A Spicy Perspective

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets

Baked Chicken Cutlets  – This baked “fried chicken” recipe has been a will-power saver for years. When you are craving something deep-fried and crunchy, this recipe comes to the rescue.

Baked chicken cutlets

Diets Are Hard

So… You’ve only been dieting for eleven days and already you’re craving fried chicken.

You probably haven’t had fried chicken for months, maybe years, but now that it’s officially off-limits, so of course, it’s all you can think about.

You lay in bed at night with a pinch in your stomach and crispy little drumsticks dancing in your head.

Happens to me All. The. Time.

I can’t remember the first time I made “healthy” fried chicken, but I’m pretty sure it was right after the first time I discovered I needed to shed a few pounds.

That must have been 20+ years ago. Jeeeeeze!

Baked breaded chicken cutlets

Endless Possibilities

This crispy baked chicken recipe has come in handy on many occasions. It’s an easy meal that comes together in minutes and the potential serving methods are endless.

I often serve crispy baked chicken cutlets over salads, yet even there, think of the options: 

  • Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad
  • Crispy Baked Chicken Taco Salad
  • Baked “Fried Chicken” over Southern Slaw 
  • Baked Breaded Chicken Cutlets over Field Greens with Fresh Berries and Goat Cheese

 I could go on and on with a list of amazing recipes!

Healthy fried chicken

Baked Chicken Cutlets Ingredients 

  • Chicken Cutlets 
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves or Dried Thyme
  • Light Mayonnaise
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper

Panko mixture

How to Make Breaded Chicken

  1. Start off by checking that your oven has a rack in the lowest position. Then once you do, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Grab two baking sheets and line them with aluminum foil. Then spray them generously with non-stick cooking spray. 
  3. Then grab two medium bowls. In one bowl you will mix the wet ingredients – mayo, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In the other bowl, you are going to mix together the dry ingredients – panko, parmesan cheese, and thyme.
  4. Now it’s time to coat the chicken cutlets. Start off with a coating of the mayo mixture. Then one at a time, cover the cutlet with the panko mixture by pressing in each side to coat. Then place them on the baking sheets you prepared. 
  5. Place the baking sheet on the lowest rack in the oven and bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes. When you bake them on the lowest part of the oven it helps to crisp up the cutlets, especially the bottoms of the cutlets. 
  6. If the tops haven’t browned, you should move the baking sheet to a higher rack and turn on the broiler for 1 minute. Make sure to keep your eyes on them so that they don’t burn! 

Mayo mixture

Why Chicken Cutlets?

I like to prepare baked chicken cutlets instead of whole chicken breasts for two reasons:

  1. They cook faster.
  2. Cutlets offer automatic portion control.

One cutlet is essentially half (or sometimes one-third) of a large chicken breast, so they satisfy a craving and keep the calories on the down-low.

Also, try using this healthy fried chicken recipe in lettuce wraps!

Crispy baked chicken

Get The Full (Printable) Recipe Below For How To Make Baked Breaded Chicken Cutlets.

Baked chicken

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I have to use chicken cutlets? 

No, you can use chicken breasts as well, but make sure to change the baking time. Chicken cutlets are easier to bake because they flat so they bake more evenly. Plus, they don’t take as much time to bake. 

However, you can bake whole boneless skinless chicken breasts in about 25 minutes.

Is this baked chicken recipe a good make-ahead meal?

The chicken will keep its crunch for several hours, but the crust will soften over time due to the moist chicken inside. 

To reheat the chicken and crisp-up the crust, place the leftover chicken in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes.

Oven fried chicken

Other Healthy Recipes 

Crispy Baked Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
A healthy "fried chicken" recipe, baked in the oven.
Servings: 8


  • 2 pounds chicken cutlets usually 8 cutlets
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper


  • Move one oven rack to a low position. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line and baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil liberally with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Set out two medium bowls. In one bowl, mix the mayo, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In the other bowl, mix the panko, parmesan cheese and thyme.
  • Place the chicken cutlets in the mayo mixture and toss to coat. Then one at a time, press each cutlet into the panko mixture on both sides to coat. Lay on the baking sheet.
  • Bake in the lower part of the oven for 15 minutes. (Cooking low in the oven helps the bottoms to crisp up.)
  • If the tops haven't browned, move the baking sheet to a higher rack and turn on the broiler on for 1 minute. Watch to make sure they don't burn. Serve warm.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 235kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 455mg, Potassium: 456mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 155IU, Vitamin C: 2.7mg, Calcium: 141mg, Iron: 1.2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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62 comments on “Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets”

  1. Very easy to make and taste awesome. Forgot to do the racks as suggested but still worked out great. We will try to remember next time and get them a little more crispy.

  2. This has been my “Go To” chicken recipe all summer. Easy and very versatile. I have used it on pork chops as well. My husband really enjoys it. I sometimes change it up by using different seasonings (i.e.: Italian, various BBQ rubs, Cajun). Also, for those wanting gluten free, try the Pork Panko available in the same area as regular Panko. No gluten. Thanks, Sommer, for another easy and delicious recipe.

  3. This quickly became a favorite meal at my house!

  4. This chicken is so delicious!! The whole fam loved it! 

  5. I’m always looking for something fried but never want to mess with the oil! These are perfect!

  6. Such an easy and tasty way to bake chicken that mocks the flavor of being fried chicken! 

  7. This turned out so delicious!! The flavor from the brine and the crispy skin was perfect together!

  8. Yummy

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  10. beautiful recipe…there’s a paleo, gluten free breading at urban pl8 that’d work great with this dish is you don’t do panko

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  16. What a fantastic recipe! You rock. :)

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  18. Cooked it and my family loved it defiantly cooking it again

  19. Love it! I’m definitely an oven “fryer!” :)

  20. Oh, mustard & thyme. YUM

  21. Amazing! I’m all for not-frying things – I get too nervous when there’s a hot pot of oil on the stove!

  22. Made the Crispy Baked Chicken last night – so good, easy and budget friendly. It was definitely husband approved!

    Many thanks for posting your wonderful (yummy) recipes!

  23. This looks like the perfect weeknight meal.

  24. Love how you get lots of flavor without frying!

  25. Made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! My fiancé said “you can make this anytime you want. I will never argue”. We loved it!

  26. Love this, and my kids would actually eat it too!

  27. looks great can’t wait to make!

  28. Yum! I love making chicken like this because it’s so versatile. You can pair it with any side or sauce!

  29. I used to not be a fan of oven “frying” but then I tried panko crumbs like you used and they definitely make a difference!

  30. Simply delightful, Sommer! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

    Hugs ♥

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  32. oh this recipe looks fab and figure friendly!

  33. If you really want to lighten it up… sub plain yogurt for the light mayo. No taste difference and a lot less fat and calories.

  34. Diet? What’s a diet? ;-) Seriously though… this baked chicken looks so good. Something my mom totally would have made for us as a kid (being one for healthier dinners, she never did fried chicken).

  35. Fabulous and I could totally go for some crunchy chicken!

  36. Hook me up!! Love this!

  37. I am trying this, for sure! Love that crunch coating, and that it’s not fried.

  38. Love chicken with a nice, crunchy coating! I’ll be trying your version!

  39. I grew up on fried chicken but rarely eat it because it’s not so great for you. This looks incredible!

  40. These look great! I love chicken, thanks so much for sharing this recipe. =)

  41. You saved dinner. My husband and children thank you!

  42. One of my favorite ways to serve chicken to the kids! Panko rocks.

  43. I bake everything instead of frying. But mostly because deep-frying is terrifying to me. :)

  44. I love making chicken this way!

  45. Oh yes please!! Love the sound of this crispy chicken recipe :)

  46. I make healthy “oven fried” chicken all the time! Your recipe looks super easy. It’s such a great alternative to fried!

  47. Oh, that looks really delicious! I can’t say I’ve seen cutlets here in my neck of the woods, but I’ll try it with halved chicken breasts!

  48. I love the panko crust, this looks so good!

  49. Love this healthier version!! Yum!

  50. Love this healthier option!!

  51. Just pinned this for dinner next week. I CANNOT WAIT!

  52. Oh so yummy. My family would love this! Happy weekend, Sommer!

  53. Oh these look great!! My kids are chicken cutlet fiends…so I know this will go over big in my house!

  54. This looks incredibly delicious. I like the thyme addition !

  55. Josh makes a similar recipe and it’s his favorite! Great weeknight meal!

  56. Love the crust. I get in a frying rut, especially since I leave the deep fryer on the counter all the time. I need to bake more often!

  57. Love this! I always love finding new, healthy spins on chicken so this recipe is definitely a keeper!

  58. You are like my fairy god mother! Can’t wait to try this!

  59. LOVE IT! Sounds very familiar to how I cook my chicken on a regular basis. I sometimes you have to do it the old fashioned way and pig out, but this is a great way to enjoy it! I always love it

  60. what a great idea! I love the idea of using chicken cutlets instead of the entire breast because it’s not as filling and it won’t dry out since it’s faster cooking time. Love the panko crust! Great healthy alternative to the greasy stuff!

  61. Great, now all I can think of is fried chicken!