Schnitzels, thinly pounded, breaded, and fried meat, hold a special place in culinary traditions across Europe. Often associated with German and Austrian cuisines, it’s sure to win hearts at any meal.

Whether served with a squeeze of lemon, a side of potatoes, or a fresh salad, schnitzels are a versatile dish that brings a touch of old-world charm to your table.


Schnitzel Recipe

Skill Level: Intermediate

This recipe is rated as intermediate because it involves a few key techniques: pounding the meat to an even thinness, breading in a three-step process, and frying to perfection. These steps require some precision and attention to detail. On the other hand, they are easily manageable with a bit of practice.

Health Benefits

While schnitzels are often considered an indulgent treat, this recipe can be made healthier by using lean cuts of meat, whole grain breadcrumbs, and frying in healthier oils like olive oil.

Additionally, serving them with a fresh salad on the side boosts the nutritional value of the meal.

Prep/Cooking Time

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Servings: 4


  • 4 boneless pork, veal, or chicken cutlets (about 5 ounces/140 grams each)
  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk
  • 1 cup (120 grams) breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil or olive oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Prep the Meat:
    • Place each cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
    • Using a meat mallet, pound the meat evenly to about 1/4-inch (6 mm) thickness.
  2. Season the Meat:
    • Season both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare the Breading Stations:
    • Place the flour in a shallow dish.
    • In another shallow dish, beat the eggs with the milk.
    • Place the breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish.
  4. Bread the Cutlets:
    • Dredge each cutlet in the flour, shaking off any excess.
    • Dip into the egg mixture, ensuring an even coat.
    • Press into the breadcrumbs, covering completely. Pat gently to adhere the breadcrumbs.
  5. Fry the Cutlets:
    • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    • Once hot, add the cutlets (cooking in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding).
    • Fry until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
    • Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  6. Serve:
    • Serve immediately with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of fresh parsley, if desired.

Recipe Shortcuts

  • Use pre-breaded cutlets from the store to save time.
  • Opt for a shallow fry or bake in the oven to reduce the need for constant attention.

Best Tips for Perfection

  • Ensure the oil is hot enough before adding the cutlets to prevent them from becoming greasy.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan; this allows for even frying.
  • Pat the breadcrumbs gently to ensure they stick well.

Optional Ingredients

  • Add grated Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs for extra flavor.
  • Include a teaspoon of paprika or garlic powder in the flour for a flavor boost.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve schnitzels with potato salad, mashed potatoes, or a fresh green salad.
  • Traditional accompaniments include a dollop of lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce.

Nutrient Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 450
  • Protein: 30 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 20 grams
  • Fat: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 400 mg

Saving Leftovers – Storage and Reheating

  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. This helps maintain the crispiness.

Origin and Folklore

Schnitzels have their origins in Austria, where the Wiener Schnitzel, traditionally made with veal, is a national dish.

The term “schnitzel” itself means “cutlet” in German, and variations of this dish can be found in many countries.

The technique of breading and frying meat was developed to enhance the flavor and texture, creating a dish that was both economical and delicious.

Similar Dishes to Schnitzels

There are several similar foods to schnitzels that feature breaded and fried meat, often hailing from various culinary traditions around the world. Here are a few examples:

1. Chicken Parmesan (Chicken Parmigiana)

  • Origin: Italy
  • Description: Breaded and fried chicken cutlets topped with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, typically served with pasta.

2. Cotoletta alla Milanese

  • Origin: Italy (Milan)
  • Description: Similar to schnitzels, this dish features breaded and fried veal cutlets, often served with lemon wedges.

3. Tonkatsu

  • Origin: Japan
  • Description: Breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets served with shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce (a tangy, Worcestershire-like sauce).

4. Cordon Bleu

  • Origin: Switzerland/France
  • Description: Breaded and fried meat cutlets (typically chicken or veal) stuffed with ham and cheese.

5. Escalope

  • Origin: France
  • Description: Thinly sliced meat, often veal or chicken, that is breaded and pan-fried. It can be served with various sauces.

6. Milanesa

  • Origin: South America (particularly Argentina and Uruguay)
  • Description: Breaded and fried meat cutlets, similar to schnitzels, often served with a variety of sides like potatoes or salad.

7. Katsu

  • Origin: Japan
  • Description: Similar to tonkatsu but can also refer to breaded and fried chicken (chicken katsu). Served with various sauces and rice.

8. Chicken Fried Steak

  • Origin: Southern United States
  • Description: Breaded and fried beef steak, typically served with creamy white gravy.

9. Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

  • Origin: Midwestern United States
  • Description: Breaded and fried pork tenderloin, usually served in a sandwich with pickles and onions.

10. Piccata

  • Origin: Italy
  • Description: Thinly sliced meat (usually chicken or veal) that is dredged in flour, sautéed, and served with a sauce made from lemon, butter, and capers.

These dishes share a common technique of breading and frying meat, but each has unique flavors and accompaniments that reflect their cultural origins.

To Sum it Up…

Schnitzels are a delightful and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways.

With a few simple steps and attention to detail, you can recreate this classic at home.

Serve it with your favorite sides and enjoy a meal that’s both comforting and impressive.

Happy cooking!