Cooking air fryer frozen chicken breast is quick, simple, and a perfect plan when you forget to defrost your chicken! These chicken breasts cook up so easily in the air fryer and turn out tender and juicy every time. Serve them for dinner, in different chicken dishes (like this Creamy Enchilada Skillet) or they make a great meal prep option, too!
If you are great plan-ahead’er and remembered to thaw your chicken breasts for dinner, you can use my method for cooking perfect chicken breasts in a pan. It’s fool proof!
But what if life got in the way and you for to thaw out your chicken?!! What if your boneless, skinless chicken breasts are FROZEN?! Not a problem at all! The air fryer to the rescue! With your air fryer, you can have juicy, tender chicken breasts in no time at all–straight from frozen to the air fryer!
This recipe is super versatile. It’s great paired with these Air Fryer Roasted Root Vegetables or this amazing (viral!) Green Goddess Salad for an easy, healthy dinner. Or you can make this chicken ahead of time and use it in other dishes like my Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowl or this amazing Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta! This chicken is also great for meal preps–especially in make-ahead salads like this Chopped Thai Salad with Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette!
So let me show you how to make these frozen chicken breasts quickly and easily!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- This chicken goes straight from frozen to the air fryer! A great option when you forget to defrost your chicken!
- Cooking chicken breasts in the air fryer gets them tender and juicy every time!
- Hardly any prep time!
- Spices can be customized however you like.
- This chicken is great for meal preps and using on salads and in other dishes.
You’ll need the following ingredients to make these delicious Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Breasts:
Chicken Breasts: You can use any frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts you like. HOWEVER, I prefer buying the frozen bagged chicken breasts in the freezer section at my chain grocery store. In general, I find these chicken breasts to be thinner and flatter which allows them to cook evenly.
The Costco/Sam’s packs of chicken breasts are fine, too but they are usually super thick and take a lot more time to cook.
Spices: Sky’s the limit with spices here! You can use WHATEVER you like (I have included some ideas below). For this recipe, I kept it super simple. Salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder. I have found this blend to be great if you want to eat the chicken on it’s own OR put it in other dishes like this Easy Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowl.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Whisk together olive oil and your spices.
Step 2: Rub frozen chicken breasts with olive oil/spice mixture.
Step 3: Air fry at 380 degrees using the time chart below (based on chicken thickness). Flip once about halfway through cooking.
Step 4: Remove chicken from air fryer and let rest for 3-4 minutes. Then serve it up…or shred/chop it for use in future recipes.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Try to find chicken breasts that are fairly even in thickness and roughly the same size. I find frozen chicken sold in the large bag in the freezer section (like these boneless, skinless chicken breasts from Safeway) to work best.
- USE AN INSTANT READ MEAT THERMOMETER!!! This is the easiest way to tell if your chicken is done. Temperature should be 165°F when the thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
- Use air fryer liners to minimize clean up! They are truly LIFESAVERS!! Make sure to get the size that matches the size of your air fryer.
- It’s great to flip your chicken about halfway through cooking. However, if you somehow forget (not speaking from experience or anything…), it’s not the end of the world. The chicken still comes out just fine!
STORAGE & REHEATING
This air fryer chicken stores wonderfully for meal preps, salads and other recipes. You can keep the chicken breasts whole, shred or chop them. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To reheat chicken, warm in the microwave for 1-2 minutes of 70% power until warmed through.
ADDITIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS
- Oil: Vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado oil or any other type of unflavored oil works just fine in place of olive oil.
- Spices: There are SOOOO many possibilities when it comes to spicing up these chicken breasts! Here are some of our faves:
- Taco Seasoning: Great for chicken tacos, quesadillas, etc.
- BBQ Rub: BBQ seasoning works great when serving your chicken with cole slaw or mac salad!
- Salt and Pepper: Use plain salt and pepper if you want to use this chicken for other dishes like this Creamy Chicken Enchilada Skillet.
- Cajun Seasoning: For a little spice!
HOW TO SERVE
There are a few great ways to serve/make use of these air fryer chicken breasts:
- Main Course: These chicken breasts are perfect just served on their own! Pair them with Air Fryer Roasted Carrots, this Caprese Orzo Salad, or a Simple Arugula Salad for a light, healthy weeknight meal!
- In Other Recipes: Making a batch of this chicken ahead of time and having it for recipes during the week is a huge time saver! Use it in this Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Skillet, this Easy Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowl,
- Meal Prep: You can also use this chicken in meal prep and it’s especially delish in salads like this Chopped Thai Salad with Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette, this Peach and Blueberry Chicken Salad or even this BBQ Chicken Macaroni Salad! You can also use it for these Quick and Easy Tex Mex Chicken Wraps!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Nope! You just rub the olive oil/spice mixture over the the frozen chicken and air fry!
This will depend on the make and model of your air fryer and the thickness of your chicken breasts. For reference, I use the Cosori L501 Air Fryer. See this chart for approximate cooking times. Internal temperature of chicken should be 165°F.
Cooking times above are based on 380°F. I like to keep the temperature on the medium side (not super hot, but not too low!), so the chicken doesn’t dry out. I have found 380°F has been the sweet spot!
Yes! The olive oil does help the spices adhere to the chicken, but if you are watching your calories, you can leave it out OR spritz the breasts with a few sprays of cooking spray.
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How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
- 2 4-6 oz. frozen chicken breasts See Note 1
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked or sweet paprika
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Preheat air fryer to 380°F. If you air fryer doesn't have a preheat setting, just turn on your air fryer and allow it 3-5 minutes to come to temperature.
- Whisk together olive oil and spices.
- Rub the olive oil and spice mixture all over frozen chicken breasts (using your hands work best!!).
- Add chicken to air fryer tray or basket and air fry based on the approximate times in Note 2, depending on the thickness of your chicken. Cooking times will also depend on your air fryer! Internal temperature should be 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of your chicken breast.