Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken Recipe

Crispy chicken doesn't always have to be deep-fried. While we love a plate of fried chicken as much as the next person, it isn't that convenient to prepare at home. Thanks to Chowhound recipe developer Julianne De Witt, you now have a delicious alternative that doesn't require a pot of hot oil. This air fryer Parmesan chicken recipe is the perfect solution to all your crispy chicken cravings: It's splatter-free, packed with flavor, and ready in 20 minutes. 

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As De Witt comments, "I like this recipe because it's quick and easy — perfect for a weeknight dinner." Whip up this crunchy Parmesan chicken dish as a tasty protein to pair with your favorite side dish, or set it out as part of a family-style buffet meal. If you're worried this air fryer version won't stand up to classic fried chicken, you have nothing to worry about. Well-seasoned with a subtly cheesy touch, these chicken thighs have everything to offer.  

Gather the ingredients for air fryer Parmesan chicken

For this recipe, you'll need mayonnaise, minced garlic cloves, salt, freshly ground black pepper, Italian seasoning, boneless skinless chicken thighs, panko breadcrumbs, and grated Parmesan cheese. De Witt notes, "Bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks would work as well, but they take longer to cook, so adjust the cooking time accordingly." However, take note that she advises against using chicken breasts: "I normally avoid cooking boneless breasts in the air fryer because they tend to get tough."

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Step 1: Combine the mayo and seasonings

Add mayonnaise, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning to a small bowl. Stir to combine.

Step 2: Coat the chicken

Brush mayonnaise mixture all over the chicken thighs.

Step 3: Make the breading

In a separate bowl, combine the panko and Parmesan with the remaining salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Step 4: Sprinkle on the breading

Pour half of the panko mixture on top of the chicken thighs.

Step 5: Press it in

Press the panko mixture gently onto the chicken to adhere.

Step 6: Repeat

Flip chicken and repeat breading process on the other side.

Step 7: Prep the air fryer

Grease the inside of the air fryer basket with cooking spray and set to 375 F.

Step 8: Transfer the chicken to the air fryer

Using tongs, gather the chicken thighs and add them to the air fryer basket, tucking any looser pieces underneath.

Step 9: Cook and serve

Cook for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F. Serve warm.

What are some air fryer tips for crispy parmesan chicken?

Although an air fryer requires less of a hands-on approach than deep-frying, there are a few ways to guarantee success. De Witt's recipe provides the optimal balance of wet and dry ingredients to ensure the chicken doesn't dry out. As she explains, "The mayonnaise helps to keep the chicken moist and tender." By creating a wet coating between the chicken and breading, the juiciness is sealed into every bite.

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If you're used to flipping food halfway through its duration in the air fryer, De Witt says this isn't necessary with boneless thighs. "I just like to check them halfway through to make sure they are browning sufficiently," she notes. "Thinner thighs will take less time to cook, so keep an eye on the temperature." Finally, for proper browning and crispiness, be sure not to overcrowd the air fryer. "Space out the thighs in the basket so they aren't touching," De Witt instructs. 

How should you serve air fryer parmesan chicken?

There are so many ways to savor this delicious air fryer Parmesan chicken. We wouldn't bat an eye if someone served individual bites as an appetizer. Of course, these juicy thighs make an excellent protein for your main course. "I like to serve these with a rice pilaf and grilled veggies or a Caesar salad," De Witt shares. They'd surely pair well with roasted or mashed potatoes, steamed green beans or broccoli, coleslaw, or a simple leafy green salad, too.

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If you're preparing a little extra, De Witt notes, "Leftovers will last 3-4 days in the fridge." Once you're ready to finish the rest, she instructs: "Use your air fryer to reheat and crisp up the coating." If you're looking for an easy meal prep idea to serve twice in a week, no one will complain about this air fryer Parmesan chicken.

Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken Recipe

4.9 (25 ratings)

Enjoy all the crispy crunch of fried chicken, without the fuss of deep-frying. This Parmesan-crusted chicken turns out moist and delicious in the air fryer.

Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
servings
2
servings
parmesan chicken thighs in bowl
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Directions

  1. Add mayonnaise, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning to a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Brush mayonnaise mixture all over the chicken thighs.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the panko and Parmesan with the remaining salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  4. Pour half of the panko mixture on top of the chicken thighs.
  5. Press the panko mixture gently onto the chicken to adhere.
  6. Flip chicken and repeat breading process on the other side.
  7. Grease the inside of the air fryer basket with cooking spray and set to 375 F.
  8. Using tongs, gather the chicken thighs and add them to the air fryer basket, tucking any looser pieces underneath.
  9. Cook for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories per Serving 927
Total Fat 49.8 g
Saturated Fat 13.6 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 439.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 0.6 g
Sodium 1,198.1 mg
Protein 99.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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