This keto Parmesan Crusted Chicken is a crunchy and flavorful way to serve chicken without the carbs of a heavily breaded alternative. All you need is fresh Parmesan, mayonnaise, and chicken breast to make this perfect keto friendly, low-carb chicken dish.
Chicken is one of the best high-protein, low fat options for your diet, but serving plain chicken breast can get really boring. That’s when you’re going to want to pull out this recipe, which adds a ton of flavor and crispiness to chicken without the carbs.
This recipe has two secret weapons that make it extra crispy and flavorful. While many recipes use an egg wash, this recipe uses mayonnaise to make a binder for the breading. The extra fat in the mayonnaise makes the breading especially tasty.
The second secret ingredient is whey protein isolate, which I started using regularly for keto breading after making this amazing orange chicken that turns out so crunchy. I add a little bit to my breading mixture every time now, because the extra crunch factor is so worth it.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Chicken breast – Slicing the chicken breasts in half lengthwise will give you just the right portion size. If you keep the chicken whole, it takes too long to fully cook and the Parmesan will burn. You can use chicken thighs, if you want, but you might need to pound them flat first, so they cook evenly.
- Parmesan cheese – It’s important not to use the pulverized powdered Parmesan cheese that comes in the plastic canister. It needs to be fresh Parmesan. I always grate my own, which leads to the softest, fluffiest cheese. If you have to use a pre-shredded cheese, make sure it’s a high-quality one. Some of them are like tough pieces of hay – yuck!
- Mayonnaise – I use full fat Best Foods or Hellman’s mayonnaise for this.
- Whey Protein Isolate – If you haven’t tried breading chicken with this before, you really should give it a try. It’s important to use the isolate version and make sure it’s flavorless. You can buy it on Amazon or from a whole foods outlet.
- Garlic salt
How to Make Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Mix the Parmesan cheese, whey protein, and garlic salt together on a plate. Set it aside until the chicken is ready.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed, non-stick skillet over medium heat. You can use any cooking oil you like with a high smoke point, like avocado oil (but not olive oil).
As the oil is heating, lay out the chicken pieces on a cutting board and spread the mayonnaise on the tops of the chicken pieces with the back of a spoon. It doesn’t need to be thick.
I do this one piece at a time. Set a piece of chicken, mayonnaise side down onto the cheese mixture. Spread mayo on the other side and turn it over to coat both sides with cheese.
When the oil is shimmering, place the first piece of chicken into the oil. Continue coating the other pieces with cheese and place them in the skillet.
Allow each piece to fry for 3-4 minutes, until the underside is crispy and lightly browned. You don’t want to touch or move the chicken pieces until they are crispy and golden on the underside. If you move them, you risk dislodging the cheese.
When the underside is browned, flip them over and continue cooking an additional 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Chicken should reach 165 degrees F. It’s always a good idea to use a meat thermometer to make sure they’re done.
Remove the chicken pieces to a wire rack until all the pieces are done. I like to serve them with a veggie on the side, like brussels sprouts or a cauliflower potato salad. Or slice them up and put them on a chicken bacon salad.
Cooking Chicken in the Air Fryer
Nowadays, people are using their air fryers more than ever to cook things like this Parmesan Crusted Chicken. It’s a great way to get the cheese nice and crispy without using all the oil to fry them in.
If you want to use an air fryer, just follow these instructions to cook:
- Spray one side of the Parmesan crusted chicken with olive oil spray. Place that side down in the air fryer basket, then spray the top side. You can cook as many at a time as you want as long as they fit without touching.
- Cook at 400°F (200°C) for 10 minutes, flipping over halfway through cooking. Make sure chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).
Notes & Tips
- If you don’t have or can’t find whey protein isolate, you can leave it out. It’s not strictly necessary, though it does add additional crispiness to the breading.
- When you place the chicken in the oil, don’t touch it or move it for at least 3 minutes or the breading might slide off. Let it crisp up before moving.
- Don’t use the store-bought canister of Parmesan cheese that’s finely ground. It won’t work as well. It’s best to finely shred a block of Parmesan cheese yourself, either manually or with a food processor.
- Always use a non-stick skillet for this, so the cheese doesn’t adhere to the bottom of the pan. It will be too difficult to flip the chicken without ruining the breading.
What to Serve With This Dish?
If you’re looking for a great side dish to serve alongside this main dish, why not try one of these recipes below. They will compliment this main dish very well and are all low in carbs so you can make a great keto or low-carb meal to enjoy.
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Keto Parmesan Crusted Chicken
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 2 chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons whey protein isolate
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- Salt & ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.
- Spread the mayonnaise on the tops of the chicken pieces.
- Mix the Parmesan cheese, whey protein, and garlic salt together on a plate.
- Set a piece of chicken, mayonnaise side down onto the cheese mixture. Spread mayo on the other side and turn it over to coat both sides with cheese.
- When the oil is shimmering, place the first piece of chicken into the oil. Continue coating the other pieces with cheese and place them in the skillet.
- Allow each piece to fry for 3-4 minutes, until the underside is crispy and lightly browned, then flip them over and continue cooking an additional 3-4 minutes until done. Chicken should reach 165 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken pieces to a wire rack until all the pieces are done. Then serve as desired.
When you place the chicken in the oil, don’t touch it or move it for at least 3 minutes or the breading might slide off. Let it crisp up before moving.
Don’t use the store-bought canister of Parmesan cheese that’s finely ground. It won’t work as well. It’s best to finely shred a block of Parmesan cheese yourself, either manually or with a food processor.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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Laura is dedicated to a low-carb lifestyle after losing 52 pounds on the keto diet. As many of us do, she struggles with her weight and has found that one of the only diet lifestyles that allows her to maintain a healthy weight is a low-carb diet. She shares her favorite low-carb recipes here that are both easy to make and full of flavor, so you don’t even miss the carbs.