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Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Breasts

These juicy Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Breasts are the perfect entrée for busy day dinners. Paired with your favorite side dishes this recipe will have dinner on the table with little fuss. Bonus, oven instructions included!


Easy Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Breasts Recipe

Air fryer recipes are one of the most common specific kitchen appliance requests that I receive. It’s understandable, they have become one of the most popular kitchen tools for busy families. That said, I recognize not everyone has one, so I always want to include the oven version so, you can make juicy chicken for dinner at the drop of a hat.


How to Make the Best Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Breasts

How does an air fryer work? An air fryer is a countertop appliance that uses a fan to circulate hot air around the food on all sides. It’s fitted with a fan and a basket or baskets, depending on the style and brand. The rapid circulation of air results in food that’s crispy similar to deep frying without the oil. They’re super popular, and you can make pretty much anything that’s baked or fried and adapt it to cooking in an air fryer. They also have the bonus of easy clean-up, too.

  • When choosing the boneless chicken breasts for this recipe, consider the thickness of the breast pieces. It’s best to choose similar size pieces for the most even cooking.
  • The best barbecue sauce to use for this chicken is one that you already enjoy. If you’d like to make your own, checkout my recipes for Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce and Chipotle Peach Barbecue Grillin’ Sauce.
  • For a time saver, prepare the seasoning blend and rub the chicken breasts on all sides, then cover and chill. This could be done several hours in advance even overnight, if desired.
  • It’s best to allow a few minutes for the air fryer barbecue chicken breasts to rest just as you would when grilling, frying or roasting chicken. When resting, this will allow the cooking  juices to redistribute.
  • This easy barbecue chicken breast recipe can be turned into sandwiches, wraps, or sliced and served on salads.
  • When serving it as  entrée, consider pairing it with au gratin potatoes or homestyle macaroni salad and bacon topped baked beans.
  • Can I make barbecue chicken in the oven? Yes, see the Cook’s note in the recipe template for the oven instructions.



Other Delicious Air Fryer Recipes to Try

If you’re a fan of air frying checkout these other delicious recipes to add to your menu:




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Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Breasts

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Stand time5 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course, Poultry
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air-fryer-barbecue-chicken-breasts, barbecue-chicken-recipes, chicken-breast-recipes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 447kcal


  • 4 6 -8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic salt (OR 1 tsp salt 1 tsp granulated garlic)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped parsley for garnishing optional


  • Spray the basket of an air fryer with cooking spray.
  • Rub chicken pieces on all sides with oil or spray with an oil sprayer. Mix together brown sugar, garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, lemon pepper, chili powder and cayenne. Rub on all sides of chicken. (Tip: Pound chicken lightly if needed for even thickness, don't pound too thin or they won't fit.)
  • Place chicken in basket top side down. Cook at 360°F for 10 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 165°F.
  • Brush on all sides with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce reserving the remaining for serving. (Wipe chicken fat out of air fryer to prevent smoking)
  • Return to the air fryer for 1-2 minutes just until sauce is lightly charred
  • Rest for 5 minutes, then slice serve with reserved barbecue sauce on the side, garnished with parsley, if desired..


Oven Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Using an oven safe grill pan, broiler pan or line a baking sheet with foil. Spray liberally with cooking spray.
  • Pound the thickest portion of each chicken breasts into even thickness. (This will ensure the chicken cooks evenly.)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together seasoning blend per the recipe.
  • Drizzle chicken pieces on both sides with oil. Sprinkle both sides evenly with seasoning rubbing into the chicken pieces. Place on prepared pan.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until juices run clear. (Internal temperature of 165°F)
  • Baste with barbecue sauce on both sides and char during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  • Rest for 5 minutes, slice and serve.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 1987mg | Potassium: 606mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 630IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe a few weeks ago, cooking for my wife and I. There are no words to express how delicious this recipe is!! Although my wife is not a fan of anything real spicy, and this recipe does have a bit of a bite, we both LOVED this! The rub was absolutely the best ever and has made it to our list of “Got to do again”. We don’t have an air fryer so, I followed the oven bake directions (thank you for providing this option) and the breasts turned out juicy, tender and delicious! Just wanted to give you a shout out and a thank you for all of your recipes.

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