Ready in under 15 minutes, this chicken schnitzel recipe features tender fillets under a coating of crispy golden breadcrumbs. Pair it with some German potato salad for an authentic and hearty meal.
If you’ve made our chicken katsu or spicy chicken sandwich before, you are bound to love chicken schnitzel. They all share similar qualities, but this European version takes fried chicken to another level!
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What is chicken schnitzel?
Schnitzels are essentially thin slices of meat that have been breaded and fried to make them crispy. While there is veal, pork, and eggplant schnitzel, the most common is made with chicken breast fillets. It’s similar to my parmesan-crusted chicken and Chicken Milanese, but the main difference is that there is NO parmesan cheese.
Here are some reasons why this recipe makes the best dinnertime staple:
- Only 6 ingredients. You only need six everyday ingredients to make one of the most famous European dishes.
- Cooks in 10 minutes. As the chicken fillets for schnitzel are very thin, they take only a few minutes to cook. The total time for this entire recipe is less than 15 minutes.
- Freezer-friendly. You can bread as many chicken fillets as you like and freeze them, uncooked, for later.
- Three cooking options. While I prefer the drying method due to tradition, I’ve tested my original recipe in both the air fryer and the oven, so you have options!
What I love about this recipe is just how versatile it is! Leftovers are great in a sandwich or over a salad, and even sliced up on a pizza!
What is chicken schnitzel made from?
Honestly, this recipe calls for very basic ingredients. Besides the chicken, eggs, and a few pantry staples, there isn’t much else that goes into it. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken. Chicken schnitzel is made with boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Cut the chicken breasts diagonally to get thinner cuts. If you are looking to use chicken tenders, try my chicken cutlets.
- All-purpose flour. Dredging chicken fillets in flour helps get rid of any extra moisture and achieve crispy results. Flour also helps the egg mixture adhere to the chicken.
- Eggs. Dipping the chicken in beaten eggs ensures that the breadcrumbs don’t fall off.
- Breadcrumbs. The final coating provides the crispiness of the schnitzels. I like using panko breadcrumbs, but standard breadcrumbs also work.
- Oil. To fry the chicken fillets. Opt for an oil with a high smoke point like vegetable oil or canola oil.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Lemon. Fresh lemon wedges or a squeeze of lemon juice to serve.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make chicken schnitzel
Making perfectly crispy chicken schnitzels is easy if you follow three easy steps. Ready to cook some up?
Step 1- Pound the chicken. Cut skinless and boneless chicken breasts in half diagonally. Place the fillets between saran wrap or two sheets of parchment paper and pound them with a meat mallet or rolling pin until the chicken breasts are ¼ inch thick.
Step 2- Bread the chicken. Get three shallow bowls. In one bowl, mix flour with salt and black pepper. Crack the eggs in the second bowl and give them a good whisk. Add the bread crumbs to the last bowl. Dredge each chicken fillet in the flour mix, followed by the eggs, and the bread crumbs.
Step 3- Fry. Add cooking oil to a deep, non-stick pan or skillet. Once hot, fry the breaded chicken fillets for 4 minutes per side until golden brown.
Step 4- Rest then serve. Remove the schnitzels from the pan and place them on a wire rack to get them extra crispy. Serve with sliced lemons.
Alternative cooking methods
As mentioned earlier, I’ve tested this recipe in the oven and the air fryer so you can cut back on the oil and added fat. Here is how:
Oven baked: Simply place the breaded chicken on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180C/350F for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Air fryer: Once the chicken is breaded, place them in a greased air fryer basket and air fry at 200C/400F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Remember, for each option, the easiest way to check if the chicken is cooked is to check it’s internal temperature. As per the FDA requirements, chicken is safe to eat once it reaches an internal temp of 165F.
Recipe tips and variations
- My #1 tip when deep frying or frying meat is to check the temperature of the oil. The ideal temperature should be between 325F and 375F. Frying the chicken anything below that will result in greasy chicken as opposed to crispy chicken.
- Don’t put freshly fried chicken schnitzels on paper towels. While paper towels absorb the extra oil, they tend to make the schnitzels slightly soggy. I recommend always using a wire rack.
- Mix a tablespoon of Dijon mustard with the beaten eggs or brush it on the chicken fillets before seasoning them. This will give the schnitzels a mild mustardy kick.
- Don’t skimp on salt and pepper. Season the fillets generously on both sides to avoid bland chicken.
To store: Place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To freeze: While uncooked chicken schnitzels freeze better, you can freeze them cooked too. Wrap each schnitzel in food wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Whether you have had them in the fridge or in the freezer, the best way to reheat schnitzels is by using the oven. Don’t reheat chicken schnitzels in the microwave to prevent them from getting soggy.
Frequently asked questions
The cut of meat and the preparation technique are the two things that make schnitzel a schnitzel. A schnitzel is made from a boneless cut of meat that is pounded thin, then breaded and fried to create a crispy coating.
Schnitzel is not just reserved for chicken; pork, veal, and even eggplant all work well using this method. Compared to standard fried chicken, chicken schnitzel is crispier, moister in the middle, and less greasy.
While there are some brands that simply require quick microwaving, most will need to be oven-baked or pan-fried before consumption.
I typically serve these for my family with plenty of vegetables and some form of potato.
- Air Fryer baked potatoes– Air fried, so they cook in a fraction of the time.
- Air fryer baked sweet potatoes– Like above, but just the sweet version.
- Mashed cauliflower– This makes a fabulous low carb mashed potato alternative.
- Air fryer sweet potato fries– Crispy and without all the excess oil.
- Scalloped potatoes– Comfort food x 100.
- Place the chicken breasts between saran wrap and pound into 1/4 inch thickness.
- Add the flour, salt, and pepper in one bowl, eggs in another bowl, and the bread crumbs in a third bowl.
- Moving quickly, dip the chicken in the flour mix, followed by the eggs, and then the bread crumbs. Shake off the excess from each breast.
- Add oil to a non-stick pan. Once hot, fry the chicken for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the chicken once golden brown. Place the chicken on a wire rack for maximum crispiness.
Recipe originally published November 2022 but updated to include new information and a recipe video for your benefit.
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