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Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

Once you’ve made spicy air fryer chicken parmesan, you’ll never want to make it any other way! Juicy breaded chicken breasts air-fry to perfection in less than an hour. Serve the crispy chicken parmesan with Caribbean-spiced marinara, and pair it with garlic bread and arugula and spinach salad

Air fryer chicken parmesan served over spaghetti noodles.

While visiting family in New Castle, United Kingdom, my in-laws returned with one request. They wanted the same crispy chicken parmesan with the spicy sauce they had at an Afro-Caribbean restaurant called Manjaros. I heard about chicken parmesan but never described it as spicy or crisp – I was intrigued.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Using an air fryer reduces the cooking time.
  •  You will use fewer dishes and make less of a mess.
  •  While the meal may seem intimidating, this recipe is easy to make.
  •  Because of the air fryer, there is no need to fry the breaded chicken beforehand.
  •  And no oil means fewer calories. Hooray!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Onion: Onions cook down and flavor the marinara sauce.
  • Garlic: I suggest using three garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste thickens and colors the sauce. 
  • Seasoning: Season the spicy marinara sauce with salt, pepper, and homemade jerk seasoning. If you prefer a milder sauce, try my easy-to-make sugo al pomodoro. 
  • San Marzano Tomatoes: I like using canned tomatoes. They are stored in season to maintain their rich tomatoey flavor.
  • Chicken Breast: Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make thin chicken cutlets. You can also use chicken tenders.
  • Flour Mixture: Add salt and pepper to flour for the coating.
  • Egg Mixture: Dried thyme is the perfect addition to the egg wash.
  • Breading Mixture: Panko and parmesan create the breading for the chicken. I like to season it with garlic powder and red pepper flakes for extra flavor.
  • Cheese: Top the chicken with mozzarella or parmesan cheese at the halfway point.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Marinara: We prefer to make our own marinara sauce, but feel free to use jarred marinara sauce to cut the preparation time; my favorite brand is Rau’s.
  • Jerk Seasoning: I never go wrong with homemade Jamaican jerk seasoning, prepared with powders, peppers, and warm spices like allspice and thyme. The spice blend keeps in an airtight jar for two months. For this recipe, you will only need three to four tablespoons. I recommend Coleman’s jerk seasoning as a store-bought option.

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

For the Spicy Marinara Sauce:

Step 1: Warm olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Then, add onions and cook until they soften and become translucent for about 10 minutes.

Onions sautéing in a skillet.

Step 2: While waiting for the onions to cook, combine the ingredients for Jamaican jerk seasoning.

A bowl of Jamaican jerk seasoning.

Step 3: Stir the garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and jerk seasoning into the onions. Saute for 30 seconds.

Spices added to the cooking onions in a skillet.

Step 4: Crush the tomatoes with your hand over the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated.

A close up of the cooking spicy marinara sauce.

Optional: Use an immersion blender to create a smooth, creamy sauce. You can also add the tomato mixture to a food processor or blender.

The spicy marinara pureed in a skillet.

For the Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan:

Step 1: Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make chicken cutlets and set them aside.

Chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise.

Step 2: Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on one plate.

Then, whisk the eggs and dried thyme in a shallow bowl or on a plate with a lip.

Mix the panko, parmesan, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes on a third plate to create a dredging station.

A dredging station for chicken parmesan.

Step 3: Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour.

Chicken dipped in flour.

Step 4: Then, the egg mixture.

Chicken with flour dipped in egg wash.

Step 5: Finally, press the cutlets into the bread crumbs and add them to the air fryer basket.

Press the chicken breast into the breadcrumbs.

Step 6: Set the air fryer to 350°F (176°C). Work in batches and cook for 6 minutes.

Two breaded chicken breasts cooking in the air fryer.

Step 7: Flip the chicken, and cook for another 6 minutes until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C). Top with mozzarella cheese and cook for 1 minute.

Two chicken breasts topped with cheese cooking in the air fryer.

Step 8: Garnish with fresh basil and spoon the spicy marinara over the top or serve it on the side.

Air fryer chicken parmesan served over spaghetti noodles.

Expert Tips

  • Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally to make chicken cutlets to help the chicken cook faster and more evenly.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, first on one side and then on the other. Then, coat the chicken with the egg wash. Finally, press the chicken into the panko mixture.

If you enjoy the meal, try one these dinner recipes!  

A chicken parmesan breast cut in half.

Serving Suggestions

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • Freeze: Let the chicken cool and wrap it in plastic. Store the air fryer chicken parmesan in a freezer-safe container or bag and reserve the sauce separately for 2-3 months.
  • Reheat: Remove the chicken and sauce from the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge overnight. Assemble the chicken onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-20 minutes at 350°F (176°C).
  • Repurpose: Prepare pasta and add it to a baking dish. Top the noodles with leftover chicken parmesan, spicy marinara sauce, and mozzarella. Bake for 10-20 minutes at 350°F (175°C) to make a quick chicken parmesan casserole.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between chicken parmesan and chicken parmigiana?

They are the same dish with all the mouthwatering flavor you know and love.

What is chicken parmigiana made of?

Chicken parmesan or parmigiana is an Italian-American dish featuring crispy, breaded chicken breast topped with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil or parsley.

How do you get panko to stick to chicken?

Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, first on one side and then on the other. Then, coat the chicken with the egg wash. Finally, press the chicken into the panko. I like to serve the spicy marinara sauce on the side, which helps the chicken stay crispy and not fall apart.

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Air fryer chicken parmesan served over spaghetti noodles.

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

Tressa Jamil
Once you've made spicy air fryer chicken parmesan, you'll never want to make it any other way! Juicy breaded chicken breast fries to perfection in less than an hour.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 Chicken Cutlets
Calories 339 kcal
Ingredients
  
For the Spicy Marinara Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes, 28-ounce, crushed by hand
For the Chicken:
  • 4 chicken breasts, halved horizontally to make 8 cutlets
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme, dried
  • cup panko
  • ½ cup parmesan, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded or ovaline
Instructions
 

For the Spicy Marinara Sauce:

  • Warm olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Then, add onions and cook until they soften and become translucent for about 10 minutes.
  • While waiting for the onions to cook, combine the ingredients for Jamaican jerk seasoning.
  • Stir the garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and jerk seasoning into the onions. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Crush the tomatoes with your hand over the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  • Optional – Use an immersion blender to create a smooth, creamy sauce. You can also add the tomato mixture to a food processor or blender.

For the Parmesan Chicken:

  • Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make chicken cutlets and set them aside.
  • Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on one plate. Then, whisk the eggs and dried thyme in a shallow bowl or on a plate with a lip. Mix the panko, parmesan, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes on a third plate to create a dredging station.
  • Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, egg mixture, and the panko. Add them to the air fryer basket.
  • Set the air fryer to 350°F (176°C). Work in batches and cook for 6 minutes. Flip the chicken, and cook for another 6 minutes until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C). Top with mozzarella cheese and cook for 1 minute.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and cook for 1 minute.
  • Garnish with fresh basil and spoon the spicy marinara over the top or serve it on the side.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally to make chicken cutlets to help the chicken cook faster and more evenly.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, first on one side and then on the other. Then, coat the chicken with the egg wash. Finally, press the chicken into the panko mixture.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Chicken Cutlet | Calories: 339 kcal | Carbohydrates: 9 g | Protein: 30 g | Fat: 21 g | Sodium: 391 mg | Fiber: 1 g
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating