Crispy, pan-fried chicken cutlets are basically a grown-up version of chicken nuggets. And what's not to love about thinly pounded chicken breasts breaded in a savory panko and Parmesan mixture, then pan-fried until golden-brown? They're also impossibly easy. Made with just a handful of pantry ingredients, this dinner winner comes together in less than 30 minutes, and only uses one pan.
Serve with just about anything you have on hand, whether that's pasta or dressed salad greens. You could even pile it into a toasted bun for a homemade crispy chicken sandwich.
Mastering the breading technique
Achieving perfectly crisp chicken cutlets is all about the breading technique, specifically this classic three-step breading technique that glues the breadcrumbs onto the chicken, creating a secure and super-crispy coating.
Set up your breading station in its entirety before you begin. This means readying three shallow bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with a panko and Parmesan mixture. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge in the flour mixture, then the eggs, and finally the breadcrumb mixture, gently pressing the breadcrumbs into the chicken so they stick. To minimize mess, reserve one hand as the "wet" hand (the one that goes into the egg mixture), and one as the "dry" hand (the one that dredges the chicken in the flour and breadcrumb mixture).
If you follow this three-step method, you'll end up with perfectly breaded, evenly coated chicken.
One-Pan Crispy Parmesan Chicken Cutlets
Serves 2 to 4
- 1 medium lemon
- 1 3/4 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
1. Cut 1 medium lemon into wedges and finely grate 1 3/4 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup).
2. In a large shallow bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk 2 large eggs with a fork in a second large shallow bowl until broken up with no streaks of egg white. Stir 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs and the Parmesan cheese together in a third large shallow bowl.
3. Cut 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half horizontally so you end up with 4 thin pieces of chicken. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, place in a large zip-top bag and pound with a rolling pin or the flat side of a meat mallet until 1/4-inch thick. Set aside and repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.
4. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dredge in the flour mixture, then the eggs, and finally the breadcrumb mixture, gently pressing the breadcrumbs into the chicken so they stick. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch or larger skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches if needed, add the breaded chicken cutlets in single layer and cook until cooked through and lightly browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken onto a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat cooking the remaining chicken if needed, adding 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan as needed. Serve with lemon wedges.
Recipe notes: The chicken can be pounded, breaded, and refrigerated uncovered up to 4 hours before frying. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to four days.
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