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Air Fryer Chicken Katsu: Crispy Japanese-Inspired Delight in Every Bite

Air Fryer Chicken Katsu: Crispy Japanese-Inspired Delight in Every Bite

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Let me whisk you away on a culinary adventure that combines the modern magic of air frying with the nostalgic comfort of a Japanese classic – Chicken Katsu. When I first tasted Katsu in a bustling Japanese eatery, its crunchy exterior and tender, juicy chicken left an indelible mark on my food memories.

Air Fryer Chicken Katsu Cover

Now, imagine achieving the same mouthwatering delight at home, but with less oil and minimal fuss, thanks to my trusty kitchen hero, the air fryer.

Ready to recreate this magic and bring the taste of Japan to your kitchen? Let’s dive into the full details.

History of the Dish

Originating in Japan, this mouthwatering dish, also known as panko chicken or tori katsu, has garnered immense popularity in various corners of the globe, including Italy, Hawaii, London, California, and beyond.

Traditionally, chicken katsu is prepared by coating succulent chicken pieces with panko breadcrumbs, resulting in a delightful crispy texture. This culinary gem typically accompanies tonkatsu sauce, a luscious, fruit-based brown sauce, or a well-seasoned ketchup.

In Hawaii, chicken katsu is as ubiquitous as its pork counterpart, tonkatsu. It is savored as part of a Hawaiian mixed plate lunch with shredded cabbage, rice, or miso soup.

Beyond its Hawaiian roots, chicken katsu has made its mark in the culinary world, finding its way into katsu curry and katsu don, served in local plate-lunch joints and upscale Japanese establishments. It even takes on a sandwich form, tantalizing taste buds when paired with the irresistible “tonkatsu sauce.”

The evolution of the Air Fryer Chicken Katsu recipe has further enhanced this dish’s allure by harnessing the wonders of modern technology; the air fryer.

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What can you serve with Air Fryer Chicken Katsu

You may choose the traditional route with Sticky Jasmine Rice, where you can infuse subtle nuances, from coconut milk’s sweetness to lemongrass’ citrusy tang.

Alternatively, delve into the world of pickled vegetables, a tangy contrast to the katsu’s richness; try quick-pickled cucumbers or a creative radish kimchi.

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Experiment with Japanese-inspired salads, such as a crisp Wakame (seaweed) salad or a Miso-roasted Brussels sprouts for a smoky, umami edge. Venture further with creamy Japanese potato salad, adding surprising twists like diced apples for an unexpected crunch and sweetness.

Every side dish is a fresh opportunity to make your Chicken Katsu dinner an exciting culinary adventure, bursting with contrasting textures and flavors.

Chicken Katsu ingredients



  • Chicken Tenders: – These are lean, juicy, and a great source of protein. They cook quickly and provide a tender bite.
  • Salt & Pepper – They’re fundamental to enhancing the natural flavors of your ingredients.
  • Eggs – They work as the perfect adhesive for the breadcrumbs to stick to the chicken, providing a nice, crispy coating.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – Originating from Japan, these breadcrumbs are flakier and lighter than their Western counterparts. They have a fantastic crunch when air-fried.
  • Cooking Spray – Ensures your chicken doesn’t stick to the air fryer. Choose an oil-based spray for a hint of added flavor.


  • Ketchup – provides the tangy base for your Katsu sauce. You can also explore using specialty or homemade varieties for an original touch.
  • Soy Sauce – imparts a rich umami flavor and adds depth to your Katsu sauce.
  • Brown Sugar – adds a slight sweetness to your sauce, balancing the tangy and salty flavors.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – adds a complex flavor profile and a savory and slightly sweet taste to your sauce.
  • Minced Garlic: infuses your sauce with an intense, slightly spicy aroma that complements the other ingredients beautifully.
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Preparation Instructions

Follow these simple instructions to create the perfect Air Fryer Chicken Katsu, a crispy and juicy delight that everyone will love.

sauce for chicken katsu

Create the sauce: Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl until it is all mixed together. Set aside for later use.

Preheat the air fryer: Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C) and give the basket a good spray with oil to prevent sticking.

season chicken with salt and pepper

Season the chicken: Grab your chicken tenders and generously season them with salt and pepper to taste.

dredging station for chicken katsu

Prepare the dredging station: Whisk the eggs until well beaten in one shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, place the panko crumbs.

dredge chicken in egg

Dredge the chicken: Dip each chicken tender first into the beaten egg, making sure it’s fully coated. Next, roll it in the panko crumbs, pressing firmly to ensure an even and thick coating.

put chicken in air fryer

Cook the chicken. Place the breaded chicken tenders in the preheated air fryer basket, ensuring they don’t overlap. Give them a light spray of oil to help them crisp up. Cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked, and the breading is golden brown.

drizzle with sauce

Drizzle with the sauce and serve over rice. DELICIOUS!!!

How to Switch This Up a Bit

Switch up your Air Fryer Chicken Katsu with alternative coatings and sauces. Instead of traditional panko crumbs, try light, gluten-free almond flour for a nutty twist or even crushed rice crackers for a unique crunch.

For the sauce, stray from the typical Katsu and explore a spicy sriracha mayonnaise or tangy yuzu kosho paste. Incorporate additional seasonings into the chicken marinade, such as lemongrass or ginger, to intensify the flavor.

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I’ve got Air Fryer Chicken Katsu leftovers. How do I keep them crispy?

For the love of crunch, store your Katsu separately from any sauce in an airtight container in the fridge to avoid them getting soggy.

Can I freeze my leftover Chicken Katsu?

Absolutely! But ,ensure your Katsu is cool before packing it into freezer-safe bags or containers. When you’re ready to defrost, thaw them overnight in the fridge, then reheat them in an oven or air fryer.

How long will my Chicken Katsu last in the refrigerator?

Your Katsu keeps its charm for about 3–4 days in the fridge. Keep it as fresh as possible by wrapping the leftovers in aluminum foil or storing them in an airtight container.

Yield: 6 servings

Air Fryer Chicken Katsu

Air Fryer Chicken Katsu

Let me whisk you away on a culinary adventure that combines the modern magic of air frying with the nostalgic comfort of a Japanese classic - Chicken Katsu. When I first tasted Katsu in a bustling Japanese eatery, its crunchy exterior and tender, juicy chicken left an indelible mark on my food memories.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes



  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray


  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic


In a small bowl whisk all sauce ingredients together - set aside.

Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees and spray the basket with oil.

Season the chicken tenders with salt & pepper.

In one shallow bowl, whisk the eggs.

In a separate shallow bowl place the panko crumbs.

Dredge the tenders first in beaten egg then in panko.

Place in air fryer basket and spray with oil.

Cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is done and browning.

Serve over rice and topped with sauce.


Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 392Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 1369mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 21g
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