Easy Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

by TheBusyFoodie
4 servings
18 min

Classic chicken parmesan is often time-consuming and messy to make, but this Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan recipe lets you make your favorite Italian dish in under 20 minutes!

Air fryer chicken parmesan and green salad on a plate.

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • Ready in under 20 minutes. Each batch of chicken takes just 5 minutes to cook, so dinner is ready fast! Plus cleanup is a breeze.
  • Amazing Texture. Crispy breading, gooey mozzarella cheese, and tender, juicy chicken. What more can you ask for?
  • Healthier comfort food. Air fried chicken parmesan uses less oil, but has all the classic, comforting flavor you love.

How to make the best chicken parm in your air fryer

Sometimes being a foodie means experimenting with trendy new concepts and exploring global flavors, but other times it’s as simple as appreciating tried and true classics in their purest form.

Chicken parmesan might not be trendy or exciting, but it always seems to hit the spot.

There’s just something about the bubbly melted cheese, crispy breaded chicken, and the warm and comforting flavors that make this dish so irresistible.

Prepping chicken parmesan: breaded chicken cutlets, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese on a white platter.
Ingredients you’ll need:

Chicken cutlets or boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have been butterflied and pounded with a meat mallet to about 1/4-inch. Remember, the thinner the chicken, the more tender it will be and the more surface area there will be for breading! Plus, thin cutlets will cook faster and more evenly.

Mayonnaise. Mayo helps the breading stick to the chicken with far less work than using eggs and oil!

Shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese. Using shredded cheese instead of grated will give you the best texture and flavor. If you only have grated though, it’s totally ok!

Italian-seasoned panko breadcrumbs. For the ultimate crunch! You can also use plain Panko breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning.

Marinara Sauce or Pasta sauce. I love the flavor of Trader Joe’s tomato-basil sauce, but you can use your favorite jarred sauce.

Mozzarella cheese. For the best results, use low moisture mozzarella and slice it yourself.

Foodie Tips and Variations

  • Crank up the flavor with Italian seasoning, pizza seasoning, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Layer prosciutto and/or fresh basil under the cheese
  • Swap out the chicken breasts for boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Spreading sauce onto chicken cutlets.
air fryer chicken parmesan with melted mozzarella cheese.
How to make it

  1. Spread the chicken with a thin layer of mayonnaise.
  2. Coat with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
  3. Air Fry until the chicken cutlets are crisp and golden brown and reach an internal temp of 165ºF.
  4. Top with sauce and cheese, leaving some parts uncovered. This will ensure you have some super crispy bits around the edges!
  5. Return to the air fryer and cook until the cheese is melted and gooey.

Time Saving Quick Tip!

This quick air fryer chicken parmesan recipe is based on my easy air fryer cutlets. You can speed things up even more by using frozen chicken cutlets. Follow my method for making red bag chicken in the air fryer, then pick this recipe up at Step 7.

How to serve with air fryer chicken parmesan

  • with spaghetti or your favorite pasta and jarred marinara sauce
  • over zucchini noodles
  • over cheesy polenta
  • on a hard roll
  • with a salad
  • with my favorite garlicky air fryer broccoli
  • with garlic bread or breadsticks
Chicken parmesan in an air fryer basket.
Frequently asked questions

Can I make this air fryer chicken ahead?

This recipe is best served immediately, so I don’t recommend making it in advance. You can get a jump start on things by making the breaded chicken cutlets ahead of time though, then just top them with sauce and cheese when you’re ready to eat.

If the cutlets have been in the refrigerator, add a minute or two to the cooking time to ensure they’re completely warmed through.

How should I store and reheat leftovers?

You can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Keep in mind that the breading will lose some of it’s crispness once it’s refrigerated.

To reheat in the air fryer (my preferred method), preheat your air fryer to 360ºF and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken parm is warmed through and the cheese has remelted.

You can also reheat this recipe in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, but it will not be as crispy.

Why should I use low moisture mozzarella?

Low moisture mozzarella is the BEST when it comes to melting — even better than fresh mozzarella! It has a denser texture that doesn’t release as much water as it heats up, resulting in super stretchy, melty goodness. It’s also my cheese of choice for homemade pizza! Look for it in the dairy case, near the blocks of cheddar.

Is air fryer chicken parmesan healthy?

Using an air fryer instead of pan frying the chicken means you can make this recipe with less oil.

Is this a traditional Italian recipe?

Chicken parmesan is an Italian-American creation, and you’re unlikely to find it on any menus in Italy. It’s similar to traditional melanzane alla Parmigiana, which is made with breaded and fried eggplant.

More air fryer recipes you might like:

  • Air fryer Nashville hot chicken sandwiches
  • Air Fryer Potato Croquettes
  • Smoky Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
  • How to Make Aldi Red Bag Chicken in the Air Fryer
  • How to Air Fry Chicken Drumsticks
  • How to Air Fry Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
Overhead view of chicken parm plated with a green salad.
Easy Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 8 Minutes Total time: 18 min
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  • 4 chicken cutlets or 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into filets
  • 2 teaspoons mayonaise
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce or marinara sauce
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese low moisture

Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper.
Arrange the chicken cutlets on a cutting board. Spread about half the the mayonnaise onto the chicken in a thin layer.
Sprinkle with half of the breadcrumb mixture, using the back of a spoon to press the breading into the chicken. Spritz with oil spray.
Flip the chicken over and repeat the breading process on the other size.
Place the chicken cutlets in your air fryer basket in a single layer, working in batches if needed.
Air fry at 400ºF for 4 minutes, or until the breading is crispy and golden brown.
Top each cutlet with 2 tablespoons of sauce and a slice or two of mozzarella cheese.
Return to the air fryer and cook for an additional 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through.
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