Learn how to cook healthy, tender and juicy chicken with this foolproof ninja foodi air fryer chicken breast recipe!
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I got the inspiration to make this recipe after one of the subscribers on my Youtube channel sent me a private message, asking for a Ninja Foodi chicken breast recipe that does not involve pressure cooking. So here we are!
And please note that while I made this recipe using the Ninja Foodi, you can still make it using your favourite air fryers!
why this recipe works
- Quick and easy: this ninja foodi chicken breast recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, making it a great option for weeknight dinner or a quick meal prep.
- Delicious and flavorful: the combination of herbs and spices used in this recipe gives the dish a delicious and savory flavor.
- Healthy: you achieve a crispy texture without adding a lot of extra oil or fat. Plus, chicken breast is a lean protein source that is low in calories and high in nutrients.
- Versatile and meal-prep friendly: This recipe can be easily customized to your taste or preferences by adjusting the seasoning or using different herbs and spices. Additionally, it can be used in a variety of meals throughout the week.
Below is a summary of the ingredients you will need to make this recipe. You will find the detailed measurements and step-by-step instructions in the recipe card provided below.
For the brine:
- regular table salt and some warm water (not pictured): The warm water helps to dissolve the salt and create the brine.
You will also need the following ingredients:-
- boneless and skinless chicken breasts (pound to equal thickness): Look for chicken breasts that are similar in size so they cook evenly. You can also use chicken thighs if you prefer. It is also possible to do a dry brine by sprinkling the chicken breasts with salt and letting them rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- some olive oil or melted butter - this helps to add flavor and moisture to the chicken. You can use any oil or butter that you prefer.
- herbs - dried parsley.
- salt to taste.
- other seasonings - onion powder, garlic powder, and sweet or smoked paprika which also lends a lovely color to the chicken. You can substitute this with tomato powder, chili powder (for some heat), or some cumin if you don't have paprika.
how to make ninja air fryer chicken breast
- You want to start by brining your chicken inside a salty water solution (mix water and salt in a bowl and place the chicken breasts inside the brine solution). Don't worry about the time, this is a quick and easy brine, that still works amazingly by helping to keep the chicken moist and flavorful! Allow the chicken to brine for a few minutes.
- Prepare your air fryer and grease the air fryer basket using cooking oil. You can also use air fryer suitable paper or silicon liners.
- Prepare the seasonings- mix the herbs and spices in a small bowl to create a seasoning blend. This blend adds a delicious flavor to the chicken.
- Brush the chicken with olive oil or melted butter, and then sprinkle the seasoning blend generously over both sides of the chicken.
- Air fry the chicken, making sure to flip each chicken breast halfway through cooking. Cook until done. An internal read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should show at least 165°F/74°C.
- To preserve the juices and prevent the chicken breasts from drying out, allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving.
ninja foodi chicken breast cooking time
The cooking time for air fryer chicken breast will vary depending on factors such as the size and thickness of the chicken breast, the specific air fryer model and its performance characteristics, and personal preferences for the level of doneness.
As a general guideline, here are approximate cooking times for air-frying chicken breast:
- Thin chicken breast (½ inch/1.27cm or less): 12 minutes at 200°C (392°F).
- Medium-thick chicken breast (½ inch/1.27cm to 1 inch/2.54cm): 12-14 minutes at 200°C (392°F).
- Thick chicken breast (1 inch/2.54cm or more): 14-16 minutes at 200°C (392°F).
Remember, these are just rough estimates, and it's imperative to use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches the USDA's recommended minimum safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast to check for doneness. If not done, then air fry for an additional 2-4 minutes until fully cooked.
You also want to preheat your air fryer before cooking and to flip the chicken halfway through the air frying process to ensure even cooking and browning.
how to refrigerate and freeze
To refrigerate your leftover chicken, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To freeze, store it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag for up to 2-3 months. When reheating, be sure to thaw it completely before air frying for a few minutes to crisp up the exterior.
This dish pairs well with a variety of sides, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a simple salad. I like to pair mine with some air fryer green parmesan beans or sauteed button mushrooms. Other ways to enjoy it include:-
- Salads - pair it up with this some Kachumbari (tomato and onion-based salad), German green bean salad, or Jamaican coleslaw.
- Potato-based dishes - serve it with some or air fryer frozen potato wedges.
- Bread - this air fryer frozen garlic bread is perfect, especially when pressed for time!
- Dipping sauces - enjoy it with some no-mayo honey mustard dressing, Nandos homemade peri peri sauce, or some African pili pili sauce.
Get creative and try pairing it with other sides to find your perfect combination.
useful tips and tricks:
- Avoid brining for too long as it can make the chicken overly salty.
- while you can skip the brining, I recommend that you do not, as it helps ensure juicy and flavorful chicken.
- To help the seasoning stick to the chicken, make sure to brush the chicken with olive oil or melted butter.
- when greasing your air fryer basket, do not use an aerosol spray. Aerosol sprays can damage the non-stick coating of the air fryer basket and cause it to peel off. Additionally, the spray can leave a residue that is difficult to clean and may affect the taste of your food:
- Allow the chicken to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken.
💡Pro tip: remove your chicken at around the 160°F mark. The carryover cooking during the resting period will bring the chicken to the (165°F/ 74°C) temperature, making it safe to eat.
frequently asked questions
Ideally, brining takes 30 minutes to one hour but I have found my quick 15-minute brines to be just as effective. Brine beyond one hour and the texture of the chicken starts to get mushier, which is not what we want. Christine from the cook story has written a wonderful article about brining chicken breast, that you can have a look at if you like.
more Ninja Foodi recipes
Hungry for more? Then try these other flavorful ninja foodi recipes!!
Ninja Air Fryer Chicken Breast
To make the Brining Solution
- 3-4 tablespoon table salt
- 4 cups water
To air fry the chicken breasts
- 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil.
- Brine the chicken. First, check the label of your chicken breasts. If they have already been pre-brined in a sodium solution, please skip the next step. Fill a large bowl with 4 cups of warm water and add 3-4 tablespoons of salt. Stir to combine until most of the salt has been absorbed. Add the chicken breasts to the brining solution and let them sit in it to brine for 15-30 minutes. You can, also, brine them for a couple of hours (see notes). While the chicken is in the brine, prepare your air fryer and make the seasoning.
- Brush the air fryer basket with cooking oil, and do not use aerosol sprays (see notes).
- Prepare the seasoning by combining the salt, smoked paprika, dried parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels. Brush the chicken breasts on each side with olive oil or melted butter and top with the prepared seasoning.
- Place the seasoned chicken in the air fryer and air fry at 200°C (392°F) for a total of 12 minutes, making sure to flip each chicken breast mid-cooking. Use an internal read thermometer to check the chicken is cooked (it should show at least 165°F/ 74°C). If not cooked, air fry for a further 2-4 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a plate and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- It's generally recommended not to brine chicken for too long. Brining for too long can lead to the chicken being overly salty or mushy in texture. The best duration for brining chicken breast is 15 minutes for a quick brine, or between 30 and 60 minutes for a proper brine.
- The best oils for the air fryer are high smoke point oils such as avocado, sunflower, and olive oil. Aerosol sprays are known to cause chipping of the air fryer basket.