This moist flavorful Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloin recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight meal or part of Thanksgiving dinner! It's a great option when you don't want to make a full turkey. Ready in less than 30 minutes.
During the holiday season having a delicious recipe for dinner is a must. And this easy turkey recipe is done in a fraction of the time of roasting a turkey or even cooking a whole turkey breast. It's a smaller cut of meat so a great recipe for small groups or even for meal prepping.
This easy air fryer recipe for lean turkey tenderloin is perfect for busy weeknights. The preparation is fast and 20-25 minutes cook time. Just add your favorite side dishes! We love Air Fryer Green Beans, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce for a holiday meal. It's an easy alternatives to our Instant Pot Turkey Breast Roast or Air Fryer Turkey Breast.
What makes this skinny?
- Lean meat. Turkey tenderloin, like turkey breast, is a very lean meat.
- Very little fat. Only one tablespoon of olive oil is used to cook this recipe.
- Air Fryer cooking. This cooking method creates fried-like end results through convection cooking (hot air circulation). This saves lots of oil use (and calories).
What is a turkey tenderloin?
A turkey tenderloin is a portion of the turkey breast that is 99% fat free, boneless and skinless. As the name indicates it is very tender. It's a smaller piece of white meat that is usually triangular in shape. Generally two are sold together.
It's a favorite cut of turkey and perfect for grilling, baking, smoking or air frying. They are easy to flavor with marinade or spices and very moist and tender when cooked properly.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
For the complete ingredient list and amounts, refer to the printable recipe card at the end of the post.
- Turkey Tenderloin. We cooked 1.5 pounds (24 ounces) of skinless turkey tenderloin in this recipe which was two tenderloins. Pat the tenderloins dry with paper towels before starting the recipe.
- Olive oil. One tablespoon of olive oil is used to mix with the seasonings to form a spice rub. This helps keep the meat moist too.
- Seasoning mixture: Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.
- Cooking spray. You'll need olive oil spray or avocado oil spray to spritz on the air fryer basket before cooking.
Where to Buy Turkey Tenderloins
Similar to hams for Easter, turkey tenderloins are most available around Thanksgiving. They can be found at the butcher or meat counter at the grocery store, or pre-packaged.
There are places to find them outside the Thanksgiving time frame but it's a great idea to buy more then and stick them in your freezer.
How to make it
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat the air fryer to 370 degrees F. Pat the turkey tenderloins with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
STEP 2. Prepare the Turkey Tenderloins
In a small bowl combine the seasonings and oil; mix together (photos 1-2). Lightly salt and pepper the tenderloins (photo 3). Apply the spice rub evenly on both sides of the turkey tenderloins (photo 4).
STEP 3. Air Fry
Lightly spray the air fryer basket with oil spray to prevent sticking (photo 5). Place the prepared turkey tenderloins in the air fryer basket in a single layer (photo 6). Cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping the tenderloins over halfway (photo 7) through cooking with tongs (photo 8; cooking complete).
The turkey is done when an instant read thermometer or meat thermometer inserted registers 165 degrees internal temperature. If the turkey isn't at temperature add a few minutes, take the temperature and adjust as needed for your air fryer.
STEP 4. Rest
Remove the turkey from the air fryer basket and allow to rest on a plate or cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing (see below).
Don't skip the resting step. Resting meat after cooking allows the juices to redistribute making a juicier end result.
Air Fryer Cooking
Every brand, size and model of air fryer cooks slightly differently. It's always important to monitor foods while cooking and adjust the cooking time for your air fryer. Using a thermometer to verify the internal temperature of meat is the only way to verify it has completed cooking properly.
This recipe was developed in a Cosori 5.8 quart XL air fryer (1700 watt).
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.