13 Actually Delicious Ways to Prepare a Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer

Three chicken breasts that have been prepared in the air fryer

I Am a Food Blog

 

Everyone needs a go-to chicken breast recipe. The entrée is versatile, delicious, and nearly impossible to mess up. And thanks to the air fryer, it just got even easier to cook. While classic chicken breast recipes involve some amount of roasting, baking, or sautéing, air fryer chicken breast recipes tend to be a little simpler. They’ll let the air fryer do most of the work for you—and it’ll do that work fast, leaving you with a dinner worth devouring in no time at all.

Now, there are only so many ways to cook a chicken breast—and there are even fewer ways to cook one in the air fryer. But there are enough spins on the easy recipe to keep you going for a while. Plus, when you’re looking for an air fryer chicken breast recipe, you’re not really looking for variety. What you’re craving is convenience and speed—and the following 13 air fryer chicken breast recipes offer those in spades.

01 of 13

Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Three air-fried chicken breasts on a plate

I Am a Food Blog

The Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Why We Love It: This Air Fryer Chicken Breast recipe is easy to master—and nearly impossible to mess up. Plus, it only demands 5 minutes of prep time. Simply dry your chicken breasts, drizzle them with olive oil, and coat them with seasoning. Then, pop them in your air fryer—and let it do the rest of the work for you.

Pro Tip: Mike and Steph—the husband-and-wife team behind I Am a Food Blog—recommend letting the chicken sit for 2 minutes once you’re done cooking. This will “let the juices settle,” keeping your chicken breasts juicy and your plates clean.

The Hero Ingredient: Since this recipe is pretty simple, it gets all its flavor from its seasoning. Mike and Steph used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. But feel free to improvise. Rosemary, thyme, and cayenne could all sub in to make a seriously delicious dish. 

02 of 13

Crispy Buttermilk Chicken Tenders

Partially eaten breaded chicken tenders on a plate

Foodie Crush

 

The Recipe: Crispy Buttermilk Chicken Tenders

Why We Love It: Chicken tenders are a classic. And this recipe from FoodieCrush delivers the perfect balance of juice, crunch, and flavor. Plus, these chicken tenders reheat well. So cook them now, freeze your leftovers, and pop one in the air fryer any time you need a quick, easy snack. 

Pro Tip: Though you can always use chicken tenderloins to make chicken tenders, Heidi of FoodieCrush recommends using chicken breasts, instead. Buy some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then slice them to chicken strip size. And if you want to ensure they’re as juicy and tender as possible, let them soak in a buttermilk marinade overnight. 

The Hero Ingredient: Panko breadcrumbs give these chicken tenders their crunch. But the real hero is the Parmesan cheese that gives them their flavor. Heidi recommends buying a block of Parmesan cheese and grating it yourself. But if you’re low on time, pre-grated Parmesan will do in a pinch.

03 of 13

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

Four chicken Parmesans served on a platter

Food Faith Fitness

The Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

Why We Love It: Chicken Parmesan may seem a little gourmet for your air fryer. But this recipe from Food Faith Fitness proves the machine can handle it. Simply flatten out your chicken breasts, coat them with breading, and pop them in your air fryer. While the machine does its thing, you can whip up a little cheese and marinara sauce to cover the chicken breasts with when they’re done cooking.

Pro Tip: It may be tempting to skip the first step of this recipe—the one where you flatten the chicken breasts—but put it in the extra work, and you’ll thank yourself later. Taylor, of Food Faith Fitness, recommends getting the breasts to be one-half inch thick. This will ensure you get more flavor (read: breading, sauce, and cheese) in each bite. 

The Hero Ingredient: Some may say the best part of Chicken Parmesan is the marinara sauce, but we say it’s the cheese. So go all in on Parmesan, mozzarella, and any other cheese that piques your interest. After all that chicken flattening you just did, you definitely deserve it.

04 of 13

Air Fryer Chicken Tacos

Four chicken tacos on a plate

I Am a Food Blog

The Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Tacos

Why We Love It: Many recipes call for you to pan fry your taco meat and air fry your taco shells—or vice versa. But this I Am a Food Blog recipe lets your air fryer do it all. That means less work for you—and a better oil-to-crunch ratio for your tacos. 

Pro Tip: Marinating is both an art and a science. You want to marinate your chicken long enough to impart flavor—but not so long that the chicken breasts start to break down. (Yes, that’s a real thing.) Mike and Steph of I Am a Food Blog recommend a 2-hour marinade. (Marinate for 4+ hours, they warn, and you may start to lose chicken.)

The Hero Ingredient: Air-fried taco shells make this recipe feel extra special. According to Mike and Steph, corn tortillas fry best. But you may need to warm them in a microwave to make them pliable before cooking.

05 of 13

Golden Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

A line of breaded chicken tenders on parchment paper

Cotter Crunch

The Recipe: Golden Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Why We Love It: Lindsay Cotter, of Cotter Crunch, managed to make chicken tenders paleo-friendly—without sacrificing crunch or flavor. Almond flour and eggs come together to make a paleo-friendly batter, while salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and ground turmeric impart plenty of flavor. The result? A healthier chicken tender that tastes absolutely great.

Pro Tip: Cotter says these chicken tenders can freeze for up to 3 months. So feel free to make a big batch, freeze your leftovers, and use them as easy snacks and meals for weeks to come.

The Hero Ingredient: Almond flour makes these chicken tenders paleo-friendly—which means they’re also gluten-free. This makes them a particularly versatile snack to serve at parties. And since they’re easy to cook, you won’t have to waste a ton of time in the kitchen doing party prep.

06 of 13

Easy Garlic Herb Parmesan Chicken

A pile of breaded chicken wings served on a platter

Low Carb Maven

The Recipe: Easy Garlic Herb Parmesan Chicken

Why We Love It: If you’re looking for a simple but flavorful chicken breast recipe, this dish from Low Carb Maven is a great go-to. Simply coat your chicken with mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and herbs of your choosing, and you’ll end up with a flavorful dish in just 40 minutes. (Kim of Low Carb Maven cooked these in a convection oven, but she says an air fryer should work just as well.)

Pro Tip: This recipe was initially designed for chicken wings, but Kim says you can easily sub in chicken breasts. Her only tip? Flatten the chicken breasts to an even thickness—this will ensure they cook evenly. 

The Hero Ingredient: Chicken recipes tend to call for a buttermilk- or egg-based coating, but this one uses mayonnaise instead. This makes prepping the dish a little easier, without sacrificing any flavor.

07 of 13

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

A serving platter of chicken nuggets next to a serving platter of fries

Food Faith Fitness

The Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Why We Love It: It’s official: You can make your favorite fast food dish in the air fryer. And thanks to this recipe from Food Faith Fitness, you can make the dish crunchier and less oily than what you’d score at a drive-thru. Stock up on boneless, skinless chicken breasts, slice them into cubes, and coat them in a delicious egg-based batter. Panko breadcrumbs will bring the crunch, while Parmesan cheese will bring the flavor. And a sprinkle of paprika will bring the spice for good measure.

Pro Tip: Taylor of Food Faith Fitness is great about offering gluten-free substitutions, and this recipe is no exception. Sub in gluten-free panko and gluten-free flour for a dish that’s just as delicious—and easy to make.

The Hero Ingredient: The chicken used can make or break a batch of chicken nuggets. And since these nuggets will be homemade from fresh chicken breasts, you can rest assured knowing they’ll be juicy and mouth-wateringly delicious.

08 of 13

Green Chile Chicken Chimichangas

A large chicken chimichanga on a plate

Two Peas & Their Pod

The Recipe: Green Chile Chicken Chimichangas

Why We Love It: Chicken breast recipes can get a little formulaic. But this chimichangas recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod is far from it. In this dish, shredded chicken breast comes together with citrus juice, spicy chiles, minced garlic, and plenty of cheese to create a meal that’s dynamic and delicious. And since the dish is served with cilantro, sour cream, and avocado, you’ll end up with even more delightful flavors to enjoy.

Pro Tip: This is a quick dish to whip up, but you’ll want to take your time wrapping up your chimichanga. Wrap it tight, fold the sides in carefully, and make sure you put it in the air fryer with the seam side down. If you don’t, Maria Lichty of Two Peas & Their Pod warns, the chimichanga may come unfolded and spill out while cooking. 

The Hero Ingredient: Freshly squeezed orange and lime juice add a dose of delightful tart flavor to this otherwise-savory dish. This slight acidity will bring out the best in the chicken, the chiles, and the cilantro, thoughtfully rounding out the entree.

09 of 13

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Strips

Several breaded chicken tenders served on a plate

I Am a Food Blog

The Recipe: Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Strips

Why We Love It: Everyone needs a chicken strips recipe in their repertoire, and this option from I Am a Food Blog is particularly easy to whip up. All you need is a couple chicken breasts, some buttermilk, a little panko, some delicious spices, and—of course—an air fryer, and you’ll have tasty, crunchy chicken strips in no time.

Pro Tip: If you prefer a perfectly golden tender, Mike and Steph of I Am a Food Blog recommend toasting your panko breadcrumbs before putting them on your chicken. Simply toss your panko in a dry pan and turn on the heat. Once they’ve turned golden, they’re ready to go. 

The Hero Ingredient: Lime and cilantro leave these chicken strips tasting exciting and new—which is a hard thing to do with a dish this classic. Of course, you can skip these ingredients if you’d prefer a more traditional take on chicken tenders. But if you’re up for an experiment, throw ’em on.

10 of 13

Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken

Two Parmesan-coated chicken breasts served on a plate next to salad

Flavour and Savour

The Recipe: Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken

Why We Love It: Simple and delicious, this Flavour and Savour recipe will quickly become one of your go-tos. Brine your chicken for 15 minutes before coating it with your spice mixture of choice. Then, pop the seasoned chicken in the air fryer for about 10 minutes. Halfway through the bake, you’ll want to take the chicken out of the air fryer and coat it with Parmesan before putting it back in. This will make your final product cheesy, crispy, and incredibly tasty. 

Pro Tip: Be sure to pat your chicken dry after brining it and before applying your seasoning. This will help the seasoning stick to the chicken—leaving you with more flavor to enjoy once you’re done cooking. 

The Hero Ingredient: Many air fryer recipes don’t call for brines. But this one does—and that’s what makes it so delicious. What’s nice? Elaine of Flavour and Savour kept this brine incredibly simple. All you need is one-fourth cup of salt, some warm water, and 15 minutes of patience to pull it off.

11 of 13

Paleo Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets served on a platter with chopsticks

Food Faith Fitness

The Recipe: Paleo Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Why We Love It: Low-carb chicken nuggets may sound like an oxymoron, but this recipe from Food Faith Fitness proves it can be done. (And perhaps more importantly, it can be done without sacrificing flavor and texture.) Sesame oil, eggs, and coconut flour combine to make your batter, while ground ginger and toasted sesame seeds lend this dish plenty of flavorful crunch. To top things off, Taylor of Food Faith Fitness dreamt up a delicious dip to pair with this dish. Think: almond butter, ground ginger, and Sriracha—yum. 

Pro Tip: Taylor’s recipe calls for 1 pound of chicken breast, which means you’ll end up with a lot of chicken nuggets. Thankfully, these nuggets freeze and reheat well. But you may want to cook them in batches—unless you have a seriously huge air fryer. 

The Hero Ingredient: Toasted sesame seeds make a surprising addition to these chicken nuggets—and one that leaves the recipe feeling special. The result is a fast food favorite that feels like something you could score at a gourmet restaurant (especially when paired with that almond butter-based dipping sauce).

12 of 13

Crispy Breaded Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Three breaded chicken breasts on a plate

Food Faith Fitness

The Recipe: Crispy Breaded Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Why We Love It: This Food Faith Fitness recipe is great on its own—and it’s even better when sliced over salads. The breaded chicken recipe requires 5 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cook time, giving you a delicious dish in a snap. Plus, you can freeze and reheat it—meaning it’s a great meal prep go-to. 

Pro Tip: Taylor recommends flattening the chicken before cooking it, and with good reason. If the chicken is an even thickness, it will cook more evenly. So every bite you take will be perfectly juicy (and not at all under- or overcooked).   

The Hero Ingredient: Mustard powder adds plenty of flavor—and a little bit of spice—to this breaded chicken’s exterior. Sure, it’s the one ingredient on this list that may not already be in your kitchen. But you’ll thank yourself for stocking up on it and giving it a try.

13 of 13

Air Fried Chicken Tenders

A batch of breaded chicken tenders on a plate

Platings + Pairings

The Recipe: Air Fried Chicken Tenders

Why We Love It: The coolest thing about this recipe? Erin of Platings + Pairings offers tons of modifications. So whether you want spicy chicken tenders, keto-friendly chicken tenders, unbreaded chicken tenders, or pretzel-crusted chicken tenders, you’ll know exactly how to make them. And since they all use the same core recipe she crafted, you won’t have to learn a bunch of new steps every time you want to change things up.

Pro Tip: Most chicken tenders recipes call for panko breadcrumbs, but Erin’s calls for a combination of panko breadcrumbs and Italian-style breadcrumbs. You can skip this add-on if you want. But if you stick to it, you’ll end up with more dynamically crunchy tenders.

The Hero Ingredient: This recipe calls for you to shred Parmesan cheese into your breadcrumb mixture, and you’ll be glad you did. The cheese will add tons of salty, yummy flavor to your chicken tenders, making them even more delicious than they would be otherwise.

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