Air Fryer Turkey

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The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  • Total: 100 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Brining: 18 hrs
  • Yield: 1 turkey breast (serves 4)

For a crispy, juicy fast-cooking turkey, look no further than your air fryer. If you have a small number of people to feed on Thanksgiving or you’re just looking to cook up all your Thanksgiving favorites in the middle of July, this is the perfect recipe for you.

We cooked a five-pound bone-in turkey breast and it took less than an hour and a half. Because it’s cooked breast side down for most of the time, the resulting bird is incredibly juice. When you flip it over, the skin then crisps to crackly perfection. The turkey breast is brined in a mixture that's easy to throw together. It helps lock in all the juices while the breast cooks. This step is optional, but it makes a huge difference on the final product.

You need to have an air fryer for this recipe, but the rest of the instructions are simple and don’t require any fancy techniques. Serve it with mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy! You can easily transfer the drippings from the bottom of the air fryer to a pan to make a homemade gravy

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 pound bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
  • For the Brine:
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup peppercorns
  • For the Turkey Breast:
  • 4 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bell’s poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  2. Mix the brine ingredients together in a container that's large enough to fully submerge the turkey breast. A large stock pot works well. 

    Fill it three quarters of the way with cold water.

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     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  3. Add the turkey breast to the water and weigh it down with a heavy plate, if necessary, then cover with a lid. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to brine for at least 18 hours or up to 24 hours. 

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    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  4. Remove the turkey breast from the refrigerator and pat it completely dry with paper towels. 

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     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  5. Mix together the softened butter, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, ground sage, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Combine until it’s evenly mixed. 

    Lift the skin of the turkey and rub the butter mixture in between the skin and the meat. Smear a little more onto the top of the bird. 

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     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  6. Place the turkey breast into the bin of the air fryer, breast side down. 

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     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  7. Cook for 45 minutes at 375 F. 

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     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  8. Flip the turkey breast and cook for an additional 30 minutes at 375 F, or until the top of the breast is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 F. 

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    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  9. Remove from the air fryer and allow it to rest for ten minutes. 

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     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  10. Remove the breasts from the bone and then slice and serve! 

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     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney