Crispy, tender, and juicy, Pan-Fried Panko Crusted Chicken Breasts are a flavorful protein to pair with any vegetable or add to a salad. With a satisfying crunch and seasoned with bold Cajun spices, this dish is perfect when your craving a quick meal.
This panko breaded chicken is seasoned with our homemade Cajun seasoning and cooked until golden-brown and crispy.
I will guide you through how to make the best pan-fried chicken breast on the stovetop using a handful of simple ingredients in under 20 minutes.
Why We Love Panko Crusted Chicken
- Versatile - Pan-fried Cajun chicken pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides and makes a great addition to any salad.
- Crunchy texture - The panko crust delivers a satisfying crunch, providing a delightful contrast to the tender and juicy chicken inside.
- Moist & juicy - Pan-frying chicken keeps it moist and juicy. The crispy exterior locks in the flavors, ensuring that your chicken isn't dry or overcooked.
- Quick & easy to prepare - With only a few simple steps and pantry ingredients, panko crusted chicken is an ideal choice for a weeknight dinner.
- Chicken breasts - For this recipe, use thinly sliced chicken breasts to get a quick and even cook. You can buy thin chicken breasts at the grocery store, butterfly a chicken breast, or use a meat mallet to pound chicken to ½ inch thick.
- All purpose flour - Flour is used to seal in moisture and protect the chicken from the high heat of the skillet.
- Egg - The egg acts as a glue to make the panko stick to the chicken. Make a quick egg wash by whisking a cracked egg with a splash of water.
- Panko breadcrumbs - Panko are large flaky Japanese breadcrumbs that stay crispier longer than regular breadcrumbs. Panko gives this chicken recipe a light, crispy texture and crave-worthy crunch.
- Cajun seasoning - Cajun seasoning is a bold spice mixture of ground powders and herbs, such as: paprika, garlic, onion, cayenne, and thyme. Whip up our homemade blend or use store-bought.
- Oil - Use an oil with a high smoke point, like avocado oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil. These oils can handle the high heat required for pan-frying without burning.
- Butter - Combining both butter and oil while pan-frying increases flavor.
How to Make Pan-Fried Panko Chicken
I'll lead you through the process of creating a delicious stovetop pan-fried chicken breast using just a few basic ingredients, all in less than 20 minutes. This easy panko chicken recipe will become a fast favorite!
Step 1: Begin a standard breading procedure by preparing three shallow bowls, one each with flour, a whisked egg with a splash of water, and panko. Season the flour with Cajun seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Next, season the panko with Cajun seasoning and mix.
Step 2: Using a fork or gloves for food handling, place chicken breast in the bowl with flour. Flip to coat with flour on all sides. Shake off excess flour.
Step 3: Dip chicken into egg and flip to coat on all sides. Shake off excess.
Step 4: Coat the chicken with panko by placing it in the breadcrumbs and gently pushing down. Flip and repeat on the other side. Make sure the chicken is completely covered in panko. Set chicken aside and repeat steps 2-4 until all pieces of chicken are coated.
Step 5: Preheat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet to medium-high heat along with the oil and butter. Use enough oil to reach the sides of the chicken breast. Using tongs, place thinly sliced chicken in the hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Step 6: Flip chicken and repeat on the other side. Cook until golden-brown and a meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165°F.
Remove cooked chicken from the skillet and place on a cooling rack or paper towels to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and squeeze a lemon over the top before serving, if desired.
- Cook 2-3 chicken breasts at a time or in batches, leaving enough space between each piece in the skillet. This approach ensures that each piece cooks evenly, develops a crispy exterior, and retains its moist and tender interior.
- Use a heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan. Cast iron or stainless steel pans are excellent choices because they distribute heat evenly and hold a consistent temperature.
- Resist the urge to flip the chicken constantly. Let it cook on one side until it develops a golden-brown crust. Ideally, you should only flip the chicken one time.
- Make a pan sauce. After removing the cooked panko breaded chicken breast, you can deglaze the pan with wine, broth, or other liquids to create a flavorful sauce.
- Switch up the seasonings. Instead of using Cajun seasonings, try an Italian spice blend along with freshly shredded parmesan or a lemon pepper blend.
- For a more kid-friendly meal, slice chicken breasts in half before breading to make crispy chicken tenders, or cutlets.
While a non-stick pan can be used, it may not achieve the same level of browning as a cast iron or stainless steel pan. A heavier pan often provides better results.
Avoid overcooking by using a meat thermometer. Additionally, use enough oil in the pan while cooking and allow the chicken to rest a few minutes before cutting into it.
Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F. Alternatively, you can make a small cut in the thickest part of the chicken; if the juices run clear and there is no pink, it's done.
Let chicken rest for about 5 minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in juicier meat.
Pan-fried panko chicken is best when served immediately after cooking. As the chicken sits, the crispy crust can lose its crunch.
If you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To best reheat breaded chicken, warm it in the air fryer at 375°F for 2-3 minutes. You can also microwave it for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
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If you try this recipe or any recipe from Happy Honey Kitchen, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Enjoy!
Crispy Panko Chicken Breast
- 4 chicken breasts ½ inch thick
- ½ cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning divided
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1 lemon optional
- Set up three shallow bowls: one with flour seasoned with 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper, another bowl with a whisked egg and a splash of water, and the third bowl with panko breadcrumbs seasoned with 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning.
- Coat one piece of chicken with flour by placing it in the flour bowl and flipping it to cover all sides. Shake off any excess flour.
- Dip the floured chicken into the egg mixture, ensuring it's evenly coated on all sides. Shake off excess.
- Transfer the chicken to the bowl with panko breadcrumbs. Gently press the chicken into the panko, ensuring it's fully covered. Flip it and repeat on the other side. Repeat steps 2-4 for all the chicken pieces.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, adding oil and butter. Once hot, place chicken into the pan using tongs. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip chicken and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until its golden-brown and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Once done, remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and place it on a cooling rack or paper towels. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and a squeeze of lemon before serving, if desired.
- Make a batch of our homemade Cajun seasoning to use in this recipe.
- Store-bought Cajun seasoning, may contain high amounts of sodium. Season accordingly - you may want to omit any added salt from the recipe.
- To ensure a crispy crust, don't overcrowd the pan while cooking.