Parmesan Crusted Chicken
If you’re someone who’s often short on time but still wants something delicious and homemade for dinner, Parmesan Crusted Chicken is the perfect recipe for you. Thin chicken cutlets are breaded in parmesan, egg, and panko bread crumbs, then pan fried until crispy!
Of the hundreds and hundreds of recipes on this blog, this is a recipe that we have made consistently over the past 10 years, because it’s so reliably delicious.
Why We Love This Recipe So Much
Done in 15 minutes – This is a truly quick recipe. Because the meat is so thin, it cooks very quickly, and the breading only takes a few minutes as well.
Crispy deliciousness – This is basically like a classic Chicken Milanese except when you make parmesan cheese one of the layers, it’s even better. The breading is crisp AND flavorful!
It goes with everything – You can pair pretty much any side dish with this, from Creamed Corn to Roasted Carrots to Red Potato Salad. You can even put it into other recipes like this Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini.
Even picky eaters love it – This is basically like a gourmet chicken nugget or chicken tender, but made from scratch with real cuts of chicken and fried in good oil.
You can buy chicken cutlets from the store, or you can cut them yourself by slicing a chicken breast in half through the middle, so you get a thin, flat piece of chicken.
The nicest thing about this recipe is that it’s one of the fastest meals you can prepare, because chicken cutlets cook up lightning fast.
I’ve made it so many times that I have a few tricks I want to share below for how to make it extra delicious, with a breading that sticks quite easily to the chicken.
That’s our real goal here: to have a breading that’s thick enough to coat all sides of the chicken, but doesn’t fall off.
Tip #1: Zest the cheese
The first thing I like to do is whip out a zester, instead of a grater, to break down the parmesan cheese:
By zesting instead of grating, it gives you a texture that’s lighter than snow, so it sticks to the chicken cutlets very well.
The parmesan cheese is the first layer to the breading, and the zested cheese adheres well to get the coating started.
Tip #2: Mix any desired flavorings or herbs in with the egg wash
If you’d like to add some chopped herbs to the chicken, the egg wash is where to add it.
I love adding fresh minced rosemary, but fresh thyme and oregano are also fantastic.
Since there are so few ingredients in this dish, adding a fresh herb like rosemary or thyme makes a HUGE difference in flavor and really makes the recipe pop:
Once you have the zested cheese in one bowl and the herbed egg in another bowl, add panko breadcrumbs to a third bowl and get ready to dip.
Tip #3: Shake off excess to prevent breading from falling off
Every step of the way, always shake off the excess ingredients before moving on to the next bowl. This will prevent the breading from falling off.
First dip a seasoned chicken cutlet in the zested parmesan:
Then into the rosemary egg wash:
And finally, into some crispy Panko bread crumbs:
Once the cutlets are breaded, you can pan fry them in olive oil in a single layer, for about 4-5 minutes each side:
Once they’re crispy and golden, you can zest a little more parmesan on top, and serve! I like it with Crispy Smashed Potatoes or Herb Mushroom Barley, or you can make it the main protein for a Cobb Salad.
You can also use this same method with pork: Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops
FAQ and Tips:
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
I recommend re-warming in a 300F oven for about 10 minutes, until crispy again.
It won’t be as crispy, but yes you can. Spray with cooking spray and bake in a 425F oven for about 10 minutes, until they measure 165F in the center with a thermometer.
This recipe calls for pan-frying, but you could also deep fry these if you prefer. They should only need 3-4 minutes in 375F oil.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
For the Chicken:
- 1.25 lbs chicken cutlets (I had 4)
- salt and pepper
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 cup grated or zested parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup olive oil for frying, and more as needed
- Lay the chicken breasts out on a cutting board and season them generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Next it’s time to set up your breading station. Set out three bowls, and in the first bowl add the zested parmesan cheese, then the eggs in the second bowl, and the panko bread crumbs in the third. Strip the leaves from the fresh rosemary sprig and mince them finely with a knife. Add the minced rosemary to the egg bowl, then whisk the eggs and rosemary together until combined.
- Heat up a large skillet over medium heat, and let it heat up while you bread the chicken.
- First dip each chicken cutlet into the parmesan, shake off the excess, then dip into the egg, then let the excess drip off, then finally dip into the panko bread crumbs (by the way, the reason we shake off the excess during each step is to prevent our breading from falling off later).
- When the pan is nice and hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, about 2-3 tbsp. Add 2 or 3 chicken cutlets to the hot oil (do not crowd the chicken cutlets), and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. If the bread crumbs are browning too quickly, you can turn the heat down. Repeat with the remaining cutlets, and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated with more tips in February 2019. Originally published March 2014.