Looking for a super simple weeknight meal that’s easy to make and packed with flavor? You need this baked panko crusted chicken in your life! It’s super juicy chicken with a crunchy panko topping – what more could you ask for?!
This crispy chicken is so easy to make, and pairs well with essentially any side dish. Plus, you can easily switch up the seasonings to make it your own.
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Roasted Chicken Breast with Crispy Panko
This crispy baked chicken is like an extra crispy, elevated version of shake-n-bake chicken! It’s so simple to make and barely requires any prep time (just 10 minutes).
The panko topping gets super crispy while the chicken stays tender (especially thanks to the Greek yogurt layer). You get a crispy crunchy crust without having to pan-fry anything, which is such a win!
This baked chicken is a hit with adults and kids alike, so it’s a great family meal, too. It’s amazing served with crispy roasted mini potatoes and green beans, but honestly would taste delicious with anything. (I’ve shared some side dish inspiration further down in this post).
What is panko?
Panko are also known as Japanese breadcrumbs. They are made from crustless loaves of bread that have been processed into flakes and dried.
Panko adds a nice light crunchiness to baked dishes without the need for frying. The drying process keeps them from being able to absorb too much oil, which makes them crispier when baked rather than soggy.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this panko crusted chicken:
- chicken breast cutlets (These are just boneless skinless chicken breasts that have been sliced thinner for quicker cooking. They’re sometimes labeled as fillets at the grocery store. You can also buy regular chicken breasts and slice them into cutlets yourself, if you prefer.)
- plain Greek yogurt (This helps keep the chicken juicy while also helping the panko breadcrumb mixture stick to the chicken. Sour cream also works.)
- panko breadcrumbs (I recommend buying plain panko bread crumbs, since you’ll be adding seasonings to it.)
butter (This gets melted and mixed with the panko to help it get crispy. If you’re in a pinch, olive oil will also work and there’s no need to melt it since it’s already liquid, but butter will give you absolute most delicious results.)
Have extra Panko? Try these crispy baked salmon bites!
How to Make Baked Panko Chicken
To make these crispy baked chicken cutlets, start by spraying a sheet pan with cooking spray. Place the raw chicken cutlets in a single layer on the pan and season with salt.
Next, use a spatula or kitchen brush to spread a thin layer of plain Greek yogurt on top of each cutlet.
Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in panko and seasonings (garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, and cayenne powder – exact measurements can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post).
Then, divide the mixture evenly on top of the cutlets. Press down gently into the Greek yogurt layer.
Next, bake the chicken at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-18 minutes (depending on the size and thickness). Remove the chicken once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
(Hot tip: use an oven-safe meat thermometer to avoid overcooking the chicken; overcooked chicken gets tough and less juicy.)
Lastly, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing into it. (This is essential to keep it juicy!)
What’s the key to making crispy panko crusted chicken?
There are a few important things in this recipe that help keep the panko crispy (instead of soggy, because no one wants that)! First off, make sure to use a sheet pan (not a deep baking dish) and spread the chicken out on the pan. This allows the juices to evaporate quickly.
Second, adding melted butter with the panko breadcrumbs helps them get browned and crispy. (This is already a step in the recipe!).
And lastly, the way we add the breading here – only on top of the chicken – is ideal. That way, we don’t end up with soggy breading on the bottom of the chicken (from soaking up any extra juices).
What to Serve With Panko Crusted Chicken
This is such a versatile main dish that can really be served with anything! Here’s some side dish inspiration to get you started:
- Crispy Roasted Mini Potatoes
- Sauteed String Beans with Garlic & Lemon
- Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries (Baked)
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Lemony Quinoa Salad with Spinach
- Oven Roasted Zucchini and Squash
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
Want to switch up the flavors here? Try adding 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan, lemon zest, and/or any other herbs or seasonings you like to the panko mixture!
To store this panko breaded chicken, first let it cool completely. Then, place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
What type of chicken should I use?
Any type of chicken should work in this panko chicken recipe, but it’s best to use chicken cutlets since they cook faster (and you don’t want the breadcrumbs to burn).
If you only have full-size (non-cutlet) chicken breasts or chicken thighs, you’ll likely need to slice them into thinner pieces yourself.
How to Check If Chicken Is Cooked Through
I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to make sure the center of each chicken breast reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s when you know it’s fully cooked!
Fully cooked chicken should also be white in the center (with no pink). If you slice into it and the juices run clear (not red or pink), that’s another sign that it’s cooked through.
Can I make this recipe gluten free?
Yes! Just buy gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. They should be available in most grocery stores, especially health food stores.
This crispy panko chicken is sure to be a go-to weeknight dinner the whole family will love! I love making chicken this way, because it’s so easy yet feels a little extra fancy. I hope you enjoy it, too!
You’ll find the full baked panko crusted chicken recipe at the bottom of this post.
More chicken dishes to try:
- Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- Baked Pesto Chicken
- Garlic Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies
- Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks (Honey Mustard)
- Gluten Free Chicken Tenders
- Crockpot Mexican Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Thighs with Maple Mustard Sauce
- Baked Curry Chicken with Maple
- 2 lb thin chicken breast cutlets (sometimes also labeled fillets)
- 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- 1/8 teaspoon or 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- cooking spray, as needed for the pan
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Grease a sheet pan with cooking spray, then arrange the chicken in a single layer on the pan. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Use a spatula or your fingers to spread a thin layer of greek yogurt on top of each chicken cutlet.
- Combine the panko, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, and melted butter in a medium bowl.
- Divide the breadcrumb mixture evenly on top of the chicken and pat it gently to cover the greek yogurt.
- Bake for 12-18 minutes (depending on the size/thickness of your chicken breasts), until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting.