This crispy chicken schnitzel recipe is a real favorite with the kids. Crisp on the outside, tender in the middle. Delicious!
This recipe for chicken schnitzel is super easy and the whole process only takes around 20 minutes. Plus you get to take your frustration out on the chicken as you bash it with a rolling pin!
Kids love learning how to make schnitzel too, as it generally means getting your hands nice and dirty!
What is Schnitzel?
Schnitzel originally hails from Austria, where a wiener schnitzel is made from veal.
Fun fact: In Austria itself, a wiener schnitzel is a protected geographical indication (kind of like champagne in France), meaning to call it a wiener schnitzel, it MUST be made from veal.
In other parts of the world, schnitzel is often used to describe any type of meat that has been flattened, breaded and fried.
Other countries also have their own versions of schnitzel, including escalope (France), milanese (Italy) and tonkatsu (Japan). Commonly used meat for schnitzel includes veal, beef, pork or chicken.
How to make chicken schnitzel
To make a homemade chicken schnitzel, you first need to tenderise and flatten the chicken.
Take a chicken breast, slice it in half length ways (so you have two long flat pieces of chicken). Then place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and have fun bashing it with a mallet or rolling pin!
This not only flattens the chicken to make it cook quicker, but it also tenderises the meat, making it extra succulent and juicy. You want it to be around ⅛ inch thick, and try to make sure that you have an even thickness throughout.
Next, we need to get it smothered in breadcrumbs. For crumbing chicken schnitzel, you need to prepare three bowls: one with flour, one with beaten egg, and one with seasoned breadcrumbs.
I like to make a panko chicken schnitzel as I find the panko breadcrumbs give an even crispier finish, but any kind of breadcrumbs are fine. You could even use crushed up cornflakes like in our cornflake chicken nuggets recipe.
I also like to make a parmesan schnitzel, by adding in some grated parmesan to the breadcrumbs. This not only makes it extra tasty, but helps moisten the chicken and give a nice brown finish to it.
Things you may want to add to flavor schnitzel breadcrumbs:
- grated parmesan cheese
- garlic salt
- onion powder
- dried herbs
- cayenne pepper or chili flakes
- salt & pepper
To crumb the schnitzel, first, dip the chicken into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, ensuring that it is evenly coated. Then set it aside until you are ready to cook it.
How to cook chicken schnitzel
The best way to cook chicken schnitzel is to fry it. I like to use a combination of oil and butter for the best flavor/crispiness combination.
When cooking chicken schnitzel, you need to heat the oil and butter in a frying pan until it is bubbling hot, then add the schnitzel. It should sizzle as it hits the pan.
Some chicken schnitzel recipes suggest you should fill the pan with oil so that it practically covers the chicken. I prefer to add just a couple of tablespoons of oil and a tablespoon of butter, and as long as you have a good non-stick frying pan, this should be enough.
How long to cook chicken schnitzel will partly depend on the thickness of your chicken and how hot your pan is, but I usually estimate around 4 minutes per side.
Baked chicken schnitzel
While I believe that fried chicken schnitzel is the best, in terms of both flavor and crispiness, it is possible to cook chicken schnitzel in the oven. This is a good option if you are looking for a more healthy chicken schnitzel option.
To bake chicken schnitzel, you need to cook it in a hot oven (200C / 400F) for around 20 minutes. You may want to spray it with cooking oil, or place on an oiled baking sheet first.
What to serve with chicken schnitzel
There are so many possible chicken schnitzel sides! Traditionally, a wiener schnitzel is served with a wedge of lemon top and a side serving of potato salad and sauerkraut.
Fun fact: schnitzel was originally served with lemon ‘back in the olden days’ to cover up the smell of meat going bad! Today we just like the taste of it 🙂
In pubs and restaurants around the world, popular side dishes for chicken schnitzel include french fries or mashed potato and salad or vegetables. My kids love to have theirs with either buttered noodles or steamed rice.
Other chicken schnitzel meal ideas include:
- Make a chicken schnitzel salad
- Make a chicken schnitzel wrap (my daughter’s favorite wrap is filled with cold schnitzel, salami and cheese)
- Top it with marinara sauce and grilled cheese to make a chicken parmigiana (when I do this, I make a marinara sauce by mixing my hidden vegetable sauce with tomato paste to sneak some extra veggies in)
- Put in a bun with cheese and salad to make a chicken burger.
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