Make tender, crispy, and seriously tasty panko chicken in just 20 minutes. Learn how to season the flour to get a superbly flavorful crust and cook the chicken to crispy perfection.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
Why you'll love this recipe:
- Perfectly crispy with the tastiest panko crust
- Easy dinner recipe with just 20 minutes of cooking and prep time
- Versatile with so many options for sides and sauces
- Simple ingredients. You just need chicken breasts, flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs
- Make-ahead friendly. Keeps in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen for up to 3 months
- Chicken - you can use breast, tenders, or boneless skinless chicken thighs. I always opt for breast and tenders will work too if you prefer small pieces of panko chicken. Frying adds fat, so I like to start with a lean cut of meat.
- Panko breadcrumbs - these should be available in your local supermarket. If not, an Asian grocery store will stock them. You can also use normal breadcrumbs but the chicken won't be as crispy.
- Seasoning - I go to town when it comes to seasoning the flour. This results in a panko coating that's popping with flavor as well as perfectly crispy. I add paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, white pepper and salt. If you don't have all of these, don't let it stop you, you'll still get a tasty panko crust.
- Oil - Use a neutral oil with a high burn point like vegetable, sunflower oil, or canola oil. Olive oil is not suitable for frying.
- Parmesan cheese panko chicken - made by adding ¼ cup of parmesan to the panko crumbs.
- Herby panko chicken - add a couple of teaspoons or dried herbs to the panko crumbs like sage, thyme or Italian seasoning.
- Lemon pepper panko chicken - add lemon pepper seasoning to the flour or lemon zest to the panko bread crumbs and black pepper to the flour.
Getting the panko to stick to the chicken
First, the chicken is first coated in seasoned flour to give it dry surface and to infuse the chicken with flavor. Then, the chicken breasts are dipped in beaten egg mixture to make them moist and sticky.
In some recipes, yogurt or mayo are used instead of flour and eggs. While forgoing the seasoned flour can streamline the process and minimize cleanup, the panko crust won't be as flavorful.
🧑🍳 Recipe steps
1. Tenderize the chicken breasts. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut them horizontally into cutlets. Then pound them with a meat tenderizer or other heavy object like a rolling pin.
2. Prepare the flour, egg wash, and panko breadcrumbs. Mix the flour, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, white pepper, and salt in a shallow bowl. Crack the egg into another bowl and beat. Then place the panko breadcrumbs in a third bowl.
3. Coat the chicken cutlets. Place each piece of chicken into the flour mixture until coated, then dunk them in the beaten egg and finally place them in the panko breadcrumbs until they are covered.
4. Fry & serve. Place a large skillet on a medium-high heat and fill with ¼ inch of cooking oil. When the oil is hot place the panko-coated chicken breasts into the pan and fry for 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer panko chicken to a wooden board or a wire rack and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and your choice of sides.
- Tenderize the chicken. Pounding the raw chicken breasts with a meat mallet or other heavy object like a rolling pin breaks down the fibers and results in a faster cooking time and keeps the moisture locked in. Before you do this, pat the chicken dry with paper towels or cover the chicken with plastic wrap to prevent the juices from splashing.
- Make sure the oil is hot before you fry the chicken. You need the oil to be red hot to get panko chicken deliciously crispy. It's best to drop one panko crumb into the pan to test the oil. If the oil is hot enough the crumb will sizzle up. If the crumb sinks, then you need to wait a little longer.
- Use tongs to cook the chicken. They let you handle the chicken safely while you fry it.
There are so many ways to enjoy panko chicken. Whether you're looking for a light or a hearty meal there will always be lots of sides and sauces to try. You can also enjoy it in a sandwich like this Chicken Ciabatta with Creamy Pesto.
- Salad. Serve with a simple green salad, red-skin potato salad, or pasta salad.
- Potatoes. Baked potatoes, fried potatoes, wedges, and sweet potato fries all work well.
- Vegetables. Roasted corn, aubergine/eggplant, zucchini/courgette, and more.
- Rice. Plain rice, peri peri rice, turmeric or fried rice.
- Cauliflower cheese or mac and cheese.
Sauces add moisture and flavor to delicious crispy panko chicken, but if you prefer to keep things simple a squeeze of lemon juice goes well too.
- Peri peri sauce
- Honey mustard sauce
- Katsu curry sauce
- Marinara Sauce
- Lemon cream sauce
- Sriracha dipping sauce
Panko breadcrumbs are made from dried flakes of crustless white bread. They are lighter and crispier than regular breadcrumbs because they are dryer and flakier and absorb less oil during the cooking process. And they don't just taste better, they are healthier too because they are lower in calories, sodium, and fat.
I've tested baking and air fryer methods but found that shallow frying is the best way because it gets you the crispiest panko crust.
Regular panko breadcrumbs are not gluten-free, although there are gluten-free varieties available. You can also make your own using rice cereal.
Chicken is cooked when the panko crust is crisp and golden and the inside is white and opaque. You can use an instant-read thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) or by cutting into the thickest part of one of the chicken breasts.
Panko chicken will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just let it cool, put it in an airtight container, or cover it with plastic wrap.
To reheat, bake for 10-15 minutes at 400°F (200°C) or air fry at 375°F (190°C) for 4 minutes.
You can freeze panko chicken for up to 3 months. Just spread your cooked pieces on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper in a single layer with some space in between. Place them in the freezer for an hour, then put them into a freezer bag once frozen. You can bake the chicken from frozen or thaw first, overnight in the fridge.
😋 More easy chicken recipes
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- 2 chicken breasts (Note 1)
- ¼ cup (30 g) of plain or all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp mustard powder
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup (60 g) panko breadcrumbs (Note 2)
- (⅔ cup) vegetable or other neutral oil. To fill a frying pan with 0.5cm or ¼ inch.(Note 3)
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Prepare the chicken breasts. Remove any fat from the chicken breasts and cut them horizontally with a knife to form cutlets. Tenderize them by pounding them with a meat tenderizer until you get an even thickness of a quarter to one third of an inch. This makes the chicken thin enough for shallow frying as well as improving its texture. (Note 4)
- Mix the flour, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, white pepper and salt in a bowl.
- Crack the egg into another bowl and beat.
- Place the panko breadcrumbs in a third bowl.
- Place each chicken breast into the flour until coated, then dunk them in the beaten egg and finally place them in the panko breadcrumbs until they are covered.
- Place a frying pan on a high heat and fill with ¼ inch of oil. Add one breadcrumb to check the oil is hot. If it sizzles and quickly burns up you are good to go, but if it sinks you need to wait a little longer for the oil to become hot.
- Place the panko-coated chicken breasts into the pan and fry for 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side. (Note 5)
- Place the chicken breasts onto a board and allow them to rest for a few minutes. (Note 6)
- Slice and serve immediately with lemon wedges and your desired sides.
- Chicken: You can use breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs, but I always opt for breast. Frying adds fat, so I like to start with a lean cut of meat.
- Panko breadcrumbs: These should be available in your local supermarket. If not, an Asian grocery store will stock them. You can also use normal breadcrumbs, but the chicken won't be as crispy.
- Oil: Use a neutral oil with a high burn point like vegetable or sunflower oil. Do not use olive oil.
- Tenderizing the chicken: If you do not have a meat tenderizer you can use a rolling pin instead. Put the chicken into a plastic bag first to avoid contamination.
- Frying the chicken: You might need to fry the chicken in batches depending on the size of your pan and you may also need to top up the oil as you go.
- Checking doneness: Cut into one piece with a sharp knife to check the meat is white. If it is red it is not done and will need to go back into the pan. You can also use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Cooked chicken should be 165F or 75C.