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Chicken Schnitzel is a traditional German recipe of crispy, juicy, breaded and pan-fried chicken cutlets. Serve with a squeeze of lemon on top for a truly fantastic dish.Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
- Extra Crispy Chicken – A double breading (first with flour, then with breadcrumbs) results in an extra crispy fried chicken breast.
- Easy to Prepare – The recipe is spectacularly simple; just coat the chicken and fry it up. It’s not deep-fried, just pan-fried in a thin layer of oil.
- So Juicy and Tender – The crispy exterior locks in the moisture, keeping the chicken super tender and incredibly juicy.
- A Family Favorite – Everyone loves this recipe!
- Boneless skinless chicken breast (or chicken breast cutlets) – I try to buy the cutlets that are already nice and thin (about 1/2-inch thick). If I can’t find those I use regular chicken breasts and just lightly pound out the thicker side using a meat mallet, or slice them in half.
- Salt and Pepper – You are welcome to add additional seasonings here, like garlic powder or paprika, but I find that we prefer the simplicity of salt and pepper.
- All-purpose flour
- Regular breadcrumbs – Do not use seasoned. You can use Panko, but that’s traditionally what is used.
- Eggs – Whisked.
- Vegetable or Canola oil for frying
- Parsley and Lemon – For garnish and serving.
How To Make Chicken Schnitzel
Sometimes recipes that have funny names feel complicated, but this recipe is anything but. It doesn’t take long to prepare and the frying is probably the most tricky part.
- Prep the chicken. Pat chicken dry and pound lightly if needed.
- Prep the breading stations. Prepare an assembly line for breading the chicken, with 4 shallow dishes for the chicken, seasoned flour, whisked eggs, and breadcrumbs.
- Bread the chicken. Dredge the chicken pieces in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, pressing lightly so they stick.
- Rest the chicken. After breading, lay the chicken on a plate or baking sheet to rest for 15 minutes.
- Fry the chicken. Heat ½ cup of oil in a deep skillet until it sizzles with a few drops of water. Fry chicken without crowding (the pieces should not be touching) until breading is golden and chicken is cooked through to 165℉.
- Drain on paper towels. Transfer cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess grease.
In German, “schnitzel” literally means “cutlet,” and can be made with a variety of thin meats like chicken, pork or veal, breaded and fried in a fat like oil or butter.
While it originated in Austria, schnitzel is a popular fried dish all over Europe, although the recipes and styles may vary slightly from country to country.
With a few recipe changes, you can bake these in the oven. Keep in mind that they will not get as crispy as they would if you were to pan fry them. Preheat oven to 375℉, line a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper and place a wire baking rack on top; spray with cooking spray. Follow the assembly line steps for breading the chicken. Place each piece on the rack, at least 1-2 inches apart and spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until crispy.
Yes! It will come our super crispy and juicy in the air fryer. Preheat the appliance to 380℉. Prepare the chicken as directed in the recipe, then air fry for 7-8 minutes per side.
Traditionally, veal is used to make Schnitzel, aka “Weiner Schnitzel”. However, it really can be made with any thin cutlet, like Pork Schnitzel or chicken.
Absolutely! You can prep up to the frying step, then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge so the chicken can come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before frying.
Some of the most classic things to serve with Schnitzel:
- German Fried Potatoes
- German Potato Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Butter Lettuce Salad
- Red Skinned Mashed Potatoes
- Buttered Noodles
- Sauteed Broccoli
- Garlic Green Beans
Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: Leftovers can be frozen for up to 6 months, but need to thaw before reheating.
Reheating: Reheat in the oven at 400 for about 15-20 minutes or in your air fryer. Or, don’t reheat it – it’s actually really delicious cold! Do not try to re-fry the chicken. That will result in the breading absorbing even more oil and make a greasy mess.
- You can add a pat or two of butter with the oil for flavor, but I’ve found it’s not necessary.
- Right after you remove the schnitzel from the oil, sprinkle with salt while it’s still hot so it can absorb the salt which enhances flavor.
- We love this with a squeeze of lemon and fresh parsley on the top, served with German side dishes, but you could also serve it with make ahead mashed potatoes and gravy like traditional fried chicken.
- The best oil for frying chicken is vegetable or canola oil. Both have a neutral flavor and a high smoke point.
- You may need to add more oil after frying a few batches, just make sure to let the oil heat up each time. This is pan frying, not deep frying so you don’t need a ton.
- To keep chicken warm while cooking, heat your oven to its lowest temperature. Place an oven safe rack over a baking sheet and into the oven. As the chicken is cooked, transfer pieces to the rack to keep warm, being cautious to avoid oil dripping into the oven.
Chicken Recipes to Try Next
- Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
- Baked Homemade Chicken Nuggets
- Baked Chicken Breasts
- Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- Crispy Chicken Salad
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (or breast cutlets)
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 2 teaspoons black pepper divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups regular breadcrumbs
- 4 large eggs
- Vegetable or Canola oil for frying
- For serving: lemon wedges fresh chopped parsley garnish
- Pat chicken dry and place in a resealable plastic bag; leave about an inch open for air to escape. Lightly pound using the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of about ¼-½ an inch thick. *Note – you can also use chicken cutlets if you can find them at the grocery store. They are already thin and won’t require pounding.
- Create an assembly line for breading: In one dish, combine the flour with a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, in a second dish whisk the eggs, and in a third dish add the breadcrumbs.
- Bread the chicken. Pat the chicken dry first, then coat with the flour, then the egg (make sure it’s fully coated), then the breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess after each step. Arrange breaded chicken on a plate, with sheets of parchment paper between layers. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Heat about ¼ – ½ cup of oil in a large skillet. The oil should sizzle when you sprinkle a few drops of water or breadcrumbs into it. Place a piece of chicken into the oil, careful not to crowd. You should be able to get 2 pieces in a 12 inch skillet, but it’s important to make sure they aren’t touching each other. Fry schnitzel about 2-3 minutes per side or until breading is a deep, golden brown. Place on a paper towel lined plate and repeat until all chicken has been cooked.
- Garnish with fresh minced parsley and serve with lemon wedges. For a full meal, we love to serve with mashed potatoes and a big green salad.