These crispy air fryer chicken cutlets are a weeknight winner the whole family will love. They cook up in minutes and can be served in so many ways. Plus, you’ll have some to freeze for a quick meal in the future.
I realize I’m a little late to the air fryer trend, but I’m quickly becoming better acquainted with this magical mini convection oven by air frying pretty much anything I can get my hands on these days.
Sad veggies from the back of the fridge? Air fryer.
Homemade chicken tenders straight from the freezer? Air fryer.
Leftover french fries? Air fryer.
Banana bread? Air fryer. (Stay tuned for that gem of a recipe coming soon!)
And of course, these crispy chicken cutlets, which I now have a constant stash of in the freezer.
They save my life about once a week when all hell breaks loose and what I planned to make for dinner doesn’t actually happen.
If that sounds all too familiar, then you, my friend, need this recipe. Let’s get to it!
What are chicken cutlets?
Chicken cutlets are simply chicken breasts that have been cut in half horizontally to make two thinner pieces. Then, the chicken is typically pounded with a meat tenderizer to make it thinner, so it cooks more quickly and evenly.
Tips for making breaded chicken cutlets in the air fryer
- Preheat your air fryer to the cooking temperature (like you would a traditional oven) before adding your chicken.
- Don’t overcrowd the basket. Cutlets should be placed in a single layer and not overlap to ensure they cook evenly and come out crispy.
- Lightly spray the cutlets with olive oil cooking spray just before putting them in the air fryer. This will help keep them moist and enhance their crispy, golden coating.
- Follow cooking times closely. These cutlets cook quickly and can dry out quickly if they cook for too long.
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets
These crispy air fryer chicken cutlets are a weeknight winner. They cook up in minutes and can be served in so many ways.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast (whole or pre-sliced fillets)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Prepare and season the fillets. Slice whole chicken breasts in half horizontally and pound to ¼- to ⅙-inch thick. Combine the salt and pepper in a small bowl and season the chicken cutlets on both sides; set aside.
- Make the egg mixture. Add the eggs and mayonnaise to a shallow bowl and whisk to combine.
- Prepare the Panko mixture. In a separate, medium-sized shallow bowl, combine the Panko, Parmesan, paprika, and garlic powder and mix until well incorporated.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. If you will be freezing some or all of the chicken fillets, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Bread the cutlets. Using a fork, transfer 1-2 chicken fillets to the egg mixture and turn to coat evenly on both sides. With the same fork, transfer the chicken to the Panko bowl. Use a spoon to sprinkle the top of the chicken with the breadcrumb mixture and gently press down on the chicken to help the breadcrumb-mixture stick. Using tongs, transfer the breaded chicken to a clean plate or prepared baking sheet if freezing. (See freezing instructions in the notes section below.) Repeat until all fillets are breaded. Lightly spray both sides of the cutlets with olive oil or cooking spray just before cooking.
- Cook cutlets in the preheated air fryer. To cook, air fry the fillets in a single layer at 375°F for about 8 minutes (10 minutes if frozen), or until golden brown on the outside and cooked through. Remove them from the air fryer and allow them to cool slightly. Repeat with the remaining chicken until all cutlets have been cooked.
Place uncooked, breaded cutlets onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Put the baking sheet into the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once the chicken is firm, transfer the uncooked cutlets to a freezer bag, pressing out as much air as possible when sealing, and return to the freezer.
- Chicken: Slice and pound the chicken up to 3 days in advance. Store in the refrigerator.
- Panko mixture: Mix the Panko mixture ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.