Chicken Milanese

4.91 from 10 votes
↓ Jump to Recipe 4

This post may contain affiliate links | disclosure policy

This delicious Chicken Milanese recipe is a quick and easy weeknight dinner ready to serve in 30 minutes. Perfectly seasoned and cooked, it’s sure to become a family favorite, with everyone asking for seconds!

My husband is half Italian, so our chicken dinners rotate between chicken parmesan, chicken cacciatore, chicken piccata, and chicken marsala.

Crispy chicken Milanese on a white plate cut into slices and served with a side salad.

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 and coating the meat 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 crucial to texture development. Serve with your favorite side dishes like pasta, a fresh Caesar salad, and garlic bread for a complete Italian feast.

“My adult daughter and I made this for dinner tonight and served it with your pan roasted asparagus (it’s now a family favorite). The lemon juice squeezed fresh really makes the flavors pop! Overall it was an amazing meal.”—Valerie C.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients portioned out to make a chicken Milanese.
  • Chicken: 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, 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.
  • Seasoning: The meat is seasoned with salt and pepper before coating. It’s added to the flour for a savory taste throughout the layers.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour as the first coating to dry the surface of the chicken, making it easier for the egg to adhere.
  • Breadcrumbs: I prefer Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs, which are very light and flakey. I find that the crust is crunchier due to its irregular shape.
  • Cheese: Aged parmesan adds a salty flavor to the crust, but it also melts nicely and helps bind it together.
  • Oil: Use a high smoke point oil like vegetable, avocado, or light olive oil for cooking. Some olive oil is mixed with the eggs to help with a crispier breaded chicken.
  • Garnish: I like to add fresh herbs like chopped parsley to the chicken right before serving.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Make chicken cutlets

Person slicing a chicken breast in half to make two smaller cutlets.

Step 1: The first step is to slice the chicken breasts crosswise in half to yield two about ½-inch thick cutlets on the widest end. The breast is thicker on one end and then tapers down, so cutting the pieces helps with even cooking.

Flatten the pieces

Person smashing a chicken breast with a meat tenderizer inside a plastic bag to flatten.

Step 2: To ensure consistent cooking, pound the chicken to an even thickness by flattening the cutlets with a meat mallet. You can place them inside a large plastic bag or between pieces of plastic wrap for less mess.

Pounding the meat to ¼-inch thick tenderizes the proteins and prevents them from shrinking too tightly when cooked. Before any coatings go on, season the surface of the meat with salt and black pepper for layers of flavor.

Coat the chicken

Step 3: The standard breading procedure is the key to achieving a super crispy golden brown crust on the fried chicken. I use wide shallow bowls to create three separate breading stations:

Chicken cutlet dipped in a bowl of flour.
Step 3.1

Flour Layer: Flour seasoned with salt and pepper is the primer that helps the egg mixture stick to the meat. Shake off excess flour!

Chicken cutlet dipped in a bowl of egg mixture so the coating will stick.
Step 3.2

Egg Layer: Egg mixed with olive oil. The fat helps the coating become crispier underneath. 

Egg wash soaked chicken cutlet dipped into a bowl of bread crumbs.
Step 3.3

Bread Layer: Panko bread crumbs mixed with parmesan cheese, dried Italian seasonings, and lemon zest. Press this layer into the meat so that every space has crispy bread.

Fry the chicken

Breaded chicken cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Step 4: Cook the first side in the large skillet over medium-high heat to kickstart the browning of the pale panko bread crumbs, then give it a flip. Reduce the heat to medium to thoroughly cook without burning the crust.

The process takes about 2 to 4 minutes per side. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC). Transfer to a plate with paper towels for 15 seconds to soak the excess hot grease.

Several chicken Milanese cooling on a wire rack.

Pro Tip: To prevent soggy pieces after frying, place a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet so the bottom stays dry while you fry the next batch. You can also keep them in an oven set at 200ºF (93ºC) to stay warm before serving.

Slice and garnish

Step 5: 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.

Flavor variations

Once you’ve learned how to make this chicken Milanese recipe, there are different ways to switch up the flavor. Try these tasty suggestions:

  • Breadcrumbs: Other types of bread crumbs, like 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.
  • Mustard: Add Dijon mustard or honey mustard to coat the chicken for a tangy flavor.
  • Herb: Add freshly chopped oregano, thyme, rosemary, or basil to the breadcrumbs for an herbaceous taste.
  • Spicy: Add chili powder or crushed red pepper flakes to the flour or bread crumbs for a kick of heat.
  • Pesto: Coat the cutlets with pesto sauce, then add the breadcrumb layers.

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

What does Milanese style mean?

It adds 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 evenly.

What sauces can you serve with the Milanese chicken recipe?

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

Baking in the oven is a lower-in-fat cooking alternative. The trick is to use a high temperature of 450ºF (232ºC) and elevate the chicken on a greased wire rack for a crispy texture. The stand allows the hot air to circulate above and below. The baking process takes about 15 to 20 minutes. I’ve noticed with panko that the crumbs will be lighter in color than pan frying, but the texture is still crunchy.

Chicken Milanese

Delicious crispy chicken Milanese ready to serve in just 30-minutes! A quick and easy weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy.
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
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 

  • Make Chicken Cutlets – Thoroughly dry the chicken with a paper towel. Cut each piece horizontally lengthwise to make two thinner cutlets, four total.
  • Flatten the Pieces – Place one of the pieces between two plastic sheets or inside a large plastic bag and flatten to an even ¼-inch thickness using a meat tenderizer. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Bread the Chicken – 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.
    Dip the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess coating. Next, dip in the 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 shimmering, 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 the internal temperature is 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC) on a meat thermometer, about 2 to 4 minutes.
    Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate for 15 seconds to drain excess oil. Place on a wire rack set on top of a sheet pan. Discard the oil in the pan and wipe it clean. Add ⅓ cup of fresh vegetable oil, and repeat the cooking procedure with the two remaining pieces.
  • To Serve – Serve garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

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.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 355kcal (18%)Carbohydrates 21g (7%)Protein 44g (88%)Fat 10g (15%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0.03gCholesterol 205mg (68%)Sodium 716mg (30%)Potassium 725mg (21%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 225IU (5%)Vitamin C 3mg (4%)Calcium 96mg (10%)Iron 3mg (17%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!

Tag @jessica_gavin

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.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
Get 25 simple meals your whole family will love.
Jessica Gavin standing in the kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




4 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Valerie C. says

    My adult daughter and I made this for dinner tonight and served it with your Pan Roasted Asparagus (it’s now a family favorite and made at least twice a month!) and it was very good. We opted to bake it instead of frying. The lemon juice squeezed fresh over top really makes the flavors pop! I think next time I may leave out the Italian seasoning as the oregano in it seemed a bit overpowering to me but it could just be the brand we have on hand. Overall it was an amazing meal. Thanks again Jessica!

  2. Judy says

    I wanted to mention I like the Italian herb but if I have a recipe that calls for oregano, which I am not crazy about, I replace it with thyme. I thought about sharing this after reading Valerie’s comment above about oregano. In general, would that work on most recipes that call for oregano or can you think of an exceptions I should be aware of Jessica? Thanks, Judy

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I think thyme is a good replacement for oregano if you want a more mild flavor. Basil is also a good swap.