Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts — Learn how to make perfectly “fried” chicken in your air fryer! Deliciously crispy on the outside while staying juicy, tender, and moist on the interior. This is the BEST guiltless fried chicken! EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and perfect for busy weeknights when you need to get dinner on the table FAST!
Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Breast Recipe
If you’ve ever wanted to make perfectly crispy chicken without the hassle of actually frying it, and more importantly, without it being dry, this air fryer chicken breast recipe is what you need!
I have a recipe for Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets that many of you have enjoyed. But I will admit it can be a little tricker cooking chicken breasts rather than nuggets simply because of the dry-out factor. However, this air fryer chicken recipe is practically foolproof and so easy.
You and your family are going to love the lightly crispy and crunchy exterior and the perfectly moist and juicy interior of these chicken breasts.
I incorporated a bit of lemon zest in the flour mixture that I dredge the chicken in before air frying it so there’s a hint of lemon flavor to it which my daughter just loves.
Best of all, this air fried chicken is fast to make. In less than 15 minutes, it’s done, making it a perfect option for busy weeknights.
Also for anyone who loves Parmesan cheese, make sure to check out this Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken recipe which is very similar, but with the addition of Parm!
Ingredients in Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts
There are only a handful of ingredients needed to make breaded chicken breasts in the air fryer:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- All-purpose flour
- Lemon zest
- Panko breadcrumbs
How to Make Crispy Chicken in an Air Fryer
Making easy, crispy chicken breasts in your air fryer is so easy. Follow these simple and straightforward steps and you’ll have finger-licking chicken:
Step 1: Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and lemon zest in a shallow bowl.
Step 2: Whisk the eggs together in another bowl.
Step 3: Add the panko to another separate bowl.
Step 4: Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, then dip it in the eggs, and then press it into the panko.
Step 5: Spray your air fryer basket with olive oil cooking spray as well as the chicken breasts.
Step 6: Cook it at 375F for 6 minutes and then flip it over.
Step 7: Spray the other side with cooking spray and cook it for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until done.
Step 8: Repeat the whole process with the second breast (sliced into two halves). And serve!
What Size Chicken Breasts Should I Use?
You can use any size chicken breasts you want for air fryer crispy chicken breasts but cooking time will vary depending on size.
I tend to use large chicken breasts that I get from the butcher and then slice them in half lengthwise, creating two thinner filets.
I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can experiment with thighs and with skin-on chicken.
Air Fryer Chicken Breast Cook Times
Here are the cook times for thin sliced chicken breasts in the air fryer (my preference), as well as smaller chicken breasts that remain unsliced.
- Medium-sized chicken breasts: Cook for about 12 to 14 minutes total, flipping once midway through.
- Smaller chicken breasts: Cook for about 10 minutes total.
- Larger or thicker chicken breasts: Cook for approximately 12 to 16 minutes.
How to Tell When Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts Are Done
Chicken is considered done when it reaches 165F. However the internal temperature will continue to rise as it rests so I take my chicken out when it’s 155 to 160F.
What Kind of Air Fryer Is Best?
I use a Cosori model that I’ve had for a few years. I like that the basket is larger than other models.
That being said, even with an “extra large” basket, you can really only cook 2 average breasts or 2 thin-sliced breast filets (from 1 thick large chicken breast) at a time. Extra breasts will have to cook as a second round.
The worst thing you can do with an air fryer is crowd it. The food doesn’t get crispy and steams rather than “fries,” which is contrary to the goal!
Can I Make Crispy Chicken Breasts Without an Air Fryer?
Of course you can make crispy chicken breasts without an air fryer. After all, an air fryer is really just a mini convection oven. So if you have a convection oven, start putting it to use!
Follow my same dredging and breading technique with the panko bread crumbs that I use in this crispy air fryer chicken. Then bake your chicken at 425F convection for about 15 minutes, or until it’s done.
If you are looking for something more juicy than crispy, my Perfect 20-Minute Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts are, well, perfect!
What to Serve with Breaded Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
I have a recipe for Beurre Blanc Sauce which is also excellent drizzled over your air fryer chicken breasts.
How to Store Leftover Chicken Breasts
Air fryer crispy chicken breasts are best hot and fresh right out of your air fryer. They will be the crispiest at that point.
However, if you do have extra chicken, it will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Take note though that leftover chicken won’t have the same fried chicken crispiness and bit of crunch.
How to Reheat Chicken Breasts in an Air Fryer
I recommend setting the chicken breasts out at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to warm up slightly, then cook in a 350F air fryer for about 5 to 10 minutes. You’ll want to flip the chicken halfway through.
This will reheat the breaded chicken breasts and also crisp them up slightly, although they’ll never be as crispy as when you first prepared them.
Tips for the Best Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Breast
Panko breadcrumbs: Make sure to use panko breadcrumbs or Japanese-style breadcrumbs, and not traditional breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are essential to helping your chicken crisp up so don’t skip them.
I have lots of recipes that use panko breadcrumbs so make sure to check those out if you’re wondering what to do with the rest of your box.
Spray the basket and chicken breasts: When you’re getting ready to air fry your chicken, make sure you spray the basket well with cooking spray. I use olive oil cooking spray.
And spray the chicken breasts themselves. This small amount of oil really helps the chicken crisp up as well as take on a nice golden fried chicken appearance. Alternatively, you can use an olive oil mister if you have one.
Make sure not to overcook your chicken: Air frying will give you the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of actual fried chicken. However, it’s not a miracle worker. If you overcook your chicken, it will still be dry and tough.
If you don’t know how to guess or judge when chicken is done, a digital cooking thermometer is essential. Chicken is done at 165F however as I mentioned, I pull mine between 155 and 160F since there is carryover cooking.
Let the chicken rest: After you pull your crispy chicken breasts out of your air fryer, let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes. This helps keep the natural juices in the breasts giving you moister chicken all around.
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Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts
- 2 large thick boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in halve lengthwise (to create 4 thinner-cut breast filets; or 4 smaller breasts)*
- ½ cup ll-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat a large air fryer (or similar brand and model) to 375F.
- In a shallow dish or bowl, add the flour, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and stir to combine; set aside.
- To a separate medium bowl, add the eggs and whisk to combine; set aside.
- To a separate shallow bowl or dish, add the panko breadcrumbs.
- Dredge two of the chicken breast filets in the flour mixture, dip through the eggs, and then press into the panko making sure it adheres well.
- Spray the basket of your air fryer with olive oil cooking spray (or use an olive oil mister), add the 2 breasts, and spray each of them on their exposed surface.
- Close the lid and air fry the chicken for 6 minutes.
- Open the machine, flip the chicken over using tongs, spray the exposed surface with olive oil cooking spray, cover, and cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until done. Chicken is done when the internal temp reaches 165F. Tips - I pull my chicken out at 155 to 160F because the internal temp will continue to rise due to carryover cooking, even out of or off the heat source. If you are unsure and can't "tell" when chicken is done by a visual once-over, avoid guessing and use a digital cooking thermometer.
- Repeat steps 5 through 8 with the two remaining breast filets.
- After chicken has been air fried, allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into it so the natural juices stay inside. Serve with a salad, vegetables, rice, potatoes, Beurre Blanc sauce, or your favorite side or sauce. Chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. Note that leftover chicken will not retain the same crispy fried texture that is has when it's hot and fresh.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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