Delightfully tender and juicy chicken breasts come out crispy and perfect in my Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan! The whole family will love this cheesy dish, with its crunchy chicken, melted parmesan, and fragrant marinara sauce.
Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
You know the part on Shrek 2 when Fairy Godmother yells, “And someone please get me something deep-fried, and smothered in chocolate.”
Well, that’s how I feel about all things Parm. 😁 Eggplant parm, chicken parm, pork medallions parm… if it’s fried, crunchy, and covered in marinara and Parmesan, I’m there! I especially love healthier versions of the classics, like this Baked Chicken Parmesan.
(What’s that? Oh, you don’t have the Shrek movies memorized? Yeah, I didn’t either, before I had kids! 🙃)
Why Use an Air Fryer?
These days, I don’t do a lot of deep-frying. It can be time consuming and rather messy. Plus, the calories! That’s a lot of oil, right?
Instead, I’m turning more and more to my air fryer! I love how easy it is to get that crispy-crunchy texture with just a fraction of the time, and no mess!
And, this air fryer chicken Parmesan recipe takes that air-fryer magic to new levels. It’s a perfect pairing of tender and juicy chicken, crunchy breading, tangy and rich sauce, and melting cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Okay, so what do we need to make this chicken recipe? The main ingredients, as you might expect, are chicken, breadcrumbs and Parmesan. You can also make your own marinara sauce, or purchase it ready-made. Let’s get into it:
- Chicken Breasts: This recipe makes four servings, which is about one pound of chicken breasts, thinly sliced.
- Panko: I like to use one cup of panko-style breadcrumbs, but you can substitute whatever kind you like.
- Flour: Have ready half a cup of all-purpose flour.
- Parmesan Cheese: You’ll need 1 cup plus 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese.
- Egg: For the breading, I used one whole egg.
- Garlic & Onion Powders: a tablespoon of each adds intensity of flavor.
- Oregano: A tablespoon of dried oregano adds classic Italian flavor to the sauce and chicken.
- Thyme: Earthy, pungent thyme balances the richness of the dish.
- Marinara: You’ll need 1 to 1.5 cups of good-quality marinara sauce.
- Cooking Spray: Use your favorite cooking spray.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
How to Make Chicken Parmesan in the Air Fryer
It’s very easy to make this dish! Just be sure not to crowd the Air Fryer basket; if your chicken pieces are too large, cook them in batches.
- To Prep: Prepare your breading station by setting out two shallow bowls plus an extra plate for your prepared chicken breasts. Preheat the air fryer to 360°F. In the first bowl, crack 1 egg and lightly whisk. Generously season the beaten egg with salt and pepper. In the second bowl, add your panko bread crumbs, flour, parmesan cheese and seasoning.
- Rinse & Dry Chicken: Rinse and pat dry your thinly sliced chicken breasts. If you don’t have thinly sliced chicken breasts at your local supermarket, you can purchase regular chicken breasts. Just make sure to cut them in half lengthwise and pound them thinly (to ensure even cooking throughout). Set aside.
- Coat in Breading: Take one chicken breast at a time, gently dip it in the egg mixture first and then thoroughly coat it right after in the breading crumb mixture. Use a fork to toss the chicken around in the bowl to ensure that it’s is fully covered. Set the prepared breaded chicken on the separate plate until you are ready to cook. Repeat until all 4 chicken breasts are prepared.
- Fry Chicken: Remove the air fryer basket and place the breaded chicken in a single layer inside. (Depending on how big your air fryer is, you may have to cook only two at a time.) Gently spray the tops of each chicken slice with cooking spray (this will help the crumbs to crisp up when frying). Fry your chicken breasts in the preheated Air Fryer for an initial 10 minutes.
- Turn Chicken & Fry Again: Flip your chicken breasts over and add marinara sauce on top, then sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese. Close the air fryer basket and fry for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Serve: Remove the cooked chicken from the Air Fryer basket and serve it with additional marinara. Enjoy!
Tips for Success
Before you start cooking, hang with me one sec! I’ve got a few handy tips and tricks to help you make this easy recipe super awesome!
- Gluten-Free Option: If you want to make this recipe gluten free, it’s easy! Just use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend and gluten-free Panko.
- Try Pork: You could also make this recipe with pork medallions – like my Pork Parmesan – or use thin boneless chops!
- Easy Marinara: You can whip up your own fast marinara by seasoning plain tomato sauce with Italian seasoning blend and a bit of olive oil.
Air Fryer chicken parmesan is just wonderful over a plate of pasta, but what else can you serve with it? Here are a few of my favorite recipes to try out!
- Pasta Salad: My Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad will keep you coming back for more! It’s filled with goodies like salami, black olives, artichoke hearts and more.
- Soup: How about a soup starter? If it’s Butternut Squash Soup with Italian Sausage, I’m there! This warming soup is the perfect way to introduce your Italian main course masterpiece.
- Dinner Rolls: A batch of No-Knead Dinner Rolls would set this comforting classic off to perfection.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Store your leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator. They will keep for 3 to 4 days.
- To reheat them, place the leftovers in a covered skillet over low heat, until just heated through.
Can I Freeze Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan?
- You can! If you plan to freeze leftovers, make sure to keep the sauce and the chicken separate (you can add sauce to each plate, but not to the remaining chicken that you’re planning to freeze).
- Freeze the sauce and chicken separately for up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating.
Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
- 4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
- 1 cup panko style breadcrumbs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup marinara sauce, use more if desired
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, use more if desired
- Cooking spray
- Sea salt
- Prepare your breading station by placing out two shallow bowls and an extra plate for your prepared chicken breasts. Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees F.
- In the first bowl, crack 1 egg and lightly whisk. Generously season the beaten egg with salt and pepper. In the second bowl, add your panko bread crumbs, flour, 1/4-cup grated parmesan cheese, and seasoning.
- Rinse and pat dry your thinly sliced chicken breasts. If you don’t have thinly sliced chicken breasts at your local supermarket, you can purchase regular chicken breasts. Just make sure to cut in half, lengthwise, and pound thin to ensure even cooking throughout. Set aside.
- Take one chicken breast at a time; gently dip in the egg mixture first and then thoroughly coat right after in the breading crumb mixture. Use a fork to toss the chicken around in the bowl to ensure that the chicken is fully covered. Set prepared breaded chicken on the separate plate until you are ready to cook. Repeat until all 4 chicken breast are prepared.
- Remove the air fryer basket and place the breaded chicken in a single layer inside. Depending on how big your air fryer is, you may have to cook only two at a time. Gently spray the tops of each chicken slice with cooking spray (this will help the crumbs to crisp up when frying).
- Cook your chicken breasts in the preheated air fryer for an initial 10 minutes. Then gently flip your chicken breasts over and add 2-3 tablespoons of marinara sauce on top of your chicken and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.
- Close the air fryer basket and fry for another 5 to 6 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the air fryer basket and serve over a warm bed of noodles and a vegetable of your choice. Enjoy!
More Air Fryer Recipes to Try
Don’t you just love easy Air Fryer recipes like this one? Try the following next!