Breaded chicken cutlets are a staple in an Italian-American home, but they are usually fried in oil until golden brown. While they are delicious, I was determined to recreate this recipe using no oil, and in my air fryer. This is a base recipe for air fried chicken cutlets. You can use these in salads, on sandwiches, or to make dishes like chicken parmigiana, without the mess of traditional frying.
What are chicken cutlets?
I am not sure if this is an East Coast thing, but this is what we call thin sliced chicken breast that is breaded in seasoned breadcrumbs and fried in oil. They are the base for dishes like chicken parmigiana, and also make a delicious addition to salads or sandwiches.
I, like most Long Islanders, grew up eating chicken cutlets weekly. Everyone’s mom on Long Island makes the best chicken cutlets, and mine is no exception. Typically, a weeknight dinner in our house was mom’s chicken cutlets, mashed potatoes and corn. I would usually dip my chicken cutlets in BBQ sauce, just because.
When I moved out on my own, I continued making chicken cutlets for Emilio and me. And then for my kids. It’s just the perfect family-friendly food. The kids like to chop them up and dip them in ketchup, and the adults love them because of their nostalgia.
When I started eating healthier, I still wanted to incorporate my favorite foods into my life. To lighten up this recipe, it didn’t take much. The only change I made was from pan frying them in oil, to air frying them. Everything else stayed the same!
What is an air fryer? What if I don’t have one?
An air fryer is basically a glorified, petite, countertop-sized convection oven.
I got my first air fryer pretty early on during my wellness journey. You can generally find them pretty inexpensively at most stores. They’re easy to find these days. I live and die by my Gowise 7qt Air Fryer. I find that the food gets the crispiest in this particular brand. In the past, I have used quite a few air fryers, and this has been my favorite for a few years now.
My air fryer also comes in handy to heat up my kids frozen chicken nuggets. It makes them crispy instead of that kind of soggy texture caused by the microwave.
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can use the convection feature in your oven, for the same time and temperature as suggested by whatever recipe you are following.
What you’ll need to make Air Fried Chicken Cutlets
This is the smallest ingredient list ever.
- thin sliced chicken breast (if you can’t find it, you can slice your own chicken breast)
- egg whites
- Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- olive oil spray
Creating your breading station
First, make yourself a quick breading station. Grab two shallow bowls. Pour your egg whites into one bowl, and the breadcrumbs into the other.
Next, lay out a piece of wax paper, or get a plate. This will be for you to place your breaded chicken pieces on as they wait to get cooked. I like using wax paper for this, and then I crumble it up and throw it away when I am done. Less mess and less cleanup. Plus… it keeps cross contamination from raw chicken at a minimum.
How to make Air Fried Chicken Cutlets
Take each piece of chicken, dip it in the egg white, followed by the breadcrumbs. Make sure each piece is thoroughly coated, and then set it aside on the wax paper until they are all finished.
Next, spray the basket of your air fryer with olive oil spray thoroughly. The size of your air fryer basket will determine how many cutlets you can cook at once. My old air fryer (5 qt) was able to handle two cutlets at a time, but this one (7 qt) can cook three, without them overlapping.
Lay the cutlets in the air fryer basket, and then spray the tops with more olive oil spray. Air fry at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. At the 7 minute mark, flip the chicken cutlets and spray the other side with olive oil. I like to do this for the maximum golden color.
The key here is to make sure that none of the pieces are overlapping each other in the air fryer. That way, we know each piece will get cooked to crispy perfection.
Set aside the cooked batch, and then repeat this process until all of the cutlets are finished.
The end result are these deliciously golden, air fried chicken cutlets. The perfect accompaniment to any sandwich, wrap, or salad, or the base of chicken parmigiana, or my chicken milanese recipe.
Easiest Air Fried Chicken Cutlets
- air fryer
- 2 shallow bowls
- 1.5 lb chicken breast sliced thin, 6 pieces
- ¼ cup liquid egg whites
- 3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- olive oil spray
- Create a breading station by pouring your egg whites into one shallow bowl, and the breadcrumbs into another shallow bowl.
- Lay a piece of wax paper or a plate to the side to put your breaded chicken on.
- Dip each piece of chicken into the egg white, and then into the breadcrumbs to coat thoroughly.
- Spray the bottom of your air fryer with olive oil spray, then add half of the chicken pieces (depending on the size of your air fryer). I do 3 at a time.
- Spray the tops of the chicken with olive oil spray.
- Air fry at 400 for 15 minutes. At the 7 minute mark, flip the chicken and spray the tops with more olive oil spray.
- Remove the cooked chicken and set aside on a plate, and repeat the process for the remaining pieces.
- 1 WW point each (blue and purple plans)
- 2 WW points each (green plan)