With a margarita chicken marinade of citrus juices, tequila, and honey, this Air Fryer Chicken Breast is so tender, juicy, and flavorful. This pairs so well with cilantro lime rice for a complete meal.
If you don’t have an air fryer, make our perfectly baked chicken breasts instead!
Easy Air Fryer Chicken Recipe (No Breading)
Many air fryer chicken recipes include some sort of breading or panko crust, but I skipped that in favor of a margarita-inspired marinade with lots of citrus, a splash of tequila, and some garlic.
Margarita chicken is an air fryer chicken breast recipe that comes together with just 10 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of air frying. It does need to marinate for 2 hours so you’ll need to plan ahead, but otherwise it’s a crazy simple weeknight air fryer recipe.
Margarita Chicken Recipe
Just a few simple ingredients are needed to make this air fryer chicken recipe. The marinade uses equal parts orange juice, lime juice, and lemon juice (freshly squeezed if at all possible, for best flavor!), along with sweet honey to balance out the citrus, seasonings for flavor, a bit of tequila, which adds a subtle smokiness, and olive oil to keep the boneless chicken breasts moist.
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete measurements and directions.)
Since this is made with so much citrus, you’ll want it to marinate for 2 hours (and no more than 3 or it will ruin the texture of the chicken.)
The alcohol will be completely cooked off when you air fry the chicken, just leaving great flavor. But you can omit it, if preferred. The chicken will still be delish!
Fresh garlic will give you the best flavor, but you can use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder in place of the two fresh cloves, if needed.
Yes, this margarita chicken marinade will work for chicken thighs and other cuts of meat as well. You may want a bit less time marinating and you’ll also want to adjust the cook time.
How to Make Air Fryer Margarita Chicken
This air fryer chicken recipe requires just 4 easy steps. Here’s a summary:
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete directions.)
- Pound out the chicken. Cover chicken breasts (8 ounces each) with plastic wrap and pound the thicker end of the chicken to make both sides leveled out – this will ensure they cook evenly.
- Marinate the chicken. Add all of the ingredients except for the cilantro and chicken to a ziploc bag. Seal and shake to combine. Then add the chicken, toss it with the marinade, and refrigerate for 2 hours (but not longer.) Remove the chicken from the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Air fry the chicken. Preheat your air fryer, if necessary to 375F. Air fry for 6 minutes then flip and air fry for an additional 5 to 8 minutes (or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached.)
- Serve. Let the chicken rest for 4 to 5 minutes. Slice and top with cilantro.
How Long to Air Fry Chicken Breast?
The cook time will vary depending on both the air fryer model and the size of the chicken breasts. I tested this recipe with 8 ounce chicken breasts, which took a total of 12 minutes at 375 degrees F. 6 ounce chicken breasts will need just a total of 8 minutes, while larger ones will require 14 minutes or so.
Different air fryer models vary so be sure to check the chicken a few times towards the end to make sure it’s done but not overcooked and dry. The best way to tell is with a thermometer. An internal temperature of 165 degrees should be reached.
This tender, flavorful air fryer chicken breast can be served in a variety of ways. It pairs perfectly with our cilantro lime rice, but would also go great with roasted potatoes or Mexican street corn salad. If you want to enjoy it with a veggie, keep the air fryer out and make air fryer zucchini fries. Margarita chicken can also be sliced or shredded and added to a burrito bowl or used in fajitas.
How to Store, Freeze, & Reheat Leftovers
- How to store leftovers. Leftover cooked margarita chicken breasts should be refrigerated in an airtight container. They will last up to 3 days.
- How to reheat leftovers. Leftover air fryer chicken can be reheated at 350F in the air fryer or oven. You can also microwave it until warmed through.
- Can I freeze margarita chicken? Yes, cooked and cooled, air fryer chicken can be frozen. Store in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge then reheat according to the instructions above.
More Air Fryer Recipes:
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese
- Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Air Fryer Salmon
Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each)
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 ounce tequila
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- chopped cilantro , fo serving, optional
- Cover chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound the thicker end of the chicken to make both sides leveled out – this will ensure they cook evenly.
- In a gallon-size ziploc bag, combine the lime juice, orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, tequila, honey, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and shake to combine. Then add the chicken to the bag, toss to coat, and seal again.
- Transfer the chicken to the fridge to marinate for 2 hours (and not longer than 3.)
- Remove the chicken from the bag, discard the marinade, and let chicken stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Pat dry, if necessary.
- If your air fryer requires preheating, set it to 375 degrees F.
- Once ready to air fry, place the chicken into the basket of your air fryer.
- Air fry for 6 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken breasts over and cook for 5-8 minutes more or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 4-5 minutes.
- Slice the chicken breasts and top with the cilantro and enjoy.