Sheet Pan

Pepita-Crusted Chicken Cutlets

October  4, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Adapted from Justin Chapple's Mad Genius Tips.

To halve the chicken breasts crosswise as opposed to pounding them out, use one hand to press lightly on top of the breast and the other to hold the knife and gently saw back and forth till you've made your way down the breast and are left with two pieces.

In place of the mustard-mayo mix, you could do a more traditional flour-egg-crumb station. To do this, whisk two eggs with 1/4 cup flour and 2 tablespoons of water.

I like to serve these cutlets with this orange salsa. —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • Neutral oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges or orange salsa (see notes above), for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Place pumpkin seeds on rimmed sheet pan. Transfer to oven and cook for 5 minutes—seeds should barely take on any color. Set pan aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken breasts: If the tenderloin is still intact, slice it off and set it aside. At this point, you can either pound the chicken breasts to a 1/2-inch thickness, or you could cut each breast in half crosswise, to create 4 thin pieces—this is my preference. (See notes above for guidance.)
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and mustard. Place the chicken breasts and tenders in the bowl and rub the mixture all over them to coat them evenly.
  4. Place the cooled pepitas, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne in a resealable bag. Seal the bag, pressing to release air before you close it completely. Holding a wine bottle by the neck, gently tap the bottom of the bottle against the seeds until they are crushed, but not uniformly fine like bread crumbs. I like a mix of full seeds, coarsely crushed seeds and finely crushed seeds. Transfer the seeds to a small rimmed sheet pan or other similar vessel.
  5. Transfer the breasts and tenders one by one to the vessel with the seeds, turning each to coat until each is evenly coated in seeds. Season both sides of each breast with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil—you want a thin layer. When it shimmers, lower each breast into the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, flip, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more or until evenly golden.
  7. Transfer breasts to a platter to rest. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • rob
  • Jacob McDonald
    Jacob McDonald
  • Arthur in the Garden!
    Arthur in the Garden!
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • Sara B.
    Sara B.
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

13 Reviews

rob July 5, 2020
I am pretty good at making schnitzels but I had a difficult time keeping the crushed pepita mixture on the chicken. I also found it hard to get the right temperature to cook the cutlet but not burn the pepita mixture on the cutlet.
Deb May 14, 2020
We loved this recipe! I did not have any kind of seeds so I used panko instead and it was a big hit in our house. I also made a honey Dijon sauce for the side.
Jacob M. October 3, 2017
Great topped with a roasted tomatillo and corn salsa.
Jacob M. October 3, 2017
Great topped with a roasted tomatillo and corn salsa.
noknok February 20, 2017
Based on previous comment, I tried baking, but noticed the bottom was getting a bit soggy, so upped the heat to broil shortly thereafter & flipped to get both sides browned. It worked very well. Also, used a mix of pepitas and pistachios (what I had available) and a food processor to grind nut/seed combo somewhat finer than in your photos. It adhered well, Recipe got a big thumbs up from everyone, Thank you for sharing!
Alexandra S. February 20, 2017
So happy to hear this noknok, and great work improvising! Love the sound of pistachios here.
CHRISTINE M. February 11, 2017
I made this tonight using Turkey breast cutlets for a meatier flavor with the gorgeous orange salsa. It was fabulous. I would make a few changes: add in 1/2 teaspoon Penzeys Spices Chili 9000, to bring it up a few notches. I lost so many pumpkin seeds by frying them in a pan. I would bake them at 350 for 25 minutes next time. My husband added his Siracha sauce for a spicier version. Definitely a keeper!
Alexandra S. February 12, 2017
So happy to hear this, Christine! I need to place a Penzey's order — will add Chili 9000 to the list. So true about losing seeds in the pan—baking is a great idea. Thanks for writing in!
Sara B. February 12, 2017
I may also try baking next time - not o ly did I lose a lot of seeds but I think I had a little too much oil in the pan and it wasn't quite hot enough for the first pieces so I ended up with some soggy/ oily pieces - still tasted good but was messy and a bit frustrating. I really like the idea and the flavor though so I'll definitely give it another go.
Alexandra S. February 12, 2017
The pan definitely gets a bit messy. I think baking or broiling is a good idea — next time I make this, I'll report back.
Suzannelewis May 20, 2020
If I decide to put this in the oven, how long do you recommend ? And what temperature? Do I fry first and then transfer? Thanks
Arthur I. February 10, 2017
Perfect! I love pepitas as a snack!
Alexandra S. February 10, 2017
Me, too, Arthur!