Cast Iron

Cheater’s Chicken Schnitzel

September 16, 2018
Photo by Julia Gartland
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

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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  • Alisa Loughlin
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    Emma Laperruque
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.