Few foods comfort like juicy, crispy chicken! This Keto Chicken Parmesan is my idea of dinner bliss. All of the flavor of traditional Chicken Parm, minus those pesky carbs. (Without sacrificing a smidgen of flavor.) This dish is absolutely magical and one of my favorite meals - I think you will love it too!
The most requested dish by my family and friends is Chicken Parmesan.
I first made it more than twenty years ago, and through the years it has been my go-to recipe for family gatherings. We even made it for Christmas in place of more traditional fare for a few years.
(And truthfully, I am all about that. Crispy cheesy goodness beats turkey any day in my book.)
As a result, it is one of those dishes that I can go into the kitchen and make without glancing at a recipe.
Since going low carb, developing a Chicken Parmesan recipe that was just as good as my original has been a huge priority.
I have been gluten-free for years, but to make this recipe suit my keto lifestyle, I had to ditch the gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs.
By the way, you can get this Chicken Parmesan and more great keto air fryer recipes in my latest book!
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How Do You "Bread" Chicken on Keto?
Often, pork rinds are used as a breading substitute.
However, I don't eat pork, so pork rinds were out.
So, How Do You Bread Chicken on Keto with No Pork Rinds?
After giving it some thought, the logical choice to make Keto Chicken Parmesan was almond flour and Parmesan cheese.
I have tried to fry this as you would in a more traditional recipe, but I've found that I like it much better in the air fryer or oven.
Almond flour can be tricky about falling off in a skillet, and frankly, I don't have the energy for recipes that are fussy.
Though if you were open to deep frying I am sure that would work.
The good news is that you can get all of the crispy, crunchy, goodness without spending time standing over a hot stove. Gotta love this keto Chicken Parmesan with no pork rinds!
Ingredients for Low Carb Chicken Parmesan
- Chicken - While our family loves chicken thighs, this is one recipe where we all prefer boneless chicken breast. I buy breasts and then pound them. You can get chicken tenders, but I feel like they end up dryer; plus, they are more work to coat than large pieces.
- Salt for Brining - This step is optional but encouraged. The salt will get into the fibers of the chicken. Not only does this lend great flavor, it results in juicier chicken.
- Almond Flour - Use finely ground. If what you have is coarser, you can always give it a whirl in your food processor.
- Parmesan Cheese - For the crispiest texture and best coating, use finely grated fresh parmesan.
- Italian Seasoning - If you don't have this, you can use basil, rosemary, thyme, or oregano. (Or a blend!)
- Salt and Pepper - Fresh ground pepper and fine sea salt are what I used.
- Eggs - I used large, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Oil Spray - I like avocado oil. Use what you have on hand, being mindful of the smoke point.
- Marinara - I use homemade. Rao's is a good brand if you are short on time.
- Fresh Mozzarella - Nothing compares with fresh, but shredded mozzarella will work in a pinch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Chicken, preferably organic and free-range, is an excellent addition to a keto diet. Because of the higher fat content, dark meat chicken is generally considered “better”, but all types of chicken are suitable for a low carb diet. (Just adjust your macros accordingly.)
It depends on how you fix it! Traditional chicken Parmesan is coated with flour and breadcrumbs. Consequently, it can be troublesome for those who are sensitive to gluten, carbs, or who are just trying to follow a low-carb diet. In addition, it is typically fried in oil. The oil itself is not a problem, however, keeping oils the perfect temperature to avoid hitting the smoke point is important and can be tricky for the novice cook. (You can learn more about smoke point and why they matter here.)
For those who don’t eat pork or who are trying to avoid processed foods, almond flour and parmesan cheese is the perfect alternative.
Tips & Tricks
- To avoid sticking, you may want to either use air fryer liners, or line your baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don't have either, use how easily the chicken lifts from the pan or air fryer as a guide. It is ready to flip when it lifts easily.
- Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure that the chicken is done. I like to remove it when it is 160° F and then let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
How to Cook Keto Chicken Parmesan
Pound the Chicken - Place the breasts in a plastic bag. Pound to uniform thickness with a meat mallet. Alternatively, you can slice horizontally into two pieces.
Optional Step: Brine - Heat one cup of water and stir in the salt until it dissolves. Transfer to a bowl and fill with cold water or ice. Add the breasts and allow to brine in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
Preheat - Preheat an Air Fryer to 390 degrees or an oven to 425. If using an oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then place an oven-safe rack on it.
Make the Coating - Combine almond flour, parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Beat and Dip - After that, beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Dip the pounded meat into the eggs.
Coat - Next, coat in the almond flour mixture.
Spray - Spray both sides of the breasts with oil and add to a prepared baking sheet or air fryer basket.
Cook - Place the chicken in the oven or air fryer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Flip and respray. Cook for 5 minutes more, until the meat is cooked through and the crust is golden brown.
(Cooking times may vary slightly depending on the oven or air fryer as well as the thickness of your chicken. I always use an instant-read thermometer to make sure meat is cooked. The safe temperature for chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to take it off and let it rest when it is about 160.)
Read more about the safe internal temperature for chicken here.
9 Top - Top each piece of chicken with marinara sauce and cheese. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted.
Tools Needed to Make Keto Chicken Parm
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- Meat mallet and plastic bags or sharp knife
- Air Fryer or Baking Sheet (FYI - I have had 3 Air Fryers including the more expensive Breville Smart Oven Air Fry and this one is the best! The Breville is nice if you are looking for a toaster oven style air fryer.)
- Spray Bottle for Oil
- Instant Read Thermometer
- Air Fryer Liners or Parchment Paper
What Do You Serve with Chicken Parmesan?
There are a lot of things that go well even if pasta is off the menu. Some include:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Mashed Cauliflower
- Zucchini Noodles
- Cauliflower Rice
- Salad (I love this Caesar Salad with it - skip the chicken in the salad recipe.)
Check this handy Net Carb Calculator to make sure your meal fits within your macros!
Low Carb Chicken Parmesan Variations
- I like eggs in this recipe, but if you don’t have eggs on hand, you can coat the chicken breasts with mayonnaise.
- For a kick of heat, add ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the almond flour mixture.
- Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of the chicken breasts.
You May Also Like
- Low Carb Cauliflower Fried Rice is a one-pot meal that comes together in a flash! All the flavors of chicken fried rice without the carbs.
- Pretty enough for company, but easy enough for a weeknight - it really doesn't get any better than this cheesy Keto Stuffed Chicken.
- Keto Lemon Chicken is a recipe I find myself turning to again and again. I can't get enough of the tangy sauce.
- Looking for a simple way to make your chicken stand out? It doesn't get any better than this Keto Chicken Marinade.
- Craving cheesy comfort food? You are going to love this Keto Buffalo Chicken Casserole.
Think going low carb means giving up your favorite dishes? This Keto Chicken Parmesan proves otherwise! Juicy, crispy, and tender, this is one you are going to want to put in your weekly rotation. It is delicious in a totally unforgettable way.
Keto Chicken Parmesan
- Place chicken breasts in a plastic bag and pound to a uniform thickness with a meat mallet. (About ½”.). Alternatively, place the chicken breasts on a plastic cutting board. Carefully slice horizontally into two thin pieces.
- Optional step: Heat 1 cup of water over medium heat and stir in salt until the salt dissolves. Transfer to a medium bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Add chicken breasts and allow to brine in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
- Preheat an Air Fryer to 390 degrees or the oven to 425.
- Place the almond flour, parmesan cheese, Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Place the eggs in a separate bowl and beat well.
- Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Coat with the egg mixture and then dredge in the almond flour mixture.
- The mixture will not stick as well as traditional flours and breadcrumbs, so you may have to use your fingers to gently press the coating into the chicken.
- Repeat with remaining pieces.
- Spray both sides of the chicken well will oil.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Add the chicken to the air fryer and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown. (Cooking times can vary by air fryer brand.)
- Carefully flip with a spatula. Re-spray and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until cooked through.
- Place the chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cook for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Flip with a spatula. Re-spray and cook for an addition 5 minutes, until brown and cooked through.
- Top each chicken piece with pasta sauce and fresh mozzarella.
- Return to the air fryer or oven and cook for two more minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted.