This Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel recipe is made with thin chicken cutlets that are coated in panko crumbs and air fried until tender, juicy and crispy. It requires minimal oil so it’s healthier than pan fried chicken schnitzel but you still get crispy results!
These air fried chicken schnitzels are perfectly juicy on the inside and golden brown and crunchy on the outside. This is the best way to enjoy chicken schnitzel if you’re looking to avoid all of the grease involved with pan frying.
The breaded chicken gets a little spritz of oil on both sides to ensure it gets crispy and the air fryer’s hot air circulation does most of the work for you.
The pork schnitzel recipe is the recipe that inspired the chicken version I’m sharing today!
What is schnitzel?
Schnitzel is made with a thin cut of boneless meat that’s breaded and fried in oil. It’s a dish that’s popular in Germany, Austria and Israel, and can be made with veal, pork, beef or chicken. In the United States, chicken schnitzel is similar to chicken fried steak.
Why you’ll love this air fryer chicken schnitzel
- You get ultra crispy results without using a lot of oil.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are readily available at grocery stores, and you can even use boneless chicken thighs.
- The panko breading is super flavourful and uses basic seasonings you probably already have in your pantry.
Details on the ingredients
The full list of ingredients and their quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Chicken – You’ll need 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to make this air fryer chicken schnitzel. They’ll be flattened to about 1/4-inch thick so they’ll get thinner and wider. I recommend using chicken breasts that are on the smaller side with the tenders removed. This is a small piece of meat found under the chicken breast. Sometimes they’re sold attached, other times they’re already removed. They’re just awkward to work with when making chicken schnitzel.
Flour – You’ll need to cover the chicken with a thin layer of flour. You can use white or whole wheat flour. Either one is great for absorbing moisture on the surface of the chicken and will help the egg mixture stick.
Eggs – Once floured, the chicken is dipped in an egg mixture, which will then help the panko bread crumbs stick to the chicken. You’ll need 2 eggs whisked together for this. You might be able to get away with one egg, but depending on the size of your chicken pieces, it might not be enough and you want to be able to generously coat all of the chicken.
Mustard – For a slightly tangy flavour, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard is whisked together with the eggs. If you don’t have any, you can leave it out, or you can substitute with yellow mustard. I wouldn’t replace it with any other type of mustard though.
Panko crumbs – To get that crispy outer breading, you’ll need 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of panko bread crumbs. You can use either white or whole wheat.
Seasonings – To add flavour to the crispy coating, the panko crumbs are mixed with dried oregano, basil, parsley, smoked paprika, salt and garlic powder.
How to make chicken schnitzel in the air fryer
Lay a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and lay the chicken breasts out in a single layer. Cover with another piece of parchment paper. (You can also use plastic wrap).
Use the flat side of a meat tenderizer or mallet to pound each piece of chicken to about 1/4-inch thick. Don’t pound too aggressively as you don’t want to tear the chicken.
Get your breading stations in order. Add the flour to a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk your eggs and mustard. And, in a third shallow bowl, mix together the panko bread crumbs and seasonings.
Take a piece of chicken and lightly coat it in the flour, shaking off any excess.
Dip the floured chicken cutlet into the egg mixture, making sure the chicken is fully coated on both sides. Let any excess drip off.
Move the chicken to the panko mixture and generously coat it, lightly pressing the crumbs into the chicken so it sticks well.
Repeat with remaining chicken.
Place the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket and lightly spray the tops with oil.
Since the chicken pieces are so wide, you will need to air them two at a time. Store the other two breaded chicken breasts in the fridge until it’s their turn in the air fryer.
Air fry on 400F for 8 minutes. Flip over, spray the tops again and air fry for another 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F degrees.
Pro tip for dredging and breading
I usually use one hand to coat the chicken (or whatever I’m breading) in flour and dip in the egg, keeping the other hand dry to coat each piece of chicken in the bread crumbs.
You can also use one hand for dredging in flour and coating in crumbs and the other hand for dipping in the egg.
The key is to make sure you have dry fingers when working with the panko crumbs. If your fingers have the wet egg mixture on them, the panko crumbs will just clump around your fingers.
What to serve with chicken schnitzel
- As pictured here, you can serve chicken schnitzels with mashed potatoes and greens beans with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Potato salad, orzo pasta salad or coleslaw would also be delicious side dishes.
- For a lighter side dish, try a simple green salad or this salad with peas and asparagus.
- For a condiment, I love mustard for dipping and mayo also works well, especially if you enjoy this breaded chicken cutlet on a bun (more like a chicken burger).
Frequently asked questions
Yes. Just make sure they’re boneless and skinless and flattened to 1/4-inch.
The amount of time really depends on the thickness of your chicken. A 1/4-inch thick piece cooked at 400F in the air fryer should be ready in 14-16 minutes. To know for sure, use an instant read thermometer to check. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165F.
You can use a mallet or flat side of a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken breasts to 1/4-inch thick. You’ll want to do this in between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to minimize any mess from the chicken juice splatter. Don’t be too aggressive when pounding them as the chicken can tear. If your chicken breasts are thick, instead of pounding them, you can butterfly them or cut them in half horizontally.
Storage and reheating
You’ll want to enjoy this chicken schnitzel when it’s hot and crispy.
If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
As the breading will soften in the fridge, when you reheat the leftover schnitzel, you’ll want to use the oven or air fryer. The microwave will only result in a warm, soggy breading.
If using the air fryer to reheat leftovers, place the chicken in the basket and air fry at 350F for 6-8 minutes, flipping over at the halfway point. Be careful not to heat for too long as the thin chicken will dry out.
The breading tends to stick a little when reheating the chicken schnitzel in the air fryer so you may want to spray the basket with oil.
Key recipe tips
- Remove chicken tender. This is the small piece of chicken meat that is found under the chicken breast. Sometimes boneless, skinless chicken breasts are sold with this still attached. I recommend removing it as it is awkward to work with when making schnitzel.
- Thin chicken cutlets. The chicken breasts are flattened to about 1/4-inch thick. If you leave them thicker, they will take longer to air fry.
- Spray with oil. To get the breading super crispy and golden brown, you’ll want to lightly spray each side of the breaded chicken with oil.
- Air fry in a single layer. The chicken pieces will be wide once flattened. To ensure even cooking, you’ll need to air fry the chicken in a single layer. This means air frying the schnitzel in two batches.
- Flip the chicken. Halfway through air frying, make sure you flip the chicken schnitzel over so it browns and crisps evenly.
- Don’t overcook. Be careful not to over cook the chicken schnitzel in the air fryer as the thin pieces can dry out quickly.
- Type of air fryer. This recipe was made in a 5.8 quart Cosori basket style air fryer. If you have a different size, model or brand, you may need to adjust the air frying time and temperature slightly.
More air fryer chicken recipes
- Air Fryer Chicken Bites (breaded chicken nuggets)
- Air Fryer Chicken Patties (breaded ground chicken burgers)
- Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!Print
Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel is made with thin chicken cutlets, seasoned panko crumbs and air fried with minimal oil until juicy and crispy!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenders removed
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Spray oil
- Lay a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and lay the chicken breasts out in a single layer. Cover with another piece of parchment paper. (You can also use plastic wrap/cling wrap).
- Use the flat side of a meat tenderizer or mallet to pound each chicken breast to about 1/4-inch thick. Don’t pound too aggressively as you may tear the chicken.
- Set up your breading stations. Add the flour to a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk your eggs and mustard. And, in a third shallow bowl, mix together the panko bread crumbs and seasonings.
- Take a piece of chicken and lightly coat it in the flour, shaking off any excess.
- Dip the floured chicken in the egg mixture, making sure it is fully coated on both sides. Let any excess drip off.
- Move the chicken to the panko mixture and generously coat it, lightly pressing the crumbs into the chicken so it sticks well.
- Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket and lightly spray the tops with oil. Since the chicken pieces are so wide, you will need to air them two at a time. Store the remaining two in the fridge until ready to air fry.
- Air fry on 400F for 8 minutes. Flip over, spray the tops again and air fry for another 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
- The total cook time includes time to air fry two batches.
- Be sure to flatten the chicken to 1/4-inch thick. If it’s thicker, the chicken will take longer to air fry.
- For crispy and golden brown schnitzel, make sure to spray each side of the chicken with oil.
- Air fry in a single layer and flip it once so the chicken cooks and browns evenly.
- Don’t overcook as the thin cutlets will dry out quickly.
- This recipe was made in a 5.8 quart Cosori basket style air fryer. If you have a different size, model or brand, you may need to adjust the air frying time and temperature slightly.
- Be sure to check out the other sections above the recipe card for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.
Keywords: breaded chicken, chicken schnitzel, chicken cutlet