This easy Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloin Recipe is a great way to enjoy a delicious turkey for a small holiday gathering.
It’s the ideal replacement for a Thanksgiving turkey, for a party of four or so. All of the tender turkey flavor, none of the fuss.
This delicious turkey tenderloin entree can be prepped, marinated, and cooked in the air fryer in under an hour.
Or it can marinate overnight and take just 25 minutes in the air fryer to deliver a tender turkey dinner that rivals a cooked-all-day Thanksgiving turkey.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe!
- It’s easy! You only have to do about five minutes of prep. The flavorful marinade and your air fryer do the rest of the work.
- It’s tender and delicious. The boneless skinless turkey tenderloin is arguably the best part of the turkey. And it’s definitively the most tender.
- It’s a healthy option. Lean turkey tenderloin is low-fat, high-protein, and contains essential nutrients like vitamin B6, selenium, and niacin.
- Real, simple ingredients. Nothing you can’t pronounce.
- Naturally gluten-free. And dairy-free!
What is Turkey Tenderloin?
Turkey tenderloin is a lean part of the turkey. It’s the boneless, skinless portion of the turkey breast. As an underused muscle, it’s an incredibly juicy, flavorful, and tender cut of meat. You won’t miss turkey skin one bit!
Turkey tenderloin is typically sold in 1.5 lb packages containing two, thick turkey tenderloins. The packaging is long, similar to the appearance of a pork tenderloin package.
The shape is a bit misleading. When you open the package, you’ll find two large pieces of turkey that look similar to giant chicken breasts.
Air Fryer: I own the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 Pro
Meat Thermometer: You’ll use this essential kitchen tool to make sure the turkey meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165℉.
- Olive Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Brown Sugar
- Fresh Garlic
- Fresh Rosemary
- Dried Paprika
- Dried Thyme
- Ground Black Pepper
- Turkey Breast Tenderloins
The flavorful marinade is the perfect combination of heart-healthy olive oil, acidic sweet and tart apple cider vinegar, and seasonings.
The warm spices come together to create a comfort food entree, while still being lean and healthy.
The addition of a small amount of brown sugar slightly caramelizes the outside of the tenderloins, practically tricking you into thinking there’s skin.
Fresh Garlic and Rosemary Substitutions
Garlic is a staple in my kitchen.
Because of my black thumb, fresh rosemary doesn’t quite survive year-round in my home, but I always have it around during the holiday season.
Every fall, I pick up a Christmas-tree-shaped rosemary “tree” and it lasts at least through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and often all the way to Valentine’s Day.
If you don’t have fresh garlic and rosemary, no worries! You can substitute ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder and a scant 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary.
Brown Sugar Substitutions
Avoiding sugar? Substitute 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup in place of the brown sugar.
In a medium bowl or container, add all ingredients except the turkey tenderloins.
Mix with a fork to combine the ingredients for the marinade.
To cut down on dishes, use a bowl with a lid. You’ll use one dish to mix your ingredients and to marinate your turkey in the fridge.
You can optionally combine your ingredients in a reusable 1- gallon silicone bag or a Ziploc bag, and use the same bag to marinate the turkey.
Submerge turkey tenderloins in the marinade.
Cover and refrigerate the turkey in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
I love the make-ahead option. Quickly prepare the marinade one evening, and have an easy dinner in under 30 minutes the following night.
When you are ready to cook the tenderloins, preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
Remove the turkey tenderloins from the marinade and place them in the air fryer tray in a single layer.
Leave space between each tenderloin, so hot air can circulate freely around both pieces.
Cook for approximately 25 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.
The tenderloins are ready when the internal temperature reaches 165℉, as measured by a meat thermometer.
Remove the turkey tenderloins from the air fryer basket and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
That little bit of resting time is all it takes for the juices to set, rather than run out when you slice the turkey. You’ll keep all of that juicy tenderness in every bite!
Serve with your favorite staple side dishes, like roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes, or try dressed-up creamy potatoes au gratin.
The timing flexibility of the marinade is one of the great things about this air fryer turkey breast tenderloin recipe.
You can whip up this easy recipe all at once. From start to finish, you’ll be done in one hour. A fraction of the time needed to make a Thanksgiving turkey.
Or, you can prep everything up to 24 hours ahead of time and let the tenderloins marinate overnight. The next day, your air fryer will have dinner done and dusted in under 30 minutes.
My preference is the make-ahead option. It is especially practical for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
It’s also helpful when making this delicious recipe for a small gathering on Thanksgiving or for another holiday meal. The simplicity of a prep-ahead entree frees up more time for you to add a variety of seasonal side dishes.
Storing Leftover Turkey Tenderloin
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. According to the USDA, leftover turkey can be stored for 3-4 days in the refrigerator or 3-4 months in the freezer.
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Best Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloin Recipe (with Easy Marinade)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 medium cloves of garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 24 oz turkey breast tenderloins 2 tenderloins are in a 24 oz package
- In a medium bowl or container, add all ingredients except the turkey tenderloins and mix to combine for your marinade. Submerge turkey tenderloins in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. (Option: use a silicone or Ziploc bag instead of a mixing bowl.)
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
- Remove the turkey tenderloins from the marinade and place in the air fryer, leaving space between each tenderloin. Cook for approximately 25 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. The tenderloins are ready when the internal temperature reaches 165℉.
- Remove the turkey tenderloins from the air fryer and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve.