Chicken Milanese

Classic Italian Chicken Milanese is surprisingly EASY and FAST to make at home. Serve with a side salad for an easy weeknight meal. Make-ahead options.
Print
Photography Credit: Sheryl Julian

It’s hard to believe that five basic ingredients can produce such pleasing results.

Milanese — a crusty crumb coating on chicken cutlets — is one of the simplest Italian preparations and it wows guests every time.

The term Milanese, from Milan, originally applied to veal, which has fallen out of popularity and few markets in this country carry now. These days, the dish typically features boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness.

Besides tenderizing the chicken and helping it cook more quickly and evenly, pounding lessens the shrinkage. You know how when you put chicken into a hot skillet, it suddenly tightens up? When they’re pounded, that tends not to happen as much.

The chicken breasts should be about a half-inch thick before pounding. Most chicken breasts will be about twice this thick when you get them, but it’s easy to cut them into thinner pieces. Hold a sharp knife parallel to the cutting board and cut the breast into two thinner slices, like opening a book.

Once you have your half-inch thick pieces, place them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet or skillet to make them even thinner. You’re aiming for about 1/4-inch thick.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, set up an assembly line with bowls of flour, beaten egg, and Panko crumbs. Dip the chicken slices in each bowl, in order, then pan-fry in olive oil until golden and crispy.

Chicken MilaneseChicken Milanese is at its best when you serve it right away, while still crispy and hot from the pan. However, the dish reheats surprisingly well if you want to cook the cutlets ahead of time.

If making ahead, let the cooked chicken cool completely on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then store in the fridge. If you’re planning on reheating in a few hours, you can leave them on the baking sheet. Otherwise, layer them in an airtight container with parchment between the layers, and refrigerate for 1 to 3 days.

To reheat, let the chicken cutlets sit out for half an hour to lose their chill, then warm in a 400F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until piping hot and crispy.

Sprinkle the cutlets with lemon and serve with a green salad. In the end, you won’t have done much, but you’ll have a knock-out meal any day of the week.

Chicken Milanese Recipe

Print
  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Look for Panko crumbs in the Asian foods section of your grocery store, though they are also sometimes near the other packaged breadcrumbs. You can also order online.

Serve with a simple tossed salad, like this Kale Caesar Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large skinless boneless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds, 680 g)
  • 1 1/2 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups (144 g) Panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 tablespoons (120 ml) olive oil, or more if needed
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

Method

1 Prepare the chicken: Set aside any smaller breasts or cutlets that are 1/2-inch thick. Set larger breasts on a cutting board. Hold the top of the chicken steady with one hand and hold a sharp knife parallel to the table in the other hand, then butterfly the breast in half like opening a book (watch your fingers!). Cut all the way through to make two thin pieces.

Continue with the remaining large breasts. Pat them dry with paper towels. Set them on a rimmed baking sheet.

Chicken Milanese

2 Pound the chicken: Set one of the chicken breast slices between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or small heavy pan to pound the breast to flatten it – six or so good whacks should do it.  Continue with the remaining breasts, returning them to the baking sheet.

Chicken Milanese

2 Set up an assembly line for coating the chicken: In a pie pan or shallow bowl, place the flour, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper. Stir thoroughly. In another pie pan or shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a third pie pan or bowl, place the Panko.

Set the pan of chicken on the counter. Set the flour next to it on the right. Set the egg to the right, then the Panko as the last thing in the row.

Chicken Milanese

3 Coat the chicken: With tongs, dip one slice of chicken in flour, making sure both sides are coated and shaking the excess into the bowl. Next, coat the chicken in egg and lift it up so the excess falls back into the bowl. Finally, transfer to the Panko and coat both sides.

Return the chicken to the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining breasts until they are all coated.

Chicken Milanese

3 Cook the chicken in batches: Heat the oven to 250F with a baking sheet on a middle rack. Set a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.

Add enough of the olive to the pan to make a 1/4-inch layer (about 4 tablespoons). Heat until the oil shimmers and flows; when hot, a piece of Panko thrown in the oil should sizzle.

Add 3 pieces of chicken in a single layer and cook without moving for 4 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden. Turn and brown the other sides for another 4 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Milanese

4 Keep the chicken warm: Transfer the finished chicken to the oven so they stay warm while you cook the remaining breasts. Cook the remaining breasts, adding more oil to the pan as needed to keep it coated.

5 To serve: Serve right away with lemon and a green salad.

If making ahead, let the cooked chicken cool completely on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then store in the fridge. If you're planning on reheating in a few hours, you can leave them on the baking sheet. Otherwise, layer them in an airtight container with parchment between the layers, and refrigerate for 1 to 3 days.

To reheat, let the chicken cutlets sit out for half an hour to lose their chill, then warm in a 400F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until piping hot and crispy.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Chicken Milanese on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Print

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Sheryl Julian

Sheryl Julian is an award-winning writer, editor, and food stylist. She is the former food editor of The Boston Globe, co-author of The Way We Cook, and editor of The New Boston Globe Cookbook. Her food sections won Best Newspaper Food Coverage from the Association of Food Journalists in 2015.

More from Sheryl

Showing 4 of 11 Comments

  • Debra

    Loved the crispy texture that you get with the panko breading. Next time I’ll season the chicken with S&P before dipping in the flour. Also, I had a lot of the flour mixture left over. I think you could decrease to one cup and still have some to spare.

  • Malika A. Black

    I already make this with veal. So I’m sure it’s great with chicken too!

    I usually add some spices and herbs to the flour. Sometimes grated Parmesan too. It gives it even more taste!

    Very easy to make and delicious.Great with any salad! Thanks Sheryl

  • Ron

    I’ve done this same exact thing many times before. It’s delicious. We just call it chicken katsu. The only addition would be a tonkatsu sauce for dipping then you’d have chicken katsu. I’ve also had it done with pork sliced thin and with pounded boneless pork chops.

  • Susan Walter

    I’ve had pork done this way in Milan itself, so yes, I’m sure you can do it :-) These days in Milan it’s almost always turkey escalopes that are served this way.

  • Beth

    I am excited to try this recipe because I think it will work well for both adults and kids. I really like this site because of all the extra tips and advice (like how it works to prepare things ahead of time/reheat them), as well as the clear and concise technique explanations. This is really helpful! Thank you!

View More Comments / Leave a Comment