This Healthy Chicken Parmesan is so flavorful - crispy on the outside and perfectly juicy and tender on the inside! A crazy-delicious, kid-friendly dinner that includes 21 Day Fix container counts and WW Points (for all plans!)
YOU GUYS!!! This is my first ever air fryer post on the blog!!! Can you tell I'm excited?!?!?! I can't wait for you to try it!!
I don't know if you guys know this about me, but I grew up in a land where Italian food is king - Youngstown, Ohio (or thereabouts) and it just feels like home, ya know? And there just truly isn't anything better than cooking up a delicious meal that gives you the warm, nostalgic fuzzies.
Because of that, I really love cooking (and eating!) Italian food (ya know, like Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta, Halibut Fra Diavolo, Pasta Fagioli, Pasta with Meat Sauce, etc..), but even with all of those, I realized recently that I don't have nearly enough of it on the blog!
Clearly this needs to be remedied, STAT, so I'm starting with my hometown favorite, Chicken Parm!
Peeps, I tested this one SO many ways because I wanted to get it just right for you, and I really feel like I nailed it. It's super-flavorful, delightfully crispy on the outside and perfectly tender and juicy on the inside. It's seriously a dream.
I'm so obsessed with it and seriously can't wait to use this crispy chicken in so many fun recipes for you guys, my mind has been going a million miles a minute with ideas. I'm so freaking excited. And yes I know I keep saying that, but it's true.
Anyway, I've given this recipe air fryer and oven instructions and both are great, but I do truly love making this chicken in the air fryer for a few reasons:
- I don't have to heat up the house with the oven. Even in the winter I appreciate that!
- It cooks up a bit faster, another thing I always appreciate.
- And it could be my imagination, but I swear it comes out even juicier and more delicious in the air fryer!
That being said, if I were doubling this, I would definitely make it in the oven so it could be done all at once and it's still amazing. Actually it's the perfect company meal - I mean, who doesn't love chicken parmesan??
Let's do a little Q&A before we get to how to make it!
What kind of air fryer did you use to make this Healthy Chicken Parmesan?
I used this Secura 5.3 Quart air fryer (affiliate link). I love it and I feel like the basket is a pretty good size, which is often a complaint I hear about other air fryers!
If you want some more info on choosing a great air fryer, check out this "Which Air Fryer is Right for You" post from my friend, Nancylynn at Confessions of a Fit Foodie!
Will using all panko (instead of panko and breadcrumbs) make these even crispier?
I've tested these with all panko and it doesn't make them any crispier (they're seriously super crispy already!), but the all panko-test turned out less flavorful chicken - I think because the seasonings are able to distribute more easily and evenly with the breadcrumbs.
Can I skip dredging the chicken in the flour and egg when making healthy chicken parmesan?
I tested it once skipping those steps just out of curiosity and you just can't get all of that delish, crispy coating to stick without it. I was hoping to simplify a bit, but it turns out there's a reason why literally everyone does this. 😉
Why isn't the chicken pounded thin for this chicken parmesan?
Well, mostly because I hate pounding out chicken and when I tested this without pounding it out, the results were so delish that I thought I'd save us all the time and energy! That being said, if you'd prefer to pound your chicken thinner, go for it!
Can this healthy chicken parmesan be prepared ahead of time?
Yes! The best thing to do is to make your crispy chicken without the sauce and cheese and then add those when reheating.
How to reheat crispy chicken:
You can reheat in your air fryer or oven at 350° for about 10 minutes, then to complete your chicken parm, add your sauce and cheese and put it back in until the cheese starts to brown (2 minutes or so).
What kind of sauce is used in Chicken Parmesan?
I love making this after I've made my homemade all-day tomato sauce and use that, but if I don't have that on hand, I'll just use a store-bought marinara sauce that has no sugar in the ingredients (and only includes clean ingredients) and is lower in sodium. Oh, and here's a great, easy marinara recipe if you want to make your own!
What makes this Chicken Parmesan Recipe healthy?
It's made with whole grains and isn't deep fried! It's also 21 Day Fix approved (container counts are in the recipe) and is only 4 Blue (formerly freestyle) points on Weight Watchers! Btw, I've included the green plan points and purple plan points in the recipe card as well!
What to serve with Chicken Parmesan?
I love serving the classic way with a salad and pasta. It's also amazing with zoodles (the way I show in the photos) when I'm wanting a lower-carb dinner, so good!!
Oh, and don't forget the wine! I love a chardonnay or even a rosé with this 🙂
How to make Healthy Chicken Parmesan:
I hope this one becomes a new staple in your house like it has in mine!
Don't forget to save this easy and healthy chicken parmesan to Pinterest! ⇓
Hey! Don't have an air fryer yet? Click here to check out the one that I used for this recipe (that I love!) - affiliate link.
Can I ask a quick favor? If you make this healthy chicken parmesan recipe, please let me know how it went by leaving a star rating (in the recipe card) and commenting! And if you snap a pic, I’d love for you to tag me @thefoodieandthefix on Instagram so I can check it out! I love seeing what recipes you guys are making!
- 3 large chicken breast halves, cut in half (around 2 ½ lbs raw chicken total) - or if you're lucky enough to find smaller breasts that are around 6-7 oz each, then you won't need to cut them in half.
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour, or brown rice flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup whole wheat panko
- ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese (grated on the small side of your cheese grater - I prefer the pecorino!)
- 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup no-sugar added marinara sauce (look for one that's low in sodium)
- 6 slices of ultra-thin provolone, like the kind by Sargento, cut in half (or you can use 1 ½ Tbs of shredded mozzarella on each piece of chicken)
Air Fryer Instructions:
- Preheat air fryer to 400° or 390° (depending on your air fryer). A few minutes is really all it takes.
- Season chicken lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Make a breading station with 3 bowls - the first for the flour, the second for your beaten eggs and in the third, you'll mix together the panko, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper, to taste.
- Give a light spray of olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray to the bottom of your air fryer basket.
- Dredge your chicken piece by piece first in the flour (shaking off any excess), then the egg, then the breading and place in your air fryer basket. Repeat until basket is full and then lightly spray the tops of the chicken with olive oil cooking spray, you may need to do 2-3 batches depending on the size of your air fryer. Cook between 20-30 minutes depending on thickness - until temperature reaches 165 degrees. My chicken breasts are pretty thick and they took about 25 minutes.
- Do everything exactly the same as the AF instructions, cooking in a preheated 400° oven on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. I tested this and forgot to time it, but it definitely took longer than in the Air Fryer. Depending on thickness, I would probably start checking at around 25 minutes. Then, like in the Air Fryer, top with marinara and the cheese and put back in the oven for a couple of minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.
21 Day Fix Container Counts per Serving: 1 Red, ⅓ Yellow, ½ Blue
WW Blue Plan Points per Serving: 4
WW Purple Plan Points per Serving: 4
WW Green Plan Points per Serving: 7
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 piece of chicken
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 9g
Nutritional information provided is approximate and for informational purposes only.