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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.

Why You’ll Love Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets

Just think about it: no risky deep frying, no messy grease splattering from your skillet, no lingering smells—but all the golden breaded crisp on your cutlets you don’t get with baked chicken. I know it sounds too good to be true, but the air fryer is magical like that!

This recipe gives off a crusted Southern fried chicken meets mom’s chicken cutlets vibe. With a buttermilk bath and some generously seasoned breading, you get a super tender, super flavorful weeknight dinner that the whole family will swoon over.

As a bonus, I’ve also included a quick and easy honey mustard sauce. It’s optional, but you’d be crazy not to make it ;)

What to Serve These With

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 with chicken breasts.

Ingredient Breakdown & Swaps

  • Chicken breasts or cutlets. You can buy ready-to-go cutlets, or you can simply butterfly chicken breasts, then pound them down with a meat mallet.
  • Sea salt & Cracked Black Pepper.
  • Buttermilk & Franks Red Hot®. Whisk these together to form a fantastic marinade. The acidity in the buttermilk breaks down the muscle fiber and collagen in the chicken, which gives us tender juicy meat—just like a brine does. You can use any hot sauce, this just adds flavor.
  • Flour, eggs, & panko breadcrumbs. To dredge and bread your chicken prior to cooking.
  • Seasoning. A yummy blend of spices in the breading brings a ton of flavor to every bite. I use paprika, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper (optional), and a bit of cayenne.

If you’d like to make the lip-smacking honey mustard sauce

  • Mayonnaise
  • Good quality liquid honey
  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Paprika

Quick Tip

Buttermilk can be bought at the store, but you can also easily make it at home by mixing 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar plus enough full fat milk to measure 1 cup on top of the vinegar. Or instead of using vinegar, you can use lemon juice. Then gently stir the mixture and let it sit for 5 minutes.

How Long to Heat up Chicken Cutlets in the Air Fryer

When cooking thin cutlets, you’re looking at about 5 minutes per side at a high heat of 390º F. To be sure, always have a meat thermometer on hand so you can check the internal temperature. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 160-165º F with chicken.

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

How to Make 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 for beautifully golden brown crusted chicken.
  7. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve them with the honey mustard sauce!
Bowl of buttermilk marinade with chicken cutlets.
Crispy chicken cutlet on a bed of red rice and asparagus.

Storage, Freezing, & Reheating

  1. Leftovers can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  2. You can also freeze these! Once they’ve cooled down, pop them into a sealable freezer-friendly bag and pop them in the freezer for up to 4 months.
  3. To reheat, you can either heat them in the microwave in 25 second increments until warmed through, or in the air fryer in 1 minute increments until warmed through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why aren’t my chicken cutlets crispy?

If your cutlets don’t come out golden and crispy, a few things could have happened: the air fryer wasn’t preheated; the air fryer basket was overcrowded, which effects proper airflow; cutlets weren’t marinated prior to cooking (buttermilk = crispy chicken!)

Can I put raw chicken in an air fryer?

Absolutely! Chicken will cook through just fine in an air fryer.

How long does an air fryer take to cook chicken?

This will always depend on the size, thickness, and part of the chicken (thighs/drums/breast, etc.) With cutlets, like in this recipe, you’re looking at 5 minutes per side, for a total of 10 minutes.

What temperature do you air fry chicken at?

Again, this depends on the cut and part of the chicken. For cutlets, you want to air fry at 390º F. Make sure you preheat the air fryer prior to cooking.

More Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Love:

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5 from 122 votes

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!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating time:: 1 hour
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
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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

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.

Notes

You can typically purchase buttermilk at the store, but in a pinch you can easily make it at home by mixing 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and enough full fat milk to measure 1 cup (on top of the vinegar). Or, instead of using vinegar, you can use lemon juice. Gently stir the mixture and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cutlet | Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 5g
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242 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These turned out perfect and we LOVED that mustard sauce! We are going to be making this again next week. A new recipe for our rotation!

  2. 5 stars
    Followed this recipe step by step and it turned out beautifully. We were very impressed with the crisp with it not having been deep fried. Definitely making this again!

    1. I’m so glad, Tyler! I was surprised at the nice golden crisp these offered when I first made them, too. I was so excited to bring them to the blog after that.