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Air Fryer Chicken Breast (No Breading)

Juicy air fryer chicken breast with no breading, a simple quick way of putting dinner on the table. Ready in about 20 minutes.

plate with sliced poultry breast and buttered leeks.

A simple recipe for air fryer chicken breast with no breading for a quick dinner or for meal prep. Perfect for adding to salads, making sandwiches, enchiladas, filling tortillas, quesadillas, or whatever else you can think of.

We all like to put breaded things in the air fryer, the machine makes them so wonderfully crisp and delicious without the addition of lots of oil. But chicken breast with no breading at all it’s just as delicious and definitely healthier and more versatile.

And if you forgot to defrost the meat, check out the Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Breast recipe. It is a real time-saver!

close up air fried chicken breast without breading.

What do you need?

Chicken breast:

  • Regular-sized pieces between 180 g – 230 g/ 6.3 – 8 oz.
  • For this recipe, they should be boneless and skinless.

Olive oil:

  • Just a touch. You can use a spray or brush/rub the meat with 1-2 teaspoons oil.
  • Normally, there should be no need for extra oil when using an air fryer, but experience has tough me that just a little makes a lot of difference. The outside layer of the breast meat tends to get “scratchy” if you don’t add anything at all.
  • If you are marinating the meat with something liquid or pasty (like mustard), then you can leave the oil out completely.

Spices:

  • Honestly, most of the time I use a ready-made spice mixture. There is a wonderful “spice wagon” coming regularly at markets and events around here and I stock up about once a year. I have a few favorite combinations that I keep buying and at least one new that I am trying every season.
  • Use your favorite spice mixtures, from something created especially for chicken or something like curry powder, lemon pepper, cajun seasoning, and so on. Just make sure you like the brand, and that it is really good quality.

Alternative spices:

  • Salt, pepper, and sweet/hot/smoked paprika should be enough for a basic yet totally delicious not breaded chicken breast.
  • Just rub the breast with the oil and some spices, there is no real need to measure anything in teaspoons here.

You could also try:

  • A combination of ground cumin and ground coriander for a Middle Eastern touch.
  • Add some garlic powder and/or dried herbs to the salt, pepper and paprika basic seasoning.
  • Cayenne pepper or chili powder for something hotter.

Moister seasoning:

  • Leave the oil and rub the meat with mustard or a mixture of lemon juice and honey. Don’t forget the salt.
  • Or rub lightly with sriracha, Gochujang paste, or another Asian chili paste. Be careful here as these products are very hot, use to taste.
overhead view of a plate with meat and vegetables.

Do I have to marinate the breasts?

  • It is optional but recommended. If you have at least half an hour to spare, rub them with oil and spices and let them marinate on the counter.
  • If you have more time, let marinate in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature about 30 minutes before starting to cook.
  • You can also use shop-marinated breasts for this recipe.
chicken marinating in a white tin.

How to make air fryer chicken breast without breading?

  • Preheat the air fryer as required by its instructions, some need it, some don’t. My air fryer needs to be preheated for 3 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In the meantime, rub the meat with oil and spices.
  • Place into the basket and cook on the first side for 7 minutes.
  • Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes until cooked through. There is no pink allowed, but you should not cook the meat longer than necessary either. The best is to check with a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Larger pieces of about 220 -250 g/ 7.8 – 8.8 oz will need 1-2 extra minutes.
  • Remove immediately and let rest for 3-4 minutes.
collage of two pictures showing chicken pieces in an air fryer basket.

Tips

When I first started using the air fryer I followed recipes instructing that I should cook the chicken breast for 8-10 minutes on one side, flip and cook again for the same amount of time.

I understand the worry of not eating raw chicken, you should never do that! But if you cook the pieces for just 2 minutes longer than necessary, they will become dry, especially around the edges where they are thinner.

The best way of checking is with a meat thermometer (Amazon affiliate link). Otherwise, remove a piece from the fryer and pierce or cut into the thickest part. The meat should be completely white, but still juicy.

If the pieces of meat you have are of irregular size, think about removing the smaller pieces sooner.

overhead view of a plate with meat and vegetables.

What to serve with air fryer chicken breast?

More air fryer recipes:

chicken breast without breading served with cooked leeks.

Air Fryer Chicken Breast (No Breading)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Juicy air fryer chicken breast with no breading, a simple quick way of putting dinner on the table. Ready in about 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (Note 1)
  • olive oil spray or 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons chicken dry rub mixture (Note 2)
  • OR
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon sweet/smoked paprika powder (Note 3)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Marinating the chicken is optional, but recommended. If you have 30 minutes time, rub the meat with oil and spices and marinate on the counter. If you have more time, marinate in the fridge (5-6 hours) and bring to room temperature about 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Preheat the air fryer as required by its instructions. My air fryer needs to be preheated for 3 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, rub the chicken breasts with the oil and spices, if not already marinated.
  4. Increase the heat to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Place the chicken into the basket and cook on the first side for 7 minutes. Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Check with a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Larger pieces of about 220 - 250 g/ 7.8 – 8.8 oz will need 1-2 extra minutes.
  7. Remove immediately and let rest for 3-4 minutes before slicing.

Notes

  1. Weighing between 180 g- 230 g/ 6 – 8 oz.
  2. You can use a ready-made spice mixture for chicken or another spice mixture you love. Try lemon pepper, curry powder, Cajun seasoning, and so on. Use 1-2 teaspoons as required by the size of the meat pieces and always check how hot the mixture is. If it's very hot, use to taste.
  3. If using hot paprika powder, use to taste, depending on how hot the powder is.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 chicken breast
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 211Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 618mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 37g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

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