This milanesa recipe combines simple ingredients to make tender, juicy steaks coated in a savory and crisp fried exterior. You’d never be able to guess what a handful of kitchen staples and some cube steaks can do until you try this recipe!
If you’ve tried our chicken schnitzel before, you are guaranteed to love this milanesa recipe. Both are easy to make, quick, and have similar qualities, but this Argentinian version uses thinly cut beef and turns them into deliciously tender, juicy, and crispy fried steaks.
Between all of my beef recipes, this milanesa is quickly becoming my favorite. For being so simple to make, the results are guaranteed to impress.
Table of Contents
What is milanesa?
Also known as milanesa de res, Milanesa is essentially thinly cut slices of beef steak that are dredged in an egg and breadcrumb mixture, then fried until golden brown and crispy.
Not to be confused with chicken Milanese, It’s often referred to as Argentina’s unofficial dish and has a texture similar to schnitzel or chicken fried steak.
These fried steaks work well with all sorts of dishes, though they’re most often served with roasted potatoes or french fries.
As my dad spent much of his childhood in Argentina, this was a weekly staple for him! He introduced us to this dish from a very young age and it was an instant favorite (breaded fried meat? Say no more!). These days, I make them for a quick weeknight dinner but they work well for special occasions too!
- It’s affordable. Just like Denver or skirt steaks, these thinly cut slices of beef are incredibly affordable.
- Freezer-friendly. They reheat great, so you can fry them now and store them in the freezer to whip out at a moment’s notice.
- Easy to customize. Switch up the breading mixture, or serve them with all sorts of side dishes.
- Quick to cook. As these beef steaks are very thin, they fry up super quickly.
No special ingredients are required to make this tasty fried steak recipe. In fact, you likely already have most, if not all, of the ingredients you’ll need on hand already.
- Steak. 4 thinly-cut steaks, also known as minute steaks or cube steaks. Either 4-6 oz. steaks or 4 small steaks pounded to schnitzel-like thickness.
- Flour. Dredging the steaks in flour before frying will help get a crisp exterior and help the egg mixture adhere to the beef.
To make this recipe gluten free, use a gluten-free flour blend or almond flour.
- Salt and pepper. Can be adjusted to taste.
- Eggs. This will be the first layer of dredging and will help the breadcrumbs stick to the beef before frying.
- Bread crumbs. For the extra crispy coating.
- Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated is best.
- Parsley. Fresh and finely chopped. This will be added to the breadcrumb mixture.
- Lemon wedges. For serving alongside the finished steaks.
- Oil. Enough for frying the steaks. Any neutral-flavored cooking oil will work.
Cooking oil tip
When frying foods, always choose an oil with a high smoke point. Good oils to use include peanut, avocado, and safflower oil.
How to make milanesa
Get ready to have perfectly cooked milanesa in no time at all!
Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1- Pound the steaks
If using thicker steaks, wrap them in saran wrap and pound them until they are about ½ inch in thickness.
Step 2- Make the coating
Get three small bowls. In one bowl, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. In the second bowl, add the eggs and whisk together and in the third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and finely chopped parsley.
Step 3- Bread the steaks
Dip each steak in the flour, eggs, and breadcrumb mixtures, stopping in between to shake off any excess. When dipping in the breadcrumb mixture, press firmly to ensure they stick to the beef.
Step 4- Fry the milanesa
Fill a pan with two inches of oil and place it over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add 1-2 steaks and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Place the fried steaks on a paper-towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil and repeat the process until all of the steaks are cooked.
Can I bake milanesa instead?
Yes! If you would rather bake your milanesa as opposed to frying them, then you certainly can.
To do this, simply coat the steaks in the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, then transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 425°F/219°C for 6 minutes per side.
- Add seasonings to the flour mixture. Cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder are all great add-on ingredients that will add tons of flavor.
- Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper. Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper to avoid a bland dish.
- Make milanesa a la napolitana. Or “milanesa Neopolitan style.” To make it this way, all you have to do is top your fried steaks with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and ham, then broil it for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
To keep things traditional, pair milanesa with potatoes, whether it be fries, mashed, or baked. However, considering this is somewhat of an Italian-South American fusion dish, you could also serve it on a bed of fresh pasta or with a side of orzo pasta salad.
If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, try serving your fried steaks with sautéed carrots, zucchini, or broccoli.
To store: Place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat: No thawing is necessary; reheat refrigerated or frozen milanesa by using the oven. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them at 400°F/204°C for 10-15 minutes, stopping halfway through to flip them. Frozen steaks will take a few minutes longer.
To freeze: Allow the steaks to cool completely and transfer them to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Freeze them for up to 6 months.
More delicious recipes using beef
Yes! Since it is made with pre-tenderized cuts of thinly sliced steaks and fried in minutes, the resulting dish is incredibly tender.
As this recipe calls for flour and bread crumbs, it is not low in carbs. However, you can swap out the flour for almond flour and use low carb bread crumbs.
Lamb backstrap, veal steaks, and pork steaks are all fantastic options to replace cube steak.
Milanesa (Milanesa De Res)
- 4 cube steaks 4-6 ounces each
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 large eggs whisked
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup oil to deep fry
- Pound the steaks until they are ½-inch in thickness.
- On a small plate, mix the four, salt, and pepper. In one bowl, add the eggs and whisk together. In another bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and finely chopped parsley.
- Dip each steak in the flour mix, shake off any excess, then the egg wash, shaking off any excess. Finally, dip both sides in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing firmly to ensure they stick.
- Add two inches of oil to a pan and place over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 milanesa to it and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden and crispy.
- Place the cooked milanesa on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Repeat the process until all the breaded steak is cooked.
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Can I air fry?