Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside air fryer chicken schnitzel or cutlets made with herbs, parmesan cheese, panko, and served in a creamy cheese and mushroom sauce! This recipe is gluten-free and low-carb, with a keto option, and uses two methods, namely using frozen pieces, or fresh (raw) cutlets.
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Don't you just love how the air fryer has revolutionized today's cooking? I recently bought an air fryer and I cannot hide how excited I am to use it for several recipes! To be honest, I have been busy making instant pot recipes and never really bothered to buy one. I now regret having waited for so long as it is a game-changer.
Living in Germany, I can tell you that I have had and made many different versions of schnitzel (Wiener, Pariser, Altbayerishes just to mention a few) and I can never really seem to make up my mind to which version I like best! Now, if you are wondering what all these strange names mean, they are simply the names of the towns, cities, or regions from which the different recipes originated.
💭 is there a difference between schnitzel, scallopini and cutlets?
Schnitzel, scallopini, and cutlets all mean the same and all refer to thin pieces of meat tenderized by flattening using a cubing steak machine, kitchen hammer, or mallet and normally crumbed or breaded in egg and breadcrumbs, panko, or flour. They can be made using different types of meat such as pork, veal, lamb, or chicken. The difference in name only comes about because of the location.
While this recipe uses chicken, it can also be adapted so that you can easily use other types of meat such as veal (just like in the traditional Austrian way), beef, or even pork.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make the air fryer chicken schnitzel or cutlets. (This is a summary; see the exact measurements and video, in the recipe card below).
- Boneless and skinless chicken breast (alternatively, ready-made frozen schnitzel).
- 1 cup panko - I used gluten-free panko, but regular will also do. You can easily find gluten-free panko online or at your local supermarket. For those worried about net carbs, this recipe stays low carb at 33g net carbs but has a keto option using pork rind panko.
- seasoning - garlic powder, ground paprika, marjoram, some sprigs of thyme leaves, without the stems (alternatively, use a tablespoon of dried thyme), and some salt and black pepper.
- grated parmesan cheese.
- cooking spray - use regular extra virgin olive oil, if you do not have cooking spray.
- some dijon mustard.
- lemon - this is optional and will be used when serving. But I feel that a squeeze of fresh lemon juice always adds a wonderful fresh taste to the finished cutlets.
These are the ingredients you will require for the cheese and mushroom gravy:
- button mushrooms - cleaned and finely sliced.
- extra virgin olive oil.
- some butter.
- minced garlic.
- shallots - finely diced (alternatively, ½ of a small yellow onion).
- sour cream (or crème fraîche).
- white wine - this can be substituted for an equal amount of chicken broth.
- some chicken or vegetable broth.
- grated parmesan cheese - substitutable with cream cheese.
- pinch of salt and black pepper to taste (use more, if desired).
- fresh or dried thyme leaves.
This is a summary of how to make air fryer chicken schnitzel or cutlets. Please see the full step-by-step instructions in the recipe card provided below.
- Trim off any visible tendons, cut and set aside any flaps of hanging tenderloins.
- Cut the chicken breast in the middle into two.
- Place the cut chicken pieces between two pieces of baking paper or plastic wrap. Use the flat side of your kitchen mallet to gently pound until each piece is thin, about an inch in size then set aside.
- In a bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, chopped herbs, spices, salt, and pepper. . Next, use a third bowl to beat the eggs with the dijon mustard until properly combined.
- Dip each of the now thin chicken breast first into the bowl with the egg mixture making sure to properly coat each piece.
- Place the chicken breast in the bowl with the panko crumb and seasoning mixture then combine, shaking off any excess breading.
- Next, open the air fryer and spray the basket or rack with cooking oil, then lay the coated chicken breasts on top, taking care not to overcrowd. Depending on the type of air fryer you have, you should be able to fit about 2-4 pieces. My ninja foodi fits two large pieces.
- Spray the tops of the chicken pieces with cooking oil and close. Set the temperature at 180°C/360°F and the time at 14 minutes. Air fry until the tops turn golden brown and the internal temperature is at least 165°F (about 73°C), making sure to flip mid cooking.
- Repeat the steps from breading with panko to cooking, for all the chicken pieces. Finally, transfer the chicken cutlets to plates, squeeze some lemon juice on top and serve with the cheese mushroom sauce, and your favorite side dishes.
🍳creamy cheese and mushroom sauce
Now, while this creamy cheese sauce or gravy for chicken schnitzel is totally optional, I highly recommend it as it is just the best! It tastes amazing served with the schnitzel plus, it is very simple to make!
- Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet under medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms and allow these to cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Next, stir in the white wine and use it to deglaze the skillet, making sure to scrape off all the delicious bits from the bottom of the skillet. The alcohol should have evaporated after about 1 minute.
- Add the broth, sour cream or crème fraîche, and parmesan cheese, then allow this to simmer and thicken, for about 3 minutes.
- Finally, add the thyme leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve the gravy over the air-fried chicken schnitzel.
🔪 make this recipe Keto-friendly
To make keto air fryer chicken schnitzel, substitute the gluten-free panko for pork rind panko, using a 1:1 ratio. In a bowl, combine pork rinds, garlic powder, ground paprika, parmesan cheese, marjoram, salt, and pepper. Next repeat the rest of the steps above, from the egg-wash and breading process to air frying the cutlets.
💭cook from frozen
One of the best things about owning an air fryer is the ability to cook food from frozen. Let's be honest, there are instances where one may not be in a position to cook fresh unfrozen food, especially when pressed for time. During such times, being able to cook frozen food definitely comes in handy.
To cook frozen schnitzel in the air fryer:
- First, open the basket or rack and spray with cooking oil. Lay the breaded or coated chicken on top. Depending on your brand of air fryer, you should be able to fit in 2-4 frozen chicken schnitzel pieces on each shelf.
- Once you have placed the chicken schnitzel pieces in the rack or basket, spray tops with cooking oil, return it in place and close.
- Next, set the temperature at 180°C/360°F and the time at 8 minutes then press the start button.
- Once this time is up, use a pair of tongs to turn the chicken schnitzel pieces up. Spray the tops again with some cooking oil and set the temperature this time to 160°C/320° F and the time at 9 minutes. Cook until nicely browned and the pieces have attained an internal temparature of at least 165°F (approximately 74°C). The total cooking time will vary, depending on the size and thickness of cuts you have.
- Finally, lay onto plates, drizzle with some lemon juice and serve with your favorite side dish.
📖useful tips and serving suggestions
- Replace the panko crumb mixture for regular panko or breadcrumbs, if not having any special dietary requirements.
- Use your favorite herbs (cilantro, sage, oregano and tarragon are a few examples of herbs that go well with cutlets).
- Depending on the type of brand, you may need to rotate the middle and top shelves, so you don't end up with air fried cutlet pieces that are more cooked than others.
I like to serve these air fryer chicken cutlets alongside this simple Shirazi Salad (Persian tomato and cucumber salad), my Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Potato Wedges, or with some Jamaican coleslaw. It also goes well with southern mashed potatoes, air fryer frozen chips, Wirsing (German savoy cabbage), and rice.
other air fryer recipes for you to try!!
Loving this recipe? You may also want to check out these tasty chicken recipes!
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Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel or Cutlets with Keto Option
FOR THE AIR FRYER CHICKEN SCHNITZEL
- 1 lb chicken breast (approx. 450g). Alternatively, use already breaded, frozen chicken schnitzel.
- some cooking spray substitutable with regular extra virgin olive oil.
- 2 eggs large
- 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup gluten-free or pork rinds panko for keto (you can also use regular panko).
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 6 sprigs thyme - leaves, without the stems. (alternatively, use a tablespoon of dried thyme).
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lemon (optional - to serve).
CREAMY CHEESE AND MUSHROOM SAUCE
- 1 lb button mushrooms (approx. 450g - cleaned and finely sliced).
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1- 4 cloves of garlic (use more or less, as preferred)
- 2 finely diced shallots (alternatively, use half an onion).
- 1 cup sour cream (or crème fraîche).
- ¼ cup white wine
- ½ cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- Trim off any visible tendons and check the chicken breasts for tenderloins. If present, cut off any hanging flaps of tenderloins and set these aside. You can use them in the fridge for other recipes.
- Lay the chicken breast on a chopping board with the smooth side facing upwards.
- Firmly place your hand on top and slice horizontally along the rounded side. Do not slice through, rather, cut about three-quarters into the breast. The unfolded chicken breast should resemble a butterfly. Flip the chicken breast and place on the chopping board spread out then cut along the middle and divide into two pieces.
- Cut out a piece of baking paper or plastic wrap (cling film) about 3 feet in size and lay the chicken pieces on top, making sure to leave some space between each chicken piece. Cover the chicken breasts with an equally large in size baking paper or plastic wrap. Using the flat side of your kitchen mallet, gently pound until each piece is thin, about an inch in size.
- Place the pounded pieces in a bowl. In another bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Next, use a third bowl to beat the eggs with the dijon mustard until properly combined.2 eggs, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 cup gluten-free or pork rinds panko for keto, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, 6 sprigs thyme - leaves, without the stems., 1 teaspoon ground paprika, 1 teaspoon marjoram, ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- Dip each of the now thin chicken breasts first into the bowl with the egg mixture making sure to properly coat each piece.1 lb chicken breast
- Next, place the chicken breast in the bowl with the panko crumb and seasoning mixture, then combine, shaking off any excess breading.
- Open the air fryer and spray the basket with cooking oil, then lay the coated chicken breasts on top, taking care not to overcrowd. If you overcrowd, the air will not circulate as it should and as a result, your schnitzel will not cook evenly. Depending on the type of air fryer you have, you should be able to fit about 2-4 pieces.some cooking spray
- Make sure the basket sits properly in the air fryer, then spray the tops of the chicken pieces with cooking oil and close the lid. Set the temperature at 180°C/360°F and the time at 7 minutes then press the start button and cook. Once the time is up, flip to the other side, spray with some cooking spray and cook at 180°C/360°F for a further 7 minutes until the tops turn golden brown and the internal temperature is at least 165°F (about 73°C).
- Repeat the steps from breading with panko to cooking, until all chicken pieces are cooked.
- Finally, transfer the air-fried chicken schnitzel to plates, squeeze some lemon juice on top and serve with the cheese mushroom sauce and your favorite side dishes.1 lemon
CREAMY CHEESE MUSHROOM SAUCE OR GRAVY
- Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet under medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms and allow these to cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.1 lb button mushrooms, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1- 4 cloves of garlic, 2 finely diced shallots, 2 tablespoon butter
- Next, stir in the white wine and use it to deglaze the skillet, making sure to scrape off all the delicious bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook for 1-3 minutes.¼ cup white wine
- Add the broth, sour cream or crème fraîche, and parmesan cheese, then allow this to simmer and thicken, for about 3 minutes.1 cup sour cream, ½ cup broth, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Finally, add the thyme leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve the gravy over the chicken schnitzel.1 tablespoon thyme leaves, pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
- Nutritional information is calculated only for the air fryer chicken schnitzel and does not include the sauce.
- Total time in the recipe card has only been calculated for the fresh cutlets.
- First, open the air fryer basket and spray with cooking oil. Lay the breaded or coated chicken on top. Depending on your brand of air fryer, you should be able to fit in 2-4 frozen chicken schnitzel pieces on each shelf.
- Once you have placed the chicken schnitzel pieces in the basket, return the basket in place and close the air fryer. Spray the tops with cooking oil.
- Next, set the temperature at 180°C/360°F and the time at 8 minutes then press the start button.
- Once this time is up, use a pair of tongs to turn the schnitzel pieces up. Spray the tops again with some cooking oil and set the temperature this time to 160°C/320 F and the time at 9 minutes. Cook until nicely browned and the pieces have attained an internal temperature of at least 165°F (approximately 74°C). The total cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness of cuts you have.
- Finally, lay onto plates, drizzle with some lemon juice, and serve with your favorite side dish.
- Refrigeration - keep your schnitzel in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 2-3 days.
- Freezing - you can freeze cooked schnitzel for up to 4 months. To use, thaw in the fridge and heat up using an oven. You can also use your air fryer to reheat at 180°C/360°F for two minutes on each side, or until properly warmed through.
Here are a few common questions related to making air fryer chicken schnitzel or cutlets.
Chicken fried steak is very similar (more or less the same) as chicken schnitzel and can therefore be easily used as a substitute in making air fryer chicken schnitzel.
Similar to baking fries, chicken pieces, or fish nuggets using the oven, you should turn or flip the chicken halfway through cooking. This allows the pieces to cook evenly on both sides.
No, you cannot stack the chicken pieces. This is not recommended as the chicken cutlets will not cook evenly. If you stack, you will find that the air will not circulate properly, which means certain parts may be undercooked. Also, you may not get the desired level of crispiness if you stack.
How long to cook chicken schnitzel in the air fryer will totally depend on the thickness of the chicken and whether you are cooking fresh or frozen poultry. Fresh chicken schnitzel will take up to 14 minutes, while frozen cuts will require 17 minutes to cook. As recommended by the FDA, check and ensure it has attained a minimal safe internal temperature of 165° F (74° C) before serving. Always feel free to adjust the cooking time by adding a few more minutes, if not properly cooked through, and if the juices do not run clear upon cutting.
This chicken turned out so crispy and flavorful! I did the keto option and it was truly amazing!
So glad you enjoyed it and that you were able to try the keto option.
A great air fryer recipe!
One of my favorite things to make using my air fryer.
Fam really loves it! Thank you so much for sharing this super easy to make chicken cutlets recipe! Will have it again! Highly recommended!
Thank you too for trying!
This was my first time making chicken schnitzel and it came out perfect! My favorite was the cheesy mushroom sauce. So good!
Your step by step pictures were really helpful so our schnitzel came out just perfect. Thank you!
This chicken is so delicious and was so easy to make in the air fryer! I made a bunch for meal prep and have been enjoying it this week over salads!
Love it on salads too! Happy you enjoyed it!
This chicken came out so crispy and super juicy. I am always so happy when I find different ways to use my air fryer. Thanks for the recipe!
Makes me happy that you enjoyed it!
I totally adore this recipe - the chicken was delectable!
Happy you liked it!
I loved doing this in the air fryer instead of deep-frying it. These turned out so delicious, and tender. I'm keeping your from frozen directions on hand too in case I'm in a pinch!
Thank you very much and let me know if you have any questions regarding making the chicken cutlets from frozen.
The mushroom cheese sauce with this chicken was amazing!!! I doubled it up because of my love for mushroom sauces lol. Will definitely be making good again!
Glad you enjoyed it. I am now grateful I included the sauce, I was a bit concerned about the post being too long with the sauce.
We fell in love with schnitzel during our time in Germany and yours reminded us of those days. Such a great crunch!
I am so happy you enjoyed it and hope you will visit Germany again soon.
I love chicken recipes a lot and this sounds like one I would really like trying. I will be trying it in the next few days.
Let me know how you find it.
We love chicken schnitzels but never tried them in the air fryer which is such a healthier alternative. I'll have to give these a try soon. Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea!
yes!! Absolutely delicious without all the grease!