Air Fryer Japanese Chicken Katsu

Experience the crispy perfection of Air Fryer Japanese Chicken Katsu, a healthier twist on the classic dish! With its signature katsu crust and juicy interior, my recipe captures the authentic flavors of traditional Japanese cuisine without the mess of deep frying. Simplify your cooking routine and indulge in this guilt-free delight that’s both quick and delicious. So why wait? Let’s dive into the kitchen and create a wholesome version of this Japanese favorite!

Air fryer Japanese chicken cutlet served over a bed of cabbage with kastu sauce drizzled over.

Why I Love This Recipe

If you’re craving the irresistible flavors of a traditional Japanese chicken katsu without the fuss of deep frying, then I promise my recipe is your ticket to hassle-free frying! By utilizing the air fryer, I’ve streamlined the process, making it healthier and more convenient version of chicken katsu without sacrificing taste or texture!

We take the traditional chicken katsu recipe and simplify it with air frying, using my traditional Japanese panko coating technique from my Tonkatsu and Japanese Mechi Katsu recipes. Then, we place it in the air fryer and fry until crispy, served with my  homemade Katsu Sauce!

Imagine sinking your teeth into juicy, tender chicken coated in a crispy panko crust, all complemented by the sweet and savory notes of my homemade katsu sauce. It’s the perfect main dish for anyone seeking an authentic Japanese experience with minimal effort and maximum flavor. So why wait? Let’s get making this tonight!



  • Chicken Thigh – boneless and skinless about 1-inch in thickness. Can use boneless and skinless chicken breast if preferred.
  • Salt sea salt preferred. 
  • Black Pepper – ground black pepper. 
  • Flour  all purpose flour for baking. Use Almond Flour for a low carb recipe.
  • Eggs – beaten in a small bowl. 
  • Panko – panko bread crumbs. For low carb, use crushed pork rinds or Pork Panko.
  • Ketchup – regular ketchup. Can use sugar-free ketchup for a low carb-friendly sauce.
  • Worcestershire Sauce Worcestershire Sauce packed in a bottle. Found in grocery stores.
  • Oyster Sauce – a base sauce made from oyster extract used in many Asian cooking recipes. Can be found at most grocery stores.
  • Sweetener – use your preferred sweetener.   

🍗 Chicken Note

While traditional chicken katsu is typically made with chicken thigh, you can opt for Chicken Breast if Preferred. Both cuts will work well in this recipe, allowing you to choose based on your personal preference or dietary requirements.

Air fried Japanese chicken cutlet being cut into slices.

Essential Kitchen Equipment


🍖 Brining Pro Tip

For Extra Tender Chicken, brine the chicken in a solution of 2 Cups of Water with 2 Tablespoons of Salt for 30-45 Minutes. This can result in exceptionally flavorful and tender chicken. Be cautious not to over-brine, as it can make the chicken too salty. When using this technique, skip the salt during the seasoning process.

Step 1 Begin by seasoning the chicken thighs with salt and black pepper.

Chicken thigh seasoned with salt and black pepper.

Step 2 Prepare the katsu sauce by combining ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, and sweetener.

Katsu sauce in a bowl.

🧂 Flavoring Add In For Katsu Sauce

Enhance the flavor of your katsu sauce by incorporating a sprinkle of Garlic Powder and Onion Powder to your liking.

Step 3 Set up an assembly line with shallow bowls containing flour, beaten eggs, and panko for coating. Dredge each chicken fillet through the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally, the panko.

Chicken coated in panko.

Step 4 Place the coated fillets in the air fryer basket, ensuring they’re laid out in a single layer. Air fry these at 390F for 13-15 minutes.

Chicken katsu in an air fryer.

🌡 Internal Temperature Check

Confirm the chicken reaches a safe consumption temperature of 165°F.

💡 Extra Cripsy Pro Tip

For extra crispiness, Double-Fry the katsu. After a brief rest of 1-2 minutes, give it another round of air frying. This additional step enhances the exterior panko coating’s crispiness.

Step 5 Use a sharp knife to slice the cutlets into bite-sized portions, finish with a drizzle of tonkatsu sauce and serve.

Japanese chicken katsu served on a plate.

Recipe Variations

You can stick to the traditional method by deep frying the chicken until crispy to make yourself a Japanese Chicken Katsu. Alternatively, simmer the air fried chicken katsu in Donburi Sauce and serve it over a bowl of rice for a delicious Chicken Katsu Don.

Pairing Recommendations

To complement your chicken katsu, serve it with classic Japanese sides like a salad dressed with my Wafu Salad Dressing or Japanese Cabbage Salad, along with your choice of rice and a bowl of comforting Tofu Miso Soup.

Air fryer Japanese chicken cutlet served over a bed of cabbage with kastu sauce drizzled over.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use boneless chicken breast instead of chicken thighs for this recipe?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken breast instead of chicken thighs for this recipe.

What temperature and time settings should I use for the air fryer?

For the air fryer, you should set the temperature to 390-400°F and cook for 13-15 minutes until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Can I use store-bought katsu sauce, or do I have to make it from scratch?

Yes, you can use store-bought katsu sauce if you prefer.

Can I freeze the leftovers of this dish for later consumption?

Yes, you can freeze the leftovers of this dish for later consumption. After air frying the chicken, place it in a ziplock bag with as little air as possible and freeze.

Storage Tips

To store leftovers, transfer them into an airtight container and refrigerate. These leftovers will maintain their freshness for 5-7 days. For long-term storage, you can place air-fried chicken katsu in a ziplock bag with minimal air as possible and freeze.

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Watch How To Make It

Air fryer Japanese chicken cutlet served over a bed of cabbage with kastu sauce drizzled over.

Air Fryer Japanese Chicken Katsu

Welcome to my recipe for Air Fryer Japanese Chicken Katsu! Discover how to make crispy and flavorful chicken cutlets using your air fryer. This easy-to-follow recipe ensures a delicious meal with minimal effort. Try it out today and enjoy the convenience of air frying your favorite chicken cutlet dish!
4.22 from 14 votes
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian American, Japanese
Keyword: air fryer chicken cutlet, chicken cutlet air fryer
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Brine: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 618kcal



  • 3/4 lb Chicken Thigh can sub with chicken breast
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Flour for low carb use almond flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Panko for low carb use Pork Panko or crushed pork rinds



  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for air fryer Japanese chicken cutlet.
  • Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Once dried, sprinkle salt & black pepper on both sides and set aside. Note - if you did the optional brine, omit or very lightly salt.
    Chicken thigh seasoned.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine ketchup, worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce and sweetener. Mix well and set aside.
    Katsu sauce in a bowl.
  • Fill 1 mixing bowl with flour, 1 mixing bowl with beaten eggs, 1 mixing bowl with panko.
    Panko coating in mixing bowls.
  • Take a piece of chicken thigh and dip in the following order: flour > eggs > panko. Once coated, place into air fryer tray and air fry for 13-15 minutes at 390F.
    Chicken coated in panko.
  • Once air fried, slice the cutlet into 1/2 inch slices and enjoy with tonkatsu sauce from step 4)!
    Air fried chicken cutlet sliced.


Calories: 618kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 330mg | Sodium: 805mg | Potassium: 518mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 381IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 4mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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