My go-to everyday air fryer chicken! Thinly sliced chicken breast pieces, coated to the max in spices, plus a bit of brown sugar and cornstarch, and air fried to golden, juicy perfection.
This Air Fryer Chicken Breast Is Ridiculously Good
Two things I’ve never been big on:
- Air Fryers
But my life has changed in such a big way out here in the year 2024, and I’m now making this air fryer chicken almost on the daily. It’s so juicy, so delicious, and those crispity little browned bits! Ugh.
How I got here: Bjork has been going hog wild on all things protein in the last few months. As resident cooker of all the food in our house, I decided it’s time for me to figure out a really foolproof way to make chicken – for him (#protein), and for me, so that I actually like it.
So even though I’ve resisted it for years… I bought an air fryer (affiliate link). Almost exclusively to make chicken. And guess what? The one recipe I keep coming back to is these thinly sliced chicken breast pieces, coated to the max in spices, plus a bit of brown sugar and cornstarch, and air fried to golden, juicy perfection. I LOVE THIS CHICKEN SO MUCH!
There’s an excessive amount of seasoning and flavor that doesn’t taste like any one single thing – it’s just a beautiful blend of smoky, savory, and sweet. But it’s the golden crisped exterior with little edge bits that you will die for. And all the while it stays nice and juicy on the inside.
Takes 15 minutes to make and it’s such a family winner for us. I hope you love it!
How To Make This Air Fryer Chicken
Thinly slice the chicken.
No thank you for thick chicken breasts. I always slice the chicken breasts into thinner, smaller flat pieces (not bite-sized – save that for the end). Goal: flat, thin pieces for more even cooking, more juicy chicken, and more flavor coating surface area.
Toss with spices.
Toss the chicken with your spices and the avocado oil. No piece left behind – we want every bite SUPER well-coated!
Air fry at 415 degrees for 10 minutes.
Preheat the air fryer and place the pieces in a single layer so they get good air flow around them (hello, browning)! Sometimes I have to do this in two batches depending on how much chicken I have. Don’t overcrowd.
You’re Done! Yum!
When that timer goes off, you’re done. Slice and serve! Hot, juicy, golden browned and full of flavor. *drool* I always slice it up and serve it on a big cutting board right at the table with dips, or in rice bowls, or salads, or whatever you like!
Watch How To Make This Air Fryer Chicken
My go-to everyday air fryer chicken breast! Thinly sliced chicken breast pieces, coated to the max in spices, plus a bit of brown sugar and cornstarch, and air fried to golden, juicy perfection.
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (I use Morton table salt for this because it’s fine and better for coating)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts – if you have closer to 1.5 pounds in your package, increase the amount of spices above by 1.5x to make sure you have enough seasoning for your chicken
- Cut the the chicken into thin pieces: Cut each chicken breast into thin, flat pieces (not bite-sized but something that looks like a thin chicken breast). For example: if a one-pound package gives me two chicken breasts, I’m often cutting it into 3-4 thin pieces per breast. Thin chicken is essential! And delicious! Pat the chicken breasts dry if they have a lot of moisture on them.
- Coat the chicken with spices: Toss the spices together so they’re mixed well; sprinkle mixture over the chicken pieces in a bowl. Add the oil and toss (I use my hands but tongs will work). You want to thoroughly coat the chicken. You can give it a short rest if you want, but I find that the flavor is excellent even if it just goes straight into the air fryer, and that’s how I usually make it.
- Air fry: Preheat the air fryer. Place the chicken on the air fryer basket / grate in an even layer, leaving a bit of space for air to circulate around. Air fry the chicken at 415 degrees for 10 minutes. If you have larger pieces of chicken, you’ll want to go closer to 13 minutes. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- You’re done! Yum! It should be a gorgeous sight for hungry eyes. Crisped on the outside, full of flavor, and juicy to the max. Let it rest for a moment; then slice into it and enjoy. We often eat at least half of it just hot out of the air fryer while standing over the cutting board. I am on a kick with dunking the chicken pieces in a house-made gochujang dipping sauce which is in the notes below!
Salt Depends on The Amount of Chicken: And the salting is important. Here’s what I recommend.
- 1 pound of chicken breasts: 3/4 teaspoon table salt (as written)
- 1.5 pounds of chicken breasts: 1 teaspoon table salt
- If using coarse kosher salt: 1 teaspoon salt for 1 pound of chicken breasts
Marinating: You can let the chicken sit with the spices for an extended period of time – up to 24 hours in the fridge – but for best results, wait to add the cornstarch until just before you throw it in the air fryer.
Paprika: For this recipe, paprika refers to the ground spice labeled “ground paprika” or “paprika”. Paprika is great here for flavor and color. There are tons of varieties of paprika out there, including smoked paprika, hot paprika, Hungarian paprika, or sweet paprika. If you follow the amounts as written, you’ll get just a teeny tiny bit of the smoky paprika so it’s just a bit more rich and savory – just that little extra something that makes you go “mmmm” – without being overwhelmingly smoky. To me, as written, it’s the perfect blend. But if you like to play, try other paprika ratios or bring in other spices to your tastes!
Cheat Code for the Seasoning: This recipe is very clutch with McCormick Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning blend. Not sponsored, just so easy and so good. I found a neglected bottle of it when I was cleaning out my spice cabinet and it is DELICIOUS on this chicken. For a pound of chicken, just use about 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix in place of the paprika, salt, onion and garlic powders. Then add your cornstarch and brown sugar to it and love your juicy, delicious chicken life!
Amazing Gochujang Dipping Sauce: This is my current favorite sauce to have with this chicken, either in a bowl, a salad, or just dipping the chicken pieces straight in. Mix 1/2 cup mayo with about 2 tablespoons gochujang sauce (table sauce, not paste), 1 clove grated garlic, a shot of soy sauce, and a dash of rice vinegar if you want. Season with salt and pepper. Oooof. So good.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Air Fryer
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: air fryer chicken, air fryer chicken breast, chicken breast recipe
Frequently Asked Questions About This Air Fryer Chicken
We use this chicken in all sorts of things – bowls, salads, soups, tacos, or just plain and dipped in some amazing sauce (like the gochujang sauce in the notes of the recipe). For serving, I’d suggest a side like the simple green salad, Liz’s roasted broccoli salad, or the house favorite brussels sprouts. If you want this chicken on a salad, I’d suggest the roasted peanut kale salad or the avocado kale caesar with the sweet potato fries. This is also great thrown alongside a vegetarian pasta like the creamy kale pasta or the mushroom gnocchi.
Traditionally you can brine the chicken in advance, but I’ve found that with thinly slicing the chicken you don’t need to brine it. There’s so much flavor on every surface area and the flash-cooking of the air fryer prevents it from overdrying. Make sure to take it out right away after it’s done for the juicest chicken!
If using frozen chicken, I’d suggest thawing it first before coating with spices and cooking it in the air fryer. In my experience, this creates the best texture for your chicken rather than putting your frozen chicken directly in the air fryer.
If using thicker (un-sliced) chicken breasts, air fry at 415 degrees for 13 minutes minimum and check the temperature at that time to confirm they’re done (165 degrees).
I do preheat the air fryer. Mine has a setting for “preheat” that says 400 degrees for 4 minutes. When I put the chicken into the air fryer, the surface of the basket is hot enough that it sizzles.
Olive oil or any kind of neutral-flavored high-heat oil would work great here, too.
This is the air fryer that I used for this recipe! (affiliate link) I’m still new to the air fryer world, so there are a few others I’m in the process of trying but this is the one I’ve used so far.
Other readers have added 1-2 minutes more to the cook time and it’s worked great!
Yes, you can! Just a few small changes will get you super crispy, delicious tofu. Here’s the recipe for Air Fryer Tofu!