Cooking marinated chicken breasts in your air fryer could not be any easier! This recipe uses no breading but instead a delicious marinade, which yields tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken breasts that are very low in carbs and super healthy!
How to make marinated chicken breasts in your air fryer (without breading)
This air fryer chicken breast recipe is SO simple and full of flavor! You won’t miss that it has no breading. All the flavor comes from marinating the chicken breasts for 4+ hours to help the flavor infuse into the chicken. Air fryers are like mini convection ovens allowing the hot air to circulate around the chicken consistently. Air fryers cook food more evenly and distribute heat better. They are just awesome!
For this air fryer chicken recipe, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I make sure to buy chicken breasts that are not too thick or thin. If you do have very thick chicken breasts, you’ll want to cut them in half lengthwise or pound them out a bit so the chicken will cook through.
Air fryer chicken marinade (sugar-free)
Most chicken marinades are made with brown sugar, salt, and an acid. But in this recipe, I left the sugar part out. It honestly doesn’t need it. The marinade I use is simple, healthy, sugar-free, and full of flavor! The lemon juice is what will help to tenderize the chicken breasts while the Worcestershire sauce and freshly chopped herbs will add a ton of flavor. I also used freshly minced garlic, which infuses even more flavor into the chicken. You can add other seasonings if you wish like chili powder, onion powder, or cumin, but I believe this recipe is great as is.
Marinating the chicken breasts before air frying
When it comes to marinating chicken, longer is not necessarily better. Too long and the chicken will break down too much and turn into a mushy consistency. I chose to marinate my air fryer chicken breasts for 4 hours, but if you don’t have that kind of time, the MINIMUM amount of time you should marinate your chicken is 20 minutes. Some marinating is better than no marinating.
Steps to making air fryer chicken breasts:
Step 1: Prep all the ingredients needed to make air fryer chicken!
Step 2: Whisk together your chicken marinade in a medium bowl.
Step 3: Place the chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish and pour your marinade over the top. Then, chill them in the marinade up to 4 hours in the fridge.
Step 4: Allow your marinated chicken breasts to come to room temperature before adding to the air fryer. After about 20 minutes, place them in the basket of your air fryer and fry for 10 minutes. Flip and fry for another 6 minutes. The internal temperature should be 160 degrees F.
Step 5: Remove from air fryer and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with lemon wedges and freshly chopped herbs over the top!
Tips for cooking chicken breasts in the air fryer
- The trick when it comes to cooking chicken breasts is making sure NOT to dry them out. White meat has less fat than dark meat, so you’ll want to watch out for this. Make sure the chicken breasts are the right thickness. Too thin and you will dry out your breasts. Too thick, and they may not cook through internally.
- Make sure to marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes. Four hours is ideal and will help to make the chicken super tender and flavorful.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer right when they are finished cooking! If you leave them in, they will continue cooking and dry out.
- Always allow the chicken to rest before cutting into it. (A big mistake many people do.) Letting it rest helps to lock in those juices we want inside of our chicken and not on our plate!
Frequently asked air fryer chicken questions:
- “Do I need to use oil in my air fryer”? You do not need to add oil to your air fryer. Instead, you will be adding some oil directly to the chicken breasts.
- “Do I have to marinate my chicken?” Yes! The marinade helps to tenderize your chicken breasts while adding flavor. Ideally, you will want to marinate the chicken breasts somewhere between 20 minutes to 4 hours, but no more than a day!
- “How long do I cook chicken breasts in my air fryer?” Cooking time depends on the size of your breasts, more so the thickness. For this recipe, aim for chicken that is between 4 oz. to 6 oz. Your internal chicken temperature should be 160 degrees F.
- “Can I bake these in my oven instead?” Yes, of course, but keep in mind that an air fryer cooks food quicker. Plus, the convection aspect will allow more even cooking.
What to serve with air fryer chicken breasts
Chicken breasts alone don’t make a complete meal, so I suggest serving chicken breasts with 1-2 sides. Here are a few low carb/keto-friendly side dishes you might want to serve alongside the chicken breasts:
If you are in search of an Air Fryer, here are some good ones:
- Cuisinart Toaster Oven Air Fryer
- Instant Pot Air Fryer / Instant Pot Combo
- Cosori Air Fryer
- Ninja Air Fryer
Other low carb air fryer chicken recipes:
Air Fryer Marinated Chicken Breasts (No Breading)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 medium cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano minced or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ cup fresh parsley minced and lightly packed or 4 teaspoons dried parsley
- ¼ cup fresh basil minced and lightly packed or 4 teaspoons dried basil
- 4 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Olive oil cooking spray
- In a large bowl, whisk together ingredients for the marinade. Add chicken breast to a large container or resealable bag, pour marinade over chicken, seal or cover.
- Chill in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and let your chicken reach room temperature. (20-30 minutes)
- Preheat your air fryer to 370° F for 5 minutes.
- Remove the air fryer basket and place chicken breasts inside, leaving room between the breasts, so they cook evenly.
- Spray each chicken breast with olive oil.
- Place back into preheated air fryer and cook for 10 minutes
- Remove the basket and flip breasts over, spray again with olive oil and cook for another 6-8 minutes; chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 160° F when checked with an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove your chicken from the air fryer basket and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving!
- Garnish chicken with fresh oregano, parsley, and/or basil.