Chicken Cutlets

Fans say this easy recipe makes for perfect chicken that’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the side.

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Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 40 min
Yield: 4 servings

Article by Emily Saladino

Every cook needs a back-pocket recipe for chicken cutlets, and this is the one the Food Network Kitchen swears by. Whether you’re craving a crispy chicken sandwich or searching for an easy dinner idea, these breaded chicken cutlets are guaranteed to please even the pickiest eaters.

What Are Chicken Cutlets?

A chicken cutlet is a chicken breast that is either pounded with a mallet or cut in half horizontally to make a uniformly thin, flat shape. They’re tender and cook quickly and evenly, and are often pan-fried, seared or grilled. The difference between chicken cutlets and chicken tenderloins is the cut: chicken cutlets are whole breasts, whereas tenderloins are long, thin muscles located beneath chicken breasts.

How to Make Chicken Cutlets Like a Pro

Pound the chicken first. Before breading, place the chicken breasts on a clean cutting board and use a mallet, rolling pin or heavy-bottomed pan to pound them to uniform thickness. Because chicken breasts are naturally curved, this step is crucial to making juicy cutlets that cook quickly and evenly.

Season the breading for chicken breasts. The breadcrumb mixture provides a lot of texture and flavor in this chicken cutlets recipe. We like the combination of thyme and lemon zest for its versatility, but you can also customize by swapping the thyme for a teaspoon of dried oregano, adding a pinch of red pepper flakes or combining minced fresh cilantro and lime zest.

Don’t crowd the pan. Frying two cutlets at a time keeps the oil hot, resulting in crispy—not soggy—breaded chicken.

Use the best fry oil for chicken. Corn oil, blended vegetable oil or plant oils like canola or sunflower are the best oils for frying. Olive oil is not ideal for pan-frying chicken breasts because its lower smoke point means it burns easily. If you prefer to use olive oil to make this recipe, mix it with an equal amount of corn or vegetable oil.

What to Serve with Chicken Cutlets

Pair Italian chicken cutlets with broccoli rabe and easy Caesar potato salad. Make chicken cutlet sandwiches with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and balsamic vinegar; or top with tomato and mozzarella to make chicken parm heroes. Slice the crispy chicken into strips and toss them with chopped romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, defrosted corn kernels and a simple vinaigrette for a main-course salad.

How to Store Chicken Cutlets

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. They’re delicious cold, hot or at room temperature. To reheat them, place on a wire rack in a baking sheet in an oven heated to 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Other Crispy Chicken Recipes to Try

These air fryer chicken tenderloins are marinated in a buttermilk mixture then coated in panko. Pecorino Romano and panko create a flavorful crust on this breaded chicken. You can also use crushed cereal, pretzels or chips to make crispy chicken cutlets. Our chicken schnitzel recipe has the same crunchy coating as the porky original, plus a tangy mustard dipping sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Breaded Chicken Cutlets

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To make bread crumbs: Trim the crust off the bread and discard, tear bread into pieces. Spread bread out on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute to dry out the bread. (Alternately, spread the bread out on a baking sheet and dry in a preheated 300 degree F oven for 22 to 25 minutes.) Pulse the dried bread or crumbs in a food processor with the thyme, lemon zest, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
  3. With the flat side of a cook's knife or the smooth side of a meat-pounder, pound each breast to equal thickness. Put the flour, eggs, and the bread crumbs each separately in 3 shallow dishes. Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Dip each breast into the flour, then shake off the excess. Next, run the breast through the egg to coat it lightly and hold the chicken over the liquid to let any excess fall back into the bowl. Finally, lay the chicken in the bread crumbs, turn it over and press it into the breading to coat. Lay on a piece of waxed paper.
  4. Heat a large skillet (12 inches in diameter) over medium heat. Add the oil. Lay 2 chicken breasts smooth-side down in the pan. Cook the chicken without turning until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until equally brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining 2 breasts. Transfer chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Place all 4 breasts on a rack over a baking pan and bake until firm to the touch, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with lemon wedges.
  5. Serving suggestion: Lemon wedges, thyme sprigs for garnish .