Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel: Less Oil More Flavor!

One of my first teachers when learning to cook was a lovely German grandmother who was a master of comfort food. So, itโ€™s no surprise that I still love classic German fare! This air fryer chicken schnitzel is my modern adaptation of the crispy, thin chicken cutlets I learned to make as a kid.

air fryer chicken schnitzel recipe dinners done quick

What is Chicken Schnitzel?

Schnitzel is a dish that consists of a boneless meat cutlet that is pounded thin, breaded, and traditionally fried. The seasonings are simple, and itโ€™s often served with lemon wedges for acidity.

Nowadays, Itโ€™s available in a variety of meats, including beef, veal, chicken, and pork, so a chicken schnitzel is simply indicating the type of meat used in the dish.

The origins of schnitzel are European, with Germany and Austria being the locations most associated with the classic dish. Of course, over time there have been many variations and influences from other cultures as well!

Why Youโ€™ll Love This Recipe

This air fryer chicken schnitzel recipe is a favorite because itโ€™s easy to make, and delivers crispy crust around a juicy chicken cutlet.

Skip the deep fryer and use just a spritz of oil, and youโ€™ll still achieve that perfect crust, only with far less oil required so you can feel better about it!

Since schnitzel is such a simple dish, you can pair it with a variety of side dishes to compliment it. Iโ€™m serving it with some braised red cabbage I made earlier this week, as well as a side of mashed potatoes. But Iโ€™ll give you some other serving suggestions later too!

Ingredients List

ingredients to make air fryer chicken schnitzel
  • 1 pound chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ยผ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ยฝ tsp paprika
  • ยฝ tsp parsley
  • ยฝ tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • ยผ tsp black pepper (or more to taste)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Ingredient Tips and Substitutions

  • You can use regular chicken breast and slice and pound it thin yourself, or buy thin sliced breast cutlets to cut down on work
  • All of the seasonings may be adjusted to taste, or even omitted (except for salt and pepper)
  • Gluten Free: Omit the flour and use gluten free breadcrumbs instead
  • Keto: Omit the flour and use pork pankoย 

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Trim chicken if desired, and pound until cutlets are approximately ยผโ€ thick
pound the chicken nice and thin using a kitchen mallet
  1. Set up a dredging station of flour, eggs mixed with Dijon, and then the panko combined with the garlic powder, paprika, and parsley. Add salt and pepper evenly to all 3 stations
set up a dredging station for your thin chicken cutlets
  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375ยฐF (or the closest setting your specific air fryer has)
  2. Coat each piece of chicken first in flour, then dip into the egg mixture, and lastly press into the breadcrumbs until thoroughly coated
run your thin chicken cutlets through the dredging stations
  1. Place the chicken into the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer, then spray the tops with a light misting of olive oil spray
place breaded coated chicken in air fryer basket
  1. Cook on the air fry setting for 5 minutes at 375ยฐF, then flip, reapply oil, and cook for an additional 3-5 more minutes, or until breading is browned and chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ยฐF
  2. Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite sides
overhead view of air fryer chicken schnitzel on a plate with red cabbage and mashed potatoes on the side

What to Serve With Chicken Schnitzel

  • German potato salad
  • Red cabbage (sweet or sour)
  • Green beans
  • Sauerkraut
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Onion rings
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Creamed spinach
  • Green salad
  • Spaetzle
  • Egg noodles
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Brown gravy
  • Mushroom gravy
  • Bavarian pretzels
  • Mushroom soup

There are lots of great choices for sides to serve with chicken schnitzel, from the traditional to more modern pairings. Choose your favorites to complete your meal, and donโ€™t forget a nice, cold German beer as well!

Try my air fryer chicken schnitzel recipe alongside my Air Fryer German Potato Salad, Microwave Red Cabbage, Air Fryer Scalloped Potatoes, Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts With Bacon, or easy Air Fryer Frozen Spaetzle.

Recipe FAQs

What Type of Chicken is Best For Schnitzel?

The best choice for schnitzel is boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders. They are lean and tender, making them ideal for schnitzel.

You can purchase thinly sliced versions to save time, or pound them thin yourself with a meat mallet.

Can I Use Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs For a Gluten-Free Version?

Yes, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs to make gluten-free chicken schnitzel.

Just ensure all other ingredients are also gluten-free, as cross contamination can occur in production.

How Do I Prevent the Breading From Falling Off During Cooking?

To prevent breading from falling off, make sure the chicken is properly coated in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, and press the breadcrumbs firmly onto the chicken.

Also, avoid overcrowding in the air fryer so it gets proper air circulation. This allows the breading to crisp and bond better.

What Should I Do if the Schnitzel is Too Dry?

If the schnitzel turns out dry, it may have been overcooked. In the future, reduce the cooking time slightly, and make sure your chicken cutlets are of uniform thickness.

In the short term, feel free to top them with gravy to add moisture.

Can I Freeze Leftover Schnitzel For Later Consumption?

Yes, you can freeze leftover cooked schnitzel. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap or foil, and store them in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Reheat them in the air fryer when needed at 350ยฐF for 4-6 minutes, until heated through and crispy again.

Are There Vegetarian Alternatives to Chicken Schnitzel?

Yes, there are vegetarian alternatives like eggplant, tofu or a chicken meat substitute.

Follow a similar breading and air frying process with your chosen ingredient.

What Sauces or Condiments Go Well With Schnitzel?

Schnitzel pairs well with various condiments like lemon wedges, cranberry sauce, mustard, or mushroom gravy.

Choose your favorite or try different options!

Can I Make Schnitzel in Advance and Reheat it in the Air Fryer?

Yes, you can make schnitzel in advance and reheat it in the air fryer. This reheating method will help maintain its crispiness.

Reheat at a lower temperature for a shorter time to avoid overcooking. Generally 3-5 minutes at 350ยฐF is sufficient, depending on the size and thickness of your chicken.

What Are the Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Schnitzel?

Common mistakes include overcooking, overcrowding the air fryer, not pressing breadcrumbs onto the chicken firmly, and using unevenly sized chicken cutlets.

Pay the most attention to these factors for the best results.

How Long Does a Chicken Schnitzel Take in the Air Fryer?

A chicken schnitzel takes between 8-12 minutes on average in the air fryer. Times will vary based on the thickness of the chicken, as well as your specific air fryer.

Always make sure to cook to an internal temperature of 165ยฐF for food safety before serving.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • The more even your chicken cutlets are, the more evenly theyโ€™ll cook. Make sure to pound to a similar size, and cut them into smaller pieces if needed for uniformity
  • My schnitzel was perfectly cooked and verified via an instant read thermometer after 8 minutes total in a Ninja air fryer. Depending on the size of your chicken and your specific air fryer, times may vary slightly
  • I can fit about 4 schnitzels in my 8-qt Ninja air fryerโ€™s baskets at a time. Cook in batches if needed for smaller units. Do not try to overlap the pieces, or they will not get brown and crispy (and no one likes a sad, soggy schnitzel!)
crispy air fryer chicken schnitzel with mashed potatoes and red cabbage

Storage and Reheating Tips

  • Store leftover chicken schnitzel in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Alternatively, wrap schnitzels individually and store in the freezer for up to 6 months
  • To reheat, air fry at 350ยฐF for 3-5 minutes, or until warmed through and re-crisped. Add an additional 2 minutes if cooking from frozen. This method also works for leftover schnitzel from a restaurant, in addition to homemade

More Air Fryer Chicken Cutlet Recipes

Final Thoughts

This air fryer chicken schnitzel is a crispy and flavorful dish thatโ€™s so easy to make. Whether itโ€™s the star of your Oktoberfest celebration or just a simple weeknight meal, itโ€™s sure to please.

Pair it with a variety of classic German sides, or branch out with different vegetable and potato combinations to truly make the meal your own. It even goes great placed on a bun to make a unique sandwich!

Not only does making schnitzel at home save a trip to the restaurant, but this preparation requires way less oil than the traditional deep fried version, so you can feel even better about enjoying it.

For an even easier option, check out my recipe for Aldi Frozen Pork Schnitzel in the Air Fryer. Just cook and enjoy, no preparation or defrosting required!

air fryer chicken schnitzel recipe dinners done quick

Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel (Panko Breading)

This air fryer chicken schnitzel is so crispy thanks to a seasoned panko breading, and you donโ€™t need to deep fry it! Itโ€™s an easy and delicious dinner, served with your favorite sides.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, German
Servings 2
Calories 617 kcal

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Dredging station (or 3 plates or shallow bowls)
  • Meat mallet (optional; only if not using thin sliced chicken)

Ingredients
ย ย 

  • 1 Pound chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 Large eggs (whisked)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ยผ Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • ยฝ Tsp paprika
  • ยฝ Tsp dried parsley
  • ยฝ Tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • ยผ Tsp black pepper (or more to taste)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions
ย 

  • Trim chicken if desired, and pound until cutlets are approximately ยผโ€ thick
    1 Pound chicken breast cutlets
  • Set up a dredging station of flour, eggs mixed with Dijon, and then the panko combined with the garlic powder, paprika, and parsley. Divide salt and pepper across all 3 stations
    2 Large eggs, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, ยผ Cup all purpose flour, 1 Cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 Tsp garlic powder, ยฝ Tsp paprika, ยฝ Tsp dried parsley, ยฝ Tsp salt, ยผ Tsp black pepper
  • Preheat your air fryer to 375ยฐF (or the closest setting your specific air fryer has)
  • Coat each piece of chicken first in flour, then dip into the egg mixture, and lastly press into the breadcrumbs until thoroughly coated
  • Place the chicken into the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer, then spray the tops with a light misting of olive oil spray
    Olive oil spray
  • Cook on the air fry setting for 5 minutes at 375ยฐF, then flip, reapply oil, and cook for an additional 3-5 more minutes, or until breading is browned and chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ยฐF
  • Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite sides
    Lemon wedges for serving

Notes

  • You can use regular chicken breast and slice and pound it thin yourself, or buy thin sliced breast cutlets to cut down on work
  • All of the seasonings may be adjusted to taste, or even omitted (except for salt and pepper)
  • Gluten Free: Omit the flour (or use GF) and use gluten free breadcrumbs instead
  • Keto: Omit the flour and use pork panko
  • The more even your chicken cutlets are, the more evenly theyโ€™ll cook. Make sure to pound to a similar size, and cut them into pieces if needed for uniformity
  • My schnitzel was perfectly cooked and verified via an instant read thermometer after 8 minutes total in a Ninja air fryer. Depending on the size of your chicken and your specific air fryer, times may vary slightly
  • I can fit about 4 schnitzels in my 8-qt Ninja air fryerโ€™s baskets at a time. Cook in batches if needed for smaller units. Do not try to overlap the pieces, or they will not get brown and crispy
  • Store leftover chicken schnitzel in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Alternatively, wrap schnitzels individually and store in the freezer for up to 6 months
  • To reheat, air fry at 350ยฐF for 3-5 minutes, or until warmed through and re-crisped. Add an additional 2 minutes if cooking from frozen
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on brand of ingredients, any sauces or sides added, and quantity consumed, so please consider this a guideline only. Nutrition facts also assume 100% of the breading will be used, which is not normally the case

Nutrition

Serving: 333gCalories: 617kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 51gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7.7gCholesterol: 308mgSodium: 3202mgPotassium: 128mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 4.9gVitamin A: 314IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 115mgIron: 4.8mg
Keyword air fryer chicken recipes, air fryer chicken schnitzel, air fryer chicken schnitzel panko, chicken schnitzel recipes, crispy chicken, easy dinner recipes, ninja air fryer chicken schnitzel, oktoberfest
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Katie Vine