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If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, then you know that I love easy meals. My family loves classic dinners and I love that they aren’t overly fussy or time consuming. Imagine my pleasure when I discovered I could cook my favorite chicken dinner multiple ways depending on how I’m feeling! This delicious take on the classic parmesan herb crusted chicken can be cooked three ways for convenience and a fast weeknight dinner.
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Easy Weeknight Dinners
I’m excited to get to today’s dinner recipe! I’ve made this recipe for years by tossing a random amount of ingredients into a bowl and calling it good. After making it and showing it in my Instagram stories (you can follow me for daily fun here), I had SO many requests for the recipe that I decided to actually measure the next few times I made it!
Now that I have it written down, I’m excited to share it with you. Even better, you can take this one recipe and cook it three ways depending on your mood or what cooking method is available to you.
Make sure to also check out my friends’ recipes linked at the bottom of this post! I love joining other bloggers who are sharing yummy recipes and they are sure to please.
New Take On Parmesan Crusted Chicken
When you think of parmesan crusted chicken, Outback style may come to mind. The traditional parmesan crust usually coats the chicken like breading, but I find that it can be bland and dry that way. So I add mayonnaise to create a parmesan herb crusted chicken that is moist and extra tasty.
After all, is there anything better than moist chicken? That leads me to the most basic of questions, how do you cook chicken breasts?
How to Cook Chicken Breasts So They Aren’t Dry
The most common issue when cooking chicken breast is that they can become dry and rubbery. There is a major balance when cooking chicken between undercooked and dangerous and overcooked and not worth eating. To find the balance, it all depends on two things:
- Your cooking method
- Letting them rest
Today, I’ll share three methods to cook chicken breasts, however the common denominator to success among all of them is that you must let the chicken rest.
The key to moist chicken is removing it from the heat when the internal temperature is around 160-162 degrees Fahrenheit, and then letting it rest for 5 minutes. As it rests, the temperature will continue to rise from residual heat to the perfect doneness of 165 degrees. This also allows time for the juices to reconstitute within the chicken. If you cut into it too early, the juices all run out and you lose that delicious element!
Parmesan Herb Crusted Chicken Recipe
Now, let’s get to our parmesan herb crusted chicken recipe! Remember, this is a different take on this recipe. The entire chicken breast will not be coated like the traditional version, but rather you are creating a topping of yummy parmesan crusted goodness. This allows you to cook it with the various methods I’ll share next.
- 4-6 thin cut boneless chicken breasts
- Salt & Pepper to taste
I buy bulk chicken breasts and then cut them in half horizontally to create two 1 inch thick chicken breasts. This allows for faster cooking and you can skip pounding the chicken thin. It is also more economical as you are basically doubling the amount of food for your money!
- 3/4 c. Mayonnaise (not miracle whip, but the real stuff)
- 1/2 c. Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Dash Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 tsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp. Poultry Seasoning, this is my favorite
- 2 tsp. Italian Herbs
- 4 tsp. Breadcrumbs
Parmesan Herb Crusted Chicken Recipe Steps
The first step, no matter what method of cooking you choose, is to bring the chicken breasts to room temperature. Next, sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste, on both sides of the chicken breast.
Next, mix all of your topping ingredients together, except for the breadcrumbs.
Set the toppings aside. Now you have the choice!
Here are the three ways in which you can cook this parmesan herb crusted chicken breast.
- Oven Baked
- Air Fryer
Pros for each cooking method
Baked Chicken: Easy to do when already using the oven for side dishes that cook at the same temperature.
Grilled Chicken: Great way to create comfort food chicken when the temperature is hot out and you don’t want to use an oven.
Air Fryer Chicken: Perfect for those with limited access to ovens or grills and want dinner done quickly.
Choose what method you would like to cook your chicken and proceed to the next step!
Best Baked Chicken
I may be a little partial to this option, but I love this recipe baked. It is the original cooking method I’ve always used and it comes out moist and delicious every time. Pop it in the oven with some fresh asparagus and a yummy bread and you have yourself a meal!
For this method of cooking, place your salt and peppered chicken breasts in a 9×13 glass baking dish lined with foil or parchment paper. Next, scoop your topping mixture onto each chicken breast and spread out evenly over the top.
Once you’ve added your topping mixture, sprinkle about 1 tsp. of breadcrumbs onto each chicken breast.
Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes. When the internal temperature reaches 160-162, remove it from the oven and let the parmesan herb crusted chicken rest in the baking dish for 5 minutes until it reaches 165 degrees. Serve with your favorite sides!
Note: This cooking temperature and time is for THIN cuts of 1 inch thick. If you choose to use thick cuts of chicken you will need to bake it longer. The key is to get it to 160-162 and then let it rest, no matter the thickness.
However, one of the keys to moist chicken breasts is a higher cooking temperature for a shorter amount of cooking time. The longer your chicken is in the oven, the more likely it is to be dried out as it bakes. That’s why I love thin cuts!
Best Air Fryer Chicken
The next cooking method is cooking chicken in an air fryer. I have the Ninja Foodie XL Smart Grill which has an air fry option. It has been great to use and so versatile! You can see how I used it to cook back straps with this recipe!
One of the awesome features of cooking chicken this way is that you can also cook frozen chicken in an air fryer when you find yourself unprepared for dinner!
So for this method of baking your parmesan herb crusted chicken in an air fryer, follow the same instructions above to begin. Salt and pepper your chicken, and place it in your preheated air fryer.
Fry at 390 degrees for the allotted time for your air fryer. My Ninja Foodie called for 15 minutes, but I found that it cooked much faster than that. So start with 5 minutes, flip your chicken, cook another 5 minutes.
Then, add your topping mixture and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.
Remove the basket from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes when it reaches 160.
I love that cooking chicken in an air fryer requires no oil, but the fat from the mayonnaise and parmesan cheese keep it moist and prevents it from becoming rubbery. The air fry option also adds a little bit of crispy skin to your chicken, which baking does not do.
Serve with your favorite sides!
Best Grilled Chicken
And for our final cooking method: grilling! Again, the process is the same as the other cooking methods.
I’m using my Ninja Foodie Indoor Grill (the same machine as the air fryer), but this can also be done on an outdoor grill with the same method.
As you can see, my chicken breasts were still slightly frozen when I grilled them. That is one of the benefits of the Ninja Foodie! The heat is so concentrated that it still cooks frozen chicken quickly. I will say, however, that for best texture I like my chicken to be at room temperature.
Use the same method as above and partially cook your chicken breasts first. Then, add the topping and breadcrumbs when you have just a couple of minutes left of cooking time. This is determined not by the clock, but by your meat thermometer. If you do not have a built in thermometer like the Ninja Foodie does, this is a great option.
Once your meat reaches 160 degrees, remove it and let it rest for 5 minutes!
I hope that you enjoy this easy weeknight dinner! Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to have future recipes sent straight to your inbox! You’ll also get access to my free printable library and DIY guides!
If you’re looking for more dinner ideas, make sure to check out my favorite meals below.
- Moist Turkey Burgers
- Tender Back Straps
- Best Pork Tenderloin
- Classic Chili Cooked 2 Ways
- Chicken Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
- See all my favorite desserts here
- Healthy Weeknight Dinners, with ingredient shopping list!
And make sure to visit my friends recipes linked below for even more delicious options!