Here’s a way to make Chicken Parmesan that’s super-easy—just topping the chicken with seasoned breadcrumbs instead of coating it! And it’s super-fast too, because you can make it the air fryer!
Is there anything better than Chicken Parmesan? Cheesy, saucy, meaty, and comforting—it’s one of my favorite meals. And now that I’ve figured out a way to make it that’s quicker to prep and quicker to cook, I like it even more.
Chicken Parm every night! (Just kidding.) (But not completely kidding.)
Traditional Chicken Parmesan
To make traditional Chicken Parmesan, you start by coating chicken pieces in seasoned breadcrumbs. Most recipes have you do that by first dredging the pieces in flour, then beaten eggs, then breadcrumbs. It’s kind of messy and dirties several bowls.
Then you fry the coated chicken in oil. Then you put it in a baking dish with tomato sauce, top it with cheese, and bake.
That’s too many steps for me, especially on a weeknight.
Easy Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
When I created my oven method for Chicken Parmesan, I found that I can make it much simpler by just brushing the chicken with a little tomato sauce, then sprinkling on the bread crumbs (the tomato sauce helps the breadcrumbs stick), then baking. Once the chicken is cooked through, I add more tomato sauce, plus cheese, then bake for a couple minutes more to melt the cheese. Done!
To make that method work in the air fryer, I’ve altered it only slightly—I wait until the chicken is halfway cooked before adding the breadcrumbs. It helps keep the bread crumb mixture from getting overly browned before the chicken is cooked through. And with that slight adjustment, it comes out perfect.
What Kind Of Chicken Should I Use?
A couple of things to note about the recipe. I’m using boneless, skinless chicken breasts—either breasts that have been halved and pounded so they’re an even thickness and cook evenly (learn how to pound chicken breasts in this post) or cutlets, which are essentially chicken breasts that have been halved thickness-wise. But you can also use chicken thighs. Just buy boneless, skinless ones and then unroll them before adding them to the air fryer—again, so they’re an even thickness and cook evenly.
It’s also perfectly okay to use store bought tomato sauce and pre-shredded cheese. This recipe is all about making Chicken Parmesan so quick and so easy that you can enjoy it any night of the week.
Here’s a way to make Chicken Parmesan that’s super-easy—just topping the chicken with seasoned breadcrumbs instead of coating it! And it’s super-fast too, because you can make it the air fryer! Don’t forget that you can use chicken thighs instead of breasts if you prefer. And if you’re feeling fancy, garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley or basil.
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved and pounded to an even thickness (see this post for how to do that) or 4 chicken cutlets (or 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs unrolled into 4 flat pieces)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ⅓ cup tomato sauce, divided
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Arrange the chicken, skinned or smooth side down, on a work surface and brush with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Working in batches if necessary, arrange the chicken in the air fryer tray, oiled side down, without overlapping.
- Set the temperature to 400°F and cook for 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon of oil. Set aside.
- Brush the top of each chicken breast with about 1 teaspoon of the tomato sauce, then top each with one quarter of the bread crumb mixture.
- Continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the chicken registers 165°F.
- Top each chicken breast with one quarter of the remaining tomato sauce, then sprinkle with one quarter of the cheese. Turn off the air fryer but leave the chicken in the there with the lid closed until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.