Meet your new favorite dinner: perfectly crispy baked panko chicken. Parmesan cheese and toasted panko bread crumbs create a superbly crispy crust on chicken breast cutlets. Simply bake them in the oven for juicy, golden perfection. Ready in less than 25 minutes, this will become a staple weeknight dinner.
I’m always trying to develop more easy, weeknight recipes since that’s the majority of the cooking that I do these days. This recipe uses a couple quick kitchen shortcuts so that you don’t end up spending a ton of extra time (and make tons of dishes!) breading the chicken.
You’ll find a similar technique is used in my panko cod recipe, another easy weeknight dinner to add to your rotation. For a delicious meal, serve these with baked zucchini slices or a classic house salad.
📋 Ingredients you’ll need
The ingredients are simple and things you already have in your fridge and pantry. I wanted to keep the ingredients list and the cooking method short and simple, so you’ll notice there isn’t any flour or egg used as a binder, instead, simple mayonnaise helps the bread crumb topping stick to the chicken cutlet.
- Chicken cutlets are my go-to for quick-cooking chicken dinners. These are chicken breasts which have been halved and pounded thinly. You can make your own chicken cutlets by slicing a chicken breast in half or, pick them up pre-cut from your local store or butcher.
- Panko bread crumbs help create that crispy, fried chicken texture from oven baked chicken.
- To get the bread crumbs extra crispy, you need to toast them ahead of time in olive oil. More on this tip below.
- To add flavor to the bread crumbs, I add grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano and salt.
- To help the panko adhere to the chicken, you’ll brush it with a mixture of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. There is no need for egg or flour to help bind in this case.
🔪 Step by step instructions
This recipe couldn’t be easier to make–you’ll never make breaded chicken another way!
- Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a baking sheet with a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Next, combine the mayonnaise with Dijon mustard. This is what helps the panko adhere to the chicken.
- Toast the panko bread crumbs in olive oil over medium-low heat in a small skillet. This will take about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs are nicely toasted and deep brown. This is a step that you can skip if you’re strapped for time, but since this is oven-baked chicken, the panko will not have a deep brown panko coating so I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Combine the panko with grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and oregano in a small bowl or plate for dredging.
- Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Spread the mayonnaise and Dijon mixture evenly across one side of each chicken cutlet.
- Dredge the prepared chicken cutlet, mayonnaise side down, into the panko mixture. Press down to adhere panko to mayonnaise–only do this on one side of the chicken. Return to baking sheet, panko side up. Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets.
- Bake at 425F for 10 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
There are a few different substitutions you can use here:
- Gluten free – instead of panko, you can use corn flakes for a cornflake crispy chicken.
- Eggless – use vegan mayonnaise for an egg-free alternative.
This is a simple base recipe that you can change up in a number of different ways to suit your tastes.
- Spicy chicken – add a dash of your favorite hot sauce to the mayonnaise mixture and add cayenne pepper to the panko and Parmesan topping.
- Sweet and spicy – Replace the Dijon mustard with honey mustard. Add a little cayenne pepper to the bread crumb topping. Serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
While the chicken will lose its crispy bite if kept in the refrigerator, leftovers (if you have any!) are really great in a fried chicken sandwich. Serve with mayonnaise and colelsaw.
💭 Cooking tips
- Toast the bread crumbs! Without pre-toasting the panko, it won’t end up dark brown and crispy–especially because this recipe cooks for only 10 minutes in the oven. You can toast the bread crumbs ahead of time, and keep them on hand in the fridge (or freezer) to use as needed.
- Because we’re using chicken cutlets, the chicken only needs the coating on one side for the perfect crispy topping to chicken ratio.
The trick is to use mayonnaise and a little bit of Dijon and press the mayonnaise-coated chicken into the bread crumbs to help them stick. This means you don’t need eggs or flour in this recipe.
Chicken cutlets are super lean which means they don’t have fat to keep them moist and juicy. The mayonnaise adds fat which helps keep them juicy. We’re also cooking the chicken at a high temp for a short period of time which will help avoid it drying out.
Related chicken recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these: