Crunchy on the outside and juicy within, these are hands down the best Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets you’ll ever bite into!

Wooden serving board with crispy chicken cutlets with honey mustard sauce on the side.

Crispy and Crunchy and Oh-So-Tender!

Southern fried chicken meets mom’s breaded chicken cutlets. I can’t imagine anyone NOT being excited about this one. With the buttermilk bath and the generously seasoned breading, you get a super tender, super flavorful weeknight dinner that the whole family will swoon over. And let’s not fail to mention that CRUNCH. You’d never know these golden crisp cutlets were air fried instead of deep fried. The quick and easy honey mustard sauce I serve them with is optional, except it isn’t. (Just make it.)

What Is a Chicken Cutlet?

Cutlets are simply thinner cuts of meat that require less time to cook, offering up a fast dinner option. You can sometimes find prepared cutlets at the store, but I typically just make them myself with chicken breasts.

Close up of crispy chicken cutlets with honey mustard sauce in background.

How to Make Chicken Cutlets.

Making your own chicken cutlets is easy. Simply get yourself some plump chicken breasts, butterfly them down the middle, and cut them into two separate cutlets. Then pop the cutlets into a large gallon freezer bag two at a time and pound them with a meat tenderizer until they’ve thinned out. You want them to be about 1/4 – 1/2-inch thick. 

How Long to Cook Chicken Cutlets in the Air Fryer.

The air fryer is a nice and quick way to cook chicken cutlets and attain that coveted golden crisp without all of the extra grease you get with deep frying. Best of all, it’s quick! When you pound your cuts into thin cutlets, you’re looking at about 5 minutes per side at 390º F. To be sure, always have a meat thermometer on hand so you can check the internal temperature. For chicken, you’re looking for an internal temperature of 160-165º F.

Bowl of buttermilk marinade with chicken cutlets.

Here’s the Gist on How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets.

  1. Whisk the ingredients for the buttermilk marinade together in a large bowl and place the chicken cutlets into the bowl, submerging them completely. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Mix all of the panko, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, white pepper, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl or pie plate.
  3. If you’re making the honey mustard sauce, simply mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover it and pop it in the fridge until dinner time.
  4. When it’s go time, preheat the air fryer to 390º F. Give the bottom of the basket a quick misting of cooking spray.
  5.  Create an assembly line with a shallow bowl of flour, egg wash, and the breading mixture. One by one, dredge the chicken cutlets into the three in that order (flour, eggs, crumbs), then place it into the air fryer basket once done preheating.
  6. Cook the cutlets for 5 minutes, then flip them over, give the basket and cutlets a mist with the cooking spray, and cook for another 5. You’ll likely have to do this in two batches. Totally freakin’ worth it.
  7. Serve with the honey mustard sauce!

Crispy chicken cutlet on a bed of red rice and asparagus.

Useful Tools for This Recipe:

Recipe Tips + Tricks.

  1. You should be able to find buttermilk at any grocery store. But if you can’t, you can make some by mixing 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar plus enough full fat milk to measure 1 cup. Or, instead of using vinegar, you can use lemon juice. Then gently stir the mixture and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. I like to use Frank’s Hot Sauce in the buttermilk bath because it adds flavor and is pretty mild, but any hot sauce will work. You could also omit it.

Have You Made This Recipe?

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Wooden serving board with crispy chicken cutlets with honey mustard sauce on the side.

Get the Recipe:

Best Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets

Crunchy on the outside and juicy within, these are hands down the best Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets you'll ever bite into!
5 from 17 votes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken cutlets

Buttermilk Marinade:

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Breading:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp White pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp if you'd like more of a kick

Honey Mustard Sauce:

  • 2 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup raw liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Equipment

Instructions 

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the ingredients for the buttermilk marinade together and place the chicken cutlets into the bowl, submerging them completely. Put them in the fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight.
  • In a shallow bowl or pie plate, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, white pepper, and cayenne pepper; set aside.
  • Make the honey mustard sauce! Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover, and place it in the fridge until dinner time.
  • When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the air fryer to 390º F. Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with some cooking spray. 
  • Create an assembly line with a shallow bowl of flour, egg wash, and breading mixture. One at a time, take a chicken cutlet from the buttermilk bath and gently shake off any excess buttermilk. Dredge the chicken cutlets into the flour, then the eggs, and finally the crumbs. Place the breaded cutlets into the air fryer basket once it's done preheating. You will probably have to do this in two batches, depending on how many cutlets you can fit into the air fryer.
  • Cook the cutlets for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is up, carefully flip them over and give the basket and the cutlets a mist with the cooking spray. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  • When done, serve with honey mustard sauce.