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Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches with Red Cabbage


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Crunch your way to happiness with this easy air fryer chicken schnitzel sandwich recipe! A flavor-packed sour cream sauce, jarred pickled red cabbage, and hearty pretzel rolls turn ordinary chicken cutlets into an extraordinary dinner in under 20 minutes!

A chicken schnitzel sandwich with red cabbage and lemon sour cream sauce on a butcher block.

What you’ll love about this recipe: 

  • Just 7 Simple Ingredients: Plus, most of them are likely to be in your pantry or freezer already. Yay for no special shopping trips!
  • Quick and Easy: The prep for this recipe takes less than 10 minutes, making it ideal for an easy weeknight dinner after a long day.
  • Air Fryer Advantage: Making this chicken schnitzel sandwich in the air fryer means it’s cooked to crunchy perfection so fast. Plus, since there’s no preheat time, you’ll save at least 15 minutes right off the bat over using a traditional oven.
  • The sauce: Did I mention the lemony sour cream sauce? It’s tangy, garlicky and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. It MAKES this sandwich!

We’re Not Clucking Around—This Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich Means Business

Who knew a frozen chicken cutlet could be elevated to such gourmet status?

Well, if you’ve ever made my Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, you do. But, if not, you’re in for a real treat!

These easy chicken schnitzel sandwiches have so many delicious flavors and textures – from crunchy, golden brown chicken cutlets to vinegary cabbage and a tangy lemon sauce that really takes it oven the top.

Pile it all on a pretzel roll for a super simple dinner that, in the words of my husband, “tastes like fast food, but WAY better!”

Ingredients for making chicken schnitzel sandwiches with frozen chicken breasts.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Frozen Breaded Chicken Breast Fillets: Frozen fried chicken cutlets are a staple in my kitchen! They cook super fast in the air fryer, so a tasty meal is never more than a few minutes away. Be sure to look for packages labelled chicken breast cutlets or chicken fillets for the best quality white meat chicken. My favorites are Tyson Air Fryer chicken breast fillets or Aldi Red Bag Chicken. I stay away from anything labelled “chicken patty” since that tends to be super processed and brings back memories of the elementary school cafeteria. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can also make your own air fryer chicken cutlets.

Pickled Red Cabbage: This adds an incredible tang and crunch to the sandwich. It can be in different places depending on what store I’m in, but try looking in the condiment aisle or by the canned vegetables. Note that pickled cabbage is also sometimes labelled sweet and sour cabbage. You can use either for this recipe!

Pretzel Rolls: Soft, sweet, and chewy, these rolls are hearty enough to hold us to all of those yummy fillings and the pretzel flavor gives them an authentic German vibe.

You’ll also need to make a quick lemon sour cream sauce, inspired by lemon aioli. Don’t worry, it only takes a minute and can easily be prepared while the chicken cooks!

To make the sauce, you’ll need:

Sour cream: Sour cream gives this sandwich spread a creamy, tangy base that’s so delicious! If you don’t have sour cream on hand, you can use mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt in it’s place.

Lemon: You’ll need the zest and juice from 1 lemon. If you don’t have a fresh lemon, you can swap in bottled lemon juice. I also love keeping halved lemons in my freezer – just pop two in the microwave for about 30 seconds and you’re good to go!

Garlic: Freshly grated garlic gives the sour cream sauce so much flavor! I always grate mine with a microplane for the best garlic flavor.

Kosher salt: To bring the flavors into perfect harmony.

Busy Foodie Tip

  • If you’re not going to assemble these sandwiches right away, let the chicken rest on a cooling rack instead of a plate. This will allow air to circulate underneath it, keeping the breading crisp.

Lemon sour cream sauce for sandwiches.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make these ahead of time?

Yes, but I recommend not assembling your sandwiches until you want to eat them, since the bread can get soggy. Once cooked, the chicken can be reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. They’re also great at room temperature!

I can’t find pretzel rolls. What can I use instead?

First of all, I’m so sorry. Pretzels rolls are delicious! If you can’t find them in the bread aisle, check the bakery section. I’ve been seeing them there more and more frequently. If you still can’t find them, ciabatta or kaiser buns work nicely as well. Choose a bun that can hold up to the weight and moisture in the sandwich.

Can I make these without an air fryer?

Sure, it will just take a little longer. Bake the chicken at 425ºF for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. You could also shallow fry them on the stove top.

Can I make the sour cream lemon sauce ahead of time?

Definitely! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Use it on everything from these sandwiches to fish tacos to a dipping sauce for fries.

What are some good side dishes to go with these sandwiches?

Keep things simple with a fresh salad, German potato salad or potato chips. Or lean into the fall vibe with air fryer sweet potato fries!

What’s the difference between a schnitzel and a cutlet?

Traditionally, schnitzel is thinner than a cutlet and is made from pork, but they’re essentially the same thing – a piece of meat that’s pounded flat, breaded, and fried. Cutlet is the British/English term wile schnitzel is German. Since we’re using frozen chicken in this recipe, the meat will be thicker than most would associate with a traditional schnitzel, but I’m taking some creative liberties and leaning into that German-inspired flavor profile. Whatever you want to call it, this sandwich is delicious!

Other air fryer recipes you might like:

Crispy chicken sandwiches with red cabbage and lemon cream sauce.
Chicken schnitzel sandwich.

Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches with Red Cabbage

Crunch your way to happiness with our air fryer chicken schnitzel sandwiches! Easy-to-make and bursting with flavor Crunchy, zesty, and oh-so-delicious
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 378 kcal


  • 4 frozen breaded chicken breasts
  • 1 cup pickled red cabbage
  • 4 pretzel rolls

For the Lemon Sauce

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
  • Spray the basket with oil, then add the frozen chicken breasts. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until crispy and warmed through. (If you don’t have an air fryer, bake the chicken at 425°F for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.)
  • While the chicken cooks, make the lemon sauce by mixing together the sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic. Season to taste with kosher salt.
  • To assemble, spread the bottom of each roll with lemon sour cream sauce. Top with a crispy chicken cutlet and red cabbage. Cover with the top half of the roll and enjoy!


Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 378kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 9gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 225mgPotassium: 95mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 428IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 0.2mg
Love this recipe?Mention @TheBusyFoodieLauren or tag #busyfoodie!
By on September 16th, 2023

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I love to cook -- but even more importantly, I really like to eat! I have a demanding day job that keeps me busy, so time is precious. I'm a culinary school graduate and five-time cookbook author who's all about finding ways to make delicious, restaurant-quality meals at home on a tight schedule. Read more...

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