Looking for an easy weeknight chicken recipe that's so delicious your whole family will ask for it over and over again? This Panko Crusted Chicken recipe involves a simple tip that results in the crispiest baked chicken ever!
- ❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- 🗒 Ingredients
- 🤫 The secret to the crispiest panko chicken
- 🍗 How to make panko crusted chicken
- 🍗 Can I use chicken tenders or chicken thighs?
- 🥚 Do I have to use mayo?
- 🧀 Can I use cheese?
- 🍞 Can I use regular breadcrumbs?
- ⏲️ How to store and re-heat
- 🍽️ What to serve with
- ❓ FAQ
- 📖 Recipe
If you're anything like me, you're always trying to think of ways to make chicken breasts more exciting. I'm happy to say my search has now come to an end with this super simple recipe!
I've been making baked panko chicken for a long time, but I've always found it a bit difficult to get the panko as perfectly golden and crispy as I want it to be.
Either the panko coating is kind of pale and not crispy enough or I get the panko perfectly crispy, but the chicken gets overcooked in the process.
After lots of experimentation, I have finally discovered the secret to the perfect golden panko crusted chicken: toasting the panko before you coat the chicken.
This simple trick results in perfectly cooked baked chicken breasts with the crispiest panko topping guaranteed.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
You'll love this panko crusted chicken recipe because it comes out perfectly every time! It's also very easy to prep and makes for the perfect weeknight dinner.
Also, it's baked instead of fried, which means you don't have to deal with oil splattering or greasy chicken. It's healthy and delicious!
Because it's baked in the oven, once the chicken breasts are coated in the already golden panko, you just pop it in the oven and remove it when it comes to temperature.
No more turning the stovetop temp up and down to try to get the perfect golden topping while also not overcooking the chicken.
Because this recipe is simple, the ingredients are also quite simple and mostly consist of spices to give the chicken flavor. You can certainly omit or substitute any of the spices you want.
Here's everything I use for the chicken (please see recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions):
- Chicken breasts
- Unsalted butter
- Garlic powder
- Paprika: I like smoked, but you can use regular paprika if you want
- Dried parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Mayonnaise: trust me on this one, but if you don't like mayo, you can use an egg wash instead
- Dijon mustard
- Parsley: optional as a garnish
- Lemon: optional as a garnish
🤫 The secret to the crispiest panko chicken
The secret to the crispiest baked panko chicken is to toast the panko ahead of time! It only takes a couple additional minutes and it's well worth it.
Once your panko is golden, just coat the chicken breasts with it and pop them in the oven until cooked through.
🍗 How to make panko crusted chicken
Start by toasting the panko. Just melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the panko, and stir it frequently until it's golden brown.
It should take about 5 minutes until it's light golden.
It will get even more golden once it's on the chicken and in the oven.
Put panko in a large shallow bowl and mix with garlic powder, paprika, dried parsley, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper.
You want your chicken breasts to be fairly thin for this recipe. So, I recommend either using 4 thin-sliced chicken breasts or two large chicken breasts that you cut in half lengthwise to create two thin fillets with each.
Place each fillet on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and use a meat tenderizer to pound until each fillet is about ½" thick.
Sprinkle ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper over both sides of the chicken breasts.
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and dijon mustard.
Yes, mayo! The egg and the oil in the mayo help keep the chicken nice and moist as it bakes. Plus, it's a lot easier to brush a mayo mixture on the chicken than it is to use an egg wash.
But if you really don't like mayo (I promise you can't taste it!), you can beat a couple eggs in a large shallow bowl. And then just brush the mustard on the chicken and dip the chicken in the egg wash before coating in panko.
Otherwise, brush both sides of the chicken with the mayo and dijon mixture.
And then dredge each chicken breast in the panko mixture, pressing down to adhere to chicken and being sure to coat evenly.
Place chicken breasts on a wire rack brushed lightly with cooking oil and placed over a foil or parchment paper covered baking sheet.
And bake chicken for 15-22 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
I like to top the chicken with some chopped parsley and to squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top before serving.
And dig into the most tender juicy chicken that has lots of wonderful crunch and flavor. It takes A LOT to get me excited about chicken breasts, but I could eat this panko chicken every single night.
I almost can't believe it's baked and not fried.
Luckily, it's so healthy and incredibly versatile that I feel great about adding it to my weekly menu.
🍗 Can I use chicken tenders or chicken thighs?
Sure! Really you can use any kind of chicken you want for this baked panko chicken recipe, but just note that you may have to adjust cooking times based on how thick your chicken is.
Chicken tenders or chicken cutlets work well because they're already nice and thin. You could also use this recipe to make homemade chicken nuggets.
Chicken thighs also work great, but will likely need longer in the oven.
🥚 Do I have to use mayo?
Trust me, I know that mayonnaise can be quite the controversial ingredient and if you don't like it, you really don't like it.
The egg and the oil in the mayo help keep the chicken moist, which is a huge plus, in my opinion. And you honestly can't taste it at all; nor do you get any of the mayo consistency.
But if you don't have any or really can't stand the idea of it, you can certainly use an egg wash instead. Just beat a couple eggs in a shallow bowl and dip the chicken breasts to coat before dipping in the panko.
🧀 Can I use cheese?
There's lots you can do to make this panko crusted chicken your own, including changing up the breading mixture.
One delicious addition you can make is using parmesan cheese! Parmesan adds extra flavor and saltiness to the chicken and is always a delicious idea.
Also feel free to change up the spices in the panko mixture to whatever you like best.
🍞 Can I use regular breadcrumbs?
You can! I like how light and crispy panko breadcrumbs are, but you can certainly use regular breadcrumbs in place of the panko and follow the exact same directions.
⏲️ How to store and re-heat
Something tells me there won't be any leftovers remaining after you serve this crispy panko chicken to your family. But if there is, you can simply store the remaining chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This is the kind of meal that really tastes best when freshly made, but when it comes to re-heating the chicken, I recommend doing so either in the oven, the toaster oven, or in an air fryer. Heating it in the microwave will likely make the panko coating soggy.
🍽️ What to serve with
One of my favorite things about this panko crusted chicken is that it goes with SO many different things. You can serve it with a couple vegetable sides, use it to top a salad, or simply serve it with a marinara sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.
Some of my favorite things to serve with it include:
- Green Beans
- Red Skin Mashed Potatoes
- Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
- Brussels Sprouts
- Caesar Salad
- Roasted Potatoes
I hope you'll add this panko crusted chicken to your collection of weeknight healthy recipes that actually taste really, really good.
Cooking times for chicken breasts vary based on how thick they are. But for thin chicken breasts, they should take between 15-22 minutes at 400 degrees.
I highly recommend brushing the mayo and dijon mixture on the chicken breasts to keep them moist. Also, baking them at 400 degrees will help them cook faster and keep them from drying out.
Panko Crusted Chicken
- 2 large chicken breasts or 4 thin-sliced chicken breasts (about 1 ¼ pounds total)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup panko
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika (I like smoked)
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp pepper, divided
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (see note if you want to use mayo)
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- Chopped parsley, for garnish (if desired)
- Lemon wedges, for garnish (if desired)
- If using 2 large chicken breasts, using a sharp knife, slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise to create two thin fillets with each. Once you have four filets, place each on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and use a meat tenderizer to pound until each filet is about ½" thick.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set a baking rack over a foil or parchment paper covered baking sheet. Lightly brush rack with cooking oil.
- Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko and stirring frequently, cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer panko to a shallow bowl and mix with garlic powder, paprika, dried parsley, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper.
- In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and dijon mustard.
- Sprinkle remaining ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper over both sides of chicken breasts and brush both sides with mayo mixture. Dredge each chicken breast in panko mixture, pressing down to adhere to chicken and being sure to coat evenly. Place chicken breasts on prepared wire rack.
- Bake for 15-22 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Serve panko crusted chicken with parsley and lemon, if desired.
- If you're opposed to using mayo on your chicken, you can brush with just dijon instead. Then, lightly beat a couple eggs in a shallow bowl and dip chicken breasts in egg wash before coating in panko mixture.
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