This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.

Learn How to Bread Chicken with this simple technique that wows everyone in the house and keeps the mess to a minimum. Then pan-fry, air-fry, or bake your cutlets to golden, juicy perfection.

Chicken cutlets frying in oil in a skillet.

There’s nothing quite as good as a breaded chicken cutlet, served hot and crisp on, well, anything at all. Crispy chicken tenders, or baked breaded chicken, Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Milanese, or Chicken Piccata—they all rely on a coating of breadcrumbs for their mouthwatering, crunchy texture.

Once you get all your culinary ducks in a row and your ingredients organized, known in the culinary world as mise en place, you’ll be breading chicken like a sous chef in no time. This how-to keeps it simple and as mess-free as possible so you can get on with enjoying your night.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. How to Bread Chicken Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients needed for breading chicken.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken: Butterfly and pound the chicken into thin cutlets so it cooks quickly and evenly without burning.
  • Flour: The flour acts as a barrier between the fat in the pan and the moisture in the chicken breast.
  • Eggs: Or brush on mayonnaise or olive oil to help the breading stick.
  • Bread crumbs: Panko bread crumbs, also known as Japanese bread crumbs, keep breaded and fried foods extra crispy. You can also substitute fresh bread crumbs you grind yourself.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap. Add chicken breasts. Working with one breast at a time, place your palm on top of the breast and slice in half horizontally so you have two cutlets. Repeat with the second breast.
Butterflying a chicken breast in half.
  1. Arrange all four cutlets in a single layer on the plastic wrap-covered cutting board. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Pound chicken cutlets to an even thickness, about 1/4-inch. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and season cutlets with salt and pepper.
Pounding chicken cutlets thin under plastic wrap.
  1. In a shallow dish, add flour. In a second shallow dish, add eggs and beat lightly. In a third shallow dish, combine panko, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and stir to combine. Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour and shake off excess. Dip in eggs and tap gently on side of dish to remove excess. Add to panko mixture and press gently until crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining cutlets.
Breading chicken cutlets.
  1. Line rimmed baking sheet or large plate with 3 layers of paper towels. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 cup oil until shimmering. Add 2 cutlets and fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Drain cutlets well on paper towel-lined plate and and repeat with remaining 2 cutlets.
Chicken cutlets frying in oil in a skillet.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 4 breaded chicken cutlets.
  • Storage: Store leftover cooked chicken cutlets covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: The cutlets can be pounded out, breaded, and stored covered in the refrigerator one day in advance. Unfortunately, they cannot easily be frozen and then reheated in a pan or oven.
  • Seasoning: Spice up your breading with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, or anything else that sounds tasty.
  • Other crumbs: Substitute finely-crushed corn flakes or walnuts instead of bread crumbs.
A plate with Chicken Milanese and arugula salad.
Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad.

Recipe FAQs

How do you bread chicken thighs?

You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breast. Just pound out, bread, and fry in a similar fashion.

What is the difference between panko and regular bread crumbs?

Made from crustless white bread that is baked using an electrical current and ground into uneven pieces. Panko crumbs are light, crispy, and great for pan-fried foods.

2 plates with chicken schnitzel, spatzle, and braised red cabbage.
Chicken Schnitzel with Spaetzle and Braised Red Cabbage.

How to Make Bread Crumbs

An easy recipe for how to make breadcrumbs: fresh, dried, or fried. Whether you want a crust on chicken or fish, a binder for your meatballs, or a crunchy topping for casseroles and vegetables, homemade…

15 minutes
View Recipe

Best breaded chicken recipes

Chicken being breaded in a silver skillet.

How to Bread Chicken

Learn How to Bread Chicken with this simple technique that wows everyone in the house and keeps the mess to a minimum. Then pan-fry, air-fry, or bake your cutlets to golden, juicy perfection.
5 from 28 votes
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 428

Ingredients 

  • 16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large, see note 1)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (see note 2)
  • 2 large eggs (see note 3)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (see note 4)
  • 1 cup olive oil

Instructions 

To make and pound chicken cutlets:

  • Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap. Add chicken breasts. Working with one breast at a time, place your palm on top of the breast and slice in half horizontally so you have two cutlets. Repeat with the second breast.
  • Arrange all four cutlets in a single layer on the plastic wrap-covered cutting board. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Pound chicken cutlets to an even thickness, about 1/4-inch. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and season cutlets with salt and pepper.

To bread the chicken:

  • In a shallow dish, add flour. In a second shallow dish, add eggs and beat lightly. In a third shallow dish, combine panko, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and stir to combine.
  • Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour and shake off excess. Dip in eggs and tap gently on side of dish to remove excess. Add to panko mixture and press gently until crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining cutlets (cutlets can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours).

To fry the chicken:

  • Line rimmed baking sheet or large plate with 3 layers of paper towels. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 cup oil until shimmering. Add 2 cutlets and fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Drain cutlets well on paper towel-lined plate and and repeat with remaining 2 cutlets.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Chicken breast: If you substitute chicken cutlets, skip the steps for butterflying the chicken. But, for even cooking, you should still pound them out.
  2. Flour: The flour acts as a barrier between the fat in the pan and the moisture in the chicken breast. 
  3. Eggs: Or brush on mayonnaise or olive oil to help the breading stick.
  4. Bread crumbs: Panko bread crumbs, also known as Japanese bread crumbs, keep breaded and fried foods extra crispy. You can also substitute fresh bread crumbs you grind yourself.
  5. Make ahead: The cutlets can be pounded out, breaded, and stored covered in the refrigerator one day in advance. Unfortunately, they cannot easily be frozen and then reheated in a pan or oven.
  6. Chicken thighs: You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breast. Just pound them out in a similar fashion.
  7. Seasoning: Spice up your breading with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Parmesan cheese, or anything else that sounds tasty.
  8. Other crumbs: Substitute finely-crushed corn flakes or walnuts instead of bread crumbs.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 428kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 33gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 171mgSodium: 374mgPotassium: 511mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 392IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 119mgIron: 3mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!
Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the info on breading chicken. My wife is temporarily physically incapacitated and I have been the cook during her time in bed.5 stars

    1. Hi Brenda, I’m so sorry I didn’t answer your question. I would like to answer now in case any other readers have the same one. I don’t see why these can’t be baked. I would bake them at 400 degrees until they reach 165, which I think would be about 15 minutes or so, depending on the thickness. I’m so sorry again. Take care! – Meggan