There is something very special about Nonna’s Chicken Cutlets! They are crispy and tender and oh so flavorful! The breading is perfectly seasoned with a combination of blended pecorino romano and parmesan cheeses and a little bit of mint. This chicken easily pairs with so many sides, like Italian Scalloped Potatoes , Italian Green Bean Salad with Potatoes, Grilled Eggplant or Easy Cucumber and Tomato Salad.
Nonna has been making these juicy Italian style tenders for years and they have always been a family favorite. Rarely do they all make it to the table. When we were kids, we would just grab one as my mother took them off the stove and run out of the room. Actually….we still do that!
This is a versatile recipe
The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile. The cutlets really don’t need any accompaniment. They are great on their own or in a Buffalo style sandwich, with a little hot sauce and blue cheese dressing. Or you can top them with your favorite tomato sauce and some mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, for the tastiest chicken parm you will ever eat! These lovely cutlets are just as delicious reheated as they are fresh off out of the skillet.
The secret ingredient
Chicken breast Cutlets: if you can’t find cutlets in your grocery store I have put instructions on how to make your own. See the “Cooking Tips” section below.
Flour for dredging.
Bread crumbs: I like Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
Pecorino Romano and Parmesan Cheese: We are able to get the Italian blend in our local grocery store. If you can’t you can use just the Pecorino Romano or the Parmesan cheese or make your own by mixing equal amount of both cheeses.
Mint: Fresh or dried. The mint gives the chicken a subtle but fresh flavor. You will find that this mixture of cheese and mint is often used together in Mediterranean recipes. It is a lovely flavor combination that also works well in scrambled eggs or frittatas. Try it, I promise you will love it!
How to Make Chicken Cutlets
- Prepare the dredging station with 3 shallow bowls. One for flour, one for beaten egg and one for the bread crumb and cheese mixture.
- Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides.
- Coat the Chicken: Working with one chicken breast at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, coating both sides and shaking off the excess. Dip the floured chicken in the beaten egg and then dredge it in the bread crumb mixture. Make sure that the chicken is completely coated.
- Cook the chicken Heat olive or vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and glistening, add several pieces of chicken to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
- Dry the chicken off so that you don’t have excess mixture and the coating will stick.
- Make cutlets from chicken breast halves: Lay the chicken breast on a cutting board smooth side up. Lay your non cutting hand flat on the breast. Start at the thickest part of the breast. Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken breast in half horizontally.
- Tenderize the chicken by pounding it about 1/4″ thickness. The easiest way to do this is by placing one chicken cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound the chicken with the flat side of a kitchen mallet or rolling pin.
- Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after you have coated it. This allows the coating to come together so that you don’t loose half of it in the pan when you are cooking it.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan by trying to fry too many pieces of chicken at once. Overcrowding will cause the chicken to steam rather then fry and you won’t get a nice crispy coating.
Make ahead – Freeze them
This is a perfect make ahead recipe. You can freeze the cutlets either before you cook them or after they are cooked. We often freeze them before cooking them so we have an easy no fuss dinner.
To do this, bread the chicken cutlets and allow them to rest for a few minutes to let the breading adhere to the chicken. Then layer the chicken between pieces of plastic wrap and place them in a plastic freezer bag and put them in the freezer.
When you want to cook them simply take the number you want out of the freezer and allow them to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. When they are completely defrosted then you can follow the steps for frying them and you will have freshly made crispy cutlets without the mess.
The here are some tips that will help the breading stick to your chicken:
1. Put the chicken in the refrigerator for a few minutes after you dredge it. This will help the breading dry a little and adhere to the chicken.
2. Make sure the oil in your pan comes half way up the chicken breast so that the chicken cooks evenly.
3.Maintain the cooking oil at an even medium high temperature so that the coating solidifies and does not stick to your pan.
Always dredge the chicken in flour first and then the egg, and breadcrumbs last. The flour will help the egg stick to the chicken.
Looking for other chicken recipes?
What to serve this this recipe
Nonna’s Italian Breaded Chicken Cutlets
- 6 pcs Chicken breast cutlets
- 1 egg large, beaten
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 3 tbsp. Bread crumbs Italian seasoned
- 1 tsp. Mint fresh, minced
- 3 tbsp. Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tsp. salt Kosher
- ¼ tsp. Black pepper ground
- 3 tbsp. Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper the chicken on both sides
- Prepare your dredging station with 3 shallow bowls or plates. Fill one with the beaten egg, one with the flour and one with the bread crumbs, grated cheese and mint. Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese and mint so that they are evenly combined.
- Dredge a chicken cutlet in the flour on both sides, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Set aside. Follow the same process with the remaining cutlets.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet.
- When the oil is glistening, add the chicken cutlets a few at time, but try not to overcrowd the skillet.
- Cook for 4 minutes per side or until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through. Remove to a dish.
- Repeat with the rest of the cutlets.
- Can be served immediately or at room temperature.