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The Best Way to Cook Chicken Breasts in an Air Fryer Without Drying Them Out

Try this chef-recommended method for cooking the most delicious air-fried chicken breast.

Let's talk about one of America's favorite lean proteins: chicken breast. Not only is it packed with protein to fuel your muscles and low in fat to keep your waistline in check, but it's also a treasure trove of essential minerals like niacin, selenium, and B vitamins.

But even though we love chicken's health benefits, cooking chicken breast can sometimes feel like a game of culinary roulette. Whether you're grilling, baking, or sautéing, there always seems like the potential for it to turn into a dry, flavorless disappointment. Fear not, though, because there is a way to cook chicken breast while keeping all its moisture—and it's with the air fryer.

Think of the air fryer as your time-saving, flavor-enhancing superhero. It's quick, affordable, and best of all, it can churn out perfectly crispy, juicy chicken breast without drowning it in oil. When you air fry something—such as chicken wings, pizza, or cookies—the fryer blows hot air, which swirls around the food, ensuring that everything comes out delightfully crispy on the outside while locking in all those precious juices on the inside.

So even though you may be used to oven-baking your chicken breast, it's time to shake things up and give the air fryer a whirl. But don't just take our word for it—Chef Chris Nirschel of New York Catering Services is here to share his mouthwatering air-fried chicken technique.

Ready to revolutionize your chicken game? Dive into Chef Chris's tips below, and then check out 11 Air Fryer Recipes for Weight Loss.


yogurt lemon chicken

Chef Nirschel considers having a good marinade the most important part of your process of cooking up moist chicken breast. His secret? Greek yogurt and lemon!

"Before cooking, give your chicken a dip in this delicious mixture of Greek yogurt and freshly squeezed lemon juice," says Nirschel. "This combo infuses the chicken with flavor and locks in moisture, keeping it moist throughout the cooking process."

If you want to try Nirschel's marinade, gather the following ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A dash of olive oil spray (optional)

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Marinate your chicken for 4 hours to overnight.

Next, it's time to infuse your chicken with flavor. For the best results, Nirschel says to do this four hours before you cook, or even let them marinate overnight if possible.

Once you have your ingredients mentioned above, "take the chicken breasts and toss them into a bowl or a resealable bag," says Chef Nirschel. "In another bowl, whip up your Greek yogurt with a good squeeze of lemon juice. It's like a citrusy marinade that'll give your chicken a kick! Then, sprinkle some salt and pepper over the chicken, and slather on that tangy yogurt mix."

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Preheat your air fryer and prep the chicken.

air fryer chicken breast

Once you've let your chicken marinade for the desired amount of time, you're almost ready to start air frying. But first, you'll need to preheat the air fryer to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit, since you'll "want it nice and hot before you add in your chicken," says Chef Nirschel.

Then, he says to "take your chicken out of the marinade container and give them a good shake to remove any excess yogurt. For extra crispness in your process, give the chicken a light mist of olive oil spray. It's like giving them a golden tan before they hit the heat."

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Air-fry your chicken breast for 10-15 minutes.

Now it's finally time to start cooking! "Lay your chicken breasts in the air fryer basket, making sure they've got some room to breathe," says Nirschel.

Then, you'll want to "Slide the basket into the air fryer and let them cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes," he says. "Flip halfway through to ensure even cooking."

He notes, "Once they're golden brown and cooked through, use your meat thermometer and make sure they've hit 165 degrees internally."

Let it rest and enjoy.

chicken breast and veggies

And last but of course not least, the step of enjoying your air-fried creation.

"Take the chicken breast out of the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes," says Nirschel. "This keeps the chicken breasts juicy."

For a balanced meal, serve with a grain of choice like quinoa, rice, or whole grain pasta, and some of your favorite vegetables prepared however you prefer! Voila—the perfect air fryer chicken breast.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha