The Best Meat To Cook In Your Air Fryer Is A Weeknight Classic

There's so much you can do with an air fryer, sometimes the hardest part is simply deciding what to cook next! To figure out the best meat to cook in an air fryer, Mashed compared tests from places like America's Test Kitchen and Cooking Light, sorted through chef recommendations, and even tackled practicalities like ease of use (not easy trying to fit a whole roast into an air fryer) and potential messes (looking at you bacon, with your grease-splattering tendencies). After all the grease settled, the crown for the best meat to cook in the air fryer went to a good ol' weeknight classic: chicken breasts.

With its compact and efficient design, the air fryer outshines the oven and stovetop when it comes to producing tender, juicy chicken breasts. Precious juices can evaporate with other methods, leaving you with a dry and disappointing outcome. But the air fryer's compact interior traps and retains those flavorful juices. The result? Perfectly moist chicken inside with a nice and crispy outside. And this all happens with just a smidge of oil, making the air fryer a healthier option than pan or deep frying.

Tasty ideas for cooking chicken breasts in your air fryer

Air fryer chicken breast isn't just delicious — it's also practical and versatile. Most recipes take under 30 minutes from prep to plate, and cleanup is a breeze with minimal oil splatter. The seasoning possibilities are endless and the perfectly cooked chicken can be used in sandwiches, pasta, tacos, and so much more. Enjoy a classic air fryer chicken breast recipe, mixing chicken breasts in spices and letting the air fryer do its magic. You'll get a tender, juicy dish that's great as a main course or sliced up on a salad.

Cut up chicken breasts before cooking for fun recipes like air fryer chicken nuggets. These well-seasoned, tender bites are delightfully crispy without being greasy. Or, try honey mustard air fryer popcorn chicken — coat 1-inch pieces of chicken breast in honey mustard and crushed-up pretzels for a crunchy, flavorful treat that's ready in about 20 minutes.

As a general rule of thumb, you can convert your favorite oven-cooked recipe to an air-fryer recipe by reducing the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and cutting the cooking time by about 20%. Always play it safe by using a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken has reached a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When it's time to eat the results, you'll taste why chicken breasts and air fryers are a match made in kitchen heaven.