A delicious and quick way to cook the chicken schnitzels in the Air Fryer. Use chicken breast or chicken tenders and you will get a crispy crust on the outside and tender, juicy meat on the inside. As a bonus, you will also get a rich golden color that will look beautiful on any occasion on any table.
We all know that there aren’t enough recipes for how to cook a delicious piece of chicken meat. Today, I have for you a great recipe that is easy to follow and to get delicious chicken schnitzels in the end.
I love making the chicken schnitzels in the air fryer because we don’t need to use a ton of oil to get a crispy crust (however, we still need to use a little bit of oil. Read further to find why we need to use oil in the air fryer).
Alert! If your kids will try this recipe once, they will ask you often to cook them again this dish! This is how much the kids love these crispy chicken steaks.
These chicken cutlets are great on their own, but for a full dish, I’ll suggest serving them near a fresh salad or near some roasted vegetables in the air fryer and of course near some fried potatoes.
Pss, if you don’t like the idea of using panko, think of cooking some air-fried chicken patties instead.
Quick Note: This recipe is for two servings but you can easily use the multiplier below in the recipe card to cook a larger amount to feed the entire family.
🗺️ What is Chicken Schnitzel?
In a few simple words, Chicken Schnitzels is a variation of chicken steaks that we are familiar in the US.
You may find similar recipes using different kinds of meat. It all depends on the geographical location.
For example, one of the most popular schnitzels is “Wiener schnitzel” and it usually is made from veal meat. In Belgium and Netherlands, you will find that the pork schnitzel is very popular. In Israel, you will find turkey schnitzel.
In Italy, you will find the “Cotoletta Milanese” which is a Milan-style schnitzel. In Japan, you will find the cutlets under the name “chikin katsu“.
So, as you can see, this dish is very versatile and you can find it around the globe with a few small variations.
📙 What You Will Find in This Post?
- How to make sure that the meat will remain juicy inside?
- How to get a crispier texture on the outside?
- Why you should use oil in the marinade?
- How to get the taste of deep-fried without using tons of oil?
👩🍳 How to Cook Chicken Schnitzel in Air Fryer?
- Butterfly the chicken breast.
- Season the meat and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
- Mix in a bowl one egg with cream.
- Take the chicken meat and soak them in the egg and cream mix.
- Cover evenly with panko breadcrumbs.
- Cook the chicken schnitzels at 380°F for about 15 minutes.
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- It is an easy and quick recipe to make.
- It is a kid-friendly recipe that your kids will adore. As we are making this recipe in the air fryer we will use almost no oil so it is healthier than the traditional chicken schnitzel.
- You can vary the taste of the meat by using different spice mixes that you prefer.
- This recipe is good if you want to cook a juicy chicken breast.
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutes
- Chicken breast. You could also use chicken legs, tenders, or turkey breast.
- Panko breadcrumbs. You can replace it with breadcrumbs or with crushed puffed brown rice cereal or corn flakes.
- Egg. I used the egg to make the crust stick better to the meat.
- Cream. You could replace it with regular milk. This will give a note of creaminess.
- Seasonings. I used a classic mix of salt and pepper, but if you want to add more flavor to the recipe and make it your own, you could also add other aromatic mixes that you prefer.
- Oil. I also sprayed the chicken schnitzels with olive oil to get a nice crispy crumb. If you will skip the oil, the end result will not have such a nice golden color and the meat will not be so succulent inside.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
You could serve them with some baked potatoes, roasted vegetables, a salad of fresh vegetables, and of course with some vegetables cooked in an air fryer such as:
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👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast?
In the beginning, we need to cut the chicken breast into thin, similar-sized pieces to be sure that the chicken schnitzels will be cooked the same on the entire surface.
This action is called “to butterfly a chicken breast”. Take care of how you operate the knife to avoid cutting your fingers. If you have the occasion, you can ask the butcher to cut the chicken breast for you. This will make the process a lot easier. If you don’t have this option I will try to describe next how to do it properly.
- Prepare a sharp knife, then put the chicken breast on a chopping board.
- Put your hand flat on top of the chicken breast.
- Start cutting parallel to the chopping board from the thicker part and end at the thinner point.
To be easier for you, take a look at the video:
After that, put the meat in a large bowl and season it with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Quick Note: We are using the oil in combination with salt, pepper, and other spices because oil help spices to open better their taste, and the meat will be flavorful in the end.
Now, massage the meat well, to be sure that it is covered with spices evenly on all sides. After that, let the meat marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you have more time available, you can leave it for even a few hours. The results will be even better.
Meantime, take another bowl, and mix in it one egg and cream. We are doing that to help the panko breadcrumbs stick better to the meat and to receive a note of creaminess.
Take one more plate (the latest one) and pour into it the panko breadcrumbs.
Pass the meat through the mix of a beaten egg and cream, then roll over the meat slices on the plate with panko. Make sure that the meat is covered evenly on all sides with breadcrumbs.
Pro Tip: If you want to ensure that your chicken schnitzels will be juicy on the inside, repeat the last two steps one more time.
For that, soak the meat one more time in the egg and cream mix.
And then one more time on the plate with panko breadcrumbs. That way, you will get a thick crust that will not allow the chicken breast to dry and as a bonus, it will be also very crunchy.
Pro Tip: At this stage, you can sprinkle the chicken schnitzel one more time with cooking spray or olive oil and in that way, the crust will be even crispier and you will get a taste as if they were fried in oil, yes, of course, they will not be so fat.
Cook them for about 12-15 minutes at 380°F (190°C). In my case, in the Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT, it took 15 minutes.
Quick Note: Keep in mind that timing is only approximate only because the timing may differ from your air fryer model, its size, and the piece of meat that you use. You should orient according to the color of the crust because the meat is cut thin and it will cook very quickly.
🏆 Expert Tips. What to Pay Attention To?
- Make sure that you will cut the meat into slices that will have the same thickness on the whole surface to be sure that it will cook evenly.
- Do not cut the meat thicker than ⅓”, otherwise you risk drying the meat on the edges or even worse not cooking enough on the inside.
- Season the meat ahead of time and let it marinate for a while to get a more intense taste.
- By soaking the chicken schnitzels two times in the beaten egg and the panko breadcrumbs, we will get the meat jucier on the inside and we will get a crispier texture on the outside. A perfect combination of those two textures.
♻️ Make Ahead, Storage and Heating:
This recipe is perfect for cooking ahead of time. You have a few options here:
1. You can just season the meat, leave it to marinade, and roll it into the panko when you will plan to cook it the next day.
2. You can make the crust and keep the raw slices in the fridge for a few hours until you will decide to cook it.
3. You can cook it and keep it in the fridge until you need to serve it. In that case, reheat the chicken schnitzels in the air fryer to make sure that you will not lose this crispy texture.
If you plan to keep it raw then I will recommend not to keep it in the fridge for more than 24 hours. If you have cooked it already, then wait until it will cool down, put it in an air-tight container, and keep it for up to 3 days in the fridge.
This recipe is perfect for freezing. For the best results, I recommend keeping it raw in the freezer. You can make the crust and keep the raw chicken schnitzels in a well-closed container in the freezer for a few months. Or you can cook the chicken schnitzels and keep them cooked for a few months until you will need to serve them.
If you want to keep this crunchy texture, then I recommend reheating the chicken schnitzels only in the air fryer at maximum power for about 4-5 minutes because if you will reheat them in the microwave the crust will become soft and unattractive.
It all depends on your air fryer model and the size of the chicken schnitzel. In my case, I cook the chicken schnitzels in Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT at 380°F (190°C) for about 12-15 minutes. As the chicken schnitzels are cut thick, you may consider cooking them until they will get a nice golden color.
📋 Recipe Card:
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel
- Cut the meat into thin, even pieces.12 oz Chicken Breasts
- Season the meat with salt, pepper, olive oil and let it to marinate for at least 30 minutes.⅓ teaspoon Salt, ⅓ teaspoon Black Pepper, 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Take a bowl and mix in it one egg with the cream.2 tablespoon Cream, 1 piece Egg
- In another bowl, pour the panko breadcrumbs.1 cup Panko
- Take the chicken schnitzels and soak them in the egg and cream mix then cover them evenly with panko.
- Repeat the last two steps one more time.
- Sprinkle the air fryer basket with Olive Oil and put the chicken schnitzels in it.
- Cook the chicken schnitzels at 380°F (190°C) for about 12-15 minutes or until they will get a nice golden color.
- The timing in this recipe are for Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT. If you use a smaller or bigger air fryer model, it may be needed to adjust the timing.
- Soak two times the chicken breast into the beaten egg and in the panko breadcrumbs if you want to get a crispier texture on the outside and juicy meat on the inside.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket because you need to let the hot air to circulate easily between the schnitzels. This will allow the meat to cook evenly on all sides.