This Panko Chicken recipe provides the perfect contrast of textures and flavors! It showcases a crispy panko crust that makes way to a tender, juicy center infused with Dijon mustard. Everything comes together in 15 minutes, making it an ideal choice for busy weeknights!Jump to Recipe
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Lighter option: This recipe delivers similar textures and flavors to its fried counterpart. But since it’s baked, you don’t have to use nearly as much oil!
- Effortless: Panko chicken requires very little effort to make, but it presents like it was made in a restaurant!
- Satisfying crunch: Thanks to the panko crumb coating, you’ll get that perfect crisp and crunch in every bite.
- Versatile: Panko chicken pairs well with plenty of sides and sauces, meaning it’s the ideal dish to have in your kitchen repertoire.
Crispy panko chicken
This panko chicken recipe is my take on classic fried chicken, but it’s lighter, crispier, and healthier! The outer layer is made up of crunchy panko, umami-rich Parmesan, and aromatic spices that transform into a beautiful golden-brown color once baked.
Combined with a Dijon mustard coating, each bite is zesty, juicy, tender, and packed with flavor. Although you can serve panko chicken by itself, I love to serve it alongside roasted beet and burrata salad, chopped Greek salad, or grilled zucchini and squash.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Chicken breasts: I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts since they cook the quickest. Boneless skinless chicken thighs will result in juicier results, but you’ll need to increase the cooking time.
- Dijon mustard: Adds zest and acts as a binder to help the panko coating stick. Try honey mustard for a sweeter profile, or replace Dijon with regular mustard.
- Panko: Create an irresistibly crunchy exterior. Use gluten-free panko if you are sensitive to gluten, or try regular breadcrumbs for a finer coat.
- Parmesan cheese: Adds rich, salty, umami notes. Asiago or Pecorino Romano will also work for a slightly sharper taste.
- Oregano: Imparts an earthy, herbaceous flavor that complements the tang of the Dijon. Feel free to experiment with basil, thyme, or rosemary as alternatives.
- Smoked paprika: Gives a smoky touch with a hint of heat. Regular paprika will work in a pinch, or try hot paprika for more of a kick.
- Garlic powder: Adds a savory depth of flavor. Onion powder will also work here.
- Olive oil spray: Ensures even baking and a perfectly golden color. Use olive oil spray or your favorite neutral vegetable oil spray.
How to make panko-crusted chicken
- Preheat the oven: First things first, fire up your oven to 450F. As it heats, grab out a rimmed baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil and a cooling rack, if you have it.
- Butterfly the chicken: You want to end up with four even pieces, so you’ll need to butterfly the chicken breasts all the way through. You can even cut them in half if you want them smaller.
- Pound the chicken: Using a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken until you achieve an even thickness all around. Lay them on a plate and sprinkle generously with salt on both sides.
- Coat the chicken: Grab out a plate or shallow bowl and mix the panko, Parmesan, and spices. Cover the chicken in Dijon mustard, then dredge each piece in the panko mix. Press the coating firmly into the chicken so it doesn’t fall off.
- Bake the chicken: Back on the baking sheet on top of the cooling rack they go! Spray both sides with a little olive oil, then bake them for 8-10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches a safe 165F.
For an even more flavor-packed panko chicken meal, try serving it alongside some of these options:
- A side of lemon basil aioli
- Sauteed broccolini or pesto green bean salad
- A fresh green salad with a tangy vinaigrette
- Bang bang sauce
- Roasted potato salad
- A squeeze of lemon
Frequently asked questions
You can absolutely fry panko chicken instead of baking it. Keep the oil temperature between 350-375F and be mindful of the cooking time.
Yes, you can use bone-in chicken, but be sure to adjust the cooking time so the chicken fully cooks. If you’re unsure if your chicken is fully cooked, use an instant-read meat thermometer.
Butterflying the chicken helps achieve a uniform thickness, which ensures even and consistent cooking throughout the meat.
Storage & reheating
For any leftover panko-crusted chicken, follow these storage tips:
- Fridge: Keep the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: You can freeze the chicken for up to a month. Keep them in single layers, with parchment paper in between, to avoid sticking.
- Reheating: To reheat your panko chicken, warm it in a 375F oven until warmed and crisped to your liking.
- Spicy: If you’re a spice lover, try adding cayenne or chili powder to the panko mix.
- Tangy: Add a zest of lemon or orange to the mix for a citrus-infused dish.
- Garlic lovers: Add more minced garlic or onion powder for a zest-forward recipe.
- Nutty crust: Mix in some crushed almonds or hazelnuts for an extra crispy panko-crusted chicken recipe.
- Oil spray: Don’t skimp on the oil spray! This really helps in browning the exterior, giving the panko chicken a fried feel without the need for deep frying.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan: Ensure there is space between chicken pieces while baking. This prevents the chicken from steaming and turning soggy.
- Rest before serving: Rest the chicken for about 5 minutes before serving. This allows the juices time to redistribute.
- Check the temperature: Use an instant-read meat thermometer to avoid over or undercooking the chicken. You’re aiming for an internal temperature of 165F at the thickest point of the chicken.
Looking for more chicken recipes?
If you enjoyed this panko-crusted chicken recipe, be sure to check out some more chicken favorites like these:
If you try this Panko Chicken, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Crispy Panko Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil with a cooling rack.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts all the way through so that you have 4 even chicken fillets, you can cut them in half if you want them smaller.
- Pound out each piece of chicken so the thickest part is as thin as the thin part of the chicken. Place the chicken on the baking sheet. Season with kosher salt on both sides.
- In a deep plate, add the panko crumbs, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, oregano, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Mix together to combine.
- Evenly spread the mustard on both sides of the chicken breasts. Add the chicken breasts to the panko mixture. Press down on the chicken breast to help make the crumbs stick, flip, and repeat on the other side. Then put the chicken back onto the baking sheet on top of the rack. Spray the chicken lightly with olive oil spray.
- Bake chicken for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Serve with your favorite sauce or with a squeeze of lemon and a side salad.