Cooking meat, especially cooking chicken, comes off as a challenge to many chefs. No one wants to bite a chicken breast only to feel a raw, pinkish texture on the inside.
There might be many ways to cook chicken breasts to perfection, but our favorite one is using the air fryer.
The air fryer is an easy and convenient way to prepare chicken breasts without drying them out, and it’s probably the quickest way too. So let’s get into it!
Brining Your Chicken Breasts
If you struggle with getting tender and juicy chicken breasts, you might want to try brining them.
Basically, brining helps the meat absorb more liquid through osmosis, which makes the dish more flavorful to the core despite which air fryer chicken recipe you’re going for. The meat is able to hold more moisture.
This process is especially beneficial for cooking chicken breasts or lean cuts since they tend to dry out faster.
How to Brine Chicken Breasts
Generally, the ratio of a good brine should be ¼ cup of kosher salt to 4 cups of water. Kosher salt dissolves and gets absorbed faster, making it the ideal choice.
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It might sound like a lot of salt, but only a fraction of it will be absorbed.
Use a large bowl to make the brine and let your chicken breasts sit in it for about ½ an hour at the very least and 6 hours at the max. Drain the water and pat dry with paper towels. Then, follow the same exact instructions as you would without the brine.
Making the Dry Rub
The best way to make sure your chicken breast is going to be tender and juicy is by choosing the right marinade. You can use any readymade spice mix or make your own dry rub.
All you need is some garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, pepper, and cinnamon.
If you’re on the tamer side, you could just go with good old salt and pepper.
Prepping the Chicken
Before you even touch the chicken breasts, set your air fryer to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit so it gets all heated up before you add the meat.
Now, take your skinless chicken breasts, put them in a plastic bag, and pound them with a meat tenderizer. It’s perfectly fine to take all your frustration out during this step. But make sure you maintain the thickness of the chicken to about 1/4th of an inch.
Rub the chicken in olive oil or any other oil of your choice so that the dry rub can adhere to it better. After all, who likes plain chicken anyway?
Cooking Your Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
When you have your tenderized meat, spray the air fryer basket with a bit of cooking spray and place your meat inside. Let it cook for about 8 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway at the 4-minute mark.
Your cooked meat should reach an internal temperature of about 162 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure to use a good quality thermometer to get an accurate reading for the doneness.
Without a good thermometer, you might as well throw the whole chicken away.
It’s time for the fun part. Take your perfect-looking air fry chicken breasts out and let them rest for a few minutes.
Set up your plating. Give it a good garnish of cheese or herbs. Now, pretend you’re in a 5-star restaurant and dig in!
Storing Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
Since this recipe makes 2 boneless chicken breasts, there is a possibility you might need to store some for later. You can use the leftover chicken for a wrap, salad, or just another side dish.
But if you’re going to store it, use an airtight container or any sort of Ziploc bag. Chuck it into the fridge for 3 to 4 days, and you’re done. If you put it in the freezer, you can store it for 6 months, but use a vacuum-sealed bag for that to avoid freezer burn.
You can eat cold chicken if you want, like most people. But if you like extra hot food, you can use the air fryer to reheat it. Preheat the air fryer to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray your leftover with a tiny bit of cooking spray and let it cook for only 3-5 minutes.
Adjusting the Cooking Time
There are not a lot of modifications you can make when cooking chicken breasts in the air fryer. But there are some factors you must consider to adjust the cooking time.
- Cook frozen chicken breasts, boneless or bone-in, for 25 to 30 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Boneless chicken breasts, with or without skin, take about 12 to 1 5 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit to cook.
- Bone-in breasts, skinless and with skin, can be cooked for 25 to 28 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
What to Pair Air-fried Chicken Breast With
Eating juicy air-fried chicken breasts on their own on a keto diet sounds good, but that’s not the only option you have. Get creative and pair it with some of the following things:
- Salad: Chicken already goes great with leafy greens, so try to incorporate Brussel sprouts or other veggies into the air fryer for a slightly grilled taste.
- Pasta: Chicken and pasta, quite a romantic pairing, isn’t it? Add some parmesan cheese right before taking out the chicken, so it gets all melty, and top your pasta with it!
- Pizza: This might not be the healthiest option, but it definitely is the tastiest. Try chopping up the cooked air-fried chicken breast into cubes, and use them as a topping for your pizza.
- Wraps and sandwiches: A good chicken sandwich made with chicken thighs or even breasts will definitely tingle your taste buds the right way. Use your cooked chicken to make a Caesar wrap or just a transition café-style chicken sandwich.
Getting an air fryer will definitely change your life, especially if you’re an avid meat eater. Not only does this cut your prep time in half, but it also gives you a chance to cook a bunch of other veggies!