Pan-fried Chicken Milanese is a 30-minute dinner that pairs thin, crispy chicken breasts with a simple green salad dressed with a bright lemony vinaigrette. It has retro Italian restaurant vibes, and I mean that in the best way possible.
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Why You’ll Love This Easy Chicken Milanese Recipe
- An Italian Classic. I’ve been working my way through Italian restaurant-style chicken dishes, from Chicken Saltimbocca to Chicken Cacciatore to Chicken Marsala, and today we land on chicken Milanese, which is similar to veal Milanese but made with thinly pounded chicken breasts. The exterior is pan-fried until it’s crispy, golden, and all-around delightful, and the quick stovetop cooking ensures the interior remains supremely tender and juicy.
- I Repeat: Crispy Chicken. Whether it’s Chicken Katsu or Chicken Francaise, I think we can all agree that crispy chicken is the best chicken. Some chicken Milanese recipes have you fry up the chicken in a pan full of oil, but this recipe achieves the same crispy coating with just 1/4 cup.
- A Multi-Tasking Main. While chicken Milanese is Italian, it’s not exactly loaded with big Italian flavors like Baked Chicken Parmesan. This is a dish that can easily pair with just about any side dish or cuisine, so while you can serve it with Garlic Pasta, it’s equally fitting for plating with Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes.
- Quick and Easy Chicken. Aside from the crispiness, the best thing about Pan Fried Chicken Breast is that it’s lightning fast—from start to finish, chicken Milanese takes just 30 minutes.
- Feels a Little Fancy. While it’s fabulous for a busy weeknight, it doesn’t feel like a weeknight dinner—it feels special, like you should sit down and enjoy it with a glass of your favorite white wine. (Or maybe an Italian Margarita?)
How to Make Chicken Milanese
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts. Chicken breasts are the classic choice for chicken Milanese, although you can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Eggs and Flour. For dredging the chicken. Be sure to beat the eggs well enough that the whites and yolks are completely combined.
- Panko Breadcrumbs. Panko yields a crispier coating than store-bought breadcrumbs, but homemade breadcrumbs (which have a lot more texture!) will also work.
- Seasonings. Garlic powder and onion powder add savory flavor.
- Arugula. The peppery bite of arugula is the perfect complement to the pan-fried chicken. Feel free to customize the salad with another green or even some add-ins like shaved Parmesan or tomatoes.
- Lemon Juice. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for a bright, punchy flavor.
- Prepare the Chicken. Slice each breast horizontally, then pound them thin and season with salt.
- Coat With Flour. Make sure the chicken is coated evenly.
- Dip in Egg. Let the excess drip off.
- Coat With Panko. Press the chicken into the crumbs to make sure it’s well-coated.
- Make the Salad. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss the arugula with the dressing.
- Cook the Chicken. Two at a time, cook the chicken breasts in the canola oil in a pan set over medium heat.
- Serve. Keep batches warm in the oven. Serve with the arugula salad on the side and ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover chicken Milanese in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave (note that the bread crumbs will soften in the microwave).
- To Freeze. Freeze chicken Milanese in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Use leftovers to make a chicken Milanese sandwich with garlic aioli and sliced tomatoes. You can also slice the chicken and make chicken Milanese pasta; serve it over spaghetti and your favorite jarred marinara or this Lemon Pasta.
What to Serve with Chicken Milanese
- Rice. For a heartier dinner, pair your chicken Milanese with Lemon Rice or Instant Pot Risotto.
- Vegetables. Keep things light with Roasted Zucchini, Air Fryer Asparagus, or Sautéed Green Beans.
- Bread. Lean into the Italian theme with No Knead Focaccia, or go with classic Homemade Dinner Rolls.
- Potatoes. Roasted Fingerling Potatoes would be fabulous, as would this Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Wire Rack. I love this one because the grid pattern keeps soft foods (like Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies!) from sinking through the slats.
- Pie Dish. Not just for pie! Also for setting up a dredging station.
- Meat Tenderizer. While a rolling pin works, a meat tenderizer is even better.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Pound the Chicken Thin. Thin chicken cooks quickly, and by cooking the chicken quickly, you can be sure it won’t overcook and end up tough.
- Use Tongs for Dredging. Because you want the chicken to be coated in breadcrumbs, not your fingers. If you’re good with chopsticks, those are another excellent option for transferring the chicken from the flour to the egg and the panko.
- Make Sure the Oil Is Hot. It should be shimmering in the pan. If you add the chicken before the oil is properly heated, the breadcrumbs will absorb the oil, creating a greasy, soggy coating.
- The Wire Rack Is Key. Don’t transfer the cooked chicken to plates! The bottoms of the cutlets will steam, softening the panko crust. Setting the chicken on a rack allows air to circulate all around, and placing the rack in the oven keeps it warm.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (10 to 12 ounces each)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt divided, plus a few pinches
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 5 ounces arugula about 5 cups
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons canola oil divided
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and keep handy.
- Split each chicken breast in half horizontally to create two thinner pieces of chicken. I like to do this by carefully placing my hand on top to give myself a feel for whether or not I am slicing the chicken evenly. With a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound the chicken VERY thin—about 1/4-inch thick. To keep things tidy, place a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top prior to pounding. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the salt.
- Set up your dredging stations: Place the flour in a wide, shallow dish (a pie dish works well). Beat the eggs in a second shallow dish. In a third, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Dredge the chicken: With tongs, grab one end of a piece of chicken, and dip in the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs, coating both sides of each piece of chicken and shaking off excess as you go. Transfer to a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Place the arugula in a large bowl. In a small bowl or a liquid measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour enough dressing on the arugula to moisten it. Toss to combine, reserving the extra dressing for serving.
- Cook the chicken: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully lower two of the breaded chicken pieces into the skillet, ensuring that they are not touching. Cook on the first side until golden, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until it is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle the top of the chicken with a small pinch of salt, then place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 chicken pieces, adding the remaining tablespoon canola oil to the skillet as needed to prevent sticking. Serve each chicken Milanese piece hot, with a pile of the arugula and lemon wedges along side.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover chicken Milanese in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken Milanese in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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