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Chicken Parmesan in the Air Fryer

Once you’ve made easy chicken parmesan in the air fryer, you’ll never want to make it any other way! Juicy breaded chicken breast fries to perfection in less than an hour. 

Serve crispy chicken parmesan with a side of Caribbean-spiced marinara, and pair it with garlic bread and a spinach salad. 

While visiting our family in New Castle, United Kingdom, my in-laws returned with one request. They wanted the crispy chicken parmesan with the spicy sauce they had on their trip. I’d heard about chicken parmesan but never described it as crisp or served with spicy sauce on the side. I have to admit the dish sounded intriguing.


After sharing their experience at the Afro-Caribbean restaurant called Manjaros, I began my research and learned more about Caribbean-inspired chicken parmesan.

WHY WE LOVE AIR FRYER CHICKEN PARMESAN

  • The air fryer method reduces the cooking time.
  • You will use fewer dishes and make less of a mess.
  • While the dish might seem intimidating, this recipe is easy to make.
  • Because of the air fryer, there is no need to fry the breaded chicken beforehand. No oil means fewer calories.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

For the Spicy Marinara Sauce:

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.

  • Onion: Onions cook down and flavor the marinara sauce.
  • Garlic: I suggest using three cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – go for it.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste thickens and adds color to the mixture. 
  • Seasoning: Salt, pepper, and homemade jerk seasoning flavor our spicy marinara sauce.
  • San Marzano Tomatoes: Canned in season, these tomatoes hold up during the cooking process and maintain their rich tomato flavor.

For the Chicken:

  • Chicken Breast: Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 8 thin fillets. You can also use chicken tenders. I don’t recommend using thighs to make this recipe since they are high in fat.
  • Flour Mixture: Add salt and pepper to flour.
  • Eggs Mixture: Dried thyme is the perfect addition to the egg wash.
  • Breading Mixture: Panko and parmesan make up the breading for the chicken; I like to season ours with garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
  • Cheese: Top the chicken with either mozzarella or parmesan cheese at the halfway point.

HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PARMESAN IN THE AIR FRYER 

For the Spicy Marinara Sauce:

Saute the onions for the spicy marinara sauce.

SAUTE – Warm olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Then, add the onions and cook until they soften and become translucent.

Combine the spices for jerk seasoning to add to chicken parmesan.

COMBINE – While waiting on the onions to cook, combine the ingredients for jerk seasoning if you’re using our homemade recipe.

Add all the spices to the onion mixture.

SEASON – Stir the garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and jerk seasoning into the onion mixture; cook until aromatic.

SIMMER – Then crush the canned tomatoes with your hand over the pan and add the remaining sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Hand crush the tomatoes and add them to the onion. Blend if you prefer.

BLEND – This step is 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 Chicken:

Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise.

PREPARE THE CHICKEN – Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally and set them aside.

A dredging station for chicken parmesan.

PREPARE THE BREADING – Combine flour, salt, and pepper on the first plate. Whisk eggs and thyme together in a shallow plate. Then, mix panko, parmesan, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes on a third plate to form your dredging station.

Chicken dipped in flour.

FLOUR – Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour,

Chicken with flour dipped in egg wash.

EGG – then the egg mixture,

Press the chicken breast into the breadcrumbs.

BREADCRUMBS – finally, press them into the bread crumbs. Add the chicken to the air fryer basket.

AIR FRY – Set the air fryer to 360° F | 182° C. Work in batches and cook for 6 minutes.

Flip the chicken, top it with mozzarella cheese, and cook for another 6 minutes until the chicken has an internal temperature reading of 165° F | 73° C.

Garnish with fresh basil or parsley and serve with spicy marinara sauce to serve.

COOKING TIPS

  • Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally, but there is no need to make them thinner. I know that some recipes swear by it; keeping the chicken on the thicker side helps them stay juicy.
  • How do you get panko to stick to chicken? Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, first one side and then the other. Then coat the chicken with the egg wash. Finally, press the chicken into the panko. Then, turn it over and repeat. We also serve our spicy marinara sauce on the side, which helps the chicken stay crispy and not fall apart.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love air fryer chicken parmesan, we hope you will try one these chicken-centered meals!  

A chicken parmesan breast cut in half.

WHAT DO YOU SERVE WITH CHICKEN PARMESAN?

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an air-tight container; it will keep for 2-3 days.
  • FREEZE – Allow the dish to cool completely, then wrap the chicken in plastic wrap and add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Store the sauce separately; the chicken and its sauce will keep for 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 | 175°C).
  • REPURPOSE –  Make pasta of your choice and add it to a baking dish. Top them with cut-up leftover chicken parmesan, spicy sauce, and mozzarella. Bake for 10-20 minutes at 350°F | 175°C for chicken parmesan casserole.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What is the difference between chicken parmesan and chicken parmigiana?

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

What is chicken parmigiana made of?

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

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Chicken Parmesan in the Air Fryer

Tressa Jamil
Once you've made chicken parmesan in the air fryer, you'll never want to make it any other way! Juicy breaded chicken breast fries to perfection in less than an hour. 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 Servings
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 fillets.
  • 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
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded or ovaline

Instructions
 

For the Spicy Marinara Sauce:

  • Warm the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Then, add the onions and cook until they soften and become translucent.
  • While waiting on the onion to cook, combine the ingredients for jerk seasoning if you're making our homemade recipe.
  • Stir the garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and jerk seasoning into the onion mixture; cook until aromatic.
  • Then crush the canned tomatoes with your hand over the pan and add the remaining sauce. 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 Chicken:

  • Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally and set them aside.
  • Combine flour, salt, and pepper on the first plate. Whisk eggs and thyme in a shallow plate. Then, mix panko, parmesan, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes on a third plate to form your dredging station.
  • Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, the egg mixture, and the bread crumbs. Add them to the air fryer basket.
  • Set the air fryer to 360° F | 182° C. Work in batches and cook for 6 minutes. Flip the chicken, top it with mozzarella cheese, and cook for another 6 minutes until the chicken has an internal temperature reading of 165° F | 73° C.
  • Garnish with fresh basil or parsley and serve with spicy marinara sauce.

Notes

  • Prepare the Chicken: Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally, but there is no need to make them thinner. I know that some recipes swear by it; keeping the chicken on the thicker side helps them stay juicy.
 
  • How do you get panko to stick to chicken? Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, first one side and then the other. Then coat the chicken with the egg wash. Finally, press the chicken into the panko. Then, turn it over and repeat. We also serve our spicy marinara sauce on the side, which helps the chicken stay crispy and not fall apart.
 
  • 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.
 
  • Web Story: Check out our web story for spicy chicken parmesan!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 FilletCalories: 339kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 30gFat: 21gSodium: 391mgFiber: 1g
Keyword air fryer chicken parmesan, chicken parmesan in the air fryer
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