Air Fryer Crispy Breaded Chicken Breasts

You will be shocked by how crispy, tender, and succulent these Breaded Chicken Breasts turn out without a drop of oil in the Air Fryer. 

This Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breast recipe cooks up quick with just a few key ingredients from your kitchen.

These chicken cutlets are double dipped in first cornstarch and then panko for the lightest and crispiest non-fried chicken you’ve ever had! 

Ingredients 

Chicken

This recipe uses butterflied or thin cut boneless and skinless chicken cutlets. You can make this recipe with regular cut chicken or chicken tenderloins as well.

Feel free to use either fresh or thawed out frozen chicken breasts from the freezer section of your grocery store.

Marinade

The chicken is marinated in a mixture of white vinegar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, and paprika.

The vinegar tenderizes and adds moisture to the chicken while also helping the seasonings soak in. The turmeric and paprika add a mild flavor and nice pop of color.

Breading

This super light and crispy breaded chicken recipe is dipped first in cornstarch and then in panko breadcrumbs for a unique combination with excellent results.

Cornstarch is finer than flour which fluffs the breading up while it takes in moisture from your chicken, resulting in a crisper finish.

Similarly, panko breadcrumbs result in a lighter and crispier crust than regular breadcrumbs because of their differences in texture (panko is actually less fine, which is good!). Both get attached with a light dip in beaten eggs mixed with a little salt.  

Seasonings

Similar to the marinade, the main seasonings used for this dish are garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and salt.

Add these seasonings to the panko to make sure you incorporate flavor in all stages of your process. 

How to Make Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts

Step 1: Prep the Chicken

Rinse off and trim your chicken breasts as desired. Butterfly each chicken breast by slicing the breast in half lengthwise without cutting all the way through and pat dry. 

Prep Your Chicken

Step 2: Marinate the Chicken

Marinate your chicken for 30 minutes to 24 hours by covering each chicken breast with a splash of white vinegar and seasoning on each side. Cover and refrigerate.  

Step 2: Prep the Breading Station

Set up 3 different dishes for your breading station. First, pour about 1 cup of cornstarch onto a flat plate.

Next, whisk the eggs with some salt and pepper in a wide bowl or a dish. Finally, mix panko breadcrumbs and seasonings onto another flat plate.

Prep the Breading Station

Step 3: Bread the Chicken

Dip each chicken breast into the egg and then into the cornstarch.

Next, dip each chicken breast back into the egg mixture, and then into the panko for a double dipped crust. 

Step 4: Cook the Chicken

Cook 2-3 breaded chicken breasts in a single layer on a rack in your Air Fryer’s basket for about 5-6 minutes on one side. Don’t overcrowd the basket or the chicken won’t get crispy.

Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cutlets.

Carefully remove the chicken from the Air Fryer using tongs or a spatula and serve with your favorite sides! 

Modifications and Substitutes 

Fresh vs Frozen Chicken

You can make Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts by using either fresh or frozen chicken. If using fresh chicken, simply follow the directions! 

For frozen chicken, you can either let it thaw halfway, butterfly each piece, and then allow it to finish thawing completely before marinating and breading, OR you can allow the chicken to thaw completely first and then slice and bread. 

Slicing the chicken while it’s still only halfway thawed makes it a little easier to handle if you struggle to cut fresh chicken. 

Chicken Breasts vs Chicken Tenders

Your process for cooking chicken breasts versus chicken tenders is essentially identical. The only difference is that you might need slightly less cooking time depending on the thickness and size of your chicken tenders. 

Cook tenders for 5 minutes and then flip. Cook for another 3 minutes and check to see if they’re finished. Feel free to take out a tender and cut it in half to check for doneness. 

Cook Time Cook Temp
Regular Chicken Breast18-22 minutes400°F
Thin Cut Chicken Breast10-15 minutes400°F
Chicken Tenders8-10 minutes400°F

No Breading

For a healthier option with less calories and no carbs, make this recipe without the breading! 

Follow the same directions and just skip the breading process. Your chicken will still be tender and flavorful, and it will still take on a naturally crispy texture on the outside from the Air Frying process. 

Air Fryer Cooking Times

Cooking TempCooking Time (Thin Cuts)Cooking Time (Regular Cut)
350°F13-18 minutes20-25 minutes
375°F12-17 minutes20-22 minutes
400°F10-15 minutes18-22 minutes
415°F10-12 minutes18-20 minutes

Cooking Times By Air Fryer Model 

ModelCooking timeTemperature
Ninja Foodi10 – 12 Minutes 350°F
Philips Airfryer XXL (HD9630)12 – 15 Minutes 400°F 
Nuwave Bravo XL Grill14 – 16 Minutes 400°F
Power XL 2&3 Qt Vortex13 – 16 Minutes 400°F
Cuisinart12 – 15 Minutes 400°F
Cosori10 – 12 Minutes 400°F
Breville Smart Oven13 – 15 Minutes 415°F

Can You Prepare This Dish Ahead of Time? 

Prepare this recipe ahead of time by breading all your chicken and storing it in a single layer in a clean, airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours and then cook as directed.

Freeze For Later

This breaded chicken dish may also be frozen and cooked later. You can do this either before or after you’ve cooked the chicken.

After You Cooked The Chicken

Cook the chicken as directed and allow to cool completely. Place the cooked chicken in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze for about 1 hour until frozen and then store in your freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container. 

When you’re ready, cook frozen chicken in your Air Fryer for 15 minutes at 400°F until crispy, flipping halfway through. Serve hot and enjoy!

Before You Cook The Chicken

Season and bread each chicken breast as directed. Place each piece in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze for about 2 hours, or until completely frozen. Store in an airtight container for as long as 3 months. 

When you’re ready, cook frozen chicken in your Air Fryer for 15-20 minutes at 400°F until crispy, flipping halfway through.

Serving Suggestions

Sides

Breaded Chicken goes great with any of your favorite starches, vegetables, or even on top of a fresh salad. Some great options include:

  • Mashed or Baked Potatoes 
  • Sweet Potatoes or Yams
  • Rice or Risotto
  • Spaghetti or your favorite pasta 
  • Corn, Broccoli, Carrots, Squash, Green Beans
  • Cobb Salad
  • Caesar Salad
Sides For Chicken

Sauces

Great sauces that pair with this dish include:

  • BBQ
  • Gravy
  • Katsu
  • Hot Sauce

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Tips and Tricks 

  • Prep your chicken the night before to get the most tender and juicy bite. 
  • Use thin cut chicken breasts from the store to save time on butterflying/slicing.
  • Add extra seasoning to your panko to create layers of flavor.
  • Cornstarch soaks up liquid a little faster than flour, so add more to your plate as needed to cover all your chicken. 
  • Only cook 2-3 cutlets at a time to avoid steam.
  • Serve with a rich sauce like BBQ, Brown Gravy, or Katsu for a delicious dipper! 
Air Fryer Crispy Breaded Chicken Breast

Air Fryer Crispy Breaded Chicken Breasts

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes

This simple and delicious Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breast recipe cooks up light and crunchy in just 15 minutes. Enjoy golden and crispy chicken made with a unique combination of cornstarch and panko double-dipped breading. This recipe cuts out all the grease you’d typically need for fried chicken with even crunchier results in the Air Fryer! 

Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-4 tbsps white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ⅓ tsp turmeric 
  • ½ tsp paprika 
  • Breading
  • ½ cup+ cornstarch
  • 1-2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Rinse off and trim chicken according to your preferences.
  2. Butterfly each chicken breast by slicing each breast in half lengthwise without cutting all the way through. Alternative, use thin cut chicken breasts from the store. 
  3. Marinate chicken in vinegar and seasonings for 30 minutes to an hour (up to 24 hours).
  4. Pour ½ cup of cornstarch onto a flat plate. 
  5. Whisk eggs and salt into a wide bowl or dish. 
  6. Mix panko breadcrumbs and seasonings on another flat plate.
  7. Dip chicken in egg mixture and then dust in cornstarch. 
  8. Dip chicken back in egg mixture and then cover in panko.
  9. Cook 2-3 breaded cutlets at a time in a single layer on the rack of your Air Fryer’s basket at 400°F for 5-6 minutes. 
  10. Flip chicken and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes. 
  11. Remove from the Air Fryer and serve with your favorite sides or sauces!

Notes

  • Butterflying the chicken gives you a crispier bite and shortens your cook time. If you skip this step, cook for an extra 4-5 minutes on each side.  
  • Add seasonings to taste, but I recommend adding extra to the breading for good flavor.
  • Only cook 2-3 cutlets at a time to make sure the chicken cooks through properly. 
  • Serve with pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or roasted vegetables.
  • Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 956Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 432mgSodium: 5589mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 101g
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