How Long to Air Fry a Turkey Breast: A Timesaving Thanksgiving Hack

Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday, with the star of the show being the glorious, golden-brown turkey. However, roasting a whole bird can be a time-consuming process, leaving you tied to the kitchen for hours. What if we told you there’s a way to enjoy the deliciousness of turkey without sacrificing your entire day? Enter the air fryer turkey breast: a game-changer for your Thanksgiving dinner.

The Benefits of Air Frying a Turkey Breast

Air frying a turkey breast has several advantages over traditional oven roasting:

  • Time Saver: While roasting a whole turkey can take up to 3 hours or more, air frying a turkey breast takes only 1 hour or less, depending on its size.
  • Less Labor-Intensive: No need to fuss with a wet brine or dry brine unless you want to. The air fryer does most of the work for you, making the preparation process a breeze.
  • Portion Control: If you’re hosting a smaller gathering or just want to enjoy turkey without leftovers for days, a turkey breast is the perfect solution. No need to cook an entire bird for a few people.
  • White Meat Lovers Rejoice: Since the breast is entirely white meat, everyone can indulge in their favorite part of the turkey without any fighting over the coveted pieces.

How Long to Air Fry a Turkey Breast

The cooking time for an air fryer turkey breast will vary depending on a few factors:

  • Bone-in vs. Boneless: Boneless turkey breasts (like the Butterball roasts you can find frozen year-round) will take longer to cook than bone-in breasts due to their compact shape.
  • Size: Larger breasts will require more cooking time than smaller ones.

As a general guideline, here are the approximate cooking times:

Boneless Turkey Breast

  • A 3-pound boneless turkey breast (like a Butterball roast) will take approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350°F (177°C) in the air fryer.

Bone-in Turkey Breast

  • A 4- to 6-pound bone-in turkey breast (with the ribs removed) will take approximately 40 to 50 minutes at 350°F (177°C) in the air fryer.

It’s essential to use an instant-read thermometer to ensure your turkey breast is cooked to the perfect temperature. The USDA recommends cooking turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), but for the juiciest results, remove the turkey breast from the air fryer when it reaches 155°F (68°C). The carryover cooking will bring the temperature up to the safe zone, while ensuring the meat remains moist and tender.

Preparing Your Air Fryer Turkey Breast

Before you start cooking, there are a few essential steps to ensure your turkey breast turns out perfectly:

  1. Pat it Dry: Use paper towels to thoroughly pat the turkey breast dry. This will help the seasoning adhere better and promote crispy skin.
  2. Season Generously: Don’t be shy with the seasoning. A 3- to 6-pound turkey breast can handle a generous amount of salt, pepper, herbs, and spices.
  3. Use a Little Oil: While air frying requires less oil than traditional frying, a light coating of oil or butter will help the skin crisp up and prevent the meat from drying out.

Feel free to experiment with different seasoning combinations. A classic blend of rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic is a timeless favorite, but you can also try a bolder marinade or spice rub for a twist on the traditional turkey flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Once your air fryer turkey breast is cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve it up with some delicious sides. Here are a few ideas to complete your Thanksgiving feast:

  • Gravy: A rich, flavorful gravy is a must-have for Thanksgiving. While you won’t have drippings from the air fryer, you can make a delicious mushroom gravy or another gravy recipe that doesn’t require turkey drippings.
  • Stuffing: Whether you prefer a classic bread stuffing or a cornbread version, stuffing is the perfect accompaniment to your turkey breast.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple. For a lighter option, try mashed cauliflower or a blend of potatoes and cauliflower.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roast a medley of your favorite veggies, like Brussels sprouts, carrots, and sweet potatoes, for a colorful and nutritious side dish.
  • Cranberry Sauce: No Thanksgiving is complete without tangy, sweet cranberry sauce to balance out the richness of the turkey.

Leftover Magic

If you happen to have any leftover turkey breast (although it’s unlikely with how delicious it is), don’t let it go to waste! Shredded or sliced turkey breast can be repurposed in various ways:

  • Sandwiches: Create delectable turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce, stuffing, or your favorite toppings.
  • Salads: Add shredded turkey to a classic Cobb salad or a heartier grain salad for a protein-packed meal.
  • Soups and Stews: Use leftover turkey in a comforting turkey noodle soup or a hearty turkey and vegetable stew.
  • Casseroles: Transform your leftovers into delicious casseroles like turkey tetrazzini or turkey pot pie.

With the air fryer turkey breast as your centerpiece, you can enjoy all the flavors of Thanksgiving without spending hours in the kitchen. So, embrace this timesaving hack, and let the air fryer work its magic while you relax and savor the holiday with your loved ones.

How To Cook A Turkey Breast In The Air Fryer


How long does it take to air fry a turkey?

Set air-fryer temperature to 400° F. Cook 45-60 minutes, about 7-10 minutes per pound, until a food thermometer inserted registers 165° F. Let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

How to cook turkey breast in big easy air-fryer?

Preheat the air fryer 350F and cook skin side down 20 minutes, turn over and cook until the internal temperature is 160F using an instant-read thermometer about 30 to 40 minutes more depending on the size of your breast. Let is rest 10 minutes before carving.

Is it better to bake or air fry a turkey?

This year, make your turkey in the air fryer! It takes way less effort with far better results and you are guaranteed to have crispy skin and juicy turkey! Also it is a phenomenal way to make a smaller Thanksgiving. Cooking just the breast also ensures you won’t end up with dry meat!

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