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chicken breast cutlets being shallow-fried in extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron skillet

Easy Crispy Chicken Breast Cutlets (Cotoletta di Pollo)

This delicious fried chicken cutlet recipe (cotoletta di pollo) is one of the simplest and most satisfying chicken dishes we make. It’s also what’s for dinner (or some version of it) a few times a month around here because it’s ready in 20 minutes and is seriously one of the best ways to eat chicken (ever). I’ve been making this chicken recipe for over over 15 years now and will be for the next 40.

Use it to make chicken sandwiches, pair it with eggs for breakfast, add it to whole wheat wrap, or dip it into your favorite sauce. This recipe was a client favorite and was on the weekly menu (every single week) for almost every family I cooked for. Basically, it makes any meal fuss-free because both kiddos and adults alike, love this juicy, crispy chicken. If you love chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, or chicken Milanese, then you’re going to want to add this tasty breaded chicken cutlet to your list of easy dinner recipes. 

What’s the Difference Between Chicken Milanese and Fried Chicken Breast Cutlets?

You’ll often see “Chicken Milanese” recipes that are really just a chicken breast cutlet that’s been breaded with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and then fried in olive oil or another neutral cooking oil (just like this recipe). And while these crispy fried chicken breast cutlets are seriously delicious, they’re not the same thing as authentic chicken Milanese or “cotoletta alla milanese di pollo”  from Milan, Italy. Here are the main differences between these two delicious chicken recipes. 

  • Fried Chicken Breast Cutlets. Crispy fried chicken breast cutlets, use either whole flattened chicken breast, or thin pre-sliced chicken breast cutlet pieces, and a typical 1, 2, 3, breading station of flour, eggs, and bread crumbs for the coating. They’re usually shallow-fried in olive oil or another neutral cooking oil until golden brown and make perfectly delicious crispy chicken.
  • Authentic Chicken Milanese (cotoletta alla milanese di pollo). Crispy fried chicken Milanese is similar to fried chicken breast cutlets in that they’re both chicken, they’re super crispy, coated in bread crumbs, and shallow-fried. But that’s where it ends. The original “Cotoletto Milanese” recipe (which is what Chicken Milanese is now based on) has been around since at least the year 1134 when it appeared on a nine-course banquet menu for the canons of a basilica on the feast of San Satiro. But the recipe used bone-in veal cutlets and not chicken making them similar to Austrian Schnitzel, except the Milanese cutlets are not pounded out as thinly and are fried in clarified butter instead of lard as schnitzel is. Chicken Milanese is made using whole chicken breast that’s been pounded out (not too thin nor too thick), dipped in beaten eggs, then directly into the breadcrumbs, and get fried immediately (so the breading doesn’t come off) in clarified butter which has a high smoke point. This means both the texture and taste are distinctly different from a regular fried chicken breast cutlet.

Crispy Chicken Breast Cutlets Ingredients

These crispy chicken cutlets are so satisfying especially if you’re craving fast food, but are trying to eat a little healthier. You can use whole wheat flour and whole wheat Panko bread crumbs to make them even healthier and you can’t taste any difference. Dip them in your favorite sauce or slap a cutlet between a bun or wrap), or use it to make a delicious chicken cobb salad — you’ll enjoy it any way you eat it.

  • 4 to 6 chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 cups plain Japanese panko style bread crumbs (or favorite breadcrumbs) (114g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or 00 flour (65-70g)
  • salt to taste
  • grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil) for frying

How to Make Crispy Chicken Breast Cutlets

If you love crispy chicken, but need a slightly healthier “fried chicken” recipe, this is a perfect one to make any night of the week. This is one of our go-to mid-week meals that we eat a few times every month. Everyone loves this chicken. 

  1. Set up the breading station. In a separate medium bowl, add the eggs and whisk well to combine until smooth and set aside. In another separate shallow bowl, add the flour and set aside. In a third shallow bowl, add the Panko bread crumbs and set aside.
  2. Bread the chicken (1. flour 2. egg 3. breadcrumbs). Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip each piece into the flour being sure to cover the entire surface on all sides, and gently tap off any excess flour and slide it into the beaten eggs. Turn the chicken over to completely coat and tap it gently on the side of the bowl to remove any excess egg. Add the chicken to the panko bread crumbs and using your “dry hand”, turn the chicken over to coat all sides with the breadcrumbs pressing down each time to ensure good coverage. Place the breaded chicken on a platter or cutting board and repeat with the remaining pieces. 
  3. Fry the chicken. Add about 1/2 inch of cooking oil to a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet and heat to medium-high.  Once the oil is hot (but not smoking), working in batches, gently place the chicken pieces into the pan in a single layer, salt them, and fry until golden brown on the first side. Flip them over, salt them again and continue cooking (checking periodically with tongs for color) until golden brown and cooked through. Remove them to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with a little parsley, if desired and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Ways to Enjoy this Delicious Crispy Chicken 

I’m sure if you’re here, you already know just how you want to eat this chicken, but we’ve added a few ideas just in case it’s been a long day♡. And if you’re looking to add some extra Italian flavor to your crispy chicken, check out our Basil-Parm Panko-Crusted Chicken Cutlets — they’re really delicious.

  • drizzled with your favorite béchamel sauce
  • serve it with pancakes (or waffles) and eggs
  • make an omellete 
  • make a chicken burger
  • slice it and serve it on top of a bed of your favorite salad greens
  • slice it and put it in a wrap with lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite dressing
  • make the best chicken parm covered with red sauce, and melted mozzarella and Parmigiano cheeses

Looking for More Easy + Delicious Sandwiches and Burger Recipes?

Above are a few of our favorite things to eat between two slices of bread, buns, or loaded up into a wrap. 

Let’s get started!

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perfectly golden brown crispy Chicken cutlet frying in a cast iron skillet

Crispy Shallow-Fried Chicken Breast Cutlets (Cotoletta di Pollo)


  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings depending on hunger level 1x

Description

This delicious and easy breaded chicken cutlet recipe (cotoletta di pollo) is one of the simplest and most satisfying dishes we make. So much so, t’s what’s for dinner (or some version of it) a few times a month because it’s quick, more satisfying than fast food, and it’s ready in just 20 minutes.  Use it to make chicken sandwiches, pair it with eggs for breakfast, add it to whole wheat wrap, or dip it into your favorite sauce.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 to 6 chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 cups plain Japanese panko style bread crumbs (or favorite breadcrumbs) (114g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or 00 flour (65-70g)
  • salt to taste
  • grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil) for frying


Instructions

  1. Set up the breading station. In a separate medium bowl, add the eggs and whisk well to combine until smooth and set aside. In another separate shallow bowl, add the flour and set aside. In a third shallow bowl, add the Panko bread crumbs and set aside.
  2. Bread the chicken (1. flour 2. egg 3. breadcrumbs). Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip each piece into the flour being sure to cover the entire surface on all sides, and gently tap off any excess flour and slide it into the beaten eggs. Turn the chicken over to completely coat and tap it gently on the side of the bowl to remove any excess egg. Add the chicken to the panko bread crumbs and using your “dry hand”, turn the chicken over to coat all sides with the breadcrumbs pressing down each time to ensure good coverage. Place the breaded chicken on a platter or cutting board and repeat with the remaining pieces. 
  3. Fry the chicken. Add about 1/2 inch of cooking oil to a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet and heat to medium-high.  Once the oil is hot (but not smoking), working in batches, gently place the chicken pieces into the pan in a single layer, salt them, and fry until golden brown on the first side. Flip them over, salt them again and continue cooking (checking periodically with tongs for color) until golden brown and cooked through. Remove them to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with a little parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you have really thick chicken breasts, use a mallet or rolling pin to make them thinner so that they will cook more evenly and more quickly.
  • MealPrep: Make this chicken ahead of time by breading it and freezing it on a sheet pan for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then placing it between layers of wax paper in an airtight freezer container.  When ready to eat, thaw the cutlets (or fingers or nuggets) until no longer frozen but still cold and fry as instructed. It makes it even easier to have a healthy homecooked and quick weeknight meal.
  • Make chicken fingers or nuggets and pack them into your kiddo’s lunchbox just be sure to make sure they stay cold until ready to eat.  Add a slice or two of sandwich bread and they can wrap it up to make a chicken sandwich with a side of fruit.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Meat + Chicken
  • Method: Shallow Fry
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 chicken breast cutlet

Keywords: easy fried chicken, chicken Milanese, chicken recipes, chicken parmesan, crispy chicken breast recipe, crispy chicken cutlet recipe, chicken nuggets, fried chicken, panko crusted chicken, breaded chicken breast, easy chicken cutlet recipe, best chicken cutlet recipe, Italian chicken cutlet, crispiest chicken cutlet recipe

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Chicken Breast Cutlets step-by-step recipe photos

 

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