Our air fryer chicken katsu recipe will help you prepare a delicious dinner of crunchy chicken breast and cooked rice. It’s served with katsu sauce and cucumber and completely adheres to healthy eating standards.
What Is the Difference Between Katsu and Fried Chicken?
Although both are crispy chicken dishes, many prefer chicken Katsu over the other, for legitimate reasons.
The coating of fried chicken can be a simple batter or a combo of three layers: flour, eggs, then breadcrumbs. Chicken katsu, on the other hand, is always coated in flour, eggs, then Panko breadcrumbs. This type of breadcrumb is flaky, airy, and light, hence turning out a lot crispier than regular breadcrumbs.
Since fried chicken is often heavily seasoned with dry spices, dipping sauces are not mandatory. Meanwhile, most chicken katsu recipes lightly season the meat with salt and pepper, then make a brown sticky sauce to serve with it.
Our Air Fryer Chicken Katsu Is Healthy
Although it’s not exactly healthy to consume fried dishes on a daily basis, we’ve adjusted this dish to make it a little healthier.
First of all, we strictly control the amount of fat used to fry the chicken. This eliminates the risk of overconsuming calories, hence, reducing the risk of unwanted weight gain.
Fried foods often come with acrylamide, a substance labeled ‘likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ born from cooking starch in fat for too long. By reducing the cooking time and using only a little oil, we can significantly reduce the levels of this substance in our foods.
Besides calories, we also keep our eyes closely peeled on the saturated fats and sodium levels, and take appropriate measures:
- We use chicken breasts for this dish: the meat cut with the least amount of saturated fats.
- The dipping sauce is carefully formulated, guaranteeing both a great taste and a healthy sodium level.
Specifically, one serving of our air fryer chicken katsu recipe provides you with 500 calories, 2.4 g saturated fats, and 590 mg sodium. We only use data from USDA’s food database, so a high level of accuracy is assured.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Katsu
Our air fryer chicken katsu recipe calls for:
For the sake of simplicity, we chose chicken breasts because they are ready to cook once unpacked — no deboning, trimming, or skinning needed. You can also choose chicken tenders for a softer, juicier texture.
In terms of the breading station, it is pretty much similar to regular fried chicken but instead of regular breadcrumbs, we use Panko breadcrumbs. This item is relatively easy to find, and it’s crucial in achieving that crunchy, appealing finishing product.
Before going through the breading station, we season the meat with salt, garlic powder, and paprika. All of this can be skipped since most of the flavor lies in the sauce, but the more the merrier.
Katsu Sauce for Chicken
Despite the many variations this sauce comes in, it has an easy-to-grasp core formula that you can use to build your very own version.
Most Japanese sauces are formulated with soy sauce and sugar. If you’re into the cuisine, we highly suggest keeping a Japanese soy sauce in your pantry because its fragrance really sets it apart from other types of soy sauces.
Next, a light touch of acidity to play with the palate’s desire for more of the same. It can be either vinegar or ketchup, but since we’re going for a brown sauce, ketchup is the best choice.
Our final main component is Worcestershire sauce, adding a touch of umami and smoky flavor.
We prefer our sauce with a kick of heat, so we added pepper, paprika, and Sriracha to the mix. Except for green onions, this sauce does not pair well with other types of herbs.
Finally, we stir in a cornstarch slurry, so it clings well to the chicken.
How to Make Chicken Katsu in an Air Fryer
First, it’s important to butterfly the breasts to make the final product thin and delicate. Then, season them with the dry seasonings, and coat them well in flour, eggs, and Panko breadcrumbs.
Since we are not deep-frying, we mix some olive oil with the breadcrumbs before coating the chicken. They will react and turn crispy in the air fryer.
Meanwhile, we mix the sauce ingredients together and cook it in the microwave. Or – you can simmer it all in a saucepan if you want.
Once the chicken is done, slice it and serve it with rice and sauce. We also serve some palate-cleansing cucumber on the side.
Storage and Reheat Leftover Chicken Katsu
Both the rice and chicken can be kept in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Use sealable bags instead of air-tight containers, if your fridge is a bit tightly stocked.
To allow it to heat more quickly, slice the chicken before you reheat it in the air fryer.
Add some water to the rice, mix well, and stir it over low heat or microwave them and stir every 30 seconds until heated through.
Note that reheated chicken won’t be as crispy as freshly made. We suggest you store the breaded chicken in the freezer instead of storing it after cooking.
What to Serve With Chicken Katsu
We are serving them with its classic pairings: a creamy coleslaw and a glass of cool lemonade. Together, they make for a perfect flavor (and nutritional) profile.
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Air Fryer Chicken Katsu Recipe
Our chicken katsu is friendly for meal preps and comes together very quickly. The result is just as amazing as deep-fried chicken katsu.
- cook TIME 25 mins
- prep TIME 5 mins
- total TIME 30 mins
- COURSE Main Course
- CUISINE Japanese
- CALORIES 500 kcal
- 14 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
- 3 cups cooked medium-grain rice
- 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 4 oz cucumber (sliced)
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 medium eggs
- 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika (divided)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Heinz Ketchup
- 1 1/2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp black sesame (toasted)
- 2 tbsp scallion (chopped)
Butterfly 14 oz chicken breasts like so.
Season both sides with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside.
Mix 2 tbsp olive oil with 1 cup breadcrumbs.
One by one, coat the chicken breasts in flour, eggs, breadcrumbs, eggs, and then breadcrumbs again. Shake to remove excess before frying.
Place the breaded chicken breasts in the air fryer. Cook at 375 for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients together: 1/4 cup broth, 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp Worcestershire, 1 tsp Sriracha, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Microwave on medium for 1 and 30 seconds, and stir again once finished.
Serve the chicken with 3 cups cooked rice, 4 oz sliced cucumber. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp scallion and 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds.