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You can cook a turkey breast in your air fryer for an easy Thanksgiving dinner

You can cook a turkey breast in your air fryer for an easy Thanksgiving dinner
Posted at 8:30 AM, Oct 31, 2023

Not all of us are interested in hanging out with a big family presiding over a giant roast turkey over the holiday — but maybe we still love the trappings of Thanksgiving, like turkey, mashed potatoes and pie.

My immediate family, for example, is small: just two people, me and my son. And while we’re usually adopted by friends for the day, we are both introverts and sometimes prefer to be by ourselves. But we both love the comforting foods associated with the fall harvest.

In the past, this has meant getting Thanksgiving meals from Boston Market, which offered relatively inexpensive themed meals for smaller amounts of people. Sadly, our local Boston Market closed down a few years ago, like many locations. Fortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a renaissance of interest in the air fryer, turning the small appliance into the hot new kitchen tool for cooking everything from French fries to, yes, Thanksgiving turkey.

aerial shot of turkey in air fryer
Well Plated by Erin

If you’re looking for a great recipe for a lower-key Thanksgiving, or if you prefer a turkey dinner more than just once a year, the blog Well Plated from Erin Clarke might be the ticket for you, too. The recipe is perfect for two or three people, cooks quickly and requires a minimum of work. It uses a white-meat turkey breast, so it can be a good, healthy source of protein and vitamins and minerals — even more so than a whole, roasted turkey.

This recipe has instructions for both bone-in and boneless breasts, so you can choose your favorite option. Bone-in breasts are a bit more work because Clarke recommends brining them first. If you use boneless, she says you should keep the netting on.

MORE: Cinnamon roll turkeys are the cutest way to start Thanksgiving Day

First, pat the turkey dry to help spices stick and make sure the skin gets crisp. Then season liberally and use a small amount of olive oil or softened butter (3 tablespoons is enough to crisp up that skin). You’ll want to use an herb rub consisting of garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

hand patting herbs and spices into raw turkey
Well Plated by Erin

To cook properly, know how much your turkey breast weighs and set your timer accordingly. A 3-pound boneless turkey cooked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit will need to be in the fryer for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. A 4- to 6-pound bone-in turkey breast only needs about 40-50 minutes, but be sure to check a few minutes early.

It’s helpful to have an instant-read thermometer to know when your breast reaches 155 degrees. Then rest it for 10 minutes to let it get up to 165 degrees. If you don’t, your turkey may end up being too dry.

For detailed amounts and method along with tips for what to serve it with, check out the full recipe at Well Plated by Erin. Happy Thanksgiving!

MORE: Leftover turkey waffle sandwich might be better than the Thanksgiving meal itself

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