This easy air fryer parmesan crusted chicken recipe is crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside and and bursting with classic flavors you may remember from your childhood.
My first choice is to make parmesan crusted chicken in the air fryer. But I have also made it for years in the oven so those optional oven baked instructions are included. Whichever way you choose, this classic dish is an easy weeknight meal that will please the whole family. It is also an easy dish to make for one or two.
For a complete meal that comes together quickly these easy crispy chicken breasts pair well with this easy sautéed broccoli or these sautéed green beans. They are perfectly suited to a busy weeknight when you want to get something good on the table but don't have the time or the energy. I especially like it because it is easy to make for one or two yet comes out like a meal worthy of guests.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Select breasts that are about 7 ounces each. You will have about 5 ounces left per breast after cooking because they will shrink to about three-quarters of their original size.
- Herbs and spices. Kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper and paprika are used to season the chicken breasts before breading.
- Unseasoned breadcrumbs. I like to use bread crumbs unseasoned because then I have more flexibility for them in other recipes.
- Italian seasoning. This is always a great ingredient to have on hand for so many dishes. You can also make your own if you like.
- Real mayonnaise.
- Grated Parmesan cheese. Use freshly grated parmesan instead of the type in the cardboard container. The texture and flavor will be noticeable better.
Visit the recipe card for specific quantities.
- Preheat the air fryer. While some manufacturers say this step isn't necessary, I prefer to preheat mine so I know that it is an even temperature. It might only take 3 minutes (the time it takes to prep my chicken breasts) but then I am more satisfied that temperature is set to the recipe.
- Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts. Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise and pound them with a meat mallet into an even ½-inch thickness. The step ensures the chicken breast is cooked evenly.
- Combine the seasonings in a small bowl and season the chicken breasts all over with the seasoning mixture.
- Combine bread crumbs with the Italian seasoning blend in a shallow bowl or plate.
- Brush the chicken fillets with mayonnaise then dredge them in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Place chicken breasts in the air fryer basket in a single layer leaving space between the breasts. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
- Air fry for 12 to 15 minutes or until an instant read meat thermometer inserted horizontally into the thickest part of the chicken breasts registers an internal temperature of 165°F. Serve immediately.
💭 Cook's Tips
- Shake each piece of chicken gently after dredging them to remove any excess that can cause mushy clumps of breading.
- Wash your hands and any surfaces that touched the raw chicken pieces.
🧂 Ingredient Substitutions
- Breadcrumbs. Use an equal amount of Italian breadcrumbs in place of the unseasoned bread crumbs and omit the Italian seasoning. I don't care for panko bread crumbs as a substitution. They add bulk which doesn't improve the original recipe.
- Mayonnaise. Use Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise. Often recipes use an egg wash to coat the chicken before dredging in breadcrumbs. I much prefer this version since it is far less messy and the mayonnaise adds a slight tang and also helps tenderize the chicken.
Chicken Parmesan - for a unique Italian version of this dish, add a couple of tablespoons of red pasta sauce on top of each breast before you add the the parmesan cheese.
Spicy - spice up the parmesan crusted chicken by adding a pinch of red chile peppers to the bread crumbs.
Mediterranean- substitute the Italian seasoning blend with Greek seasoning
Mexican inspired- add 1 teaspoon Tajin seasoning in place of the Italian seasoning blend. Tajin is a wonderful chili pepper seasoning from Mexico with hints of lime.
🍽 Kitchen Equipment
Air fryer temperatures vary and as a result so do cooking times. I suggest checking the internal temperature of your chicken before the recommended cooking time is up. Then you can adjust the cooking time without over or under cooking your parmesan crusted chicken.
I currently use the Cuisinart Air Fryer Oven and did use the Instant Vortex Air Fryer until my daughter nabbed it! Both are great air fryers if you are looking for one. If you take a look you can see the markedly different features but both are wonderful air fryers.
⏲️ Storage and Reheating
Storing leftovers. Parmesan crusted chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days.
Reheating. Reheat any leftover parmesan crusted chicken in a 225 degree air fryer for about 10 minutes or until heated through.
Oven Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken
For another easy recipe and a great way to make parmesan chicken this version needs to also be on your easy dinners list.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with olive oil spray.
- Follow 2 through 5 of the instructions for preparing parmesan crusted chicken.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until and instant read meat thermometer registers 165° F when inserted horizontally into the thickest part of the breast.
Air Fryer Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Bonus Oven Instructions)
- Air Fryer
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 7 ounces each
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- 3 tablespoons real mayonnaise
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
- Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts. Using a sharp knife, slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise into two thin fillets, only cutting through the thickest part of the breast. Place the chicken breasts on a work surface. Using a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken breasts evenly into ½-inch thickness.
- In a small bowl, combine the kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and paprika. Season the chicken breasts all over with the seasoning mixture.
- On a shallow plate, combine the unseasoned bread crumbs with the Italian seasoning blend.
- Brush both sides of the chicken fillets with mayonnaise to evenly coat. Dredge each of the chicken fillets in the breadcrumb mixture. Arrange the chicken breasts in the air fryer basket leaving space between the breasts. Sprinkle the top of the breasts with the parmesan cheese.
- Air fry for 12 to 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center of the breasts registers 165°F.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to a serving plate. Serve immediately.