Cast Iron

Cheater’s Chicken Schnitzel

October  4, 2022
12 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Instead of the usual dredged in flour, dipped in eggs and milk, rolled around in crumbs approach, this schnitzel opts instead for a mustardy mayo marinade, then right into panko. The result is tender, moist meat and a fuss-free, ultra-crispy crust. Top simple with parsley and lemon wedges. Or serve atop an oversized salad. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • Mayo marinade
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chicken schnitzel
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut or vegetable oil, adjusted as needed for frying
  • 2 (3/4-pound) chicken breasts
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 pinches kosher salt, divided
  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large plastic bag or bowl. Squeeze the bag or stir with a spoon to mix.
  2. Halve the chicken breasts horizontally. Pound each half to 1/4-inch thickness. You could do this between two pieces of plastic or parchment or, my favorite, in a plastic bag (splatter-free!). You could use a meat mallet or heavy skillet or, my favorite, a rolling pin.
  3. Add the prepped chicken to the marinade. If it’s a bag, seal. If it’s a bowl, cover. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  4. When you’re ready to fry, add enough oil to a large cast-iron skillet to reach just shy of 1/2-inch in depth. Set over medium-high heat.
  5. Spread out the panko on a plate. Remove each chicken piece from the marinade and swipe away any excess. (No need to be obsessive but it should look mostly mayo-free, otherwise it won’t crisp properly.) Dredge each chicken piece in the panko, pressing firmly to completely coat.
  6. The oil should be about 365° F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test its readiness by dropping a crumb in the oil. It should immediately sizzle—not sink (too cold), nor burn (too hot).
  7. Fry in batches, taking care not to overcrowd, which would lead to steaming over browning. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side until deeply browned. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  8. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alisa Loughlin
    Alisa Loughlin
  • Laurence Tillett
    Laurence Tillett
  • Eric Bancroft
    Eric Bancroft
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

16 Reviews

Ironwood C. January 19, 2021
I've been doing it for years a lower fat way....leave a bit more mayo mixture on the chicken before dredging in panko; then spray the breading with cooking spray. Bake in oven on a mesh tray. Cheers.
Alisa L. October 9, 2019
I don't normally fry at home, but I love Schnitzel and could not resist. So easy and so yummy. I didn't have much time so I only marinated for an hour, but it was perfect.
Laurence T. February 15, 2019
Being a huge schnitzel fan, I will try this....but I usually do the flour, egg, panko 3 step before frying. I hate to use veal, so usually use either turkey or chicken cutlets, pounded extra thin. The trick to making the meat taste more like veal is to sprinkle with lemon juice and let sit while you assemble the breading ingredients. Delish!
Danalee M. February 15, 2019
Do you think this would work with vegan mayo?
Emma L. February 18, 2019
I don't see why not! If you give it a try, please let me know how it goes.
Eric B. October 28, 2018
Love it! Simple and effective. I’m thinking this will be a slick route to some crispy Panko-crusted fried or baked fish.
Emma L. October 28, 2018
Oo! Such a great idea. If you try, do let me know how it goes.
Jeff October 13, 2018
I made this on a Saturday evening, after marinating the chicken for six hours. This was the most yummy and perfect cool weather easy dinner I’ve made in some time. Perfection!
Emma L. October 14, 2018
So glad you enjoyed, Jeff!
dickensthedog October 8, 2018
Thanks so much Emma for your suggestions and for the baked chicken recipe. I will try everything and report back :)
dickensthedog October 7, 2018
How do you think that this would fare either baked or sautee'd? We don't fry food in our household. Thanks!
Emma L. October 7, 2018
Hi! I haven't tried either with this recipe, so can't say for sure. You might be able to use a nonstick pan and then use less oil. If you baked them, I'd recommend a high heat, say somewhere between 375 to 425°F. And while we're talking about baked chicken, here's a recipe for oven-fried chicken (by our co-founder Amanda's mother!) that I hope you'd enjoy:
draya3 October 28, 2018
We LOVE Judy's recipe! I make it at least twice a month!
besswww January 22, 2021
I did it in the air fryer, otherwise as directed, and it was good! (never 100% as good as fried, but y'know)
Misfitwife September 21, 2018
This sounds fantastic...
Emma L. September 21, 2018