an entire turkey any more. This favorite of air fryer recipes is a great way to enjoy delicious tender meat any time of year. It's a great option for meal prepping as well as to use in other recipes like on salads, in wraps, in egg and vegetable scrambles, soups and so much more.
What makes this skinny?
- Using turkey breast meat. It's a leaner and fewer calorie meat (versus dark meat).
- The seasonings are salt, pepper and fresh herbs with only a few spritz's of olive oil spray to allow them to adhere to the turkey breast. Not loads of fatty calories.
- There usually is not much turkey skin on boneless turkey breasts but we leave any there is on while cooking. This helps keep the meat moist and adds some flavor. The nutrition guidelines do not include eating the cooked skin.
- Using an air fryer! Air fryers cook with convection technology which circulates hot air around the meat (or vegetables) giving them a fried type exterior without using oil. No extra calories added while cooking.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
3-pound Boneless Turkey Breast. This standard size is offered by multiple brands and is usually in the frozen section of the grocery store (see photo 3 in the recipe steps below). We love it because it's a great size, doesn't take forever to cook and is available all year round unlike regular turkeys.
Be sure it's completely thawed before starting the recipe. Also most will come in netting (see photo 4 in the recipe steps below). Remove the netting and gently unfold the turkey breast.
This will ensure it cooks through and faster than if it's rolled into a roast shape (photo 5 below).
Olive oil spray. A few spritzes are all that's needed to get the spices to adhere to the turkey breast. No other oil or butter are required.
Fresh herbs. We are using fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. Rinsed, patted dry and chopped (or leaves removed from the stem for the rosemary and thyme; rosemary leaves should be chopped too).
Kosher salt. We recommend kosher salt because it's a less salty tasting salt and just has a better flavor in general.
Black pepper. For the best flavor always use freshly ground black pepper if possible.
Boneless Turkey Breast Tips
- Brands like Butterball (photo 3 below) or Aldi will have netting around the turkey. Remove this after it has thawed before starting the recipe.
- Other brands like Jenny-O sell a freezer-to-oven seasoned turkey breast. We don't recommend this type of turkey breast due to it already being seasoned and salted.
- They may be called 'boneless turkey breast' or 'boneless turkey breast roast'. The roast reference is due to rolling and netting the breast into a roast shape.
- Be sure to buy the 3 pound size. Larger roasts are also sold (around 5-pound turkey breast) which we use in our Instant Pot Turkey Breast Roast recipe but will be too large for this recipe.
- If buying the 'roast' type be sure it's 100% turkey breast. Some are a combination of white meat and dark meat which will have more calories and won't cook in the same amount of time.
- Do not buy a pre-seasoned turkey breast.
- The amount of skin may different depending on the brand purchased. Leaving the skin on during cooking helps keep the meat moist and add some flavor. Remove when serving to keep the calories lower.
How to cook Air Fryer Turkey Breast (boneless)
STEP 1. Season
In a small bowl combine the fresh herbs, salt and black pepper (photo 1). Mix together (photo 2).
Remove the netting (if netted) from the thawed boneless turkey breast (photos 4-5). Pat the turkey breast with paper towels to remove any excess moisture from thawing (photo 6).
Spritz generously olive oil cooking spray to ensure a coating of oil. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the turkey breast and rub in to ensure it sticks (photo 7).
STEP 2. Air Fry
Place the seasoned turkey breast into the air fryer basket, skin side up (photo 8). Cook on 370 degrees for 20 minutes (photo 9 after cooking), turn the breast over and cook an additional 20 minutes (photo 10 after cooking).
Check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast. It should reach 165 degrees F (or close to that; while it rests the temperature can increase up to 5 degrees F).
If it has reached 165 degrees, remove and proceed to Step 3. If it has not reached 165 degrees, cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until the internal temperature has been reached.
STEP 3. Rest the turkey breast
Remove the cooked turkey breast from the air fryer and set on a cutting board for 10 minutes to rest before slicing.
If you look up turkey guidelines you'll find suggestions like planning ½-3/4 pound per person. This is really for making a full turkey with bones so enough meat is estimated per diner.
Because this is a boneless turkey breast we nutritional guidelines suggesting 4 ounces (¼ pound) per serving. Because this is low fat in turkey breast is will not shrink in weight much during cooking. You'll have 11-12 servings.
NOTE: you may choose to have larger servings but this provides a guideline for nutritional information provided.
How to store
Store any leftover boneless breast in an airtight container in the refrigerator to up to 4 days. It can be stored whole or sliced for meal prepping.
How to freeze: you can portion out the leftover turkey breast into freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months (we think it's best by 4 months if frozen sliced). Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat.
Don't skip resting the turkey. Resting the meat after cooking is key to a juicy turkey breast (and other meats). While the turkey rests the juices redistribute throughout the meat creating juicy meat.
Poultry herbs. You can buy the fresh herbs we use separately or you'll find a poultry mix of fresh herbs that are a mix of some fresh thyme, rosemary and sage. Perfect for this recipe and also found with the fresh herbs.
Air Fryer cooking. Every brand, size and type of air fryer cooks slightly differently. This recipe was developed in a Cosori 5.8 quart air fryer (1700 watts - which is one of the more powerful air fryers). Be sure to monitor during cooking and use a meat thermometer.
Instant read thermometer. We recommend using an instant read thermometer to quickly determine the doneness of meat.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. It won't cook properly. Allow it to fully defrost before cooking it.
You can though the cooking time will be longer due to the bone and the breast will most likely be larger. Follow the recipe as written flipping the turkey breast after 25 minutes. Use an instant read thermometer to determine when the turkey breast is done. The internal temperature needs to reach 165 degrees F.
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