Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloin is perfectly juicy, cooked in under 30 minutes and packed with flavor thanks to the Italian seasoned marinade. This recipe is simple enough for a week night dinner, and fancy enough to serve at your next dinner party.
In our home, we eat chicken a couple of times a week, beef and pork once a week and then usually a pizza night thrown in there as well! Sometimes though, we get really sick of chicken. During those times is when a turkey recipe can come in handy!
Cooking a whole turkey on a Wednesday night isn't really an option though...
So it's turkey tenderloin to the rescue! Turkey tenderloin is a boneless, skinless cut of the turkey breast. Turkey breast tenderloins are very tender and very lean. Since they are so low in fat, it can be easy to overcook them, which results in a dry piece of meat.
In my experience, cooking turkey tenderloin in the air fryer results in juicy, flavorful and tender meat. I start checking the tenderloin with a meat thermometer at 20 minutes though, just to be extra cautious about overcooking the meat.
Turkey tenderloins also make an excellent substitution for a whole turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas! If you don't want to fuss with making a whole turkey and you're only serving a few people, save yourself some time and make some tenderloins instead.
I recommend marinating your turkey tenderloin before air frying it. The ingredients below are for an Italian marinade that will infuse your turkey tenderloin with lots of flavor!
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Italian seasoning
- Ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Minced garlic
- Fresh parsley
- Turkey tenderloins - Turkey tenderloins are generally around 1 pound in size each. I purchased a package that was just under 2 pounds and contained two tenderloins. One tenderloin will feed 2 people.
*See recipe card for quantities.
- Air fryer - Here is the air fryer that I currently use. So far I love it! It's 6 quarts and fits my needs well!
- Medium-sized mixing bowl
- Measuring cups & spoons
Step 1: Mix all of your marinade ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the turkey tenderloins to the marinade. Let the tenderloins sit in the marinade for at least 1 hour, but 24 hours is ideal!
Step 2: After the turkey breast tenderloins have marinated, place them into the bottom of the air fryer basket.
Step 3: Air fry the tenderloins at 360°F for 20-25 minutes. Flip them over halfway through cooking time. Start checking the internal temperature of the tenderloin at 20 minutes. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F.
Hint: Some air fryers require preheating. Make sure you preheat your air fryer for 3 minutes prior to cooking, if necessary.
Turkey tenderloins vs. turkey cutlets
Turkey tenderloin is a long, thin strip of meat located beneath the turkey breast. It comes from an underused muscle on the turkey, making it very tender. Turkey cutlets are thinly sliced pieces of turkey breast. Sometimes they are thinly sliced and sometimes they are pounded thin. Even though both tenderloins and cutlets are white meat that comes from the turkey breast, they are not interchangeable in this recipe. They vary greatly in thickness and come from a different part of the breast.
- Marinade- Instead of using this recipe for the marinade, you can use any other marinade that you prefer. It can be homemade or bottled, whatever works best for you!
- Gluten free - No substitutions are needed to make this recipe gluten free. It is a naturally gluten free recipe, as long as all of your seasonings don't have any hidden gluten.
- Low carb, keto & Whole30 - This air fryer turkey recipe would also work well with a low carb, keto and whole 30 diet plan. The recipe does contain 1 tablespoon of white sugar. If you are SUPER strict with your diet plan, then just eliminate the sugar and you are good to go!
Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1 minute at a time, until desired warmth is achieved.
- Try to plan ahead and marinade the tenderloins for a few hours before you plan on cooking them! Nobody likes bland, unflavored meat. This is especially important with a lean meat like turkey breast. Since their is very little fat to help with flavor, seasoning is a must.
- As I have said above, it's easy to overcook air fryer turkey breast tenderloin. Start checking your meat at 20 minutes and then continue to cook if necessary. This is the digital meat thermometer that I use and it works really well!
- Let the cooked meat rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into it. This allows the juices to be reabsorbed back into the fibers of the meat, which increases the flavor and texture.
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless turkey breast tenderloins
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley - minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Make the turkey tenderloin marinade. Whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, sugar, pepper and salt together in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Place the turkey tenderloins in the marinade and let them marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.
- Preheat your air fryer for 3 minutes at 360°F. Place the marinated turkey tenderloins in the bottom of your air fryer basket.
- Air fry the tenderloins for 20-25 minutes, flipping them over once, halfway through cooking time.
- After 20 minutes, check the internal temperature of the tenderloins using a meat thermometer. If the turkey has not yet reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F, then continue cooking for up to 5 minutes more. After 25 minutes the tenderloins should be fully cooked, but check the internal temperature again to make sure. The cook time will depend upon your individual air fryer and the thickness of your tenderloins.
- Remove the turkey from the air fryer. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve and enjoy!
- The prep time listed at the top of this recipe card does not include the time it takes to marinate your tenderloins. The prep time is the time it takes to make the marinade.
- Cook poultry to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: lunch, dinner
- Method: air frying
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Keywords: air fryer turkey tenderloins, turkey tenderloin, tenderloin
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Try out some of my other delicious air fryer recipes!
- Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Frozen Salmon
- Air Fryer Pizza Rolls
- Air Fryer Potatoes
Frequently asked questions
Turkey tenderloins are purchased in the fresh meat section of the grocery store. Sometimes they are in vacuum sealed packages, similar to a pork tenderloin. Often times they come pre-marinated. For this recipe, look for tenderloins that do not have any marinade on them. Brands of turkey tenderloin include Shady Brook Farms, Jenni-O, Butterball and Perdu.
No, you do not need any air fryer accessories, like liners or extra racks, for this recipe.
No, I have not tested this air fryer turkey recipe in the instant pot. This Instant Pot Turkey Tenderloin with Mushroom Gravy recipe sounds excellent though!
- Cook poultry to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended