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When you think of “Wienerschnitzel,” what comes to mind? For many Americans, I’m afraid it’s a hotdog stand with questionable offerings. Wienerschnitzel is not a hotdog. When I think of Wienerschnitzel, I think of Vienna’s cobblestone streets, eating at old world cafes with my friends, my mission, taking my husband to Vienna, and Austrian hospitality.
What the Heck Is Winerschnitzel?
The word “Wienerschnitzel” (vee-ner shnit-zel) means Viennese cutlet. Traditionally, Wienerschnitzel is made from veal cutlet, pounded thin, breaded and pan fried. You can still find veal schnitzel in nicer restaurants, but it’s more often made with pork, due to the cost of veal. Now, pork schnitzel is fine, but I think it can have an unpleasant aftertaste if it’s made from a pork chop. If it’s made with pork tenderloin, it’s delicious. However, you know that pork and I don’t always get along in the tummy department, so we’re going to make our Wienerschnitzel out of boneless skinless chicken breast.
1. Cut and pound out your chicken
Cut 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half, the short way, so you have two roughly equally sized pieces. Next, on a cutting board, lay down a large piece of plastic wrap. Place one half of a chicken breast in the middle of the plastic wrap. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top of the chicken, and pound with the flat side of your meat mallet (you can also get something like this) until you achieve an even thickness of about 1/4 of an inch. Don’t go too wild with the pounding. The chicken can start to fall apart. Place the pounded chicken on a plate, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Repeat for all of the chicken.
2. Bread the Wienerschnitzel
Next, set up your dredging station. I use 3 cake pans for my seasoned flour, eggs, and bread crumb mixture. The secret to this Wienerschnitzel is to use half regular bread crumbs and half panko bread crumbs. This gives the schnitzel a really great texture. Coat your cutlets in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Set aside and repeat with all of the chicken.
3. Fry the Wienerschnitzel
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 inch of neutral oil. Fry until brown and crispy on one side, then flip and repeat.
You’re looking for golden goodness. Drain on a cooling rack set over a half sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt immediately.
Serve Your Chicken Wienerschnitzel
After your chicken Wienerschnitzel has cooled for a minute, plate it up with lemon wedges and a nice serving of Austrian potato salad (recipe coming soon). Squeeze a lemon wedge over the Wienerschnitzel and dig in! This is a really fun special occasion meal, or nice Sunday dinner. The leftovers will reheat wonderfully in an air fryer or in an oven. Wienerschnitzel is also great cold in a sandwich.
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- meat mallet
- wire cooling rack
- Half sheet pan
- plastic wrap
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half across the short side (hamburger style)
- 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup regular bread crumbs
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- enough neutral oil to form a 1/4 inch layer on the bottom of your skillet.
- lemon wedges, to garnish
- Take 1/2 of a chicken breast, and sandwich it in between 2 layers of plastic wrap on a cutting board.
- With the flat side of your meat mallet, pound the chicken evenly to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Don't go too crazy, or the chicken will start to fall apart.
- Place on a plate, season lightly with salt and pepper, and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
- Set up your dredging station. I like to use 3 cake pans, and put my flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs in one cakepan each. You will combine the regular and panko bread crumbs into one pan.
- Season the flour and the bread crumbs with 1 teaspoon of salt and a sprinkling of pepper each.
- Take one of your pounded cutlets, and first coat in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Lightly shake off excess flour and egg. Press the bread crumb coating firmly onto the chicken. No bald spots! Set aside on a plate.
- Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
- Preheat a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add enough neutral oil (canola, vegetable, etc.) so that you have a layer that's about 1/4 inch thick.
- When the oil is nice and hot, carefully lower a breaded cutlet into it with tongs, making sure the cutlet lays flat.
- Cook on one side until it is nicely browned. Flip and repeat.
- Move the schnitzel onto a wire cooling rack set over a half sheet pan to cool. Sprinkle with salt while still very hot.
- Repeat with the remaining Wienerschnitzel, serve with lemon wedges, and enjoy!