Loved by kids and grown-ups, Italian chicken cutlets are crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, and ready in under 30 minutes!
Fried or baked, Italian chicken cutlets (cotolette di pollo) are one of the most loved dishes of Italian cuisine, especially by children.
Served with delicious mashed potatoes (or french fries for a treat) and a salad, they make a fantastic weeknight meal.
This classic Italian recipe is very quick to prepare and requires a few basic pantry ingredients.
It's a quick dish to prepare and relatively inexpensive.
Also, if you don't have chicken, remember you can use veal or beef to make these cutlets, the process is still the same.
Just 8 Ingredients
You won't believe how easy this recipe actually is!
I promise, once you try it, you'll be making these Italian chicken cutlets over and over again.
This easy chicken cutlet recipe uses the most simple ingredients, in typical Italian fashion.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- chicken breast
- plain flour
- Parmesan cheese
- homemade or panko breadcrumbs
- extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper
Remember that whole chicken breast is usually cheaper than already-prepared thin-sliced chicken breast.
If you're starting from whole chicken breast, all you need to do is butterfly the chicken (take a look at this easy tutorial), then cut it in half lengthwise.
You should get roughly 1-inch thick slices. Super easy, and takes about 2 extra minutes to prepare.
As a big make-from-scratch fan, whenever I have time, I like to make my own breadcrumbs.
If you have stale bread sitting in the kitchen you can make your own Italian homemade breadcrumbs.
Basically, you crumble your own bread, then add the Parmesan cheese, parsley, and seasoning listed in this recipe.
But, if you're looking for a quicker alternative, that delivers the same crunchy and delicious results, I've got you covered.
You might find it unusual that an Italian is listing Japanese panko breadcrumbs as part of the ingredients of a classic Italian recipe. BUT, trust me on this!
If you have never used panko for breading, you have been missing out.
Panko breadcrumbs make ANYTHING super crunchy, it's sold pretty much in any big supermarket, and delivers consistent results. It's a fantastic and very convenient alternative to homemade breadcrumbs.
Fried or Baked
Homemade breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs will both give you perfectly crunchy Italian cotolette even if you decide to bake them in the oven.
However, if you want to fry them until crispy perfection, that's also fine. In this case, you can opt for either olive oil or clarified butter.
Frying with extra virgin or olive oil is absolutely OK and much better than using canola oil or vegetable oil in my opinion.
Keep the heat to a medium, so that the oil doesn't burn.
If you opt for frying with butter, opt for clarified butter, which has a higher smoking point and won't burn like regular butter.
Italian Breaded Chicken Step-by-step
This recipe for Italian chicken cutlets takes just 20 minutes to make!
Follow these simple steps and before you know it, you'll be sitting at the dinner table enjoying an awesome Italian meal.
Step 1. Flour the chicken
Season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper on both sides. Flour the chicken slices on both sides and shake well to remove the flour in excess.
Step 2. Dip each cutlet in wisked egg
Dip each chicken breast slice in a shallow plate with whisked eggs, making sure it's well coated on both sides.
Step 3. Coat in breadcrumbs
Dredge each chicken cutlet into the seasoned breadcrumbs, until fully coated. Repeat the process one more time if necessary.
Cooking tip: To make sure your breading sticks, don't skip the flour.
The flour + egg mixture creates an armor that makes the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken, and helps keep the meat moist.
Step 4. Let's cook it!
Heat a large pan with the olive oil, over medium heat. Place the cutlets into the pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
Turn them onto the other side, and cook for 5 more minutes until golden and brown on both sides.
Remove from the pan and serve with a nice wedge of lemon on the side.
Baked Chicken Cutlets
As I mentioned, you can definitely bake chicken cutlets and have the same amazing results you get by frying them.
Place the prepared cutlets onto a hot baking tray covered with parchment paper.
Brush them gently with olive oil, then bake them in a preheated oven to 180C/360F for 15 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking time.
How to store leftovers
- In the fridge: Transfer the chicken into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- In the freezer: Arrange the cooked chicken on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and store it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then transfer the cutlets into a ziplock bag or freezer-friendly container and store them in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Make it allergy-friendly and kid-friendly
This recipe is easy to adapt to make it allergy-friendly.
Use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs to make gluten-free breaded chicken.
Skip the Parmesan cheese to make it dairy-free.
To make it 100% kid-friendly, I usually skip the garlic.
What to serve it with
Make these breaded chicken cutlets for a quick weeknight meal, or serve on a busy weekend.
More Italian recipes to try:
- BEST Italian Homemade Pizza Dough
- Sicilian Pasta alla Norma
- Italian Fried Mozzarella Sandwich
- Authentic Italian Potato Frittata
- Burrata Pasta Salad with Basil Oil
Italian Chicken Cutlets (Cotolette di Pollo)
- 4 slices chicken breast, 1-inch thick
- 2 large eggs
- 85 g panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely minced
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
- 6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper on both sides. Flour the chicken slices on both sides and shake well to remove the flour in excess.
- Whisk the eggs in a shallow plate. In another shallow plate combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic, and set aside. Dip each chicken breast slice in the whisked eggs, making sure it's well coated on both sides.
- Dip each chicken slice into the seasoned breadcrumbs, making sure it's fully coated on both side. Repeat the process if necessary. Place the prepared cutlet onto a plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken slices.
- Heat a large pan with the olive oil, over medium heat. Place the cutlets into the pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes, then turn them onto the other side, turn the heat to low, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, until golden and brown on both sides.
- Remove the chicken cutlets from the pan and arrange them on a plate covered with kitchen paper, to absorb the oil in excess. Transfer them onto a serving plate, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.
- In the fridge: Transfer the chicken into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- In the freezer: Arrange the cooked chicken on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and store in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then transfer them into a ziplock bag or freezer-friendly container and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.