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Italian Chicken Cutlets

These delicious Italian Chicken Cutlets breaded with tasty crumbs and fried until golden make a perfect weeknight dinner!

Juicy and tender, this family recipe has amazing flavor using just 5 simple ingredients!!

Italian chicken cutlets on white plate with lemon wedges and chopped parsley garnish.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Italian chicken cutlets, known as “cotolette di pollo” in Italy, are a classic Italian favorite . Adults and children will love these tasty cutlets that are excellent with a salad – like this refreshing Mediterranean Cucumber Salad or a warm veggie side like these Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots.

Quite inexpensive, this chicken cutlet recipe is so versatile you’ll want to make them all the time. Once fried, slice thinly and top a salad for a quick lunch. Or pop into a sandwich with a spoonful of nut free pesto and a few slices of roasted peppers. Delicious!

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredient notes

Ingredients for this recipe as in the recipe card.

For this recipe, you just few, simple ingredients.

  • Chicken breasts – I like to use whole chicken breasts which I slice into cutlets. However, use thin-sliced, boneless chicken breast if you prefer.
  • Italian bread crumbs – homemade are my favorite and much tastier. Storebought breadcrumbs will work well, too, but be sure to check the ingredients. My homemade Italian breadcrumbs include herbs, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Parmesan or Parmigiano cheese – Be sure to finely grate the cheese to combine well with the breadcrumbs.
  • Dry white wine – any dry white wine will work for this recipe. It doesn’t need to be the most expensive. If you have leftover wine from a party, pour it into a small container and freeze for this Italian chicken cutlet recipe.
  • Garlic – for extra garlicky flavor! Fresh garlic is available at the grocery store and keeps well in the fridge.

Instructions

Slicing chicken breast in half lengthwise.

Slice each chicken breast in two or three horizontally.

Pounding chicken breast with meat mallet.

Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken breast between two sheets of plastic until thin.

Whisking an egg with other ingredients.

Whisk together egg, white wine, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.

Chicken breasts in eggy marinade.

Add sliced chicken breasts turning each over to coat in egg mixture.

Adding finely grated cheese to breadcrumbs.

Combine Italian breadcrumbs with parmesan cheese.

Covering chicken breast with breadcrumbs.

Lift chicken breast pieces out one by one to coat in bread crumbs.

Uncooked chicken breast covered with breadcrumbs.

Turn chicken over in the bread crumbs and press to stick the crumbs.

Breaded chicken breast frying in oil.

Shallow fry in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through.

Hint: These can be baked instead of fried, but the result will be slightly different. To bake, heat a baking sheet covered with nonstick paper in the oven. Then place the cutlets onto the hot baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350ºF/180ºC flipping the cutlets over halfway

Substitutions

  • Parmesan or Parmigiano cheese – use Pecorino Romano cheese instead.
  • Dry white wine – substitute with whiskey or scotch. Surprisingly good!
  • Garlic – instead of fresh garlic, use garlic powder or minced garlic in a jar.

Variations

  • Spicy – include 1 teaspoon (or to your taste) of red chili flakes in the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Beef, veal, or pork cutlets – make the same recipe, substituting thin slices of beef, thin veal, or pork cutlets.
  • Chicken pieces – this recipe for Italian chicken cutlets can easily be made with chicken pieces such as chicken legs or thighs. The cooking time will vary accordingly. Use a thermometer in the thickest part to ensure it’s cooked through.

Equipment

A meat mallet is handy for making Italian chicken cutlets. However, use a wooden rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy skillet if you don’t have a meat mallet.

You’ll also need a sharp knife, a large frying pan, or a skillet, plus the usual cooking equipment of bowls, a wooden board, and utensils.

Storage

Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.

Italian chicken cutlets can be made in advance by preparing up to and including step 6. Then cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a day. Or freeze for longer storage. Separate layers of uncooked Italian chicken cutlets with plastic before freezing for up to 3 months.

Tips for Success

  • The success of this chicken cutlet recipe relies on thin cutlets, and learning to cut chicken breast into cutlets is essential but easy. You’ll need a sharp knife, patience, and practice. Just hold the chicken breast flat with the palm of your hand and, with the other hand, slice through the middle. Alternatively, buy thin-sliced, boneless chicken breast.
  • Pounding the chicken between two sheets of plastic means less mess and splatters. I like to use a plastic freezer bag which I’ve slit open. Nonstick parchment paper also works well.
  • Don’t be overzealous when pounding, or the meat will tear. This will still be delicious, but just not as pretty. The result should be Italian chicken cutlets that are the same thickness so that they cook evenly.
  • Be sure to allow the meat time to marinade in the egg mixture which will ensure juicy, tasty chicken.

FAQ

What is the difference between chicken breast and chicken cutlet?

Chicken breast is cut in half horizontally into two or even three thinner pieces, which are known as chicken cutlets.

Do you fry chicken cutlets in olive oil or vegetable oil?

I prefer to use olive oil to fry the chicken. However, sunflower or grapeseed oil are good alternatives. Adding a tablespoon of butter to the oil for frying is also delicious.

Do they eat chicken cutlets in Italy?

Italians do eat chicken cutlets in Italy. This recipe is known as “cotolette di pollo” and is enjoyed by many people in Italy, including my cousins.

Browned chicken cutlets on white plate with lemon wedges, parsley and salad in the background.

Serving suggestions

Italian chicken cutlets can be served with crispy roast potatoes and a Greek couscous salad. Or stuffed into chewy Focaccia Genovese. Don’t forget a good squeeze of lemon juice!!

More recipes like this

Braised Chicken
Butterflied Roast Chicken
Honey Baked Chicken Wings

Made this recipe?
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browned chicken cutlets on white plate with lemon wedges viewed from above.

Italian Chicken Cutlets Recipe

Chicken cutlets with Italian seasonings fried until golden brown and crispy!
5 from 136 votes
Print Pin Review
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings:4 cutlets
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 grams) skinless chicken breast (approx two chicken breasts without tenders)
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs homemade or store bought
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for frying see notes

Instructions

  • Slice each chicken breast in two horizontally.
  • Using a meat mallet, pound between two sheets of plastic until thin.
  • Whisk together egg, white wine, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken breast turning each over to coat in egg mixture. Cover and place in the fridge for anything from 15 minutes to 3 hours to marinate.
  • When ready to fry the chicken, combine Italian breadcrumbs with parmesan cheese in a flat shallow plate or baking pan.
  • Lift chicken breast pieces out of the egg mixture one by one and lay onto bread crumbs. Turn chicken over in the bread crumbs and press to stick the crumbs.
  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan until medium high. Shallow fry in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Serve with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice!

Notes

Tips for Success
  • Be sure to use thinly sliced chicken breast for this recipe. Check the instructions which show how to cut cutlets from the chicken breast. Alternatively, buy them from the grocery store.
  • For less mess and splatters, place the chicken between two sheets of plastic or parchment paper before pounding.
  • Pound evenly but gently so the meat doesn’t tear. The result should be cutlets that are the same thickness to ensure even cooking.
  • Let the meat time marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  • Olive oil is my preferred oil for frying. However, sunflower oil or your favorite vegetable oil can be used.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 518mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating




65 Comments

  1. If I want to make this for a dinner party of 10 people what’s the best way to keep chicken warm so it doesn’t dry out .
    Thank you x

    1. Kim, it’s always tricky when cooking for a large group. I would cook these cutlets as close as possible to serving time. Layer the cutlets on a large oven proof platter or baking dish and cover it loosely with foil. Put the dish in the oven set at around 200ºF to 250ºF (95ºC – 120ºC) to keep warm. I hope that helps.

  2. 5 stars
    So good and easy to make. I use an electric fryer. Came out perfect! Everyone raved how good they were.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I cooked for 20 people tonight and everyone loved the chicken!

    Can’t wait to make it again!

  4. 5 stars
    a simple quick but very delicious chicken dish, I make as per recipe but just use a light vegetable oil to cook them, handy to have to make into a parma

  5. I think I’m overlooking something. I don’t see anywhere on how long to cook this? Just an idea of how long? Can someone help out, please?

    1. Ciao Stephanie! Step #7 in the recipe card says “Heat olive oil in a large frying pan until medium high. Shallow fry in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through.” The cooking time will vary depending on how the size and thickness of the cutlets. It’s impossible to have all the cutlets exactly the same. I usually fry them for about 2-3 minutes on each side. The second side takes less time typically. Hope that helps.

  6. 5 stars
    Other than subbing panko crumbs for bread crumbs I followed this recipes exactly. Incredibly crispy, wonderfully tender cutlets. Marinating in the eggs and wine make these perfect!

  7. 5 stars
    I have made a lot of chicken cutlets in my days. This was by far the best I ever ate! I never would have thought to marinate and use white wine! fantastic, we all loved it!

  8. These look really delicious Marcellina. I’ve never used white wine when crumbing chicken or fish, sounds like a great tip. Happy festive season to you, and a very Happy, Healthy and safe New Year. x

    1. The white wine makes all the difference, Pauline! It’s my mother-in-laws tip and she makes amazing chicken cutlets! Best wishes to you this holiday season x

  9. 5 stars
    My husband is very picky, and this is the ONLY chicken recipe he actually asks me to make! A never-fail, quick, easy, tasty entrée in record time! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

      1. You could marinate overnight. I’ve never done that but I can’t see why not. Be sure to cover with plastic wrap or place in a seal container in the fridge.

  10. How long do you let the meat marinate in the egg mixture? You mention this in the “tips for success” but its not in the recipe. Thank you!

        1. Wayne, you can marinate for longer though I probably wouldn’t marinate overnight because the chicken might become mushy. Perhaps 6 to 8 hours at the most.

  11. 5 stars
    Greetings, Marcellina! I made this recipe exactly as written, no changes.. it came out exceptional! I agree with the reviewer who mentioned the wine as being instrumental for the flavor, I’ve never made cutlets before with it, but will from now on, using only this recipe. Like, for the rest of my life! Lol.
    So, I served this with homemade orecchiette/Alfredo sauce, and fresh tomato salad.. delicious dinner, and very colorful presentation.. Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Steve! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Yes, I totally agree – wine is the key. This is something my mother-in-law always does and she is an excellent cook. Your dinner sounds amazing!

  12. 5 stars
    Just made these, and they came out beyond delicious, even though I forgot to add the parmesan 😣. That little bit of wine in the egg mixture really makes all the difference. These are definitely being added to the rotation

        1. Megan, I like a dry white wine but I have to admit I’ve used a lot of different types over the years. Rosè is something I’ve used recently with good results also dry sherry works well. It’s only a tablespoon so use what you have – I’ve actually used whiskey a couple of times. Alcohol (I prefer a “white” alcohol as opposed to red wine) seems to tenderize and make the chicken extra tasty. I’m not sure about the science of it though. In any case, enjoy!

  13. I was curious as to if I could use Mozzarella as a substitute for the Parmesan because I’m all out?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Cariann, no mozzarella wouldn’t work because it would burn. Just leave it out. It won’t taste quite the same but you could add extra herbs like rosemary or thyme.