Crispy and gooey when done right, but too often oily and soggy, chicken parmesan seemed an ideal candidate for the air fryer. We could eliminate the greasy pan frying and simplify this multistep dish. But we soon learned that, without a pan of hot oil, the coating of crunchy panko bread crumbs refused to brown. This was easily fixed: Pretoasting the panko in the microwave with a bit of olive oil turned it richly golden. To streamline the breading process, we whisked the flour and egg together, adding garlic powder and dried oregano for flavor. We dipped our chicken in this mixture and then pressed it in the toasted panko that we'd combined with grated parmesan for an extra hit of cheesiness and an even crunchier texture. A short stint in the air fryer gave us chicken that was juicy inside and crunchy outside. We sprinkled on shredded mozzarella and cooked the cutlets just long enough to melt the cheese. A little warmed pasta sauce poured over the top kept our recipe simple and avoided soggy cutlets. Chopped basil added a fresh finish.
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serve with pasta, if desired.
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- 2 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (½ cup)
- ¼ cup jarred marinara sauce, warmed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Toss panko with oil in bowl until evenly coated. Microwave, stirring frequently, until light golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to shallow dish, let cool slightly, then stir in Parmesan. Whisk egg, flour, garlic powder, oregano, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper together in second shallow dish.
- Pound chicken to uniform thickness as needed. Pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 breast at a time, dredge in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then coat with panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere.
- Lightly spray base of air-fryer basket with vegetable oil spray. Arrange breasts in prepared basket, spaced evenly apart, alternating ends. Place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 400 degrees. Cook until chicken is crispy and registers 160 degrees, 12 to 16 minutes, flipping and rotating breasts halfway through cooking.
- Sprinkle chicken with mozzarella. Return basket to air fryer and cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Transfer chicken to individual serving plates. Top each breast with 2 tablespoons warm marinara sauce and sprinkle with basil. Serve.