This Panko Crusted Chicken recipe is the best crispy baked chicken you’ll ever make! It has a crunchy breadcrumb exterior and is seasoned with everyone’s favorite flavor - ranch!
- Why this crispy baked panko chicken recipe is awesome:
- Ingredients and Substitutions
- Panko Breaded Chicken Breast Recipe Testing Notes
- How To Make This Easy Chicken
- Watch How to Make This - Step by Step
- Joy Tip!
- Common Questions
- Recipe Variations
- Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
- Fun Fact
- What to Eat With This Recipe
Why this crispy baked panko chicken recipe is awesome:
This recipe is awesome because it’s easy to make and will be done in just 30 minutes. It’s chicken you need in your dinner rotation because it comes out golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside. It also pairs well with most side dishes being that it’s ranch-flavored and fairly basic.
- Limited ingredients: This recipe takes a handful of ingredients. It’s also just a few easy steps of prep. It can be cooked in the air fryer or oven, so you have options! Best of all, it’s all done within 30 minutes!
- Quick cook time thanks to thin chicken: In this recipe, we use chicken breasts that are thinly sliced. This results in chicken that cooks quickly and comes out tender!
- Ranch?! Yes, please! There’s no better seasoning for chicken than ranch! We use ranch dressing AND a packet of ranch seasoning in this recipe to keep things simple and give this chicken the best flavor! It's a dish the whole family will love!
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitutes unless otherwise noted.
Chicken Breasts: We use thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts that we get frozen from Costco. This cut of chicken is also referred to as a chicken cutlet, which is just a thinly sliced chicken breast. We let them thaw completely before making this recipe.
Substitutions: Many cuts of chicken can be substituted such as chicken tenders, chicken cutlets, and chicken thighs.
Panko Breadcrumbs: These breadcrumbs are light and crisp. They also have very little flavor so they don't overpower the chicken.
Substitutions: We haven't tested other breadcrumbs, but another light breadcrumb should work. You can also use pulverized saltine crackers or croutons.
Ranch Dressing: We use a dairy-free and avocado oil-based ranch dressing. However, you can use any ranch dressing you like!
Substitutions: If you don't have ranch dressing, you can also whisk an egg and dip the chicken in that egg mixture before coating it in the breadcrumbs.
Ranch Seasoning: This is what gives this chicken its extra flavor!
Substitutions: You can make your own ranch seasoning, or use a blend of spices such as salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dill.
Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan cheese adds a great flavor to the chicken and also helps to bind the breading together.
Substitutions: Sharp white cheddar is a great substitute for parmesan cheese.
Panko Breaded Chicken Breast Recipe Testing Notes
Throughout our testing of this chicken, we learned some key things that worked and didn't work. Here are the key takeaways!
Preparing the Chicken:
We tried a few different methods to prepare the chicken for the batter. First, we tried dipping the chicken in flour before the batter. Second, we tried patting the chicken dry with a paper towel. And third, we tried just leaving it.
We found that dipping the chicken in flour and patting it dry both resulted in a crispier finish than just leaving the chicken as is. We found it was easier to pat it dry than it is to dip it in flour, so that’s what we recommend!
Testing the Batter:
We tried both ranch dressing and an egg wash in the chick batter process. We found that both resulted in about the same crunchy texture of baked chicken. However, dipping it in ranch dressing gave it more flavor, so that’s what we went with!
Toasting the Panko Breadcrumbs:
In order to get the breadcrumbs to be extra crispy, we tried toasting them in the oven before coating the chicken with them. We of course also tested untoasted breadcrumbs. Some recipes spray the breading with cooking spray, but we found toasting the bread crumbs resulted in an even superior crunch!
We found the toasted breadcrumbs didn’t soak up as much ranch dressing and therefore stayed crispier while still having that ranch flavor. Therefore, we recommend toasting the breadcrumbs!
Determining the Cooking Tray:
Initially, we thought that placing the chicken in a single layer on a wire rack over a parchment paper-lined sheet tray would get the best texture. This allows air to flow underneath the chicken and crisp the bottom.
But, we tested the chicken both on a rack and directly on a baking tray and the chicken directly on the baking tray was actually just as crispy! Therefore, we recommend just cooking directly on a baking sheet and skipping the wire rack.
How To Make This Easy Chicken
Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post for the recipe card with the full instructions!
Step one: toast the bread crumbs
Spread your breadcrumbs out on a baking tray and broil in the oven for 3 minutes until they’re golden brown. Then, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Step two: prepare your chicken
If you’re using full-sized chicken breasts, cut them in half width-wise so that you have two thin pieces. Note: we use chicken breasts that come thinly sliced from the store.
Step three: mix the seasonings
Pour the ranch dressing into a shallow bowl. Pour the panko breadcrumbs, ranch seasoning, and parmesan cheese into a separate shallow bowl.
Step four: dip and dip
Dip one chicken piece into the ranch dressing and coat completely. Let any excess ranch drip off. Then, dip into the panko mixture and use the back of a fork to pat the breadcrumbs into the chicken. Place onto a baking sheet.
Step five: keep it up!
Repeat this process for all chicken pieces. Then, bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F when checked with a meat thermometer. We like to broil the chicken for the last 2 minutes to get it extra crispy. Remove and enjoy!
Watch How to Make This - Step by Step
We want to make sure you get the best possible product, so here are some additional, simple tips to ensure this recipe is pure perfection for you!
- Be sure you get the breading right! It’s important that you thoroughly mix the panko breadcrumbs, ranch seasoning, and parmesan cheese together. This is to make sure you get an even coating of all the ingredients on the chicken.
- Coat the chicken evenly! If you don’t coat the chicken evenly, the breading won’t stick to the chicken as well. The cheese acts as a binder of sorts and can help hold the breading together. Also, any areas without breadcrumbs won’t be crispy.
- So, just be sure to mix all these ingredients together in order to get the best-breaded chicken possible!
Panko bread crumbs are made from crustless white bread. It’s a breadcrumb from Japan and it’s a lighter version of the breadcrumbs commonly found in the West. That’s why it makes for great chicken breading! (source)
Panko breadcrumbs are dry, so they need a wet surface to stick to. Typically, chicken is coated in an egg wash before adding panko in order to get it to stick to the chicken. For this recipe, we use an oil-based ranch dressing instead of an egg wash.
This recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken cutlets. You can also start with full-sized chicken breasts, but we recommend cutting them in half to make sure they're thin. Chicken tenders and thighs also work great for this recipe!
You can use frozen chicken for this recipe but it needs to be completely thawed. If it’s not thawed all the way through it won’t cook properly. Partially frozen chicken can become rubbery when cooked because it cooks unevenly. Thawed chicken should result in tender juicy chicken every time!
Yes, you can cook this in the air fryer instead of the oven if you like! We tested this in the air fryer by cooking it at 425 degrees for 12 minutes and it came out great.
This chicken can be enjoyed on its own or you can try some of these tasty recipe variations!
Panko Ranch Chicken Pasta: You can turn this chicken into a fabulous Italian dish! Start by making your favorite pasta noodle. Whip together your favorite sauce, such as marinara sauce with Italian seasoning. Then, place this chicken on top of the pasta and you have yourself a filling meal!
Crispy Chicken Tacos: Chicken tacos are even better with crispy chicken. Plus, we have a delicious recipe for chipotle chicken ranch tacos that this chicken is perfect for. Check out the recipe here!
Crunchy Chicken Sandwich: Grab a bun and toast it. Then, take lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and pickles. Put it all between the buns with the chicken and enjoy yourself a chicken sandwich with a crunch in every bite!
Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
Fridge: Allow the chicken to cool and then place the chicken in an airtight container, ziplock bag, or wrapped tightly in aluminum foil. Keep in the fridge for up to four days.
Reheating: We recommend reheating this dish in the oven or air fryer to assure it stays crispy. If you try to reheat it in the microwave it’ll get soggy.
- Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes until hot.
- Reheat in the air fryer at 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes until hot.
Freezer: Keep in a freezer-friendly airtight container or plastic bag. This will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
Reheating: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until hot. Reheat in the air fryer at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until hot.
Panko Crumbed Chicken Topping Ideas:
These panko chicken breasts are delicious with a variety of toppings. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to serve them!
- Squeeze lemon juice: this is a similar idea to how you would serve fish sticks. The acidity of the lemon cuts the richness of the parmesan and ranch for a match made in heaven.
- Ranch (one of our favorite dipping sauces, obviously!): Now this could be chipotle ranch, paleo ranch, or good old Hidden Valley ranch.
- Chipotle sauce: If you have been around our site very long, you probably know that we love chipotle peppers (hello chipotle hollandaise!). So, would a recipe even be a Joy to the Food recipe without chipotle??
- Guacamole: For a Mexican take on this panko-crusted chicken, try topping it with store-bought or fresh guacamole.
- Salsa: This could be any kind of salsa you like, traditional red salsa, tomatillo salsa, mango pico de gallo, or any other kind!
Panko breadcrumbs are light and crisp breading that originated in Japan. They absorb less oil than heavier regular breadcrumbs because they’re made from lighter white bread. Panko has a very mild flavor that’s hard to detect. That’s why it’s great as breading where the intent is to have another flavor as the star of the dish, such as this recipe! (source)
What to Eat With This Recipe
These are some of our favorite panko-breaded chicken breast pairings:
Did you try this and love it? Leave us a review, we would love to hear from you!
- 1-1.5 lbs chicken breasts* thinly sliced
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- 1 packet ranch seasoning 1 oz
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Spread the panko breadcrumbs out on a baking tray (spread out evenly) and broil in the oven for 3 minutes until they’re golden brown. Then, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- If you’re using full-sized chicken breasts, cut them in half width-wise so that you have two thin pieces. Note: we use chicken breasts that come thinly sliced from the store.*
- Pour the ranch dressing into a shallow bowl. Pour the panko breadcrumbs, ranch seasoning, and parmesan cheese into a separate shallow bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Pat both sides of the chicken dry with a paper towel. Then, dip one chicken piece into the ranch dressing and coat completely. Let any excess ranch drip off. Then, dip it into the breadcrumb mixture and use the back of a fork to pat the breadcrumbs into the chicken. Place onto a baking tray.
- Repeat this process for all chicken pieces. Then, bake for 20 minutes. We like to broil the chicken for the last 2 minutes to get it extra crispy. Remove and enjoy!