This Italian chicken cutlets recipe calls for thinly sliced chicken breasts, breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasoning for a crispy, tender, and juicy fried chicken.
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This is a family-favorite dinner that can be easily customized with your favorite seasonings. Make it your own.
Pan-fried chicken is a classic dish. You'll love this recipe because the chicken is pounded thin so it fries in just minutes.
This was inspired by Giada's pork Milanese, and pairs well with steamed broccoli, green beans, creamy kale pasta, or Italian tomato salad.
This recipe, like most of my recipes, uses several kitchen staples and easy-to-find ingredients.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Breadcrumbs (homemade or store-bought)
- Shredded parmesan cheese
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon wedges (optional, to serve)
See the recipe card for quantities.
Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally so you have two thin cutlets. Hold the breast flat with the palm of your hand while you use the other hand to cut the chicken with a sharp knife.
Pound chicken between two layers of plastic wrap using the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Flatten it evenly until it is about ¼–½ inch thick (see below for tips).
Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs in a separate shallow dish.
Dredge chicken in the egg (letting the excess drip off). Evenly coat both sides.
Coat evenly in breadcrumbs, pressing the chicken into the mixture for full coverage.
Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium-high until hot. Fry two chicken cutlets at a time on both sides for about 2–3 minutes each until golden brown and chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
When cooked, place chicken on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil while chicken rests. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a lemon wedge.
Tip: Always allow chicken to rest for several minutes before cutting. This will keep the chicken extra juicy.
Substitutions and Variations
I consider this recipe to be an excellent base recipe that can be altered and tweaked to meet your flavor cravings.
- Chicken - Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can also be used but do not slice them in half. Chicken thighs take longer than chicken breasts to cook, so pan fry for about 5–6 minutes per side.
- Breadcrumbs - Use homemade breadcrumbs or store bought. If you use Italian breadcrumbs, you can skip the addition of fresh parsley as Italian breadcrumb blends generally contain parsley already.
- Spicy version - For a spicy chicken cutlet recipe, add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper.
- Seasoning - I like an Italian-flavored Italian chicken cutlet with thyme, oregano, and basil. Make it your own.
- Oil - I use olive oil for this recipe, but you can also use vegetable oil.
Tips for Pounding Chicken Cutlets
Pounding the chicken thin is important in this recipe because it allows the chicken to cook quickly and in sync with the breadcrumbs. If breaded chicken is too thick, the breadcrumbs will burn before the chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
Additionally, it ensures the chicken cooks evenly.
- Meat tenderizer/meat mallet, rolling pin, or a similar kitchen object
- Plastic wrap or a gallon-size zipper baggie
All you need to do is:
- Place the chicken in between two layers of plastic wrap or inside a gallon-size zipper baggie.
- Pound the chicken with the meat mallet until it is evenly thin.
Plastic wrap can move around and make a mess. A zippered food storage bag can be easier to use.
If you use a baggie, place the chicken inside one breast/cutlet at a time and remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag. Then pound the meat.
To make Italian chicken cutlets, you'll need a few kitchen tools:
- Meat mallet, rolling pin, or something similar to pound the chicken
- Plastic wrap or gallon food storage bag for pounding the chicken
- Meat thermometer
- Large frying pan - I use a large frying pan with side walls.
- Tongs - I recommend using tongs when frying foods because it gives you more control and keeps your hands at a good distance from the skillet. In a pinch, a fork can work.
Italian Chicken Cutlets
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon wedges to serve, optional
- Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally so you have two thin cutlets. Pound chicken evenly until it is about ¼-½ inch thick.
- Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs in a separate shallow dish.
- Dredge chicken in the egg (letting the excess drip off). Evenly coat both sides. Coat evenly in breadcrumbs, pressing the chicken into the mixture for full coverage.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium-high until hot. Fry two chicken cutlets at a time on both sides for about 2–3 minutes each until golden and chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
- When cooked, place chicken on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil while chicken rests. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a lemon wedge.
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash your hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave the kitchen unattended when frying food
- When using a hot oil, add food gently to the pan to avoid splatter
See more guidelines at USDA.gov and NFPA.org.
This is my husband's favorite thing right now, he's asked me to make it multiple times.