Thinly sliced chicken cutlets are coated in panko and air fried to crispy perfection in this Air Fryer Chicken Katsu recipe! The crispy coating, juicy chicken, and homemade katsu sauce combine to form a fantastic blend of sweet flavor that your taste buds will love!
Chicken is my favorite food to air fry, and there is no better way to make it than golden brown and crispy. And this seems to be a popular opinion since fried chicken is a dish you can find in many different cultures and cuisines. Everyone has their own unique way of enjoying crispy breaded and fried pieces of chicken.
This dish is from Japanese cuisine and is a healthier chicken katsu. The traditional method of cooking katsu is deep-frying, but using an air fryer is both better for you and more straightforward.
Large pots or pans of hot oil are messy and awkward and just not suited to a home kitchen. On the other hand, an air fryer makes this a 30 minute dinner with almost no cleanup needed! It is perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Key Chicken Katsu Ingredients
For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below
Chicken cutlet – Traditionally, the meat for this recipe is sliced thinly. I have never made this with boneless chicken thighs, but they should work fine in the recipe.
Panko breadcrumbs – Japanese style Panko breadcrumbs are one of the critical features of this dish. After all, you can’t make a Japanese-inspired dish with regular bread crumbs!
Other ingredients are basic staples, including flour and egg.
You can buy tonkatsu sauce at an Asian grocery store or online on Amazon. But it is super easy to make a homemade tonkatsu sauce.
This savory sauce is a unique combination of sweet and tart. It is a popular Japanese BBQ sauce that is a little bit tart, a little bit salty, and sweet. It has a very distinctive taste and isn’t spicy, making it a kid-friendly sauce.
Making homemade sauce can seem intimidating, but this one is mostly just ketchup, so you probably already have all the ingredients you need for this Japanese sauce. And you can stir it together while the meat air fries!
How to Make Chicken Katsu in the Air Fryer
1. Bread the Chicken
The meat needs to be thinly sliced. So if you have a full-sized boneless breast, slice it in half to form two cutlets about 1/2 inch thick.
You can pound the meat to make it thinner, but I don’t usually bother. Sprinkle the cutlets with salt and black pepper to season.
For the dipping process, get two shallow bowls. Mix the flour and panko in one bowl. In the second bowl, break the egg and whisk it.
Take each piece of meat dip it into the bowl with the egg mixture. Let any excess egg drip back into the bowl.
Then put it in the panko mixture. Flip the piece around and make sure it gets well coated with the crumbs.
2. Air Fry
Set the breaded slices aside for a few minutes and preheat the air fryer at 360 degrees F. Preheating will help ensure maximum crispiness!
Spray the chicken with a small amount of oil using a spray bottle. Don’t drench the meat in oil; a light spray is sufficient. Then put the pieces in the air fryer basket, keeping them in a single layer.
Don’t use a commercial nonstick cooking spray because the chemicals can damage the nonstick coating on the air fryer basket. Use an inexpensive oil spray bottle or brush oil onto the meat.
Cook at 360 degrees F for 8 minutes. Then flip the pieces over and cook it for another 8 minutes. The meat should be golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Use an instant-read thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F. If not, put it back in for another few minutes and check again.
3. Make the Sauce
While the meat cooks, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Serve air fryer chicken katsu on a plate with a drizzle of katsu sauce, or serve it in a separate bowl on the side for dipping. Or do both!
Another fun idea is to serve the cutlets on a roll with the sauce on top for air fryer chicken katsu sandwiches.
How to Store
The meat will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
It also freezes well. Cook it before freezing and then just package it well, and it will keep for up to 3 months.
The homemade Katsu sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.
How to Reheat Leftover Chicken Katsu
If the leftovers are refrigerated, put them back in the air fryer and heat them at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes.
For frozen chicken katsu pieces, don’t thaw before cooking. Air fry it at 360 degrees F for 10 minutes. Then flip it over and air fryer it for another 2-5 minutes. Use a thermometer to verify the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees F.
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- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
Katsu Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely chopped or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- green onions
- sesame seeds
- If you have a full-sized chicken breast, slice it in half to form thinner cutlets. Pat it dry with paper towels and lightly season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
- Get two shallow bowls. In one, mix the flour and panko crumbs. In the second shallow bowl, mix the egg.
- Dip the piece of chicken in the egg, then place it in the panko bread crumb mixture. Press it on every side so that it is well coated in crumbs.
- Preheat air fryer at 360˚F for 3 minutes.
- Spray the chicken pieces with a little bit of oil. Then place the coated slices in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 360˚F for 16 minutes, turning the pieces over halfway through the cooking time. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the meat has reached 165 degrees F.
- During that time, make the Katsu sauce by mixing the ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and ginger in a small bowl.
- Serve immediately with Katsu sauce as a drizzle or for dipping. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
- Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature.
- Don't use a commercial nonstick cooking spray because the chemicals can damage the coating on the air fryer basket. Use an inexpensive oil spray bottle or brush oil onto the meat.
- You can buy katsu sauce at an Asian grocery store or online if you prefer.
- You can make this with boneless chicken thighs.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 586Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 269mgSodium: 663mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 63g
Nutrition facts are estimates.