This Italian Chicken Cutlets Recipe (Air Fryer or Pan Fried) is made with thin chicken cutlets, bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, fennel seeds, and garlic powder.
Chicken cutlets are commonly used in recipes such as chicken schnitzel, chicken piccata, chicken Milanese, chicken parmigiana, and chicken marsala, among others. They can also be used in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or as a main protein in pasta dishes, stir-fries, and more. Chicken cutlets are a versatile ingredient that can be prepared in a variety of ways to suit your taste preferences and culinary creativity.
This is Nan's Sicilian father's special recipe. In Sicily, fennel seeds are widely used in their recipes. This breaded chicken contains fennel seeds and of course, parsley. These cutlets will always be a crowd pleaser and your kids will love them. It is extremely family friendly and easy to make. If you want to make your life easier, you could always buy thin cut chicken.
- What are Chicken Cutlets?
- Why you will love this recipe
- Chicken Cutlets Recipe Ingredients
- How to make Chicken Cutlets
- What to serve with Chicken Cutlets
- Chicken Cutlets Recipe Variations
- How to store Chicken Cutlets
- Chicken Cutlets Recipe Top tips
- Italian Chicken Cutlets (Air Fryer or Pan Fried)
- Food safety
What are Chicken Cutlets?
Chicken cutlets are thin slices of chicken breast that are typically pounded or flattened to an even thickness, often used in cooking for a variety of dishes. They are versatile and can be used in a wide range of recipes, from quick and easy weeknight meals to more elaborate dishes. Chicken cutlets are known for their tenderness, quick cooking time, and ability to absorb flavors from marinades or seasonings, making them a popular choice in many cuisines around the world.
Chicken cutlets can be purchased pre-sliced, or you can make them at home by slicing boneless, skinless chicken breasts horizontally into thin, even pieces. They are typically coated with flour, breadcrumbs, or other coatings, and can be pan-fried, deep-fried, sautéed, or baked to achieve a crispy and golden crust.
Why you will love this recipe
- Crispy exterior: The breading or coating on fried chicken cutlets creates a crispy and crunchy texture that is highly satisfying to bite into. The contrast between the crispy exterior and the tender interior of the chicken cutlets creates a delightful mouthfeel.
- Flavorful seasoning: Fried chicken cutlets are often seasoned with a variety of herbs, spices, and other flavorings, which add depth and complexity to the overall taste. The seasoning in the breading or coating can infuse the chicken cutlets with delicious flavors that enhance the overall taste of the dish.
- Quick cooking time: Chicken cutlets are typically thin slices of chicken breast, which means they cook quickly when fried. This makes them a convenient option for a fast and easy meal, perfect for busy weeknight dinners or when you're craving something delicious in a hurry.
- Versatility: Fried chicken cutlets can be served in many different ways, making them versatile for different meal options. They can be served as a main dish with a side of vegetables or a starch, used in sandwiches or wraps, topped with sauces or cheese for added flavor, or even sliced and served on top of salads.
Chicken Cutlets Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Chicken breast
- Italian bread crumbs
- Fennel seeds
- Garlic powder
See recipe card for Italian Chicken Cutlets (Air Fryer or Pan Fried) quantities.
How to make Chicken Cutlets
Cut the chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, making roughly 8 equal pieces. Place a piece of chicken on parchment paper and wrap the paper around the chicken. With a meat mallet or a heavy spatula, smack the chicken down in the middle, working your way toward the edges, until you get a very thin piece of chicken. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk. In another bowl, add the bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, fennel seeds, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Dip a piece of chicken into the eggs and then the bread crumbs on both sides. Place in a clean plate. Repeat with the rest.
Air Fryer: Air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway. You may need to do this in batches.
Stovetop: In a deep large pan, place olive oil and heat up to medium-low heat. Wait until the oil is hot and place the chicken into the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes on both sides, until brown. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with the rest.
Garnish with extra parsley.
What to serve with Chicken Cutlets
- Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or potatoes, make a delicious and nutritious side dish for chicken cutlets. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and herbs, then roast in the oven for a flavorful and crispy accompaniment.
- Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that pairs well with chicken cutlets. Season them with butter, cream, garlic, and herbs for a comforting and indulgent side.
- Salad: A fresh salad can provide a light and refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of chicken cutlets. Choose a mix of leafy greens, vegetables, and dressing of your choice for a healthy and vibrant side dish. Check out my Fennel Salad Recipe.
- Bread or Rolls: Freshly baked bread or rolls can be a great side dish to serve with chicken cutlets. Choose a crusty baguette, dinner rolls, or garlic bread to soak up the delicious flavors of the chicken.
Chicken: For this recipe, you buy thick chicken and tenderize them yourself. If you want to make your life easier, buy thin-cut chicken to skip this step.
Parsley: I love using fresh parsley for this recipe. It gives it a nice kick.
Breadcrumbs: I used Italian bread crumbs although panko bread crumbs works as well.
Fennel Seeds: This is the key ingredient to making a Sicilian-like chicken cutlet. It is absolutely phenomenal!
Chicken Cutlets Recipe Variations
- Parmesan-Crusted: Create a Parmesan crust for your chicken cutlets by mixing grated Parmesan cheese with breadcrumbs and herbs. Coat the chicken cutlets with the mixture and then pan-fry or bake until crispy and golden. Serve with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese for a delicious chicken Parmesan-inspired dish.
- Lemon Butter Sauce: Pan-sear or grill the chicken cutlets, and then make a quick lemon butter sauce by melting butter in a pan, adding minced garlic, lemon juice, and chicken broth, and simmering until slightly thickened. Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken cutlets for a rich and tangy glaze.
- Coconut-Crusted: For a tropical twist, coat the chicken cutlets with shredded coconut mixed with breadcrumbs and spices, then bake or pan-fry until crispy and golden. Check out my Air Fryer Coconut Chicken Nuggets.
- Cornflake Crusted Chicken: Instead of using breadcrumbs, use cornflakes for a distinct sweet taste. Check out my Cornflake Chicken Recipe.
- Cutting Board: A sturdy cutting board is essential for safely cutting and preparing chicken cutlets.
- Knife: A sharp knife is necessary for trimming and slicing the chicken breasts into cutlets.
- Meat Mallet: A meat mallet or tenderizer can be used to pound the chicken cutlets to an even thickness for more consistent cooking.
- Plastic Wrap or Parchment Paper: Plastic wrap or parchment paper can be used for wrapping the chicken cutlets while pounding them with a meat mallet to prevent cross-contamination and splattering.
- Breading Station: If you're planning to bread and fry the chicken cutlets, you will need a breading station with shallow bowls or plates for flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs or other coatings.
- Frying Pan or Skillet: A frying pan or skillet is necessary for pan-frying the chicken cutlets if you're opting for a breaded and fried preparation.
- Cooking Oil or Cooking Spray: You'll need cooking oil or cooking spray for pan-frying or baking the chicken cutlets, depending on your chosen method of cooking.
- Spatula or Tongs: A spatula or tongs are useful for flipping and handling the chicken cutlets during cooking.
- Thermometer: A meat thermometer can be helpful to ensure that the chicken cutlets are cooked to the proper internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
- Optional: Kitchen Timer, Mixing Bowls, Whisk, and other basic kitchen utensils as needed depending on the specific recipe you are following.
How to store Chicken Cutlets
- Refrigeration: If you have cooked chicken cutlets and have leftovers, or if you have purchased raw chicken cutlets that you don't plan to use immediately, store them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and place them in the refrigerator. Cooked chicken cutlets should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking, and raw chicken cutlets should be refrigerated as soon as possible after purchasing or preparing. Properly refrigerated chicken cutlets can be stored for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezing: If you want to store chicken cutlets for a longer period, you can freeze them. Wrap the cutlets tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place them in an airtight container or freezer-safe zip-top bag. Label the container or bag with the date to keep track of the storage time. Frozen chicken cutlets can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. However, for best quality, it's recommended to consume them within 1-2 months.
- Separate Raw and Cooked Chicken: If you have both raw and cooked chicken cutlets, make sure to store them separately to avoid cross-contamination. Raw chicken should always be stored on the lower shelves of the refrigerator to prevent any potential drips or leaks from contaminating other foods.
- Proper Temperature: Keep your refrigerator temperature at or below 40°F (4°C) and your freezer temperature at or below 0°F (-18°C) to ensure safe storage of chicken cutlets and other perishable foods.
- Food Safety Precautions: Always practice good food safety precautions when storing chicken cutlets. This includes washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling chicken, avoiding cross-contamination with other foods, and discarding any chicken that appears spoiled or has an off odor.
- Reheating: When reheating chicken cutlets, ensure that they are heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to consume.
Chicken Cutlets Recipe Top tips
- Choose the right chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for chicken cutlets, as they are easy to slice and cook quickly. Make sure the chicken breasts are fresh and of good quality for the best results.
- Even thickness: Try to slice the chicken breasts into cutlets of even thickness to ensure even cooking. If the chicken breasts are thick, you can use a meat mallet to pound them to an even thickness for more consistent results.
- Season well: Season the chicken cutlets generously with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you like to add flavor. Let the seasoned chicken cutlets sit for a few minutes before cooking to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
- Dredge or marinate: You can dredge the chicken cutlets in flour, breadcrumbs, or other coatings for a crispy outer crust, or marinate them in a flavorful liquid to add extra flavor and moisture to the meat.
- Use the right cooking method: Chicken cutlets can be cooked using various methods, such as pan-frying, baking, or grilling, depending on your preference and the recipe you are following. Choose the cooking method that suits your taste and dietary preferences.
- Don't overcrowd the pan: When pan-frying chicken cutlets, avoid overcrowding the pan, as it can result in uneven cooking and steaming instead of browning. Cook the cutlets in batches if needed, giving them enough space in the pan for proper browning.
- Use a meat thermometer: To ensure that the chicken cutlets are cooked to the proper internal temperature, use a meat thermometer to check the thickest part of the meat. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
- Rest before serving: Let the cooked chicken cutlets rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and helps to keep the meat juicy and tender.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove