This Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan recipe is the absolute best! Ready in under 30 minutes, it features crispy chicken cutlets, smothered in marinara sauce and gooey melted cheese - A restaurant quality dish!
I wanted an air fryer chicken parmesan that features a crisp and flavorful crumb coating that will stay intact!
Crispy fried cutlets are good enough on their own. Add some tomato sauce and then a layer of gooey melted cheese? It's almost like the air fryer naan pizza but with the bread replaced with crispy protein. Yes please!
What is chicken parmesan? Also called Chicken Parmigiana, it is a classic Italian American chicken dish in the world. Crispy breaded cutlets are smothered in homemade marinara and topped with flavorful gooey melty cheese. But often times, it comes out too dry, doesn’t have enough flavor or seasoning, and most importantly, it is deep fried or shallow fried in copious amount of oil.
Why this recipe works?
Never soggy air fryer chicken parmesan! Overwhelming the meat with sauce and cheese is one of the main culprits. This air fried method involves just a little bit of sauce on top, so the breading stays relatively crisp. If you are a sauce lover, then I recommend serving extra sauce on the side.
Instead of adopting a regular breading method of flour-egg mixture-bread crumb, I’ve come up with a much easier one which involves tossing the cutlets in a batter and then coating them with breadcrumbs, like in my air fryer tilapia fish and air fryer chicken nuggets recipe.
Slicing the breasts into 2 cutlets, encourage the release of sticky proteins. When combined with the flour and egg proteins, it acts as a glue, helping the breading adhere to the meat and also give a nice hefty texture.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Chicken - Use boneless skinless breasts or even thighs. If using thighs, then you can skip the slicing.
- Egg – Eggs are a viscous liquid when raw and then turn to solid when cooked, thus ensuring the breadcrumbs stay intact.
- All purpose flour – It adds a layer of stickiness to the wet batter, helping the crumbs latch on to it.
- Panko breadcrumbs – The extra crisp Japanese style bread crumbs gives a light and major crunch factor.
- Parmesan – Parmesan gives a wonderful salty, nutty flavor.
- Marinara sauce - Go for any marinara sauce that you love. It's rich, deep flavor adds a layer of complex texture.
- Cheese - Mozzarella's unique elasticity, it's water content produces the unparalleled stretchability, without being greasy. Use shredded, sliced or fresh mozzarella cheese. I like to stay away from pre-shredded packages, because it doesn't melt as smooth.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1.Mix together panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish.
2. Whisk together eggs, all purpose flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in another shallow dish. Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise to get 4 cutlets. Working with piece at a time, dip both sides in the egg batter.
Tip: Pat dry the chicken thoroughly with paper towels, to remove all excess moisture. As the breaded cutlet cooks, the surface moisture turns to steam, forcing the breading to seperate from the meat, as it cooks. Even a tiny bit of moisture, the breading will peel off in the final cutlets.
3. Remove it, letting excess batter drip away and then dredge both sides in the prepared breadcrumbs, pressing well to adhere.
Pro tip: The parmesan-breadcrumbs serves as an insulator, preventing the cutlets from overcooking and also the light Japanese style panko, increases overall surface area with it's craggly flakes.
5. Place breaded cutlets in a pre heated 380 degree air fryer and cook for about 8 minutes.
Tip: Don't overcrowd your basket. Place in a single layer, two cutlets at a time. and leave a little space around for the air to circulate, so the breading can brown evenly, without steaming.
6. Open basket, spread marinara sauce on top and then top with shredded mozzarella cheese and continue cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, to melt cheese.
What to serve with parmigiana?
- It is delicious served as is with a side of roasted or steamed vegetables like broccoli and cheese recipe.
- Serve with cooked spaghetti (tossed lightly with some olive oil and some marinara sauce) or any of your favorite pasta like Instant pot pesto pasta, or Garlic Ramen.
Storage and reheating
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
- Reheat from the refrigerator – Simply microwave air fryer chicken parmesan for couple of minutes to quickly re heat (the breading won't get crispy). If you'd like to revive the crispy coating, re heat in the air fryer for 5 minutes or bake at 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
- Reheat from the freezer – To freeze, place them in an airtight container and for up to a month. Microwave for few minutes to quickly re heat (the breading will be soft). However, to revive the crispy coating, Re heat them in the air fryer for 10 to 15 minutes or bake at 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
🍴My favorite method to store
Cook, cool breaded cutlets (without any sauce or cheese) and freeze in zip lock bags for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, place frozen cutlets (without thawing) in a pre heated 400 degree air fryer and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, Turn over, spread marinara sauce on top, followed by cheese and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts ----> The cutlets stays crispy and it almost tastes like a freshly cooked air fryer chicken parmesan dinner!
- Dredge well – Using hands or tongs, make sure to press bread crumb mixture well on the chicken cutlet to help it adhere well and give a thicker coating.
- Make it gluten free – Use gluten free flour and gluten free Panko bread crumbs.
- Panko breadcrumbs – If you don’t have panko, then feel free to use plain or Italian bread crumbs.
- Parmesan – Use finely shredded parmesan cheese so it will the same size and texture as the panko flakes. If you are using pre-shredded then process it in a mini food processor for a few seconds before using.
There have been some disputes over the title. Some experts believe that is named after the city of Parma, which is believed to be the origin of mozzarella cheese.
Another theory is that it derived it's name from palmigiana (which means shutters in Italian), since the initial version with eggplant resembled slats of window shutters. (Read more here)
Chicken parmigiana or pollo alla parmigiana in Italian, is essentially the same as chicken parmesan in Australia. Few variations includes topping with ham or bacon and the cheese might include mozzarella, cheddar or provolone.
Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees. Place two frozen chicken cutlets in the basket and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, flipping halfway through, until heated.
More chicken recipes for dinner
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Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 9 ounces each)
- 2 eggs, large
- 2 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¾ to 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally to get 4 cutlets.Tip: Pat dry the chicken thoroughly with paper towels, to remove all excess moisture before cutting. As the breaded cutlet cooks, the surface moisture turns to steam, forcing the breading to seperate from the meat, as it cooks. Even a tiny bit of moisture, the breading will peel off in the final cutlets.
- Whisk all wet ingredients in a shallow bowl and stir all dry ingredients in a seperate shallow plate.
- Dip each chicken cutlet in the wet batter on both sides and then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing well to adhere. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.
- Pre heat air fryer to 380°F for 8 minutes.
- When hot, place prepared chicken cutlets in a single layer (don't overcrowd, cook in 2 batches if needed), spray a coating of non-stick cooking spray and cook for 8 minutes.Tip: I like to spray another coating of non-stick cooking spray half way through cooking to get a more golden and crispier crust.
- After 8 minutes, top each chicken cutlet with marinara sauce and then sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top (use as much cheese as you like).
- Close air fryer and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is fully cooked (an internal temperature of 165° F).
- Serve hot with cooked pasta or crusty bread.
Nutritional information is based on third party calculations, should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types, brands purchased, produce, the way ingredients are processed and more change the nutritional information in any recipe.
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