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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 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 the 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


  • 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.

air fried chicken breast sliced and served on a white plate


  • Spray the meat with a little oil. If you don’t have an oil spray, rub it with 1 teaspoon 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, 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

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 242 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Poultry
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 212kcal
Author: Adina


  • 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


  • 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


  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.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 212kcal | Protein: 37g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 187mg
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Recipe Rating


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?


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.


Wednesday 30th of December 2020

My breasts were frozen and not even half an inch thick. I followed instructions to a T. They were good but slightly tough. Would you recommend cooking longer next time? Is it true the longer they cook the juicier?


Wednesday 30th of December 2020

Hi Ashley. No, the longer you cook them, the dryer they will be. If they are thinner than those I had, you should take them out of the fryer sooner. Best way to check is with a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 165degrees Fahrenheit.

Julie Kirby

Tuesday 15th of September 2020

I tried this using mesquite seasoning. My chicken was pretty thick so I cooked it 13 mins & flipped, cooked 13 mins & flipped, checked to see if it was done (it wasn’t) so I cooked for 10 more mins. It probably would have been okay at 8 more mins but I am always a little scared to undercook chicken. It still turned out pretty well and definitely will be a process I will use again. Thank you for sharing!


Tuesday 15th of September 2020

Thank you for the feedback, Julie. I have the same problem with chicken, that is why I prefer to use a meat thermometer, it makes things easier. :)