Air Fryer Chicken Parm

updated Mar 7, 2022
Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Air fried parmesan-breaded chicken breasts smothered in mozzarella and served with tangy marinara.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook12 minutes

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Chicken parm cutlet on a plate with red sauce below
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

A plate of crispy chicken smothered in gooey mozzarella cheese and nestled in a tangy tomato sauce is pure comfort food — and one I usually only eat at a restaurant. Until now. I’ve fallen hard for my air fryer, and it was only a matter of time before I used it to make tender breaded chicken cutlets. This version includes a cheesy improvement to the traditional breading and a tip for making sure the mozzarella melts where it should (and not where the air fryer fan blows). Here’s how to make air fryer chicken Parmesan.

Can You Put Raw Chicken in the Air Fryer?

Yes! Think of an air fryer as a miniature convection oven with fan and heating element that will cook foods — including chicken — quickly.

How Long Do You Cook Chicken Parmesan in the Air Fryer?

It takes six minutes to cook a pair of breaded chicken breasts for chicken Parmesan. For a family of four, you’ll need less than 15 minutes of air frying time before it’s time to plate dinner.

The rapid movement of hot air in an air fryer is key to the quick cooking time. These chicken breasts also cook quickly because they are sliced thinly before breading. This step makes sure the chicken breasts have an even thickness, which helps the meat cook evenly.

Tips for Cooking Air Fryer Chicken Parm

Follow these tips for the best air fryer chicken Parm.

  1. Slice the chicken thinly. Before breading the chicken, slice each boneless breast in half horizontally. Each piece should be about 1/2-inch thick, which will ensure even cooking.
  2. Upgrade your breading with panko and Parmesan. The best part of chicken Parm is the crispy, brown breading. Use panko breadcrumbs for maximum crispiness and mix in some grated Parmesan cheese to bump up the flavor.
  3. Secure the mozarella with toothpicks. The fan is an essential piece of the air fryer’s anatomy, but it’s powerful enough to dislodge toppings, including the slice of mozz on top of your chicken. The solution? Secure each piece of mozzarella cheese with a couple of toothpicks to make sure the cheese stays put.
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

What Should I Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Parm?

Warm your favorite homemade or store-bought marinara sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop while the air fryer works. Plate the Parm perfectly by spooning the sauce onto a plate or shallow bowl and nestle the chicken on top. Arranging the ingredients in this order ensures that the breading stays crisp instead of softening from the marinara’s moisture.

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Air fried parmesan-breaded chicken breasts smothered in mozzarella and served with tangy marinara.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1/2 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 ounces

    Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup loosely packed or 1/2 cup store-bought)

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Cooking spray

  • 4 slices

    part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces total)

  • 1 cup

    store-bought or homemade marinara sauce

  • Fresh basil leaves, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder in a shallow bowl or plate and whisk to combine. Place 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs and 2 ounces Parmesan cheese to a second shallow bowl or plate and whisk to combine. Add 2 large eggs to a third shallow bowl or plate and whisk to combine.

  2. Slice 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half horizontally (also known as butterflying). Season all over with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, coat the chicken in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg, letting any excess drip off. Coat in the panko-Parmesan crumbs. Place on a baking sheet or plate in a single layer.

  4. Heat an air fryer to 400°F. Place 2 breaded chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they do not overlap. Coat with cooking spray. Air fry until golden and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.

  5. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella cheese, and secure each piece of cheese with 2 toothpicks. Air fry until the chicken is golden brown, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers at least 165°F, and the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes more.

  6. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat air frying the remaining chicken and cheese. When the second batch is almost ready, warm 1 cup marinara sauce on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave until warm.

  7. To serve, remove the toothpicks, divide the marinara sauce evenly among serving plates, and nestle each serving of chicken Parmesan on top. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.