Chicken Milanese

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This delicious chicken Milanese is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Each piece of meat is coated with a flavorful bread crumb mixture, then pan-fried until golden brown and crispy. Ready to serve in just 30-minutes!

Crispy chicken Milanese on a white plate cut into slices and served with a side salad.
Table of Contents
  1. Chicken selection
  2. Cut and flatten the chicken
  3. Bread crumb selection
  4. Coating the chicken
  5. Fry the chicken
  6. Slice and garnish
  7. Serve this with
  8. FAQ
  9. Chicken Milanese Recipe

Chicken Milanese is a fancy way to describe tender pieces of chicken, breaded and fried until crispy. It sounds simple and delicious because it is! I’ll show you the step-by-step techniques for preparing the meat and coating it for a crunchy crust. Adding the extra bread crumb layer makes boring poultry pieces an exciting meal.

The breast is cut down into thin cutlets to ensure quick and even cooking. I use the standard breading procedure to ensure the crust sticks on. Frying the meat in a high smoke point and neutral-tasting fat is key to texture development. Serve with pasta, a fresh caesar salad, and garlic bread for a complete Italian feast.

Ingredients portioned out to make a chicken Milanese.

Chicken selection

Use boneless skinless chicken breast for quick cooking and lean protein. This cut flattens out easier than thighs. Choose two larger breasts, about 12 ounces in size, and slice them into thinner cutlets. Alternatively, you can use four smaller 6 to 8-ounce breasts. You will only need to flatten these down with a meat mallet.

Recipe Resources

Cut and flatten the chicken

For consistent cooking, it’s important to pound the chicken to an even thickness. The breast is very thick on one end, then tapers down. The first step is to slice the pieces crosswise in half to give two cutlets. This yields about ½-inch thick pieces on the widest end. 

Now flatten the cutlets with a meat mallet. I like to place them inside a large plastic bag or between pieces of plastic wrap for less mess. Pound the meat to ¼-inch thick, and they will be much broader. This action tenderizes the proteins and prevents them from shrinking too tightly when cooked.

I prefer to use Japanese-style bread crumbs, which are very light and flakey. I find that the crust is crunchier due to its irregular shape. I use them for my chicken parmesan to make the crust super crispy. However, other types of breadcrumbs can be used. 

Traditional plain bread crumbs are finer, giving them a more compact crust. Making homemade breadcrumbs is a fantastic option if you can’t find panko.

Coating the chicken

The key to achieving a super crispy golden brown crust on the fried chicken is to use the standard breading procedure. However, before any coatings go on, season the surface of the meat with salt and pepper for layers of flavor. 

  • Flour Layer: Flour seasoned with salt and pepper. This is the primer that helps the egg mixture stick to the meat. Shake off excess flour!
  • Egg Layer: Egg mixed with olive oil. The fat helps the coating become crispier underneath. 
  • Bread Layer: Panko bread crumbs mixed with parmesan cheese, dried Italian seasonings, and lemon zest. Press this layer in good to the meat so that every space has the crispy bread. 

Fry the chicken

Use the shallow pan-frying method to cook the coated pieces of chicken. I find that a large 12-inch nonstick pan or cast iron skillet is the easiest way to fry them up. Use a high smoke point oil like vegetable, avocado, or light olive oil for cooking. You want enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan and submerge the surface of the chicken. 

Cook the first side over medium-high heat to kickstart the browning of the pale panko bread crumbs. After about 2 to 3 minutes, give it a flip. Reduce the heat to medium so the meat can thoroughly cook without burning the crust. I like to transfer them to a paper towel for 15-seconds to soak up the excess hot grease.

Place a wire rack set on top of a sheet pan so the bottom doesn’t get soggy as you fry the next batch. You can also keep them in an oven set at 200ºF (93ºC) to stay warm before serving.

Breaded chicken cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Slice and garnish

Slice the crispy pieces or serve whole for a stunning presentation. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, chives, basil, or oregano. Serve with lemon wedges. The lemon juice adds bright acidity and enhances the flavor.

Serve this with

Several chicken Milanese cooling on a wire rack.

FAQ

What does Milanese style mean?

It’s a simple method for adding a crispy crust to various proteins like veal, chicken, lamb, or pork. Milanese or milanesa is an Italian-style cooking technique from the city of Milan in Lombardy. Thin pieces of meat are coated with sticky eggs and dried bread crumbs, then fried in oil or butter until golden and crisp. I add parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and Italian seasonings to boost the taste.

What is the difference between chicken cutlets and chicken breasts?

Chicken breasts are the whole breast section, thick and taper at one end. Chicken cutlets are thinner slices of the breast cut in half horizontally to yield two pieces. The cutlets are used for pan frying because they cook faster and more even.

What sauces can you serve with the chicken Milanese?

Keep it simple with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh herbs like basil, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and sage for garnish. For a richer texture, try a lemon caper sauce. Try a fresh marinara sauce, herbaceous pesto, or creamy alfredo.

A serving of chicken Milanese on a plate with lemon wedges and a garden salad.

Baking instead of pan frying

The coated pieces of flattened chicken can be baked in the oven for a lower-in-fat cooking alternative. The trick is to use a high temperature of 450ºF (232ºC). Elevate the chicken on a greased baking rack in a sheet pan lined with foil for a super crispy texture. The stand allows the hot air to circulate above and below. The process takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook the meat thoroughly. I’ve noticed with panko that the crumbs are lighter in color than pan frying, but the texture is crunchy.

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Chicken Milanese

Delicious crispy chicken Milanese ready to serve in just 30-minutes! A quick and easy weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy.
Pin Print Review
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, 2 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more for seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, more for seasoning
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, optional
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
  • cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions 

  • Flatten the Chicken – Thoroughly dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel. Cut each piece horizontally lengthwise to make two thinner cutlets, four total. Place one of the pieces between two plastic sheets or a large plastic bag and flatten to an even ¼-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining pieces. Generously season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
  • Set up the Breading Station – In one shallow bowl, mix the flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. In a second shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and olive oil. In a third shallow bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and lemon zest.
  • Bread the Chicken – Dip the chicken in flour, shaking off any excess coating. Next, dip in egg mixture, coat completely, and drain any excess. Lastly, dip in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat evenly. Repeat the process with the remaining pieces.
  • Pan-fry the Chicken – Heat ⅓ cup of vegetable oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully place two chicken pieces in the pan. Fry until the first side is golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and flip the chicken. Cook until an internal temperature of 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 2 to 4 minutes.
    Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to briefly drain the excess oil for 15-seconds. Place on a wire cooling rack set on top of a sheet pan. Discard the extra oil and wipe the pan clean. Add ⅓ cup of fresh vegetable oil, and repeat the same cooking procedure with the two remaining pieces.
  • To Serve – Serve garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.

Notes

  • Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat individual pieces in the microwave on high power in 15 to 30-second intervals until hot. Alternatively, place on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake at 375ºF (191ºC) until hot and crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Using Smaller Pieces: Four chicken breasts, about 6 to 8 ounces, can be used. Flatten until ¼-inch thick.
  • Bread crumbs: Traditional fine Italian breadcrumbs can be used but won’t be as crunchy.
  • Make Ahead: The chicken can be breaded, covered, and refrigerated for 1 day before cooking.
  • Baking: Bake chicken in the middle of the oven at 450ºF (232ºC) on top of a wire rack set on a foil-lined sheet pan until the internal temperature reaches between 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs.

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Nutrition Facts
Chicken Milanese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 355 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Trans Fat 0.03g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 205mg68%
Sodium 716mg30%
Potassium 725mg21%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 44g88%
Vitamin A 225IU5%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 96mg10%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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