Super Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Katsu - A take-out favorite that you can make right at home !No one will believe that this is not deep fried! A Japanese recipe, loved by kids & adults alike!
Course: Main Coarse
Cuisine : Japanese
Pros: Quick, High protein, Healthy, Kid friendly
It might look like Chicken schnitzel but it's not- it's a japanese fried chicken made with chicken breast and panko bread crumbs that's usually served along with Tonkatsu sauce, shredded cabbage and steamed white rice.
We start by pounding the chicken breast(or thigh) into a thin cutlet..Yes...this meal is not only delicious but it's also a stress buster! Lol
Then you "bread" or dredge the chicken and finally Air fry it.
So in less than 20 minutes, you can get this crispy, restaurant worthy fried chicken on your table. And all with a fraction of the oil because we will Air fry it instead of deep frying!
I promise no one will know the difference!
Oh such an easy meal! Loved by everyone- kids and adults alike! I mean who can resist a crispy fried chicken?!and that katsu (tonkatsu) sauce on top is just heaven!
This is the healthier version of Chicken Katsu, without it being deep fried. Though I must say, that even though air fryer katsu chicken is crispy, the color of air fried chicken will be slightly dull as compared to a full spectrum golden brown that you get by deep frying.
Here is what we are going to do to make a kick ass homemade chicken katsu
- Pound the Chicken into a ½ inch thick cutlet
- Crumb Coat- dry brine, wet batter & tonne of panko breadcrumbs
- Air fry to perfection!
If you just got into the air fryer game.. Then you have to add these to your lineup: Air fryer BBQ chicken wings- So crispy!! , Air fryer Buffalo shrimp & our latest obsession - Air fryer Grilled Corn.
Oh and I have a few secrets of getting this chicken super juicy and crispy - Read on to find out!
- Chicken - Thighs or Breast
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Garlic Powder
You can make the chicken katsu with both chicken breast and chicken thighs.
The chicken breast give the more katsu like shape. Though I have to say, the chicken thighs would be a lot more juicy.
For this batter, you can crumb coat about 2 whole chicken breasts.
Panko Bread Crumbs
Panko bread crumbs are Japanese gluten free bread crumbs that are very popular. You can possibly get it in any large grocery store or an asian grocery store or you can always buy on amazon.
If you can, get the orange ones. They have a better color and look as compared to the white panko crumbs. But the taste and texture remains absolutely the same.
If you can't find panko breadcrumbs, you can easily substitute it with regular breadcrumbs.
Oil - Use any neutral oil- Olive oil , avocado oil or canola oil. If you can, get an oil spray. It is super helpful, especially for air fryer recipes.
Flour - I have used all purpose flour or white flour. You can also use tapioca or potato starch.
Garlic Powder - This is a life savior, especially if you love the taste of garlic but not peeling it! For this recipe, you can use minced fresh garlic too.
How to make Chicken Katsu in Air fryer
Usually katsu is made with pork chops and deep fried. This is a far simpler, faster , fuss free version of the same.
While I love my deep fried chicken, this version is made with minimal oil and thanks to the air fryer, with Max crunch!
Pounding the Chicken
For this recipe, you need to pound the chicken to about ½ inch thin cutlets. This helps in a) uniform crumb coating b) uniform cooking.
I always line the cutting board with plastic wrap or zip lock bag while doing this. It helps keeping the chicken together and doesn't dirty my chopping board.
You can pound the chicken with anything heavy at home - Rolling pin or a meat tenderizer.
Once the chicken has been pounded, season it with salt and black pepper.
This step is called dry brining and it helps in seasoning the chicken from inside.I mean who likes under- seasoned chicken?!
You will need two shallow bowls or plates, big enough for your chicken cutlets. Make the wet batter in one and the panko crumbs in the second.
To make the wet batter, whisk the egg. Add all the dry ingredients and mix it up.
Finally add the water 2 tablespoon at a time till you get a thin batter(Check the video to see the consistency)
Panko Crumbs Coating
The final step is crumb coating. If you cannot get panko bread crumbs, you can use regular bread crumbs too.
Just dunk the pounded chicken cutlet in the wet egg mixture. You want to make sure you flip it once or twice. Gently wring the excess batter off.
I like to use tongs while doing this.
Now press the chicken into a bowl of panko crumbs. Flip it and press it into the crumbs. I do this 3-4 times so that i have the bread crumbs in every nook and cranie of the chicken.
Air fry Chicken Katsu
Preheat your air fryer to 200 C or 400 F for 5-8 minutes. Preheating makes sure there is minimal sticking to the bottom of the air fryer.
Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with a cooking spray. You can also use a brush or use a tissue paper wet in a bit of oil.
Place the chicken cutlet inside the air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry for 12 minutes at 180C/350F.My air fryer is quite old(One of the OGs) so its quite small. Though If you have a large air fryer, you can possibly air fry 2-3 chicken cutlets at the same time.
Now flip the chicken, brush or spray oil on both sides of the chicken. Air fry for 5 minutes at 200 C/400F.
Why do we change the temperature? Because the chicken has cooked inside but we want a crunchy panko coating on the outside.
Making Homemade Katsu Sauce
This is the jelly to the peanut butter that is the Katsu. Really! and you can make it at home!
The ingredients are quite simple - ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. You can also use any store-bought version!
If you make it at home, add a bit of salt and pepper as per taste.
Serving Chicken Katsu
You can serve Katsu chicken as an appetizer and a main course.
Chicken Katsu can be served with steamed rice, a generous drizzle of Homemade tonkatsu sauce, spring onions & shredded Cabbage.
Use a mandolin or a sharp knife to finely shred the cabbage. If you like, you can add Japanese mayonnaise to the shredded cabbage too.
Another sauce to consider is the Mayonnaise based, spicy, lime sriracha aioli.
You can also add a salad or Japanese Katsu curry on the side.
The other option we have been love this summer is serving the katsu on a bed of a easy salad. Or if you want to really add a punch to the katsu, serve it along this asian inspired spicy cucumber salad or add a grain and make something like Quinoa Arugula Avocado Salad.
Storing & Leftovers
Okay first, you wont have any leftovers! But if you do, then you can turn any leftover chicken katsu into a katsu sando- meaning a katsu sandwich with lettuce etc.
Though if you do have some left, you can freeze the whole thing for another day! Yes..Just pop it in a freezer bag and shove it in. Come random 4 o clock hunger, you can just quickly air fry it to crispy perfection again! Frozen katsu chicken should last for about 2-3 months in the freezer.
If you know you are going to eat it in the next few days, you can refrigerate it instead. Again, refresh it quickly by air frying for a couple of minutes and you are good to go!
More Air Fryer Recipes
- 2 Chicken Breast
- 1 Egg
- 4 tablespoon Flour
- 2 tablespoon Water
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 2 teaspoon Oil or a cooking oil spray
- 1 teaspoon salt more as per taste
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- Preheat the Air fryer to 180C /350F
- Pound the chicken( with a meat mallet, rolling pin or anything heavy) into ½ inch thin cutlets.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper. Let it rest, in open. This is called dry brining. It will help season the chicken from inside.
- Meanwhile, Whisk the egg. Add the garlic powder, left over salt and flour.Whisk well.
- Add water to make the consistency thinner than pancake batter(Check the video to see the consistency)
- Prepare two shallow bowls. Add panko crumbs in one and batter in the second
- Dip the chicken cutlet into the wet batter. Flip, dip again and Lightly Wring off the excess.
- Place the crumb-coated chicken into the air fryer basket .Spray or brush oil on the side thats up.
- Air fry for 12 minutes at 180C/350F.
- After 12 minutes are over, flip the chicken. Brush or spray more oil.
- Air fry for 5 more minutes at 200C/ 400F.(I find this final hike in temperature gives a nice golden hue to the air fryer chicken)
Tonkatsu SauceHere is a quick homemade katsu sauce recipe. Give whisk together the below ingredients. Add a splash of water to make it drizzle- able.
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Salt