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Air Fryer Chicken Katsu

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When you’re craving homemade Japanese comfort food, but want a healthier way to make it, call in air fryer chicken katsu. Crispy golden brown outside, juicy succulent inside. This air fryer chicken just doesn’t get much tastier than this. And there’s no deep-frying required!

plate of air fryer chicken katsu

Made with economical, meaty, and delicious chicken thighs, my version of chicken katsu in the air fryer is so easy and tasty, you’ll never want it any other way. 

This crispy panko breaded chicken recipe is easy to make and uses everyday simple ingredients. However, the best part is making this chicken recipe in the air fryer, there’s no hot oil to deal with, no fear of splashing, and if you’ve got tiny hands helping you in the kitchen, there’s less to worry about than if you were cooking in hot oil. And the health benefits cooking with less oil are great.

Worried you won’t get a crispy crust? Don’t you worry. The air fryer gets that panko coating nice and crispy.

Don’t have an air fryer? You can also make the deep-fried version with this chicken katsu recipe

Hungry for something delicious? Air fryer chicken katsu is it!

What You Need to Make Air Fryer Chicken Katsu

Making chicken katsu in the air fryer is easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

(Full recipe instructions and ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post)

  • Air fryer: A basket or oven-style air fryer will work
  • Chicken thighs: You’ll need boneless skinless chicken thighs. I you prefer boneless skinless chicken breast you totally can do that too.
  • Large eggs: This acts as a bind to help keep the breading on the chicken.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: These are Japanese-style breadcrumbs. You can find them in the Asian aisle in most grocery stores. I’d highly recommend panko over regular bread crumbs.
  • All-purpose flour: This gives the eggs a base to stick to and helps give the classic crispy coating.
  • Garlic salt: Don’t skip this. It packs in the flavor.
  • Black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray: You can also use olive oil spray, avocado oil, or the oil of your choice. This bit of oil will help give the Japanese breadcrumbs their signature crunch.
air fryer chicken katsu ingredients

How To Air Fry Chicken Katsu

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F.
  2. Use paper towels to pat the chicken thighs dry.
  3. Set up a dredging station with three shallow bowls: whisk the eggs and put them in one bowl; add the panko to a second bowl; add the all-purpose four to a third bowl.
  4. Add the garlic salt and pepper to the dish with the flour and mix it well.
  5. Prepare the chicken: Dip a piece of chicken in the flour to coat it. Shake off any excess flour, then dip the chicken into the whisked egg mixture, covering every bit of the chicken. Finally, dip the chicken into the panko and lightly press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken so that it is evenly coated. Shake off the excess panko.
  6. Place the chicken in the basket of an air fryer or onto the tray, and repeat the process until all the chicken is breaded.
  7. Spray the chicken with nonstick cooking spray and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken over, spray this side with nonstick cooking spray, and cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and the internal temperature is at least 165-F. 
  8. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool slightly and enjoy!
battered air fryer chicken katsu

What To Serve With This Air Fryer Chicken Katsu Recipe

Traditionally, chicken katsu is cut into slices that can be picked up with chopsticks. And, these strips of chicken are meant for dipping! Of course the perfect sauce is katsu sauce. But you can also dip it into Japanese curry, shoyu (Japanese style soy sauce), worcestershire sauce, or your favorite sweet or savory sauce.

Serving this easy chicken katsu recipe with sticky white rice is my favorite thing. You can also serve alongside mac salad or tossed green salad. It also goes well with chicken katsu curry. 

sliced air fryer chicken katsu

Tips To Make This The Best Chicken Katsu Recipe

  • Buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs to cut down on your prep time.
  • Setting a dredging station up with three bowls helps cut down on the mess of browning chicken pieces.
  • Preheat your air fryer! Preheating your air fryer ensures that the chicken cooks evenly.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer. It is hot air that circulates to cook the food, so don’t over-stuff the basket or overload the tray.
air fryer chicken katsu sauce

How To Store Easy Chicken Katsu

Chill any leftovers and package them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Freezing is not recommended because the breading can get soggy and come off.

How to Make Gluten-Free Chicken Katsu

Making Japanese chicken cutlet gluten-free is easy! Swap regular panko bread crumbs for gluten-free panko crumbs, and use potato starch or your favorite gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour.

chicken katsu in the air fryer

Frequently Asked Questions

How long to cook Japanese chicken katsu in an air fryer?

This Air Fryer Chicken Katsu recipe needs about 20 minutes in the air fryer to become golden brown and crispy and for the internal temperature to reach 165-F (use a good digital meat thermometer.)

Can I make air fryer chicken katsu sandwiches the same way?

Yes! Make the chicken this way (dipped in flour, then into the egg, then into panko) and cook it in your air fryer. Then, just take the hot chicken cutlets and put them onto milk bread (or your favorite bread), add your favorite garnishes and homemade tonkatsu sauce.

Is this air-fried chicken katsu recipe easy?

It sure is! Once you’ve got the chicken breaded, it’s just a matter of cooking it until it is golden brown and delicious.

How to reheat chicken katsu?

Preheat your air fryer to 350-F and put the leftover chicken katsu into the air fryer for about 3 minutes, then flip it over to heat through on the other side. Enjoy!

Can I Make Chicken Katsu Ahead of time?

Yes! You have two options: Fully cook the chicken katsu ahead of time and then just reheat it before eating. Or, bread the chicken cutlets and freeze them between layers of parchment paper. Put the frozen chicken katsu into the air fryer. Add extra time, probably 3-4 minutes per side, and use your digital meat thermometer to make sure it is fully cooked.

More Air Fryer Recipes

plate of air fryer chicken katsu

Air Fryer Chicken Katsu

Yield: 4 servines
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

When you’re craving homemade Japanese comfort food but want a healthier way to make it, call in Air Fryer Chicken Katsu. Crispy golden brown outside, juicy succulent inside, this air fryer chicken just doesn’t get much tastier than this. And there's no deep-frying required!

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless skinless thighs
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Non stick cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F.
  2. Use paper towels to pat the chicken thighs dry.
  3. Set up a dredging station with three shallow bowls: whisk the eggs and put them in one bowl; add the panko to a second bowl; add the all-purpose four to a third bowl.
  4. Add the garlic salt and pepper to the dish with the flour and mix it well.
  5. Prepare the chicken: Dip a piece of chicken in the flour to coat it. Shake off any excess flour, then dip the chicken into the whisked egg mixture, covering every bit of the chicken. Finally, dip the chicken into the panko and lightly press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken so that it is evenly coated. Shake off the excess panko.
  6. Place the chicken in the basket of an air fryer or onto the tray, and repeat the process until all the chicken is breaded.
  7. Spray the chicken with nonstick cooking spray and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken over, spray this side with nonstick cooking spray, and cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and the internal temperature is at least 165-F. 
  8. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool slightly and enjoy!

Notes

  • Buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs to cut down on your prep time.
  • Setting a dredging station up with three bowls helps cut down on the mess of browning chicken pieces.
  • Preheat your air fryer! Preheating your air fryer ensures that the chicken cooks evenly.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer. It is hot air that circulates to cook the food, so don’t over-stuff the basket or overload the tray.
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 800Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 389mgSodium: 1185mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 61g

    Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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    By on February 5th, 2022

    About Relle

    Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

    I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

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    2 thoughts on “Air Fryer Chicken Katsu”

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!

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