This mouth-watering air fryer chicken milanese is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and can be made in just 20 minutes! Pair it with a simple arugula salad for the perfect balance of flavors.
This is my absolute favorite easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy weeknight dinner! Not only is it quick and healthy, but the whole family absolutely loves it.
This cooking method is a total game changer and was the reason I bought an air fryer in the first place. No more dragging out my massive cast iron pan to pan fry the chicken before baking it. No more crossing my fingers and praying that the chicken comes out crispy enough. With air frying, it always comes out perfectly crispy and I'm totally obsessed!
If you love air fryer recipes like I do, you might want to try this cooked salmon poke bowl, another easy weeknight dinner. And these dairy free buffalo chicken spring rolls always steal the show, shocking all the guests with how delicious dairy-free can be.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Variations
CHICKEN. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts but you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs, pork or veal.
FLOUR. use any type of flour (gluten free or regular). When the flour combines with the egg it creates a sticky surface for the panko to stick. The flour can be omitted, but the result will be less panko stick to the chicken.
EGG. 1 large chicken egg should be enough for 4 thin breaded chicken cutlets. If you don't want to use egg, you can coat your chicken in olive oil instead but the panko will not stick as well to the chicken.
PANKO. use regular or gluten free (I use gluten free). Panko is a Japanese-style of breadcrumbs that are more crispy than traditional bread crumbs but any type of bread crumbs can be substituted. They are sold plain or seasoned and for this recipe, I use plain so that I can add my own seasoning. If your panko / bread crumbs are already seasoned, you do not need to add more salt, pepper and garlic powder.
SPICES. adding garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt to the panko adds flavor to the natural panko unless it's already seasoned (read the ingredients). If you don't have garlic powder, you can use a grated garlic clove instead.
OLIVE OIL. the highest quality olive oils should have a November production date (this is when they are harvested) and should be used within 14 months of this date. Olive oil should also be stored in a cool spot away from heat. Avocado oil can also be used but won't have as much flavor. Having an oil sprayer for the air fryer is helpful but you'll also need bottled oil for the salad.
BABY ARUGULA. substitute arugula for your favorite greens.
LEMON JUICE. if available fresh lemon juice is always best. 1 lemon will typically contain 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice. I also like to serve this dish with some extra lemon wedges.
How to make air fryer chicken milanese
Step 1: One of the first things is to slice each breast in half horizontally and pound with a meat mallet until it's about ½ inch thick. My favorite way to pound the chicken is by putting the chicken in a large ziplock bag so the mess is contained inside the bag. Then, season with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Place the raw egg (scrambled), flour and panko in separate bowls. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to the panko bowl unless already seasoned (read the ingredients or taste the mixture). Dip each piece of chicken in the flour first, egg mixture second and panko breadcrumb mixture third. Ensure all sides of the chicken are coated in the panko and then set each piece of chicken separately on a platter (not stacked).
Step 3: Coat air fryer basket with olive oil cooking spray. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket, spritz with olive oil, and cook at 400℉ for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. The air fryer chicken cutlets are done done when golden brown, the inside is white, and the internal temperature reaches 165℉.
Step 4: Mix together arugula, lemon juice and olive oil. Serve each crispy chicken cutlet with the simple arugula salad and optionally top with parmesan or vegan parmesan and a lemon wedge.
Meal Prep & Storage
- Make ahead: Partially cook the chicken then store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, finish cooking in the air fryer to ensure it's crispy, hot and fully cooked. The arugula salad should not be made in advance since it will get soggy.
- Reheat: Reheat in the air fryer at 350℉ for 3 minutes or until crispy and warm then serve immediately.
- How to store: Once cooked, chicken will last for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- How to freeze: Wrap each cooked chicken cutlet in plastic wrap then put in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat from frozen in the air fryer at 350℉ until crispy and warm. If you are planning to freeze the chicken, you may want to undercook the chicken slightly so the chicken does not become overcooked when re-heated.
The cooking term Milanese comes from Milan, Italy. It means to coat thin slices of meat in flour, eggs, and seasoned breadcrumbs and then fry until golden brown. This classic Italian dish is traditionally made with veal but the chicken variation has become popular.
A chicken cutlet is a halved chicken breast that can be pounded to achieve uniform thickness. If you have chicken cutlets, you don't need to slice or pound chicken breasts for the recipe.
For a single serving I like to combine 2 cups of baby arugula, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Air fryer chicken milanese is generally considered healthier than traditional fried chicken milanese because it requires less oil, which reduces the calorie and fat content.
More chicken recipes you'll love
I hope you love this air fryer chicken milanese recipe! If you make it I’d love if you could leave a rating & connect with me on Instagram @passthesprouts!
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Milanese
- 3 medium shallow bowls
- meat mallet or rolling pin (to pound chicken)
- quart bag, plastic wrap or parchment paper (to pound chicken)
- oil spray bottle optional
- lemon juicer optional
- 2 chicken breasts boneless & skinless
- 1 egg large
- 1 cup panko (plain) regular or gluten free
- ½ cup flour regular or gluten free
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil sprayer optional
- 8 cups baby arugula
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 large lemon
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- parmesan cheese or vegan parmesan optional
- Prepare chicken: Place your palm flat against the top of each chicken breast and carefully slice each piece in half horizontally so that you now have 4 thinner chicken cutlets. Then place in a large plastic bag or between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until it's ½ inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bread the chicken: Whisk a raw egg in one shallow bowl, put flour in another, and panko in a third. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to the panko bowl unless the panko is already seasoned (read the ingredients or taste the mixture). Dip chicken in flour, then egg, then panko, making sure each piece is fully coated. Place each piece separately on a platter.
- Air Fry: Coat the bottom of the air fryer basket with olive oil, then add the chicken in a single layer and spritz with olive oil. If your air fryer is small, you may need to cook in batches. Air fry at 400℉ for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown, white inside, and an internal temperature of 165℉.
- Serve with arugula salad: Mix together arugula, lemon juice and olive oil. Serve each chicken cutlet with arugula salad and optionally top with parmesan or vegan parmesan.
- Yield: This recipe makes four portions of the crispy chicken, plus four side salads.
- Make ahead: Cook the chicken then store in the fridge up to 3 days. The chicken will need to be reheated in the air fryer at 350℉ for 3 minutes or until crispy and warm. Serve immediately. The salad should not be assembled in advance.
- Storage: Store the cooked chicken in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer wrapped individually for up to 1 month.
- Favorite vegan parmesans: Buy Barrett's Garden Farmesan or make your own vegan parmesan.
- Not using an air fryer? Cook in the oven at 400℉ for 40 minutes, flipping half way.
- No oil sprayer? Use a basting brush or paper towel coated in olive oil to spread the oil in the air fryer.