If you love chicken katsu and are looking for a lighter version that is just as crispy and delicious, you need to try this air fryer chicken katsu. It pairs great with katsu sauce or a nice japanese curry.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Katsu
Before making this recipe, make sure you have all of the following ingredients. Substitutions and alternative ingredients are listed below.
- Chicken breast: You can also alternatively use chicken thighs.
- Salt: I use kosher salt, but any variety of salt will work just fine.
- Pepper: I prefer freshly ground black pepper, but again pre-ground black pepper is fine.
- All purpose flour: You can also use a gluten-free all purpose flour if you want to make this recipe celiac friendly.
- Egg: I wouldn’t recommend switching out this ingredient since it plays a huge role in keeping the breading attached to the chicken.
- Panko breadcrumbs: You can also use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.
- Neutral oil: Or a cooking spray.
How to make Air Fryer Chicken Katsu
First, cut the chicken breast into thin filets. Pat the filets dry with a paper towel until both sides are dry. In three separate bowls, add flour, egg, then panko breadcrumbs. Coat the chicken in the flour and pat off the excess.
Then dip in the egg coat. Let the excess egg drip off the filets. Finally, dip the filet in panko breadcrumbs. Make sure the chicken filets are fully coated and gently press the panko into the chicken.
Use a cooking spray to spray oil evenly over the chicken filets. Alternatively, you can use a brush to coat the filets in a light layer of oil. Add to the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Flip halfway through the cooking process.
Remove from the air fryer and let cook for several minutes on a cutting board or cooling rack. Once cooled, cut the chicken into strips if desired.
Is chicken katsu healthy for you?
Traditional chicken katsu is deep or shallow fried in oil, making it a pretty high fat and high calorie main dish. That being said, that doesn’t necessarily make it unhealthy, but rather not the best choice for those trying to lose weight. For those in this position, it may be best to consume traditional chicken katsu on occasion versus on a daily or weekly basis.
This air fryer chicken katsu is lower in fat compared to the traditional version, making it a lower calorie option and therefore better for weight loss. I personally prefer the air fryer chicken katsu if I’m making it as a weeknight dinner, but I do enjoy the traditional kind every once in a while.
How long should you cook chicken in the air fryer?
I would recommend cooking the chicken filets for about 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This of course depends on the thickness of the filets.
If you want to avoid overcooking the chicken, I recommend checking the temperature starting at 6 minutes and rechecking every 2 minutes after that. Once the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you can take them out.
Does panko work in the air fryer?
Yes! But I would recommend coating the panko in a bit of oil to ensure it crisps up nicely. I do this by spraying the outer coat with a cooking spray. But, you can also use a brush to coat the chicken in a light layer of oil. I recommend using a neutral oil like canola or avocado oil.
Air fryer alternatives
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can also make this chicken katsu in the oven or pan fry it. For the oven, follow the same instructions. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
To pan fry, follow the same instructions, but instead of coating the chicken filets in oil, add some oil to a heated pan, about 2-4 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken filets and cook over medium until both sides are golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
What to serve this with
I typically serve this recipe with a side of short grain rice (white or brown) and a steamed vegetable. I will also top the chicken katsu slices with tonkatsu sauce.
But, the best way to have this is with Japanese curry on the side. I love making a vegetarian japanese curry with potatoes, carrots and onion. Rice also pairs well with the katsu and curry.
How to store the leftovers
If you have any leftovers with this dish, I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let the chicken filets cool until no longer hot and don’t cut them into slices. Transfer directly to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Once you are ready to eat your leftovers, you can throw them back in the air fryer for a few minutes to get them crispy. If you want your food fast and don’t care if it’s a bit soggy, the microwave works fine.
Alternatively, you can also store the chicken filets in their raw form, before adding them to the air fryer. These will only last 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Then, once you are ready to eat the leftovers, throw the filets in the air fryer or oven.
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Air Fryer Chicken Katsu
- 1 lb chicken breast
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- cooking spray as needed
- First, cut the chicken breast into thin filets. Pat the filets dry with a paper towel until both sides are dry. Season with salt and pepper.
- In three separate bowls, add flour, egg, then panko breadcrumbs.
- Coat the chicken in the flour and pat off the excess. Then dip in the egg coat. Let the excess egg drip off the filets. Finally, dip the filet in panko breadcrumbs. Make sure the chicken filets are fully coated and gently press the panko into the chicken.
- Use a cooking spray to spray oil evenly over the chicken filets. Alternatively, you can use a brush to coat the filets in a light layer of oil.
- Add to the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Flip halfway through the cooking process.
- Remove from the air fryer and let cook for several minutes on a cutting board or cooling rack. Once cooled, cut the chicken into strips if desired.