How to Grill Chicken in Air Fryer: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Discover the simple yet delicious method of grilling chicken in an air fryer, perfect for those seeking a healthier and quicker alternative to traditional grilling.

Are you tired of the same old boring chicken recipes? Do you want to try something new and exciting for dinner tonight? Look no further than your air fryer! That’s right, you can grill delicious and juicy chicken in your air fryer with just a few simple steps. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of grilling chicken in an air fryer, from preparing the chicken to seasoning it to perfection.

Get ready to impress your taste buds with this mouth-watering dish that is sure to become a family favorite. So fire up your air fryer and let’s get grilling!

What You’ll Need To Make Air Fryer Grilled Chicken Breasts

how to grill chicken in air fryer easy step by step guide

First and foremost, you’ll need an air fryer with a grill pan or basket attachment. If your air fryer doesn’t come with one of these attachments, you can purchase them separately online or at most kitchen supply stores.

Next up is the chicken itself. For this recipe, we recommend using boneless skinless chicken breasts for their tenderness and ease of cooking in the air fryer.

You will also need some basic seasonings such as salt and pepper to enhance the flavor of your grilled chicken. However, feel free to experiment with different spices like garlic powder or paprika depending on your taste preferences.

Lastly, don’t forget about oil! While grilling in an air fryer requires less oil than traditional methods like frying or baking in an oven; it’s still important to use some amount of oil for optimal results.

Preparing the Chicken

Begin by washing the chicken breasts under cold running water and patting them dry with paper towels. Next, trim off any excess fat or skin from the chicken breasts using a sharp knife or kitchen shears.

If you’re working with bone-in chicken breasts, use a meat mallet to pound them gently until they are an even thickness throughout. This will help ensure that they cook evenly in the air fryer.

For boneless and skinless chicken breasts, consider butterflying them before cooking. To do this, place one hand on top of the breast and slice horizontally through its thickest part using a sharp knife until almost all of it is cut through but still attached at one end like a book cover.


For this recipe, you’ll need boneless and skinless chicken breasts, olive oil or cooking spray for greasing the air fryer basket, and your choice of seasonings.

It’s important to choose high-quality chicken that is fresh and free from any added hormones or antibiotics. You can also opt for organic or pasture-raised chicken if available.

For seasoning options, there are endless possibilities! Some popular choices include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika (smoked or sweet), cumin powder and chili flakes among others.

Remember that less is more when it comes to seasoning – a little goes a long way! Be sure not to over-season as this may overpower the natural flavor of your grilled chicken.

Choosing the Right Seasonings

While salt and pepper are always a good starting point, there are many other herbs and spices that can take your dish to the next level. Some popular options include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, oregano or thyme.

When selecting your seasonings for grilled chicken in an air fryer it’s important to consider what flavors you enjoy most. If you prefer spicy food then adding some chili flakes or cayenne pepper will give your chicken a nice kick of heat.

For those who love savory dishes try using rosemary or sage as they pair well with poultry.

Remember not to overdo it on the seasoning as too much can overpower the natural flavor of the meat itself. A general rule of thumb is one teaspoon per pound of meat but feel free to adjust according to personal preference.

Marinating for Maximum Flavor

A good marinade not only adds flavor but also helps to tenderize the meat, making it juicy and succulent. There are countless marinades you can use for grilled chicken, from classic BBQ sauce to spicy jerk seasoning or tangy lemon herb blends.

To marinate your chicken, start by placing it in a large ziplock bag or shallow dish with the marinade of your choice. Make sure that all parts of the chicken are coated evenly with the mixture and then seal or cover tightly before refrigerating for at least 30 minutes up to overnight.

When choosing a marinade recipe, consider using ingredients like olive oil, vinegar (or other acidic liquids), herbs such as rosemary and thyme; spices like paprika and cumin; soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce; honey or brown sugar for sweetness.

Setting Up the Air Fryer

First, make sure that your air fryer is clean and free of any debris from previous use. Then, place the grill pan or basket into the air fryer and preheat it to 375°F for a few minutes.

Next, lightly spray or brush some oil onto the grill pan or basket to prevent sticking. You can use cooking spray or a small amount of vegetable oil on a paper towel.

It’s important not to overcrowd the grill pan with too much chicken as this will affect how evenly it cooks. Leave enough space between each piece so that they cook properly.

Carefully place your seasoned chicken onto the preheated grill pan in an even layer without overlapping them too much.

Air Fryer Settings

Most air fryers come with pre-set cooking options for different types of food, including poultry. However, if yours doesn’t or you want more control over the cooking process, here are some general guidelines:

1. Temperature: Set the temperature between 375°F and 400°F (190°C-200°C) for best results.

2. Time: Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts but generally take around 12-15 minutes per side.

3. Fan Speed: Use a high fan speed setting to ensure even cooking throughout.

4. Preheat Your Air Fryer: It is important that you preheat your air fryer before adding in any food items as this helps cook them evenly from all sides.

Cooking Time and Temperature

The cooking time and temperature are crucial factors that determine how well your chicken will turn out. For best results, preheat the air fryer at 375°F for about five minutes before placing the chicken inside.

The cooking time will depend on various factors such as thickness of the meat, whether or not it is bone-in or boneless, and if you’re using fresh or frozen chicken. As a general rule of thumb, boneless skinless breasts take around 12-15 minutes while thighs may take slightly longer at around 18-20 minutes.

It’s important to flip your chicken halfway through cooking so that both sides cook evenly. You can also use a meat thermometer to check if your grilled chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F which ensures that it is fully cooked.

How Long Does It Take to Grill Chicken in an Air Fryer

How long does it take to grill chicken in an air fryer? The answer depends on a few factors, including the thickness of the chicken breasts and the temperature of your air fryer. As a general rule of thumb, boneless skinless chicken breasts will take about 12-15 minutes at 375°F (190°C) in an air fryer.

However, if you’re using thicker cuts or bone-in pieces, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

It’s important not to overcook or undercook your grilled chicken as this can affect its texture and flavor. To ensure that your meat is cooked through but still juicy and tender inside, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each piece until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Once done grilling let them rest for five minutes before serving so that they retain their juices.

Flipping Chicken During Cooking

This ensures that both sides of the chicken are evenly cooked and crispy. To do this, use tongs or a spatula to carefully turn each piece over.

Be gentle so as not to damage the coating or skin on your chicken.

If you’re using a basket-style air fryer, be sure not to overcrowd it with too many pieces of chicken at once. This can make flipping more difficult and may result in unevenly cooked meat.

Remember that every air fryer is different, so keep an eye on your food while cooking and adjust as needed based on how quickly or slowly things are progressing inside the machine.

Testing for Doneness

The easiest way to do this is by using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast and make sure that it reads at least 165°F (74°C).

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also check if your chicken is done by cutting into one of the thicker pieces and making sure there are no pink or raw parts left inside.

It’s crucial not to overcook your grilled chicken in an air fryer as this will result in dry and tough meat. On top of that, undercooked poultry can be dangerous as it may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella or campylobacter.

Can I Use Frozen Chicken?

The answer is yes, but with some precautions. First of all, make sure that the chicken is fully cooked before serving.

This means that you’ll need to increase the cooking time by about 50% compared to fresh or thawed chicken breasts.

It’s also important not to overcrowd your air fryer basket when using frozen meat as this can lead to uneven cooking and potentially dangerous undercooked areas.

To ensure even cooking of frozen chicken breasts in an air fryer, consider preheating your appliance for a few minutes before adding them into it. You should also flip them halfway through their cook time so they cook evenly on both sides.

Resting the Chicken

This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful dish. To rest your air fryer grilled chicken breasts, simply remove them from the air fryer basket using tongs or a spatula and place them on a cutting board or plate.

Cover loosely with foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing into them.

While you wait for your chicken to rest, take this time to prepare any sides you’ll be serving alongside it. Grilled vegetables make an excellent accompaniment as they can also be prepared in the air fryer while your chicken rests.

Serving Suggestions

There are endless possibilities when it comes to pairing this dish with sides and sauces that complement its flavors perfectly.

For a classic combination, try serving your grilled chicken with some roasted vegetables like asparagus or broccoli. You can also add a side of mashed potatoes or sweet potato fries for a hearty meal.

If you’re looking for something lighter, consider serving the chicken over a bed of mixed greens topped with cherry tomatoes and avocado slices. A drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette will tie all the flavors together beautifully.

Another great option is to use the air fryer grilled chicken in sandwiches or wraps. Add some lettuce, tomato slices, and mayo for an easy lunchtime favorite that everyone will love.

What to Serve With Grilled Chicken in the Air Fryer

The possibilities are endless! You can keep things simple with a side salad or roasted vegetables, or get creative with some flavorful sides that complement the grilled chicken.

One classic option is corn on the cob. Grilled corn pairs perfectly with juicy and tender chicken breasts and adds a pop of color to your plate.

Another great choice is sweet potato fries – they’re crispy, savory, and provide an excellent contrast in texture.

If you’re looking for something lighter but still satisfying, consider serving your grilled chicken over a bed of quinoa or brown rice mixed with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro. This will add some extra protein and fiber while keeping things healthy.

Don’t forget about sauces! A tangy barbecue sauce can take your air fryer-grilled chicken from good to great by adding an extra layer of flavor that complements its smoky taste perfectly.

How to Reheat Grilled Chicken in the Air Fryer

Luckily, reheating grilled chicken in an air fryer is just as easy as cooking it the first time around. Simply preheat your air fryer to 350°F and place the leftover chicken inside for about 5-7 minutes or until heated through.

Be sure to flip the chicken halfway through for even heating.

If you’re worried about drying out your leftover grilled chicken during reheating, try adding a splash of water or broth before placing it in the air fryer basket. This will help keep it moist and juicy.

Cleaning and Maintenance

To start, make sure the air fryer has cooled down completely before cleaning. Remove any excess grease or food particles from the basket using a soft sponge or cloth.

For tougher stains, you can use warm soapy water and let it soak for a few minutes before wiping away with a non-abrasive scrubber.

It’s also important to regularly check and clean the heating element of your air fryer as this can affect its performance over time. Use a damp cloth to gently wipe away any debris that may have accumulated on it.

To keep your air fryer running smoothly for years to come, be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions regarding maintenance and cleaning procedures.

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you avoid common mistakes when grilling chicken in an air fryer.

If your chicken is not cooking evenly, try flipping it halfway through cooking or adjusting the temperature settings on your air fryer. If you find that your chicken is too dry or overcooked, reduce the cook time by a few minutes next time around.

Another issue that may arise is smoke coming from your air fryer during cooking. This could be due to excess oil dripping onto hot surfaces or using too much seasoning on the chicken.

To prevent this from happening again, make sure to pat down any excess moisture before placing it in the basket and use seasonings sparingly.

Lastly, if you’re experiencing issues with cleaning up after grilling in an air fryer – don’t worry! Simply soak any removable parts of your appliance for a few minutes before washing them thoroughly with soap and water.


Is chicken better on grill or air fryer?

Chicken is better in an air fryer because it cooks quickly and evenly, retaining more moisture compared to grilling.

Do you need a grill plate for air fryer?

Although not necessary, using a grill plate in an air fryer is recommended for allowing better air circulation and more even cooking.

Can I put raw chicken in my air fryer?

Yes, you can put raw frozen chicken in your air fryer, although the results may not be as juicy due to the inability to brine or pound it to an even thickness.

What is the optimal cooking time and temperature for grilling chicken in an air fryer?

The optimal cooking time and temperature for grilling chicken in an air fryer is 25 minutes at 380°F (193°C).

How does marinating the chicken beforehand affect its taste and texture in an air fryer?

Marinating chicken beforehand enhances its taste and tenderizes its texture when cooked in an air fryer.

Are there any specific tips or precautions to take when grilling chicken in an air fryer to ensure even cooking and crispiness?

To ensure even cooking and crispiness when grilling chicken in an air fryer, preheat the air fryer, use a cooking spray, avoid overcrowding, and flip the chicken halfway through the cooking process.