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Crunchy Panko-Breaded Chicken Cutlets

5 from 3 votes

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There’s nothing better than biting into hot and crispy breaded chicken cutlets! Classic Italian-style chicken cutlets are thin-sliced chicken breasts, lightly breaded with crisp coating of panko breadcrumbs, herbs and Parmesan. They cook in minutes and make a healthful meal everyone loves.

Breaded chicken cutlets on a platter, with herb sprigs, shaved Parmesan and lemon wedges.
Serve crisp, breaded chicken cutlets with arugula, Parmesan cheese and fresh lemon.

Yummmm: Golden crusted chicken, coated in crunchy panko crumbs, is such a tasty contrast of hot, crispy chicken with tender white meat.

I grew up eating classic Italian chicken recipes that we ate at home or at neighborhood Italian restaurants. I loved a hearty plate of breaded chicken mozzarella, coated in savory tomato sauce and topped with melty cheese, or a simple chicken Milanese in a butter sauce.

The issue with those old-school recipes for chicken cutlets is the chicken is usually coated in white flour and fine breadcrumbs — and then deep-fried. The result is often gummy and hard to digest. That’s not the kind of food that fits into a healthy menu plan.

My recipe is a very lightened-up version —the chicken turns out with a clean, crisp texture cooked in extra-virgin olive oil. It tastes bright and fresh topped with a squeeze of lemon, shaved Parmesan cheese and arugula greens on top.

Raw chicken breasts on a plate surrounded by eggs, panko crumbs, chopped parsley and grated cheese.

About the ingredients

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: To cut down on prep time, buy prepared chicken cutlets at the grocery store, or butterfly chicken breasts yourself (see directions below).
  • Panko bread crumbs: This type of breadcrumb is lighter and flakier compared to regular dried breadcrumbs. They’re great as a coating for chicken because they absorb less oil and stay crisp longer after cooking. Gluten-free panko is also available in most grocery stores.
  • Parmesan cheese: Use grated cheese in the crumb mixture, and shavings from a hunk of Parmesan to make a pretty garnish for the finished platter of chicken (or just use more grated Parmesan).
  • Parsley: Always use fresh chopped parsley for the best color and flavor.
  • Granulated garlic or garlic powder: This seasoning adds an essential hint of garlic flavor. I like to use it in the crumb coating because fresh garlic tends to burn (which doesn’t taste good!). Use an Italian seasoning blend instead, if you like — it usually contains granulated garlic along with herbs.
  • Eggs: Dipping the chicken breasts in an egg wash is essential for helping the crumbs adhere. I season the eggs with salt and cayenne for an extra flavor boost.
  • Olive oil: Everyday extra virgin olive oil is my choice. It’s safe for medium-heat frying and tastes delicious.
  • Lemon: A squeeze of lemon is a perfect acidic counterpoint to the hot crusty chicken.

Slicing chicken cutlets

  • To avoid pounding the chicken — which means an extra step of messing around with a meat mallet — I prefer to simply cut four thin-sliced chicken cutlets from two breast halves.
  • You can find prepared chicken cutlets at some full-service supermarkets, but it really depends on where you shop. Ask the meat counter to butterfly boneless chicken breasts for you, or slice them yourself, following these directions using boneless skinless chicken breasts:

Cooking chicken cutlets, step by step

To streamline the process for cooking breaded chicken cutlets, this recipe starts with thin-cut chicken breasts that are quickly pan-fried. They finish cooking to perfection in about 10 minutes in the oven.

The method for breading and cooking the cutlets is simple. But it does involve setting up a prep area on your counter. Use two shallow dishes for dipping and dredging the chicken (I use basic pie plates).

Tips and ideas for serving

  • Keep the chicken cutlets warm in a low oven (175-200 degrees) up to an hour before serving.
  • Cook the breaded chicken in an air fryer following the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Use chicken tenders instead of cutlets (cook time and method is the same).
  • Serve breaded chicken cutlets with homemade marinara sauce alongside pasta.
  • Add to sandwiches, with lemon aioli, lettuce and tomato.
Browned chicken cutlets on a platter, with herb sprigs, shaved Parmesan and lemon wedges.

Panko-Breaded Chicken Cutlets

Karen Tedesco
There's nothing better than biting into hot and crispy breaded chicken cutlets! Classic Italian-style chicken cutlets are thin-sliced chicken breasts, lightly breaded with crisp coating of panko breadcrumbs, herbs and Parmesan. They cook in minutes and make a healthful meal everyone loves.
Print Pin
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Chicken
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • cups (90 g) panko crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or ground black pepper
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1½ pounds total, sliced into cutlets
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

To serve

  • Hunk of Parmesan cheese, for shaving
  • Handful of arugula or baby greens
  • ½ lemon sliced into wedges

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put two shallow bowls or pie plates on your work surface. Put the panko, parsley, and Parmesan in one plate and stir to combine. Crack the eggs into the other plate, then add the garlic powder, salt and cayenne and whisk until blended.
  • Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, turning to coat on both sides. Tip: To keep your hands clean, use a pair of tongs or a fork to handle the chicken.
  • Transfer the chicken to the panko mixture, turning it over to coat both sides with the crumbs. Nudge and press additional crumbs onto any bare spots. At this point, cook the chicken immediately, or arrange in one layer on a sheet pan, cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours ahead.
  • Heat a large (preferably 12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles and immediately evaporates. Add a generous layer of olive oil (start with 2-3 tablespoons). Add the chicken breasts and cook until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Gently turn the chicken over with a spatula and cook another 2 minutes. Note: If your pan isn't large enough to hold all the chicken without crowding, fry in two batches, two breasts at a time, adding more olive oil as needed.
  • Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and bake 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Place the hot chicken on a platter. Top with the greens and shave some Parmesan over with a vegetable peeler (or just use more grated cheese). Squeeze the lemon wedges over the chicken and serve.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • Keep the chicken cutlets warm in a low oven (175-200 degrees) up to an hour before serving.
  • Cook the breaded chicken in an air fryer following the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Use chicken tenders instead of cutlets (cook time and method is the same).
  • Serve breaded chicken cutlets with homemade marinara sauce alongside pasta.
  • Add to sandwiches, with lemon aioli, lettuce and tomato.

Nutrition

Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 564mg | Potassium: 262mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 378IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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