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Easy Air Fryer Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Air fryer parmesan crusted chicken is an easy dinner ready in 20 minutes. Makes for tender and juicy chicken breasts with crispy golden crusts and a ‘deep-fried’ taste. No oil needed!

If you can’t get enough of easy chicken recipes, here are two more: chicken fajitas with bell peppers made in the skillet, and air fryer buffalo chicken tenders. Mmm!

Two cooked chicken breasts on plate (crusted with parmesan and breadcrumbs).

Can’t say no to fried chicken? The loaded-with-cheese, soaked-in-oil kind that is crunchy at first bite and tender and juicy inside? I can’t either and I don’t know anyone who can!

Well, you don’t have to go on a massive guilt trip any more. You can get that same kind of decadent deliciousness without the frightful amount of oil, mess and not to mention calories with this little kitchen gadget called the air fryer. Air fryer, where were you when I was growing up?

This air-fried parmesan crusted chicken has the deep-fried look and taste of its more conventionally cooked (but unhealthy) cousin, but it is made without a drop of oil, pinky promise. Score!

Skeptical? Try it and see. And if you are already a convert and don’t need any convincing, you know what I’m talking about. Read on.

Ingredients

Note: Exact amounts are mentioned in the recipe card further down.

  • Chicken breasts – skinless, boneless, and sliced horizontally in half for faster cooking.
  • Mayonnaise – makes the chicken soft and tender and helps the dry coating to stick to the meat.
  • Parmesan cheese, grated – freshly grated is always better for maximum taste and even melting.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – these are lighter than regular breadcrumbs and much crispier.
  • Garlic powder – for flavor. You can also use fresh garlic, but it tends to get charred easily.
  • Italian seasoning or the dried herbs of your choice – instead of Italian seasoning, you can also use parsley, thyme, rosemary or any other dried herbs that you like.
  • Paprika
  • Black pepper – freshly ground
  • Sea salt
Parmesan crusted chicken breasts on a plate and air-fried potatoes on another.

Instructions

Preparation

1. Slice each chicken breast horizontally into two halves with a sharp knife. This takes just a minute and ensures faster cooking in the air fryer.

2. Make sure the chicken breasts are dry (pat them with kitchen towels if not). Using a butter knife, spread the mayonnaise on both sides of the chicken.

Chicken breasts with a coating of mayonnaise on a plate.

3. Take a wide and shallow bowl and add the parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, black pepper, and sea salt. Combine the ingredients with a fork or spoon.

4. Dredge the chicken breasts in the above coating, doing first one side and then the other. Pat down so the coating sticks to the meat.

Uncooked parmesan coated halved chicken breasts on plate.

Cooking

1. Preheat your air fryer to 380 F and set the timer to 12 minutes.

2. Arrange the chicken breasts in the preheated air fryer basket. Cook for the time set, flipping the breasts halfway through the cooking.

3. Serve hot out of the fryer with a sauce or dip and the accompaniments of your choice. If you want, you can slice the meat for easier serving.

Parmesan crusted chicken in air fryer basket.

Top tips

  • These chicken breasts have a heavy coating of parmesan + panko because we like our chicken extra-cheesy and crunchy. However, you can go with a lighter hand if you want.
  • If you don’t like or want to use mayonnaise, you can go with egg whites too. Brush it on before coating them with the parmesan mixture. I like to do mayo because it’s easy and mess-free, and it’s so tasty! More options are mentioned below.
  • Every air fryer is slightly different and you may need to increase or decrease the cooking time slightly depending on which one you have. I have the instant pot vortex and 12 minutes of air frying works for me. However, if you can see that the meat needs more browning, for instance, cook it for 2 or 3 minutes longer.
  • Don’t overcrowd your air fryer with too many chicken pieces in it at once. Cook the chicken in two batches if need be, for even and crispy results.

Substitutes for mayonnaise

If you don’t like or want to use mayo, don’t worry. There are lots of options out there to still get moist chicken. Here are a few:

  • Ranch dressing – same creamy texture as mayo fo all the mayo haters!
  • Buttermilk – soak the chicken breasts in buttermilk for about 10 minutes.
  • Greek yogurt or even tzatziki (a Greek yogurt and cucumber dressing) for richer flavor
  • Sour cream
  • Honey mustard – spread a thin layer for a different flavor.

What to serve with chicken parmesan

  • Potatoes – My family loves potatoes with chicken, so that’s what I have in the pictures. Yukon Gold potato bites, with some ready seasoning. Air fried for 8 minutes, no flipping required. You can also do smashed potatoes in your air fryer instead of potato bites.
  • Steamed veggiesasparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower work well if you want low-carb options. In fact, have a look at these cauliflower steaks, all crisped up in the air fryer.
  • Dips and sauces – a quick mix of ketchup and hot sauce goes well. For a milder version, ketchup and mayo is good too.
  • Soups – For a more filling side, try a healthy homemade soup like this Irish vegetable soup with root vegetables and a simple, no-fuss method.

Storing, heating, and freezing

  • Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in a covered container.
  • For reheating, please don’t use a microwave. The chicken will become soggy with even a few seconds of microwaving. Preheat the air-fryer and keep the pieces in the basket for 3 minutes at 380 F for perfectly crisped-up chicken again.
  • If you’re doing a make-ahead meal, follow through with all the prep steps and keep the breaded, uncooked chicken in individual ziploc bags. Keep the bags in the freezer until you need them again, pop them in the air fryer for 15 minutes (since they are frozen) and voila! You have a quicker than quick chicken dinner ready!
Parmesan crusted chicken breasts, air-fried potato wedges, and sauce on a plate.
Two parmesan crusted chicken breasts on a plate.

Air Fryer Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Saima Zaidi
Air fryer parmesan crusted chicken is an easy dinner ready in 20 minutes. Makes for tender and juicy chicken breasts with crispy golden crusts and a 'deep-fried' taste. No oil needed!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 8 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 278 kcal

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • ¼ tsp sea salt adjust to taste

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Slice each chicken breast horizontally into two halves with a sharp knife. 
  • Pat the chicken dry and spread the mayonnaise on both sides with a butter knife.
  • Take a wide and shallow bowl and add the parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, black pepper, and sea salt. Combine the ingredients with a fork or spoon.
  • Dredge the chicken breasts in the above coating, doing first one side and then the other. Pat down so the coating sticks to the meat.

Cooking

  • Preheat your air fryer to 380 F and set the timer to 12 minutes.
  • Arrange the chicken breasts in the preheated air fryer basket. Cook for the time set, flipping them halfway through the cooking.
  • Serve hot out of the fryer with a sauce or dip and the accompaniments of your choice. If you want, you can slice the meat for easier serving.

Notes

  1. If you don’t like or want to use mayonnaise, you can go with egg whites too. Brush it on before coating them with the parmesan mixture. For more options, see the body of the post. 
  2. Don’t overcrowd your air fryer with too many chicken pieces in it at once. Cook the chicken in two batches if need be, for even and crispy results.
  3. See the body of the post for storage, reheating, and freezing instructions. 

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 28gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 536mgPotassium: 447mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 131IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 118mgIron: 1mg
Keyword air fryer chicken, air fryer recipes
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