Air-Fryer Turkey Breast

If turkey breast is on your menu for the holidays (or whenever you want turkey), consider skipping the oven and using an air fryer instead — you'll get super crispy skin, and free up some room in the oven for other dishes to roast and bake. This recipe also keeps the turkey moist and tender thanks to a combination of dry brining and an herb-garlic compound butter that's rubbed under the skin. The drippings left behind in the air fryer basket have an important role, too, as they're saved to be transformed into gravy on the stovetop. Any leftover turkey can be used to make sandwiches, or in a soup. If doing the latter, save the bones from the breast for your broth.

Air-Fryer Turkey Breast
Photo: Photo by Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
9 hrs 15 mins


  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 teaspoon)

  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) half turkey breast

  • Cooking spray

  • ¼ cup  all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth, plus more as needed

  • 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce


  1. Stir together butter, rosemary, thyme, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper in a small bowl until combined. Pat turkey breast dry with paper towels. Using your hands, gently loosen skin of turkey breast, and rub butter mixture evenly under skin. Sprinkle skin evenly with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Place turkey on a wire rack set over a small rimmed baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours.

  2. Preheat a large (5-quart or larger) air fryer to 350°F for 10 minutes. Coat air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place turkey breast, skin side up, in prepared basket; coat turkey lightly with cooking spray. Cook until skin is crispy and a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of meat registers 165°F, about 45 minutes. Transfer turkey to a cutting board, and let rest 10 minutes. Reserve drippings in air fryer basket (you'll have about 1/4 cup).

  3. While turkey rests, pour drippings from air fryer basket into a medium saucepan. Heat drippings over medium. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth and soy sauce until smooth. Cook over medium, whisking often, until mixture is thickened and comes to a simmer, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add more broth to adjust consistency, if desired.

  4. Slice turkey against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Garnish with additional rosemary and thyme, and serve with gravy.

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