Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken — Coated in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, this “fried” chicken is perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy, tender, and moist inside! It’s EASY, ready in 15 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights, and a healthier way to indulge in fried chicken! Oven-baking instructions also provided.
Air Fryer Parmesan Crusted Chicken Recipe
I have another recipe for Air Fryer Breaded Crispy Chicken Breasts that has become a fast reader favorite.
Today’s version is very similar but with the addition of zesty Italian seasoning, garlic, Panko bread crumbs, and grated Parmesan cheese to make a crave-worthy crispy exterior. Cheese makes everything better, right?
Air fried chicken is awesome because you can make perfectly crispy chicken without the hassle of actually frying it and it’s not dry either.
You and your family are going to adore the lightly crispy and crunchy exterior and the perfectly moist and juicy interior of these air fryer Parmesan chicken breasts.
I love that air fried chicken is not only easy to make, but it’s ready in less than 15 minutes making it a perfect dinner recipe for busy weeknights.
And in case you haven’t jumped on the air fryer bandwagon, don’t worry. Oven-baking instructions are also provided.
Ingredients in Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken
There are only a handful of common fridge and pantry ingredients needed to make breaded parmesan chicken breasts in an air fryer:
- All-purpose flour
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Panko bread crumbs
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Lemon wedges, optional for garnshing
Tip: Scroll down to the recipe card section for a more complete ingredients list, including amounts and directions.
How to Make Parmesan Chicken in an Air Fryer
Making easy Parmesan and panko-coated chicken breasts in your air fryer is fast and so easy.
Follow these simple and straightforward steps and you’ll have everyone’s new favorite chicken recipe ready in no time:
Step 1: Combine the flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper 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 400F for 6 minutes and then flip it over.
Step 7: Spray the other side with cooking spray and cook it for an additional 5 minutes, or until done.
Step 8: Repeat the whole process with the second breast if using because they were large breasts (sliced into two halves).
Step 9: Optionally garnish with extra Parm, lemon wedges, and serve with your favorite side dish!
What Size Chicken Breasts Should I Use?
You can use any size chicken breasts you want for air fryer Parmesan chicken breasts. However, cooking time will obviously vary depending on size.
The recipe calls for 2 pounds of chicken total.
For this recipe, I used four small-medium chicken breasts that were about 1/2 pound each.
Many times I will use two large chicken breasts that I get from the butcher counter, weighing about 1 pound each. I slice them in half lengthwise, creating two thinner filets, about 1/2 pound each.
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 approximate cook times for chicken breasts in the air fryer set between 375F and 400F:
- Smaller or unsliced chicken breasts: Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes total. If you slice them, they will cook faster, but it’s not absolutely necessary when working with small chicken breasts.
- Medium-sized sliced chicken breasts: Cook for about 10 to 14 minutes total, flipping once midway through.
- Larger or thicker sliced chicken breasts: Cook for approximately 11 to 15 minutes. Make sure you slice these big ones!
Tip: Of course, all air fryers vary in their intensity, size and thickness of chicken varies, as well as climate and so forth so always cook your chicken until it’s done without worrying about what the clock says!
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.
However, I pull mine between 155 and 160F since there is carryover cooking.
If you don’t know how to guess or judge when chicken is done, a digital cooking thermometer is a lifesaver.
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 in most air fryers, 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!
However, I would love to check out this double basket air fryer and see how it works! Looks fantastic.
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 the same dredging and breading technique with the panko bread crumbs that I use in this crispy Parmesan air fryer chicken. Then bake your chicken at 425F convection for about 15 minutes, or until it’s done.
This Baked Parmesan Panko Chicken is a great recipe to try. Kids and adults alike go crazy for these bite-sized Baked Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard.
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 Air Fryer Parm Crusted Chicken Breasts
We all know that chicken breasts pair well with just about any side dish from salads to a steamed or roasted vegetable, potatoes, or rice.
I have a recipe for Beurre Blanc Sauce which is lovely drizzled over your air fryer Parmesan chicken.
Or for something super fast, whisk together some Homemade Honey Mustard Sauce which keeps for weeks in the fridge if you have extra.
How to Store Leftover Chicken Breasts
Air fryer parmesan panko 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 Parmesan coated chicken, it’ll 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 crispiness when reheated. Leftover actual fried chicken doesn’t either.
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. Flip the chicken halfway through.
This will reheat the Parmesan and panko bread crumb 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 Parmesan Chicken Breasts
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 or confuse them with Italian-style or “regular” bread crumbs.
I have many 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.
Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket: Cook your chicken in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the basket. The chicken needs space to “fry”. If it’s crowded, it will steam which produces soft chicken rather than crispy.
Make sure not to overcook your air fryer chicken: Air frying will give you the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of actual fried chicken. However, it’s not a magician. If you overcook your chicken, it’ll still be dry and tough like any other overcooked chicken.
A digital cooking thermometer is very handy if you’re new to air frying. Chicken is done at 165F however I pull mine from the air fryer basket between 155 and 160F since there is carryover cooking while it rests.
Let the Parmesan 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 Parmesan Chicken
Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken - Coated in a mixture of panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, this "fried" chicken is perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy, tender, and moist inside! It's EASY, ready in 15 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights, and a healthier way to indulge in fried chicken! Oven-baking instructions also provided.
- 2 large thick boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in halve lengthwise (to create 4 thinner-cut breast filets; or 4 smaller breasts)*
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing if desired
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- Lemon wedges, optional for garnishing
- Preheat a large air fryer (or similar brand and model or double basket air fryer so you don't have to repeat steps 5 through 8) to 400F.
- In a shallow dish or bowl, add the flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, 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 Parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs, and stir to combine; set aside..
- Dredge two of the chicken breast filets in the flour mixture, dip through the eggs, and then press into the Parm-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 5 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 if you were using large breasts.
- 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.
- Optionally dust with extra Parmesan cheese and/or lemon wedges or any other favorite dip, dressing, or side dish. 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.
Recipe adapted from Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Breast
*You can use any size chicken breasts you want for air fryer Parmesan chicken but cooking time will vary depending on size. For this recipe I used 4 small breasts, weighing about 1/2 pound each.
Many times I use 2 large chicken breasts (about 1 pound each) that I get from the butcher and then slice them in half lengthwise, creating 4 thinner filets (about 1/2 pound each).
Cooking times will vary on the size of your chicken breasts ranging from about 10 to 16 minutes total, always flipping once midway through.
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.
I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can experiment with thighs and with skin-on chicken.
**Because you likely will not use every last drop of these battering and breading ingredients, the nutrition stats are likely a bit artificially inflated since it takes into account using everything to the last drop.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 176mgSodium: 1583mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 40g
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