Veal Milanese, or Cotoletta alla Milanese, is a classic Italian dish made with breaded veal fillets pan-fried in butter until they’re golden brown and crispy. Easy, quick, and seriously addictive.
Veal has become a recent addition to our family’s dinnertime rotation.
I was skeptical about cooking this meat, but after success with some veal chops, my family were big fans of them.
Inspired by our favorite chicken Milanese, I switched out the chicken for veal cutlets, and this is how this veal Milanese recipe has become a dinnertime staple!
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- It’s quick and easy! Gather the handful of ingredients, pound, and bread the veal, then fry! It’s that simple. It’s even easier if you can find pre-pounded veal fillets.
- Crispy and juicy perfection. If I ever want my family to enjoy any kind of protein, adding breadcrumbs and frying it up is a surefire way to get that to happen.
- Perfect flavor. Veal is not as strong tasting as beef or lamb, and when coated in parmesan breading, it’s super flavorful with subtle hints of cheese.
- Authentic Italian recipe. If you follow me on social media, you know I learned to make this recipe in Milan, Italy!
If you’ve made any kind of breaded meat before, you’ll no doubt have all the stand-by’s on hand. Here is everything you will need:
- Veal fillets. This recipe uses four boneless veal cutlets, so there’s enough for the whole family. I recommend using top round or loin fillets that are pounded to ¼ inch thickness. As mentioned earlier, you can sometimes find pre-pounded fillets at mainstream grocery stores. Do not use bone-in veal cutlets, as the breading will not stick properly.
- Salt and black pepper. To season.
- All-purpose flour. Besides giving the egg something to stick to on the veal, the flour coating also gives this meal its signature golden-brown crust.
- Eggs. To help the bread crumbs stick to the breaded veal cutlets.
- Breadcrumbs. I’ve tried this recipe with just panko and just plain breadcrumbs, and trust me, they are SO much better when you use both. The panko gives it the signature crunch and the classic ones hold all the moisture inside, so the veal remains juicy.
- Parmesan cheese. Because why not? A little parmesan mixed into the bread crumbs adds an irresistible, cheesy, salty flavor.
- Parsley. It is optional, but the chef who taught me this recipe said depending on which part of Milan you are, some include finely chopped parsley in the breading, and some don’t. I chose to omit it, but feel free to add it if you want some green in it.
- Olive oil and butter. Like the breadcrumbs, this dish works best with both olive oil and butter.
- Lemon wedges. To serve. I didn’t know how incredible these tasted with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top until I was served it in Milan. If the Italians are eating it like this, we shall eat it like this, too!
How to make veal Milanese
For such an impressive looking dish, you’ll love how foolproof it really is.
Pound and season: Pat the veal cutlets dry before pounding each one to an even thickness. Season them with salt and pepper.
Prep the breading station: Add the flour to one bowl, the whisked eggs to a second, and the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese to a third.
Bread the veal: Dredge each veal cutlet in the flour, followed by the eggs, and finally, the bread crumb mixture. Repeat until each cutlet is coated.
Pan-fry, then serve: Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, fry two fillets until golden on both sides. Transfer them to a wire rack to drain, repeat with the rest of the cutlets, then serve!
Recipe tips and variations
Be generous with the seasonings: Don’t be shy. Go ahead and sprinkle each veal cutlet with a generous layer of salt and pepper. It’s a secret to helping them taste their best!
Leave room in the pan: The last thing you want to do is crowd your breaded cutlets in a small frying pan because this leads to soggy or steamed veal. Instead, leave room in between each cutlet so every inch can crisp up beautifully.
Cook in batches: Similar to the above point, if your skillet isn’t large enough, cook the veal in batches. I used a 12-inch skillet and comfortably fit in 4 fillets. (Keep the already cooked veal warm in a preheated oven at 180F until ready to serve).
Rest the cutlets: If I’m not in a rush, I sometimes like to let the breaded veal sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. This gives more time for the breading mixture to sit but also naturally tenderizes the meat so it becomes extra juicy.
Use other protein: Okay, so even though this is a veal recipe, you can actually switch out the cutlets for other protein, including chicken, turkey, and even flank steak. If you do choose to switch it out, make sure the meat is pounded to 1/4-inch in thickness.
To store: The leftover fried veal cutlets can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: Wrap the individual fried cutlets in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a resealable freezer bag or container. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.
To reheat: Reheat leftovers in a lightly oiled skillet over medium-low heat or a 375ºF air fryer until they’re hot and crispy.
Serve this with
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Sauteed Asparagus
- Green Goddess salad
- Boursin Cheese Pasta
- Sauteed arugula
Frequently asked questions
It’s easy! To make a gluten free version, use gluten free all purpose flour and gluten bread bread crumbs.
Absolutely! Bread the veal as normal, then cook one or two cutlets in a 400ºF air fryer for 10 to 12 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway through.
Not into pan frying? No problem. Baked veal Milanese is just as tasty as the pan-fried version and is slightly healthier, too. Just bake the breaded veal fillets on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 425°F for about 15 to 20 minutes in the oven, flipping halfway through.
- Line a plate with parchment paper and set aside.
- Pound the veal fillets until 1/4-inch in thickness, then season with salt and pepper.
- In one bowl, add the flour, in the second bowl, add the whisked eggs, and in the third, mix together the breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese.
- Dip the veal in the flour, shake off any excess, then the eggs, shake off any excess, then in the parmesan/breadcrumb mixture. Press the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese into the veal so it sticks. Repeat the process until all the veal is crumbed.
- Add the oil and half the butter into a pan or skillet and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the veal fillets and cook for 7-10 minutes, until golden on both sides.
- Remove the veal from the pan and place on a wire rack to remove excess oil before serving.
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