Why this recipe is amazing
Flavour & Texture: Crumbed cutlets with Parmesan cheese have a deliciously rich and savoury flavour. The Parmesan cheese in the breading adds a subtle nuttiness and umami taste that goes well with the tender and juicy chicken. The Parmesan also adds extra crunch and crispy texture to the dish.
Difficulty & Time: 1/5. Easy! 3 bowls, a plate and a frying pan! It may get a little messy with the breading but the end product will make up for it.
Versatility: Crumbed chicken cutlets are quite versatile and can be prepared and served in a variety of ways. Make it gluten-free and serve it as a main course or in sandwiches, wraps or salads. See the tips below!
What is a Cutlet?
A cutlet is a thin, boneless slice of meat that is usually taken from the leg or the rib/breast of an animal. The meat can be from a variety of animals, such as beef, pork, chicken, or lamb. The cutlet is typically flattened or pounded to give an even thickness, allowing it to cook quickly and evenly.
What are Crumbed Chicken Cutlets and how are they different to Schnitzel?
Cutlets and schnitzel are very similar dishes with slightly different preparation techniques and flavours. Firstly Italian cutlets are a popular dish in Milan and throughout Italy, while schnitzel is a traditional dish from German and Austrian cuisine. Both dishes can be found using chicken, veal or pork.
Italian cutlets and schnitzel are usually made from thinly sliced meat that is coated in flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs before being cooked. Both may be pan-fried but schnitzel is often deep-fried. Italian Cutlets may also have a variety of seasoning, fresh herbs and parmesan mixed in the breading. Schnitzel is usually more simple.
Crumbed Chicken Cutlets flavour variations
Cutlets can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Here are some flavour variations you can try:
- Chicken Parmigiana: Top the cooked cutlets with tomato marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese for a classic dish.
- Lemon and Herb Cutlets: Add lemon zest and more fresh herbs like thyme, and rosemary to the breading mixture for a fresh and bright flavour.
- Spicy Cutlets: Add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the breading mixture for a spicy kick.
- Pesto Cutlets: Spread pesto on top of the cooked cutlets for a burst of herbaceous flavour.
- Caprese Cutlets: Top the cooked cutlets with slices of fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves for a classic Italian flavour combination.
- Feta and Olive Cutlets: Top the cooked cutlets with crumbled feta cheese and sliced Kalamata olives for a Mediterranean twist.
How to use Crumbed Chicken Cutlets
Chicken cutlets are versatile and can be used in many ways. Here are some ways to use Italian cutlets:
- Sandwiches/burgers/wraps: Use the cutlets to make delicious sandwiches by placing them on a bun with slaw/lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise or other condiments.
- Salads: Slice cutlets and add them to a salad for a protein boost. They pair well with leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables.
- Pasta dishes: Use sliced cutlets in pasta dishes by slicing them and adding them to a tomato sauce or Alfredo sauce. They work well with spaghetti, fettuccine, and other pasta shapes.
- Appetizers: Cut cutlets into bite-sized pieces and serve them with a dipping sauce, such as marinara or ranch dressing.
- Pizza toppings: Add sliced cutlets to a pizza as a topping along with your other favourite ingredients.
- Stir-fry: Cut cutlets into strips and use them in stir-fry dishes along with vegetables and noodles or rice.
Setting you up for success – Tips & Tricks
- Use thin and even slices of meat: Thin and even slices of meat will cook more quickly and evenly, resulting in a tender and flavourful cutlet. If the meat is too thick, it may be tough and difficult to cook thoroughly.
- Pound the meat to an even thickness: Pounding the meat with a meat mallet or rolling pin will help to tenderize the meat and create an even thickness, which will result in a more evenly cooked cutlet.
- Use a three-step breading process: The three-step breading process, which involves coating the meat in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, will create a crispy and flavourful coating that adheres well to the meat. Make sure to shake off any excess flour or breadcrumbs to prevent clumping.
- Use fresh and high-quality ingredients: Using fresh and high-quality ingredients, such as fresh breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and herbs, will enhance the flavour of the cutlets and make them taste even better.
- Cook the cutlets in hot oil: Make sure the oil in the frying pan is hot before adding the cutlets. This will help to create a crispy and golden brown crust on the cutlets.
- Bake the cutlets in the oven: After frying the cutlets, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. This will ensure that the cutlets are cooked through and will help to keep them crispy.
- Serve the cutlets immediately: Cutlets are best served immediately after cooking, while they are still hot and crispy. Garnish with lemon wedges, chopped parsley, or other desired toppings for added flavour and presentation.
Here are some common problems that you may encounter when making crumbed cutlets, and some tips for troubleshooting:
- The breading falls off the cutlets during frying:
- Make sure to shake off any excess flour or breadcrumbs before adding the cutlets to the pan.
- Ensure that the oil in the frying pan is hot enough before adding the cutlets.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan, as this can cause the breading to become soggy and fall off.
- The cutlets are too dry:
- Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the meat to an even thickness, which will help to tenderize the meat and prevent it from becoming too dry.
- Don’t overcook the cutlets, as this can cause them to become dry and tough. Cook the cutlets until they are just cooked through and still tender.
- The cutlets are too thick:
- If the cutlets are too thick, they may take longer to cook and may be tough. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the meat to an even thickness of about 6mm / 1/4 inch before breading and cooking.
- The cutlets are not crispy enough:
- Make sure the oil in the pan is hot enough before adding the cutlets.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan, as this can cause the cutlets to become soggy and not crisp up properly.
- Once the cutlets are fried, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 5-15 minutes at 180°C / 350°F to help keep them crispy. Ensure you don’t overcook the meat.
- The cutlets are too salty or not seasoned enough:
- Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more or less salt or other seasonings as needed.
- Make sure to taste the breading mixture before using it to coat the cutlets to ensure it is seasoned to your liking.
Frequently asked questions – FAQs
When I made this dish on our live cooking show, some community members asked:
Italian cutlets are best served immediately after cooking, while they are still hot and crispy. You can prepare the cutlets in advance by breading them and refrigerating them until ready to cook.
Option 1: Simply pan-fry again in a little oil until crispy. Ensure you don’t overcook the meat. Option 2: Place them on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. This will help to maintain their crispy texture and prevent them from becoming soggy.
Chicken, veal or pork are most common for making these cutlets, but turkey can also be used. It is best to use thin and even slices of meat that are easy to pound and cook evenly.
Yes, you can make Italian cutlets without breadcrumbs by using other types of coatings such as crushed cornflakes, or ground nuts. However, breadcrumbs are the traditional coating for Italian cutlets and provide a crispy and flavourful crust.
See the ‘How to use’ section above. Italian cutlets are often served with a side of pasta, such as spaghetti or spirals, and a simple tomato-based sauce. They can also be served with a side of vegetables, such as roasted carrot, asparagus or green beans, or just a simple salad.
Yes, cutlets can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs or a combination of gluten-free flour as a coating. You can use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or make your own by toasting gluten-free bread and processing it into fine crumbs
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Parmesan Crumbed Chicken Cutlets
- frying pan
- 3 medium bowls
- large plate or tray
- 750 gm (1½ lb) chicken breast 3 whole chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- ¾ cup parmesan finely grated
- 3 eggs
- 2-3 tbsp parsley chopped
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs use GF if necessary- see FAQ section
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- lemon wedges
- Collect 3 bowls. Place flour in one shallow bowl. Beat eggs in the second shallow bowl. Combine panko, Parmesan, and seasonings in the third bowl.
- Take one chicken breast at a time and cut horizontally into 2-3 slices. Repeat with other breasts.
- Optional – Working with one piece of chicken at a time, cover with a sheet of baking paper and pound with a rolling pin or the flat side of a meat mallet until around ½-1 cm or 1/4-inch thick. Set aside and repeat with the remaining other pieces.
- Again, working with one piece at a time, place into the flour bowl and coat in flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer to bowl with beaten egg and turn to coat. Lift and gently shake, allowing excess to drip off. Coat with panko mixture, pressing semi-firm to help the breadcrumbs stick. Repeat with more egg and breadcrumb layer if desired.
- Transfer the chicken to a large plate or tray and repeat with the rest of the pieces.
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Place 2-3 pieces of chicken (or enough that will fit in your pan while allowing space between) and cook until crispy golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add more oil when needed.
- Transfer cutlets to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Season with salt. Serve with lemon and chopped parsley.See serving suggestions above 🙂
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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