Learn how to make thin and crispy German schnitzel – veal, pork or chicken. Tips on preparing an entire platter for family gatherings or Oktoberfest parties.
Go directly to the Recipe Card
Go directly to the list of Types of Schnitzel or
Read on for useful, relevant information and step-by-step pictures and tips (about 3 mins)
What is Schnitzel?
A schnitzel is a boneless, thinly sliced piece of meat, tenderized and pounded even thinner with a meat mallet, seasoned and pan-fried in cooking oil and/or butter.
The dish is easily one of the most recognizable German specialties. Schnitzels are delicious, go formidably well with beer (which is why they are on most beer garden menus in Germany) and are both easy and cost effective to prepare.
Translated from German the word schnitzel means ‘cut off, torn-off little piece of something‘.
It does not have to be breaded, but must be pounded thin. If your meat is more than a third of an inch thick before you cook it, you will not be making a pork schnitzel, you will be making a boneless pork chop.
Most people assume that a schnitzel must be breaded and cooked until golden and crispy. While this is definitely correct and applies to the most popular schnitzels enjoyed world-wide, the focus (as the name suggests) is on the thin meat rather than the breaded meat.
What Ingredients You Need to Make One
- boneless cutlets of pork, chicken breast or veal slices
- a standard breading procedure set up – a shallow bowl with flour, another one with egg mixture (beaten eggs and water) and a third one with breadcrumbs. If you’d like extra crispy schnitzels you can consider mixing Panko breadcrumbs with the regular bread crumbs or use Panko only.
- a meat mallet to make the meat cutlets tender
- plastic wrap and a non-slip cutting board (or you can place a towel underneath your cutting board instead)
How to Make Schnitzel
- Place the cuts of meat between sheets of plastic wrap and pound them with the meat mallet, then flip them over and tenderize the other side. Season with salt and pepper and then proceed through the steps of the breading procedure.
- First dredge in all purpose flour, shake off all the excess and dip in the beaten eggs. Finally dip each side of the cutlets (schnitzels) in bread crumbs making sure they are uniformly coated.
- You are then ready to pan-fry. Be sure to heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat to 350 F and for best results fry two schnitzels at a time. The cooking time is about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how large your pounded cutlets are. When they turn golden brown and crispy remove from the fry pan and place onto a paper towels lined plate.
NOTE: If you want to make sure the meat is cooked you can use a food thermometer to measure the temperature in the center of the cutlet – you are looking for 165 F for chicken and 155 F for pork.
Types of Schnitzel
- Wiener Schnitzel – the most famous schnitzel is known as Wiener schnitzel (Viennese schnitzel) and is made from veal cutlets (also known as scallopini). It is also the most expensive. It is traditionally breaded and baked. In Austria they take great pride in pounding the veal schnitzels so thin that they spread out quite large and pretty much take up the entirety of an entree plate.
- Pork Schnitzel – possibly the most frequently eaten schnitzel, made with pork cutlets which are significantly cheaper than veal. In Germany it is the schnitzel of choice. It is traditionally breaded and pan-fried.
- Chicken Schnitzel – chicken cutlets, pounded thin, breaded and pan-fried.
- Schnitzel Cordon Bleu – this is a pork schnitzel, stuffed with ham and cheese then breaded and pan-fried.
- Holstein Schnitzel – this variation is a breaded veal schnitzel served with fried egg, smoked salmon, sardines, anchovy fillets and capers.
- Piccata – has Italian origins, typically veal or chicken cutlets dredged in flour and pan-fried with added chicken stock, lemon juice and capers.
- Jägerschnitzel – originally made with venison or wild boar cutlets or duck breasts and translates to “hunter’s cutlets” from German. It is always served with a thick mushroom gravy. Does not have to breaded, just dredged in flour.
- Vegetarian – a thinly sliced eggplant or other suitable vegetable such as squash. Breaded and pan-fried in the manner of a pork schnitzel. Just like the eggplant schnitzel below I dished up recently. I love to drizzle it with a vinaigrette of finely chopped parsley, minced fresh garlic, salt and pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil (all to taste, I go heavy on the vinegar because it beautifully cuts through the crispy fried coating and soft inner flesh of the eggplant).
The breaded cutlets are best when served as soon as prepared. Let sit on a paper towel to drain for a minute and then serve immediately.
This is great advice if you are cooking two to four cutlets, but not as much if you are making a dozen or more at the same time like I did for this platter. When cooking multiples they can get cold and soggy pretty quickly. What to do in such a situation?
To keep cooked schnitzels crispy and warm turn your oven to about 150 F and place inside a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pan-fry them, drain them on paper towels lined plate for up to a minute and then transfer them to the oven.
Continue to make the rest and repeat the same steps until you are done. Then transfer them all onto a pre-garnished platter with lemon wedges and serve with your choice of sides.
Sauces that go well with Schnitzel
- Typically a schnitzel is flavored with just a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of finely chopped fresh parsley; German potato salad, krautsalat or fries go great with it
- Butter and lemon juice based pan sauces are appropriate, whether simply flavored with salt and pepper of with capers or anchovies added
- Mushroom gravy such as the one used for Jägerschnitzel or cream sauces are delicious add-ons for this schnitzel recipe
- Gravies such as this Beer Onion Gravy work well too
The crispy cuts of meat pair famously with a variety of German beer styles. Our favorite are crisp and clean Bavarian lagers such as Munich Helles, Pils, Maibock and Märzen style lagers.
Easy Schnitzel (Pork, Veal, Chicken or Vegeterian)
A schnitzel is a boneless meat cutlet pounded extra thin with a meat mallet. It is then breaded and pan-fried until golden and crispy. This recipe works well for veal (aka Viennese or Wiener schnitzel), pork or chicken.
- 8 5 oz cutlets (pork, veal or chicken breast)
- 1 tsp each of salt & pepper
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- cooking oil for frying, as needed, start with 1/2 cup
- Place two cutlets (i.e. schnitzels) at a time onto a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet to tenderize and thin out. Flip on the other side, cover again and repeat.
- Season the tenderized schnitzels with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Set up a standard breading procedure of three bowls - one filled with flour, one with the eggs (beaten) and one with bread crumbs.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan to 350 F.
- Dredge each schnitzel in flour, shake off excess, dip in the beaten eggs, then in the bread crumbs. Make sure each cutlet is nicely covered with bread crumbs.
- Gently ease each schnitzel into the pan (do not overcrowd, two at a time is good) and fry for about 2-3 minutes (depending on how big). Turn over to fry the opposite side for another 2 minutes. Remove when they turn golden.
- Place on a paper towel lined plate and either serve immediately or transfer to a baking sheet in a 150 F oven to keep warm and crispy until it is time to serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 people (2 schnitzel per person)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Saturated Fat: 2.8gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 57mgCarbohydrates: 37.5gProtein: 40.6g
This post is part of our Oktoberfest Bash. We partnered with other bloggers to bring you a veritable feast of Oktoberfest recipes.Check out the fabulous creations from our talented blogger friends:
Aromatic Currywurst made by Marvellina from What to Cook Today
Hot Cheese Dip with Onions and Gruyere made by Julie from Cooks with Cocktails
Bratkartoffeln (German-Style Pan Fried Potatoes with Bacon) made by Annie from Ciao Chow Bambina
Bratwurst Burger made by Brittany from Beyond the Bayou
German Pan Fried Trout made by Amanda from Burrata and Bubbles
Cinnamon Streusel Muffins with Hefeweizen Drizzle made by Kelly from Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats
Gebrannte Mandeln (Roasted Candied Almonds) made by Dawn from Dawn the Gourmand
Danube Waves Cake made by Kelsie from The Itsy Bitsy Kitchen
Bavarian Cream Donuts made by Camila from Pies and Tacos
Miz Helen says
Your post is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Thanks so much for sharing with us and you have a great weekend!
Thank you very much!
Helen at the Lazy Gastronome says
Hi! Visiting from the Snickerdoodle Create and Make party. Hope you share this at the What’s for Dinner party too!
Helen at the Lazy Gastronome says
I see you already visited us!! Thanks – I love a good schnitzel!! My German step mom used to make an amazing one! Have an awesome week!
sheenam | thetwincookingproject.net says
Oh I absolutely love schnitzels!!! This took me back to my Berlin days!! Amazing recipe.
Very informative, fantastic snaps, and yum yum schnitzel! Everything looks absolutely amaaaazing! Prost!
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers says
Wow! Loving this schnitzel platter 🙂 And love that you did both chicken and pork. Love them both. Happy Oktoberfest 🙂
Crispy Goodness! Looks good Milena!
wow that looks so appetizing!!! My dad always makes beef like this!! He loves schnitzel. Pinning this to show him!! Thanks for hosting the Oktoberfest Bash, it was super fun!!!
Thank you so much, sweet girl! You are an inspiration and we love your work! Thank you for being a part of all the fun. Don’t think we’ve ever seen better Bavarian Cream Donuts than yours!
Julie @ Cooks with Cocktails says
Schnitzel is so delish! I always go for the pork schnitzel. A platter of it is a fantastic idea for an Oktoberfest party!
Marvellina|What To Cook Today says
I sure didn’t know that schnitzel doesn’t need to be breaded! I always thought that’s what makes it schnitzel lol! Though I always make sure it’s pounded thin! Schnitzel is well-loved in our family! My favorite is Wiener and pork schnitzels, but really, any schnitzel will do for me. Beautifully photographed too!!!
Lol, I hear you. For the longest time I thought they were all breaded and once in Germany ordered a Jägerschnitzel and was surprised that it was not. Otherwise delicious:) So the waitress enlightened me, haha.
Thank you, Marvellina!
Amanda McGrory-Dixon says
The crust on those schnitzels look absolutely perfect! I’m such a sucker for a good, crispy schnitzel and a beer on the side. Those potatoes look great too. Can’t wait to make this for our Oktoberfest celebrations!
Prost, Amanda! You do have impeccable taste:) We should meet up at Prost’s Denver brewery soon and drink some beers!
Kelly Lynns Sweets and Treats says
I have never had a schnitzel before! WHAT?!?! I know! Totally making this! Thanks for organizing this round-up! So many awesome recipes for Oktoberfest 🙂 Pinned!! XOXO
Seriously? What? You MUST come stay with us, I will make another platter. They go fast. When I was pregnant, Chris would make 4 schnitzels for dinner. I’d eat three, he’d have one. They are like chicken nuggets for adults, I swear!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
I’d also like to meet the person who doesn’t like crispy fried foods. How is that even possible? Your schnitzel looks SOOOO crispy and delicious! Thank you again for putting the Oktoberfest Bash together. I’m having so much fun looking through all the recipes!
Right? Where is that person, lol. I really love the Donnauwellen Kuchen! You always make awesome German desserts, the Bienenstitch last year was epic too.
[email protected] says
This is my kind of platter!! The entire round-up is a gorgeous one! I’d say it’s time to celebrate! Thank you for including me in this fun event! Now I must go make some schnitzel! Shared!
Thank you, Annie! We will definitely be eating brats and schnitzels again here soon I will be sure to make your Bratkertoffeln instead of potato salad. So much better:) Prost! Will be a great weekend!
I can’t believe a year has gone by since the last Oktoberfest! Crazy how fast the time flies! Love the idea of a schnitzel platter…who would have thought there would be so many options!! A big platter of this, some beer and I’m happy 🙂 Cheers!
You are right! Time goes by waaaay to fast. But so long as there is good beer:) Thank you so much!