If you’ve got half an hour, you can whip up this classic, satisfying chicken dinner called, Chicken Milanese! Deliciously crispy chicken cutlets lightly breaded and pan-fried to a golden perfection.
A Simple, Chicken Dinner the Family Will Love
If you like chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, fried chicken, chicken parm… this recipe is for you! It’s a simple dish in the “fried chicken” category, but with a little more fresh and zesty flavor, thanks to fresh herbs and lemon.
Known as Chicken Milanese, it’s made with chicken cutlets pounded thin and lightly breaded with flour and panko crumbs. If that sounds delicious, well – it is!
Plus, it’s easy to make. This restaurant-style meal comes together with just a few steps, and in about half an hour. If you’re looking for a new spin on chicken, with zesty flavor and a crispy crunch, this one’s a keeper.
What Does Milanese Mean in Cooking?
The term “Milanese” means “Milan style,” as in the Italian city of Milan. And, the term Milanese in cooking is all about thin, juicy cutlets that are given a crispy breading and then pan-fried. Simple, elegant, and impossible to resist.
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Milanese and Chicken Parmesan?
Chicken parmesan is made with fried cutlets that are topped with red sauce and cheese, while these Milanese cutlets are served with a simple squeeze of lemon and a little basil oil, if you like. However, keep in mind that Chicken Milanese makes a great base for chicken parmesan, so feel free to double this recipe and save half for making homemade chicken parmesan another time.
To make this dish, you’ll need a few pantry basics like olive oil, spices, and flour. You’ll also need fresh chicken and some basil leaves. Here’s the rundown:
- Chicken: I use chicken cutlets, pounded to a ¼-inch thickness. You could also cut regular chicken breasts in half to make thin pieces, and pound those into “cutlets.”
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Oil: Olive Oil is my favorite for this recipe.
- Flour: Regular all-purpose flour.
- Eggs: Large, whole eggs, lightly beaten.
- Panko: These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are famously crunchy.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted, whichever you prefer.
- Lemon Wedges: For serving.
- Fresh Chopped Chives: For garnish.
Let’s Make Chicken Milanese!
Now that we’ve talked about the ingredients, let’s take a look at the pan-frying method. For the cooking part, it’s helpful to set up a “breading station” with all the needed ingredients placed in shallow bowls.
- Prep the Chicken and Basil Oil. To start, sprinkle salt and pepper all over the thin chicken cutlets, and then set them aside.
- IF using the basil oil, combine basil, garlic, some salt, and ¼ cup of the olive oil in a food processor. Puree the mixture until it’s nice and smooth, and then set it aside.
- Set Up Your Breading Station. Arrange the breading ingredients in shallow dishes: one for flour, one for the eggs, and one for the Panko. Stir the garlic and onion powders into the Panko.
- Bread and Shallow-Fry the Chicken. Set a large, sturdy skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and remaining olive oil to the skillet and let it heat up. Meanwhile, dredge the chicken in flour, then eggs, and then Panko, shaking off the excess gently each time. Place each breaded cutlet on a wax-paper-lined plate or a rimmed baking sheet. Once the oil is hot and the butter is melted, fry 2 to 3 cutlets at a time for about 3 minutes per side, until they are golden and crispy.
- Drain and Serve. As you go, place the cooked chicken pieces on a clean paper towel-lined plate to drain. Once all the chicken is cooked, serve with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of the basil oil, and a garnish of chopped fresh parsley.
Tips for Success
What else should you know about making Chicken Milanese? These helpful tips will give you all the details. Read on, and happy cooking!
- Thin Chicken Is Key: Pounding the chicken thin is a crucial part of this dish. Thin chicken will stay moist and cook through quickly, while thicker pieces are easier to dry out.
- How to Pound Chicken Cutlets: You can use a meat mallet (the flat side, not the spiky side) to pound chicken, or a small heavy saucepan. A rolling pin is also good. To keep the mess minimized, put the chicken in a zip-top bag before pounding it.
- Hot Oil: The mixture of butter and olive oil has to be good and hot before you add the chicken, or it won’t sizzle and fry. Instead, it will absorb the oil and become soggy – not good. To test the heat, drop a small bit of egg or panko into the skillet. If it sizzles, the oil should be hot enough.
- Serve Immediately: For the best texture and flavor, serve Chicken Milanese right away, before the breading can soften.
Tasty Ideas for Serving
This versatile chicken is great with anything! You can serve it with or all of your favorite side dishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Risotto: No one can resist an ultra creamy risotto, right? And the flavors in this Lemon Parmesan Risotto are extra perfect with the bright lemon in the chicken dish.
- Salad: Any salad will work, from a basic House salad to this vibrant Tomato Burrata Salad, made with colorful ripe tomatoes and torn burrata cheese.
- Veggies: A simple sheet pan of roasted veggies is always on point. Try these Roasted Potatoes and Carrots – so healthy and tasty.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Chicken Milanese is best served fresh, but you can definitely save the leftovers for another meal. Just cool the cutlets down to room temperature, and then store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
- They’ll keep for 3 days or so.
- To reheat, I recommend baking or air-frying the chicken to get it crispy again. About 10 minutes at 400°F will work for most ovens, while air fryers take slightly less time.
Can I Freeze This?
- Yes, Chicken Milanese can be frozen successfully. I recommend placing the cooked and cooled chicken on a clean plate or tray, and place in the freezer until they’re frozen solid. Then, place the chicken in airtight containers or freezer bags, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Season chicken cutlets with salt and pepper; set aside.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl or plate.
Lightly beat the eggs into another shallow dish.
Combine panko crumbs, garlic powder, and onion powder in a third dish.
In a large skillet set over medium heat, combine the olive oil and butter.
Dip a chicken cutlet in the flour, shake off excess, then dip in eggs.
Shake off excess, then dip the chicken cutlet, on both sides, in panko mixture.
Transfer to a wax-lined plate or a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
When oil is hot and butter is melted, fry 2 to 3 cutlets at a time for about 3 minutes, or until golden on the bottom.
Flip and fry for 3 more minutes or until golden, crispy, and cooked through. The thicker the cutlets, the longer they will need to cook through.
Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets.
Serve the chicken cutlets topped with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of the basil oil, and chopped fresh chives.
- Chicken Cutlets: A chicken cutlet is a chicken breast cut in half, horizontally, to make two thinner chicken pieces. You can either buy the chicken cutlets, or cut three chicken breasts in half to make 6 chicken cutlets.
- Basil Oil: This is totally optional, but it does taste great drizzled over chicken, fish, tomatoes, pastas, etc…
TO MAKE THE BASIL OIL:
- In a small food processor, combine ¼ cup oil, 1/4 cup basil leaves, 1 clove garlic, and salt to taste; purée until smooth. Drizzle over chicken before serving.
Calories: 526 kcal | Carbohydrates: 32 g | Protein: 44 g | Fat: 24 g | Saturated Fat: 7 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g | Trans Fat: 0.3 g | Cholesterol: 206 mg | Sodium: 387 mg | Potassium: 757 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 345 IU | Vitamin C: 2 mg | Calcium: 62 mg | Iron: 3 mg | Net Carbs: 30 g
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.