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Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer

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Tender frozen chicken breast in the air fryer, these golden chicken pieces are easy to make and ready to serve in no time.

Did you forget to take the chicken out of the freezer in time? No problem! This recipe for frozen chicken breast in the air fryer will save the day. Or at least dinner!

air fried frozen chicken breast after cooking

Really, all you have to do is to season the frozen parts, place them in the fryer, and flip them once during the cooking time. The result: tender juicy breast, golden, nicely seasoned, healthy, and ready to be served in a million different ways.

And if you did remember to defrost it, try these Cast-Iron Chicken Breast, or this Baked Panko Chicken.

This must be my most-cooked air fryer recipe. I use it a lot for many different things, like quick French fries, other meats, side dishes like carrots or zucchini, and so on, but this recipe has turned into a regular.

The best thing about it – except its being delicious and quick – it’s the fact that I can use it even if I forget to defrost the meat in time. And it just goes with anything. I often cook some spicy basmati rice on the side (because basmati also cooks quicker than other rice sorts), I slice it and serve it on salad, I use it for enchiladas or I slice it thinly and make sandwiches. The possibilities are endless…

close up air fried chicken breast slices

How to air fry frozen chicken breast?

  1. Preheat the machine according to its instructions. This step is not always necessary; it depends on your kitchen gadget. I need to preheat mine for 3 minutes so that it has a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray or rub the chicken with oil.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and spices.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Flip and cook for a further 5 minutes.

raw and cooked chicken in an air fryer

How long to cook frozen chicken breast?

  • Cooking frozen chicken takes only a few minutes more than cooking fresh meat, about 5 minutes longer.
  • Roughly, you will need 15 minutes per 2,5 cm/ 1 inch, slightly more or less depending on the thickness of the breast piece. The cooking time depends more on the thickness of the pieces than on their weight.
  • The best way of checking is using a meat thermometer; the internal temperature measured by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat should be 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit (Amazon affiliate link).
  • I had three pieces of chicken, a total of 500 g/ 1.1 lbs. Each piece weighed roughly 150-170 g/ 5.3-6 oz and was about 1 inch thick, so they needed 15 minutes.
  • If your pieces are smaller, check after 10-12 minutes already. If the pieces are thicker, just add more minutes to the cooking time and check again regularly until the required internal temperature is achieved.

General cooking times:

  • 1.2 cm/ ½ inch thick: 10 minutes
  • 2.5 cm/ 1 inch thick: 15 minutes
  • 4 cm / 1 ½ inches: 20-22 minutes
  • 5 cm/ 2 inches: 28–30 minutes

chicken breast slices on a white plate with parsley and a fork

Tips

  • Use similar-sized meat pieces so that they are all ready at the same time. If some are too small, they might start to get dry by the time the largest pieces are done. Or you can just remember to remove the smaller pieces sooner.
  • I prefer to use chicken pieces that I buy already frozen; for some reason, they are always flatter than the fresh breasts that I freeze myself. The flatter pieces cook more evenly, and you will have fewer dry spots around the edges.
  • That might happen if the breasts are very thick in the middle compared to the edges. And as the meat is frozen you will not be able to flatten it with a mallet.
  • Don’t staple the pieces in the basket; they should be arranged in a single layer.

Check out the web story for Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Breast.

air fried chicken breast sliced and served on a white plate

Seasoning

  • Spray the meat with a little oil. If you don’t have an oil spray, rub it with 1 teaspoon of oil. Either vegetable or olive oil is fine.
  • Sprinkle with the seasoning of choice on both sides.
  • My basic seasoning is salt, pepper, and sweet paprika powder, but the possibilities are – again – endless.
  • Try other sorts of paprika (smoked or hot), garlic powder, and curry powder.
  • Or spice mixtures like lemon pepper, ras el hanout, or sumac for an oriental touch, any chicken seasoning of your liking, Cajun spices, and so on. Really, anything you like. (All Amazon affiliate links).
  • I’ve tried all the suggested spices or spice mixtures mentioned, and I loved them all.

juicy chicken cooked in the air fryer from frozen

What to serve with it?

Cooking frozen food

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!

two pieces of air fryer chicken breast on a plate, one of them thickly sliced.

Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer

Tender frozen chicken breast in the air fryer, quick and healthy dinner for any day of the week. This is my most-cooked air fryer recipe, always delicious and so versatile. Change the seasoning according to taste.
4.43 from 251 votes
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Course: Poultry
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 212kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients 

  • 3 chicken breasts Note 1
  • oil spray or 1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil
  • sweet paprika powder Note 2
  • fine sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer according to its instructions, mine needs 3 minutes to achieve the temperature of 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Season chicken: Spray or rub the chicken with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the spices of choice. Place it in the basket.
  • Cook for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Check the internal temperature, it should be 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the chicken breast pieces are thinner or thicker, adjust the cooking time.
    1.2 cm/ ½ inch thick: about 10 minutes
    2.5 cm/ 1 inch thick: about 15 minutes
    4 cm / 1 ½ inches: about 20-22 minutes
    5 cm/ 2 inches: about 28–30 minutes

Notes

  1. Total weight of about 500 g/ 1.1 lbs, each breast should weigh about 150-170 g/ 5.3-6 oz and be about 2.5 cm/ 1 inch thick. If the thickness of the breasts is different, check the general cooking times above or in the blog post.
  2. Use any spices you like; this is just basic seasoning. You can add garlic powder, use any other sort of paprika (smoked or hot), or any spice mixture you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 212kcal | Protein: 37g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 187mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @adinabeck or tag #WhereIsMySpoon!

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Recipe Rating




Cricket

Monday 5th of September 2022

This temperature and cooking time were not accurate for the air fryer function integral to my range unfortunately.

Adina

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Sorry to hear that, but that is another kitchen gadget altogether. I use a regular air fryer.

S

Sunday 24th of July 2022

It took an hour to cook my chicken... This is not a good/accurate method.

Anna

Sunday 31st of July 2022

@Adina, ?

Adina

Sunday 24th of July 2022

How do you explain that it worked for hundreds of other people?

Marina

Friday 27th of May 2022

Cooking time not long enough/temperature not high enough

Cricket

Monday 5th of September 2022

@Marina, I agree, my oven has the air fryer built in and I needed 400 for 35 min for my 1.5" frozen breasts to get them crispy without drying out.

Adina

Friday 27th of May 2022

It might be your air fryer, it works for the hundreds who reviewed the recipe.

AJ

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

I didn't have as good a turnout, trying to go 15 mins with 2 relatively small breasts. I think they must have been slightly thicker - I sliced them & added 6 mins at 360 and they were perfect.

Von Numan

Wednesday 19th of May 2021

I just unboxed my first air fryer. Which temperature setting should I use? f or c?

Adina

Wednesday 19th of May 2021

Hi, that's up to you, whatever you are more familiar with. I have mine in Celsius because I live in Europe and that's what we use here. But I always indicate both temperatures in a recipe. Have fun with it, it really is a great gadget.