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Air Fryer Panko Chicken

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Crispy air fryer panko chicken: they are delicious, tender, crunchy, and ready in about 20 minutes.

two slices of air fried chicken with panko crust close up.

Do you like fried chicken, but not so much deep-frying it? Try our air fryer panko chicken, tender, juicy filets with crispy breading, an almost oil-free recipe that your whole family will love.

Check out other ways of cooking chicken with panko:

Or use the air fryer for cooking other chicken recipes, such as this fantastic Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer or the Air Fryer Chicken Legs.

Recipe ingredients

listed ingredients for air frying chicken breast with panko.
  • Chicken breast: Butterfly the breasts to get two thinner slices out of each breast.
    • Tenderloin (tenders) or similar chicken cutlets are great as well.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are made of crustless white bread baked using an electric current. They are perfect for any fried food making the breading much crispier than it would be when regular breadcrumbs are used.
  • Mayonnaise, mustard, and egg: You will need them to coat the meat; they add flavor and help keep the fried chicken wonderfully moist.
  • Spices: Sweet paprika for mixing with the breadcrumbs. Garlic powder, onion powder, fine sea salt, and black pepper for mixing with the all-purpose flour needed for the flour coating.
  • Cooking spray for lightly spraying the breaded meat. 

Step-by-step instructions

  • Butterfly the breasts (1).

Breading stations:

  • Mix flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl.
  • Mix mayonnaise, mustard, egg, salt, and pepper in another bowl.
  • Mix panko and paprika in a third bowl or baking dish.

Bread the slices:

  • Flour: Turn the pieces in the flour until coated all over (use tongs to turn them around) (2).
  • Coating: Place them in the mayo-egg mixture and turn them around to coat all over (3).
  • Panko: Pick up each piece with tongs and place it into the container with the panko crumbs. Turn on both sides to coat it, and press down with your palms to adhere (4).
collage of two pictures of raw chicken breast on a board and then coated with flour.
collage of two pictures of coating chicken pieces in mustard and then breading.

Air fry the chicken:

  • Preheat the machine if necessary, some need it, and some don’t. Check the instructions manual to know for sure. My machine needs to be preheated for 3 minutes.
  • Arrange the breaded pieces into the basket in a single layer (5).
two uncooked breaded chicken slices in the basket of the air fryer.
  • Cook at 190°C/ 375°F for about 5 minutes.
  • Flip, spray with oil, and cook for another 5-7 minutes, depending on your machine and the thickness of the breasts.
  • Check: The air fryer panko chicken should be golden brown and cooked through.

Expert tips

  • Use tongs to turn the pieces in the flour, mayo mixture, and panko breading; this way, you can keep your fingers clean.
  • Press the coating with your palm to ensure that the crumbs adhere properly to the meat.
  • Make sure that the breast pieces are thin; I don’t recommend trying to fry whole thick breasts, they will need too long to cook, and the breading will be too dark by the time they are ready.
  • You can also add 2-3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the panko mixture.

Recipe FAQ

Where can I find panko?

Online and in most grocery stores. They’ll probably be with the Japanese products in the Asian section or the section storing other types of breadcrumbs.

Can I use regular breadcrumbs?

Yes, seasoned Italian breadcrumbs, for instance, are great, but I must admit I prefer panko; the pieces will be crunchier and crispier.

How to check if the chicken is cooked through?

With a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 72°C/165°F.
If you don’t have one, cut one piece in the middle; the meat should be white; no pink allowed.

How to store?

Refrigerate leftovers for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
Reheat in the air fryer for about 3 minutes. You can also reheat the leftovers in a skillet or the oven.
You can also serve the leftovers cold; they are the perfect cut for a delicious sandwich or a wrap.

How to serve?

They are best served immediately. If they stay too long, although delicious, they will not be very crispy anymore. Serve with oven-baked potatoes, fries, baked sweet potatoes slices, smashed or mashed potatoes, and so on.

You can also serve crusted breasts with rice dishes, for instance, Buttered Rice, Pumpkin Rice, Nando’s Spicy Rice, BBQ Rice, and so on.

Serve with Yogurt Mint Sauce, marinara sauce, honey-lime or honey mustard sauce, sweet chili sauce, BBQ sauce, or any other favorite dipping sauce.

Slice the pieces, serve them on top of a crunchy salad with balsamic vinaigrette, raspberry vinaigrette, or a yogurt dressing, and make sandwiches or burgers. 

crispy panko chicken breast slices with chili dip and salad leaves.

More recipes using panko breadcrumbs

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!
two slices of air fried chicken with panko crust close up.

Air Fryer Panko Chicken

Crispy air fryer panko chicken: they are delicious, tender, crunchy, and ready in about 20 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Chicken Breast, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 425kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Air fryer

Ingredients 

  • 4 chicken breasts about 130-150 g each/ 4.5-5.5 oz
  • cooking spray

Flour mix:

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Dipping mix:

  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard or similar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Panko mix:

  • 100 g panko about 1 ¾ cup/ 3.5 oz
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Instructions

  • Chicken: Butterfly the chicken to have two thinner slices from each breast. Set them aside.
  • Flour mix: Mix flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Dipping mix: Lightly whisk mayonnaise, mustard, egg, salt, and pepper with a fork in another large bowl. Set aside.
  • Panko mix: Mix panko and paprika in a baking dish or another large shallow container.

Bread the chicken:

  • Flour: Place the chicken breasts into the flour bowl. Turn with tongs until they are nicely floured all over.
  • Dip: Lift the pieces with tongs, shake them gently to remove the excess, and place them into the mayonnaise bowl. Turn to coat all over.
  • Breadcrumbs: Pick up each piece with tongs, shake it gently over the bowl to remove the excess, and place it in the panko-mix container. Turn it around to coat it with the breadcrumbs and press down to help them stick better.

Cook:

  • Preheat the air fryer if its instruction manual requires it; I must preheat mine for 3 minutes to 190C/375°F.
  • Place the breaded pieces into the basket in a single layer. Spray them with cooking oil.
  • Fry the panko chicken for 5 minutes. Flip, and spray with oil again. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Check the internal temperature; it should be 72°C/165°F.

Notes

  1. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut one piece in the middle; the meat should be white; no pink allowed (Amazon affiliate link).

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 187mg | Sodium: 989mg | Potassium: 938mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 385IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 3mg
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