This air fryer turkey tenderloin recipe uses a combination of lean turkey tenderloin, simple ingredients, and an air fryer. To make it even tastier, I’ve included my special blend of herbs and spices to give your turkey some extra zing.
All about Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloins
The turkey tenderloin is a lean, but tender, cut that comes from the turkey breast. It has no bones, so you don’t have to worry about carving the turkey. Turkey tenderloins are often sold with two in the package, so double the ingredients if you want to cook both at the same time.
This recipe uses three kinds of citrus to tenderize and marinate the tenderloin. After a lot of experimentation, I found the perfect combination of herbs and spices. And you might already have them in your pantry. But you can also customize the recipe to your preferences.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloin
- Turkey tenderloin
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh or dried thyme
- Mixed peppers or black pepper, crushed
- Garlic powder
- Turmeric powder
- Dried oregano
- Olive oil
How to Cook Turkey Tenderloin in the Air Fryer
Make the marinade:
- Juice the orange and lemon into a medium-sized bowl.
- Zest the lime into the bowl. Press or mince the garlic cloves and add them to the citrus juices.
- Add half of the salt and crushed pepper and mix all together well.
- Put the turkey breast tenderloin into the bowl and cover well with the marinade. Or you can put the marinade and the tenderloin in a Ziploc bag to ensure the meat remains covered with the marinade.
- Marinate for 30 minutes.
Make the dressing:
- While the turkey is marinating, combine the turmeric powder, garlic powder, remaining salt and crushed pepper, dried oregano, and thyme in a small bowl. If you are using fresh thyme, only use the leaves.
- Add the olive oil and mix well.
- Allow the dressing to sit for a few minutes so the flavors will infuse into the oil.
Air fry the turkey breast tenderloin:
- Remove the turkey tenderloin from the marinade. It is okay if some of the garlic and lime zest sticks to the turkey.
- Rub the olive oil mixture on the tenderloin, making sure it is coated all around.
- Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil or cooking spray and place the turkey tenderloin in the basket.
- Cook at 395 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Turn the tenderloin halfway through the cooking time.
- Once cooked, let the tenderloin rest inside the air fryer for 5 more minutes so the meat will reabsorb the juices.
- Remove the cooked tenderloin from the air fryer and slice it.
How to Serve Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloin
There are lots of ways you can serve marinated turkey tenderloin from the air fryer. Serve it with mashed potatoes and a side of steamed vegetables, like broccoli or green beans. For a light meal, slice or cube the turkey over a salad. You can also use the turkey tenderloin to make sandwiches, wraps, or tacos.
Tips and Variations for this Recipe
For the best air fryer turkey breast tenderloin, follow these important tips:
- Make sure to marinate the tenderloin for at least 30 minutes so it absorbs all the flavors from the citrus juices and herbs.
- Don’t forget to flip the tenderloin during cooking to ensure even cooking and browning.
- Check your tenderloin with a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Don’t overcook the turkey or it will dry out.
- Allow the turkey to rest before you slice it. This will allow the juice to stay in the turkey to give a juicy result.
- Adjust the citrus juices to your liking. Use more orange juice than lemon juice or vice versa. Or use just one type of juice if that is what you have on hand.
- Adjust the herbs and spices to your preference. Experiment with different combinations or omit an herb that you don’t like.
- Try adding a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup to the marinade for a touch of sweetness.
How to Store Leftovers
You can cook this recipe in advance or store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat the tenderloin in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes. You can also cut the tenderloin into your desired size and freeze it in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Other Turkey Recipes
- 1 turkey tenderloin
- 1 orange
- 1 lime
- 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme /1 teaspoon dry
- 1 teaspoon mixed peppers/black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- Juice the orange and the lemon and put the juice in a medium sized bowl.
- Grate the zest of the lime and the garlic cloves or use a garlic press for them, add this to the citrus juices in the bowl. Add half of the salt and half of the crushed pepper too.
- Put the turkey tenderloin inside and cover well with the marinade mixture. You can let marinate in the bowl or use a ziplog bag, to ensure the tenderloin remains covered with the marinating mixture. Let marinate for 30 minutes.
- While the turkey is marinating, make the final dressing cooking: In a small bowl combine the turmeric powder, the garlic powder, the rest of the salt and crushed pepper, the dried oregano and the thyme (if using fresh add only the leaves) with the olive oil and mix well.
- Remove the turkey tenderloin from the marinade, (it doesn’t matter if some of the garlic or lime zest is still attached to it) and rub it the spices and olive oil, making sure is evenly coated.
- Spray the basket of the air fryer with olive oil spray and put the turkey tenderloin.
- Cook for 200 on 394F/190C for 20 minutes making sure to turn it halfway through the cooking.
- Once cooked, let sit inside the air fryer for 5 more minutes.
- Cut and serve over rice, with a side of salad.
Resting time is crucial, it will lock all the beautiful juices inside the tenderloin, so do not skip this step!
This turkey tenderloin can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months, for this I like to cut it in strips and portion it for maximum convenience.