Lemon-Garlic Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

5 from 7 votes

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Boneless, skinless chicken breasts get cooked to perfection in 10 minutes in the air fryer in a simple lemon-garlic marinade. A quick and easy weeknight recipe.

Cooked Lemon Garlic Chicken Breasts in air fryer.

This is it: the easiest air fryer chicken breast recipe, but one that yields moist, tender chicken with a terrific flavor. It takes about 10 minutes to make the marinade for the chicken and 10 minutes to air fry the breasts. If you have time to marinate the chicken, you will be rewarded with even deeper flavor. But no matter what, this is a weekday keeper of a recipe.

Yes, of course, the air fryer is good for cooking up “fried” things. The main point of this appliance is to simulate the texture you get when frying foods in oil, often with a crispy crust, sometimes with a battered coating. But in fact, the air fryer also functions as a sort of supermini convection oven, circulating hot air quickly in the chamber to cook the food. While preheating for a few minutes is recommended, it’s not necessary, and the preheating time for an air fryer is much shorter than that of most ovens.

You can serve the chicken as is or slice it and add it to pastas like Easy Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo. Or sub it and add it to salads like Chopped Salad with Chicken, Tomatoes, and Lemon Thyme Dressing. It’s also delicious when diced and stirred into soups like Fragrant Chicken Tomato Soup.

Slices of Lemon Garlic Chicken Breasts on a plate with mushrooms, vegetables, and salad.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts get cooked to perfection in about 10 minutes in the air fryer, which makes it such a great weeknight tool for getting dinner on the table FAST.

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Lemon-Garlic Air Fryer Chicken Breasts Ingredients

  • Olive oil – Helps the chicken crisp up and get brown in the air fryer.
  • Lemon juice – The acidity of the lemon brings balance and freshness.
  • Dijon mustard – I love the bite that the mustard brings to this marinade.
  • Minced garlic – Mince the garlic finely for the maximum amount of garlicky flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes – Adds a nice amount of heat without being truly spicy.
  • Chicken breasts – Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the fastest cook time.

Variations

You can use all kinds of marinades or brushing sauces on the chicken. This recipe calls for a quick garlicky, mustard-ey, lemony marinade, but you can keep switching it up. Note that marinades that contain a lot of sugar (honey, maple syrup, etc.) might cause the chicken to brown more on the outside. Keep an eye on the chicken and lower the heat if it seems to be browning too quickly. Try any of these marinades:

After making your marinade, continue the recipe as written from step 2.

How to Make Lemon-Garlic Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

  1. Marinate the chicken: Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, red pepper flaked, salt, and pepper. Marinate the chicken the night before or in the morning.
Chicken Breasts marinating in a lemon garlic mixture.
  1. Remove the chicken from marinade: Discard the remaining marinade. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer, not touching the other pieces.
Tongs placing Chicken Breasts into an Air Fryer.
  1. Cook: Set the air fryer to 400 degrees and cook; 10 minutes later, you will have dinner. Seriously, if you are serving this chicken with rice or pasta, that needs to be on the stove before the chicken goes into the air fryer, or you’ll be waiting on your starch!
Cooked Lemon Garlic Chicken Breasts in air fryer.

FAQs

How long do you cook chicken breasts in the air fryer?

Boneless skinless chicken breasts get cooked to perfection in about 10 minutes in the air fryer, which makes it such a great weeknight tool for getting dinner on the table FAST.

Will chicken breasts get crispy in the air fryer?

The chicken pieces won’t get crispy if they aren’t coated with some sort of crust like Panko or breadcrumbs, but rather cook up much as they would in a high oven. They will be firm on the outside, and the inside should be super juicy, as long as you don’t overcook it. If the chicken breasts are thick, you may need some extra time. Try not to crowd the chicken in the basket or insert. It’s ok if the pieces are just touching but you don’t want them overlapping. 

Can you cook chicken thighs in the air fryer?

Boneless skinless thighs can be cooked in much the same way, but they will need a few extra minutes to cook through. You are looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees either way. That’s the safe cooking temperature for poultry. Otherwise, you can use this same recipe with the same marinade!

What to Serve With Air-Fried Lemon-Garlic Breasts

Slices of Lemon Garlic Chicken Breasts on a plate with beans and rice.

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5 from 7 votes

Lemon-Garlic Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts get cooked to perfection in 10 minutes in the air fryer in a simple lemon-garlic marinade. A quick and easy weeknight recipe.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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Equipment

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a container with a lid or a sturdy sipper-top plastic bag, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Stir or squish to blend the ingredients. Add the chicken and turn to coat well. Seal the bag or container and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours (the longer you marinate it, the more pronounced the flavors will be).
  • Set up your air fryer. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it in a single layer in the basket or insert. Set the temperature to 400 F if you have a choice, dual heat, and set the timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, check to see if the chicken is cooked through (165 F internal temperature). Add more time in 2-minute increments if needed. Let the chicken sit on a cutting board or plate for 2 minutes before serving. Slice if desired.

Notes

The chicken pieces won’t get crispy if they aren’t coated with some sort of crust like panko or breadcrumbs, but rather cook up much as they would in a high oven. If they are thick, you may need some extra time. Try not to crowd the chicken in the basket or insert. It’s ok if the pieces are touching but you don’t want them overlapping. The inside should be super juicy, as long as you don’t overcook it.
You can use all kinds of marinades or brushing sauces on the chicken. I made these with a garlicky, mustard-ey, lemony marinade, but you can keep switching it up. Note that marinades that contain a lot of sugar (honey, maple syrup, etc.) might brown more on the outside. Keep an eye on the chicken and lower the heat if it seems to be browning too quickly.

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 109mg, Sodium: 241mg, Potassium: 629mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 51IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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