Use these instructions for How to Air Fry a Turkey Breast Joint to perfectly cook any pre-frozen or fresh prepared cuts of turkey breast. Most of the packets say suitable for air frying but many lack actual instructions. Plus I’ve worked out a few tricks and tricks to make these economical joints quick to cook and actually really delicious.
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I need to be very clear exactly what kind of turkey breast joint I’m talking about here from the get-go. And its the kind that comes either fresh or frozen from the supermarket, usually pre-seasoned and ready to cook in a foil tray.
Why Air Fry?
Quite honestly these joints are not often all that nice because they cook horribly in the provided containers. Especially in the air fryer.
There are 2 main reasons for this. Firstly the foil containers always seem to be water logged. I’m all for brining turkey and injecting a salty water solution as this does keep the meat juicy and seasons from the inside. But all the water that leeches out makes the cooking very tricky because the turkey boils and steams rather than roasts.
Secondly, the foil containers might work ok in the oven (ok really is the best review I can give them, they’re far too tall to really cook effectively). But they work horribly in the air fryer, especially a basket fryer. They’re too thick to conduct the heat properly and as a result the breast joint takes forever too cook as well as cooking very unevenly.
But don’t get me wrong, they are super easy to doctor slightly and air fry beautifully. These joints can be a really cost effective way to cook turkey, especially for a smaller crowd. Plus they do tend to be available all year round whereas fresh turkey breasts are difficult to find outside the festive season.
So bear with me, spend a whole 5 minutes it takes to prepare these joints so they’re much better and I promise you’ll be incredibly impressed by the outcome.
How to Serve
Here in the UK, turkey really is reserved mostly for Christmas. But just like I preached when I wrote my recipe for How to Wet Brine & Roast Turkey, it really shouldn’t be overlooked for the rest of the year. Cooked properly, turkey is a really delicious meat.
For Christmas or another roast meal, try serving with all the trimmings like –
But you can also create smaller easier weeknight meals. A turkey breast is really very versatile and you can use it anyway you’d use chicken. Try slicing and making tacos with fresh shredded lettuce, peach salsa and guacamole or making a taco bowl with green coriander rice.
Turkey Breast Joint
Most British supermarkets sell these pre-seasoned and basted turkey joints either in the fridge, the freezer section or both. They can vary a little by size.
The one I’ve roasted is 800g which according to the packet serves 5 people. This would provide an extremely small serving per person so I’ve suggested that 800g more realistically would serve 4.
Many of the frozen options suggest that the joint can be cooked from frozen. It can of course but I do not think that they cook well. It is a recipe for overcooking most of the meat in order to cook it all the way through. So please defrost. This will also allow you to properly dry and oil it before placing into the air fryer.
Stuffed Turkey Joints
Some of the joints you can buy are pre-stuffed. Please avoid these. Two reasons again – firstly the stuffing never tastes good.
Second, and most importantly, the stuffing again hinders the joint from cooking well. Stuffing is much better prepared and cooked separately to the turkey although you can certainly cook stuffing balls around the edge of the turkey breast. Just don’t pack it so that the air can’t flow.
A little oil is the only thing I suggest adding to the turkey unless you want to add extra seasonings.
Drying the meat really well is an essential part of the cooking process. This helps the cooking and browning process. But that does then leave the exposed flesh literally dry. By adding a little oil, it helps with the cooking process.
I use a neutral vegetable oil but you can use olive oil or another flavoured oil if you prefer. And if the flavour will gel with whatever you’re planning on serving it with.
You could alternatively use melted butter or smother in a softened and seasoned butter for ultimate decadence.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long to Air Fry a Turkey Breast Joint
I want to give you some idea of the difference in cooking time between air frying one of these joints and the packed cooking instructions.
The frozen 800g turkey breast joint that I bought from Aldi says to cook for 120 minutes from frozen or 70 minutes is defrosted. This is to be cooked in the foil container provided.
To air fry the same turkey breast joint after removing it from the tray, it takes 30 minutes. This is 15 minutes with the skin side up and then 15 minutes after its turned over.
Regardless of the cooking method, the breast joint needs to rest for at least 5 minutes before being carved and served.
How to Air Fry a Turkey Breast Joint From Frozen
Please don’t. Turkey isn’t a dry meat like many think providing it is cooked well. I don’t think you can cook this cut of turkey well from frozen.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days providing they are wrapped well. They can also be frozen, again provided they are wrapped well.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to reheat from frozen, make sure it is defrosted first. I also wouldn’t recommend simply putting a chunk or slices directly into the air fryer to reheat as it will just dry out. You can simply put slices on a plate, add a drop of water and then cover with clingfilm. Or use a microwave steamer plate and then microwave until piping hot.
The reheating time will depend on the thickness and material of the plate and the thickness and quantity of the turkey.
If you don’t have a microwave, you can reheat in the air fryer by wrapping the turkey loosely in a layer of foil. Again add a drop of water, seal and air fry. This will effectively steam the meat in the same way as the microwave.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
Come on over to Facebook and join my community discussing all things air fryer. Get involved in sharing your experiences and trials, help out others and find out what wonderful things everyone is cooking in their air fryers!
What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve borrowed this air fryer for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I’ve been using for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked does have a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori model has a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which most people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although some come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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How to Air Fry a Turkey Breast Joint
- 800 g Turkey Breast Joint - defrosted
- 1 tbsp Oil - see notes
- If your air fryer requires pre-heating, start this setting now.
- Take a 800g Turkey Breast Joint out of its packaging, including any tray that the instructions intend you to cook it in.
- If the layer of skin isn't attached like mine wasn't, move it to the side and dry the turkey breast with a paper towel if it is at all wet.
- Drizzle over roughly 1 tbsp Oil and rub it all over the breast portion. If the skin is still attached, rub the oil under the skin and directly onto the meat.
- Replace the skin if needed.
- Place the turkey breast into the air fryer basket skin side up.
- Cook for 15 minutes at 200c/390f.
- Use tongs to turn the breast over then continue to cook for a further 15 minutes at 200c/390f.
- Check the turkey is cooked through, you can see this by making a cut and checking that the meat is white in the centre of the thickest part. The juices should be clear and not have any sign of blood. Once you see this, its good. You don't need to panic cook it for longer. This is how we end up with dry turkey.
- Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Spoon over any juices that have collected in the bottom of the air fryer for extra flavour.
- Seasoning – If you don’t think the joint you have bought is sufficiently pre-seasoned, generously sprinkle with sea salt flakes and any other seasonings you like that will complement your meal.
- The air fryer version of this recipe is tested in a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S). The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It has also been tested and you will see it photographed in a 4.7 litre capacity Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501). The larger model isn’t a requirement.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.
- I don’t recommend cooking turkey breast joints from frozen. For the centre to be properly cooked, the outside will become overcooked.