This crispy chicken schnitzel with panko is a Mediterranean-inspired riff on the classic German fried chicken cutlet. Here, za’atar is added to the crispy panko coating on the chicken before pan-frying. The chicken is served with baked sweet potato wedges and a bright herby vinaigrette.
A classic Austrian schnitzel is made of veal or pork that’s battered and then fried in clarified butter, and the dish is now prevalent, with modifications, in Israeli cuisine. Austrian and German Jews brought the dish to Israel during the 1930s and 40s, but veal was not widely available and pork ran counter to Jewish dietary laws. Chicken and turkey were perfect stand-ins and what you’ll commonly find.
Often sesame seeds, nigella seeds, or za’atar find their way into the coating in Israeli versions, and they provide appealing extra flavor and crunch. We use za’atar. It’s common to find schnitzel served with fries or chips; for a highly nutritious side in that vein, we roast sweet potato wedges until beautifully seared on one side and sweet and fudgy in the center. A zippy, herb-forward vinaigrette balances this sweetness and makes the side just as special as the cutlets. We also enjoy serving this dish with tahini sauce.–America’s Test Kitchen
Crispy Chicken Schnitzel FAQs
It would appear that what is considered to be the correct pronunciation is dependent on what area of the world you happen to be in. A quick Google search will result in pronunciations like “ZAH-tah”, “za-taar”, or “ZAH’taarrrr” (roll that r!) and in some cases, the name of this popular spice blend has three syllables and is pronounced za-ah-tar. For the record, we say ZAH-tar.
For this recipe, we don’t recommend substitutions. Fresh herbs impart a green, herby flavor that can be lost with dried herbs. Fresh herbs also contain natural oils that will help to flavor your dishes – crushing or rubbing your herbs together will help release those tasty oils. Particularly in the vinaigrette, you want those herby flavors to really sing – but if you don’t have access to fresh herbs and must substitute, it’s fine. A good rule of thumb to remember is that 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs is about equal to 1 teaspoon of dried.
Placing the cooked chicken schnitzel cutlets on a rack instead of directly on the paper towel will help to keep them crispy while you cook the remaining cutlets. Allowing air to move underneath the cutlets prevents the panko breadcrumbs from becoming soggy.
Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with Panko
Although crispy chicken schnitzel is often served with fries, this recipe puts a healthy spin on the German classic and serves it with roasted sweet potato wedges. A zippy, herb-forward vinaigrette balances this sweetness and makes the side just as special as the cutlets. We also enjoy serving this dish with tahini sauce.
For the chicken and potatoes
Make the chicken and potatoes
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
On the prepared baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange potatoes cut side down in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast until the potato bottoms are well browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, spread the flour in a shallow dish. Lightly beat the egg in a second shallow dish. Combine the panko and za’atar in a third shallow dish.
The za’atar tends to settle to the bottom of the panko mixture so be sure to mix it up before dredging each cutlet.
Halve the chicken breasts horizontally to form 4 cutlets of even thickness. Place 1 cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4‑inch (6-mm) thickness. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge in the flour, dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off, then coat with the panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere.
Line a second rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels and set a baking rack inside it. Heat the remaining 1/2 cup oil in a 12‑inch (30-cm) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 2 cutlets in the skillet and cook until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to the rack on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 2 cutlets. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle the potatoes with the vinaigrette. Serve the chicken cutlets with the potatoes.
Serving: 1portionCalories: 617kcal (31%)Carbohydrates: 67g (22%)Protein: 34g (68%)Fat: 23g (35%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 119mg (40%)Sodium: 923mg (40%)Potassium: 1232mg (35%)Fiber: 8g (33%)Sugar: 9g (10%)Vitamin A: 24625IU (493%)Vitamin C: 11mg (13%)Calcium: 191mg (19%)Iron: 7mg (39%)
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Originally published May 10, 2022