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This juicy Air Fryer Turkey Breast is perfect when you’re after a few extra helpings of Thanksgiving turkey. Or maybe you’re craving the flavor of a holiday turkey any other time of the year! This air fryer recipe roasts a whole turkey breast to tender, crisp, golden perfection in under an hour.
Table of Contents
- Juicy, Tender, Golden-Brown Turkey Breast – Made in the Air Fryer!
- Is Turkey Breast Just as Good as a Whole Turkey?
- What You’ll Need
- It’s Turkey Time!
- Recipe Variations
- What to Serve with Air Fryer Turkey Breast
- How to Store and Reheat Leftover Turkey
- Can I Freeze Air Fryer Turkey Breast?
- What Kind of Air Fryer is Best?
- Get the Recipe
Juicy, Tender, Golden-Brown Turkey Breast – Made in the Air Fryer!
Today I’m sharing an easy air fryer recipe inspired by one of my best holiday turkey recipes: Herb Roasted Turkey! Once again, I’ve taken succulent roasted turkey and smothered it in flavorful homemade herb butter. Only this time, it’s cooked to golden, crisp perfection in the air fryer.
This version with juicy whole turkey breast is perfect whenever I need reinforcements for a hungry holiday crowd. It’s also just as satisfying whenever we’re craving a turkey dinner any other time of the year.
The air fryer makes roasting turkey breasts a breeze, and I’ll whip up a quick side of gravy to really tie it together. Instant cozy holiday vibes, without even needing to heat up the oven!
Is Turkey Breast Just as Good as a Whole Turkey?
Turkey breast may not have dark meat, but it does cook up quicker than a whole turkey!
This easy air fryer turkey breast makes an excellent backup plan if you need extra turkey during the holidays. Rather than roasting up a whole second bird, you can make just the right amount for a few extra servings.
What You’ll Need
Let’s go over what you’ll need for this easy air fryer turkey breast with herb butter. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full amounts:
- Turkey Breast: You’ll need one 4-5 pound bone-in turkey breast (thawed if you’re using frozen turkey).
- Butter: I cook with unsalted butter, as I like to have more control over the saltiness. Make sure to use butter that’s been softened to room temperature, this way it’s easier to mix into a compound butter.
- Herbs: I make a simple herb butter with thyme, sage, and rosemary. You can use either freshly minced leaves or dried herbs.
- Salt and Pepper
It’s Turkey Time!
Since my Cosori air fryer doesn’t quite fit it, I begin by butterflying the bone-in turkey breast. Depending on your air fryer model, this may not be necessary. As long as the turkey fits in the fryer without touching the heating elements.
In case you’re in the same situation as I am, let’s go over how to butterfly a turkey breast so that it will fit in most air fryers.
Butterfly the Turkey Breast: I recommend patting dry your turkey breast before you start. Next, use a sharp knife to cut into the breast on either side of the backbone. Gently press down to get the whole breast as flat as possible. The turkey breast should fit in the air fryer basket without touching the heating element.
Make the Compound Butter: Make a compound herb butter by mixing your softened butter with fresh or dried herbs (whichever you are using). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Prepare the Turkey Breast: Rub the herb butter over the outside of the turkey breast. Be sure to tuck some of the butter underneath the skin, too. This adds even more flavor and gets the turkey skin nice and crispy!
Cook: Place the turkey breast into the air fryer, skin side facing down. Cook at 350ºF for about 30 minutes, flip the breast over, then cook for another 20 minutes or so. You want the skins to be golden and crisp, and the internal temperature to reach 165ºF. Note that the cooking times may vary depending on your air fryer and the size of the turkey breast.
Rest: Remove your butter-gilded bird from the air fryer, and let it rest. This ensures that all the juiciness redistributes before you go and slice it.
Like most air fryer recipes, you can easily adapt this turkey to suit your family’s tastes. Here are some easy variations to try:
- Different Herbs: I love the combination of thyme, sage, and rosemary in this recipe. But you can make your compound butter with any other fresh or dried herbs that you prefer. Other good options are basil, oregano, or tarragon.
- Spice Rub: You can rub your turkey breast with a spice rub of choice before you smother it with butter. Try your favorite BBQ rub, or an all-purpose rub like the one I use for my Slow Cooker Turkey Breast. Or try Blackened Seasoning for a spicy, Cajun twist.
A whole 5-pound turkey breast like the one in this recipe yields about 6-8 servings. Meanwhile, a half-breast will serve 2 to 4 people.
I recommend using bone-in turkey breast as it has a richer flavor, and stays extra moist and juicy when cooked.
As a white meat, turkey breast is done when it reaches 165ºF at the thickest part of the breast.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Turkey Breast
Whether you’re preparing this air fryer turkey for a casual weeknight dinner or a holiday feast, you’ll never run short on ways to serve it! Here are some easy side dish ideas:
- Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole
- Gluten-Free Stuffing
- Cheesy Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples
- Air Fryer Zucchini with Parmesan
- Gluten-Free Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Turkey
I’ve always found it’s easiest to store carved leftover turkey. So, slice up your air fryer turkey breast and store it in an airtight container or resealable bag to keep in the fridge. The turkey bones and the carcass is then free to turn into turkey stock!
Reheat leftover turkey by returning it to the air fryer at 350ºF, until heated through.
Alternatively, reheat leftover turkey slices in a 325ºF oven, sealed in foil with a spoonful of gravy or chicken broth, plus a bit of butter.
Can I Freeze Air Fryer Turkey Breast?
The cooked turkey breast can be stored frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the meat in the fridge before reheating.
What Kind of Air Fryer is Best?
The Cosori XL 5.8 Qt air fryer has a regular spot on my countertop because I use it several times a week, whether I’m making appetizers like these pizza rolls, roasted veggies, or just heating up frozen fries.
Air Fryer Turkey Breast
- One 4-5 pound bone-in turkey breast (thawed)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves minced, or ½ teaspoon dried
- ½ tbsp fresh sage leaves minced, or ½ teaspoon dried
- ½ tbsp fresh rosemary minced, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels. Using a sharp kitchen knife, if the breast is not split on the bottom, then split it so you can butterfly it open. In order to do that, use the knife to cut inside the turkey breast on either side of the backbone and press each side down to flatten the turkey breast as much as possible to fit in the air fryer without touching the heating element.
- In a bowl, mix together the softened butter, thyme, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Rub the butter mixture all over the outside of the turkey breast, putting some under the skin.
- Place the turkey breast in the air fryer basket with the skin side down. Cook at 350°F for 30 minutes. Flip the turkey breast over and set the air fryer for an additional 20 minutes. Check to see if the internal temperature has reached 165°F. If not, cook it for an additional 10-20 minutes, depending on your air fryer and the size of your turkey breast. The turkey breast is done when the skin is golden and crispy and the internal temperature has reached 165°F.
- Remove turkey breast from the air fryer and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.