Tender and crispy spicy chicken parmesan cooked to perfection in the air fryer. A twist on the classic chicken parmesan which requires minimal work but all the juicy and crunchy flavor.
This simple recipe requires marinating the chicken breast in seasoned buttermilk overnight. Guaranteed moist chicken with a crispy brown crust. Adapted from Skinnytaste’s Air Fried Chicken Sandwich recipe which taught me the wonders of a buttermilk marinade. A great chicken dish to make along with some hearty pasta, toasted bread, or a beautiful salad.
I love chicken parmesan as much as the next person but am often am not in the mood to get my fingers and kitchen into a mess (with the dredging and dipping that is required).
This baked spicy chicken parmesan recipe removes all of that fuss of frying (not to mention hand washing from touching raw chicken) while still providing all the fun texture and flavor you crave in a good chicken parm.
How to make Air Fryer Spicy Chicken Parmesan:
Start by salting the chicken. It is important to salt the chicken and let it rest for a bit. This allows the salt to absorb into the meat and ensures the dish is not bland. Add buttermilk and spices and let the chicken marinade overnight. Overnight margination allows the chicken to get tender without having to beat the meat. (Less work- yes please!)
Remove the excess marinade from the chicken and dredge in panko bread crumbs. Place in the air fryer and cook. Top with mozzarella at the end so it melts. Serve with pasta, toasted bread, or a leafy green salad.
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Tips to make the Baked Spicy Chicken Parm
Use chicken breast or thighs depending on the type of chicken you prefer or have in your fridge. Chicken thighs are not traditionally used in a chicken parmesan, however they have more flavor and provide the same structure. You can butterfly your chicken breast or buy thin cutlets. However, the purpose of this recipe is to be as easy as possible so therefore you can even use whole chicken breasts and it will be juicy and moist (thanks to the buttermilk marinade).
If you do not have buttermilk you can use regular milk and a little lemon juice to make your own. Using buttermilk is key as it helps tenderize the chicken as it has the optimal acidity to make the meat tender without getting mushy or tough. Season the buttermilk with the following pantry staples: cayenne pepper, paprika, mustard powder, garlic powder, dried parsley and pepper.
While regular Italian bread crumbs work fine if you are shallow frying your cutlets, when air frying, it is better to use panko bread crumbs as they are coarser and create a crispier crust in the oven. Add a little parmesan to the bread crumbs to provide some salt and since the dish is called Air Fryer Spicy Chicken Parmesan!
Full disclosure- I used burrata in the pictures since it was what I had in the fridge. You can use buffalo mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, or shredded mozzarella depending on what you have in the fridge or prefer. Keep in mind a fresher mozzarella will have greater water content and creamier taste, therefore, I recommend a fresh mozzarella sliced. (You will not regret it).
Because I used buratta, which has a higher water content, I did not put any sauce on top of the chicken Parmesan when I melted the cheese. Topping the chicken cutlet with sauce is a personal choice.
Other Air Fryer Recipes:
A twist on the classic chicken parmesan made in the air fryer and requires minimal work but all the juicy and crunchy flavor.
- 4 thinly cut chicken breast (about 2 –2.5 pounds)
- 2 cups of buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- Oil spray
- 1 cup mozerella cheese (see above)
- Pat dry chicken cutlets and salt.
- Place chicken in a bowl or tray which can easily be placed the fridge.
- Pour buttermilk and spices into the bowl and mix.
- Cover and place chicken to marinade in the fridge overnight.
- When you are ready to cook, place panko and parmesean onto a large plate and lightly mix with a fork.
- Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with oil spray.
- Remove the excess buttermilk from the chicken and dredge in panko mixture.
- Place chicken breast in airfryer basket and cook for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.
- Top with cheese and cook for another 3-5 minues.
- Repeat with the reast of the chicken breasts.
- I find cooking each breast indivudally in the air fryer creates the crispiest and most even crust on the chicken.
- To Make in Advance: Air Fry all the cutlets in the airfryer and place them on a cooling rack over a baking tray. Pop the baking tray with cheese into the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees to melt the cheese together prior to serving.
Keywords: air fryer, spicy, chick parmesan
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The concept of this recipe was inspired by David Chan’s Recipe Club: Chicken Parm Episode.