Crispy Panfried Healthy Chicken Schnitzel

This Healthy Chicken Schnitzel is pure perfection! Golden and crispy on the outside, yet still tender and juicy on the inside. A family favorite German-inspired dish that is absolutely to die for and a winner every time!

Crispy chicken schnitzel on a tray with parchment paper garnished with lemon slices

Schnitzel is a fun word to say, isn’t it! So, what IS schnitzel? Schnitzel actually comes from the German word schnitt, which translates to “cut.” Basically, it is a simple way of preparing thin cutlets of meat by breading and frying them. Typically the most common meat for schnitzel is veal or pork, but you also see varieties made with chicken or turkey.

This chicken schnitzel recipe is similar to the traditional version in the sense that we are also using thin cutlets, also breading them and also pan-frying them. However deep frying can really add the fat on quickly, so I wanted to lighten them up a little bit. So instead of deef frying I just added a few tablespoons of canola oil and found it to be the perfect amount. The chicken was so crispy and so juicy!

So the fact that this recipe uses less oil is what makes it a little healthier and lighter from the traditional! Plus did I mention it is also packed with protein?! 44 grams per serving!

The Chicken Schnitzel recipe pairs well with SO many different sides! Serve with a side of veggies such as a fresh salad, my Air Fryer Broccoli, Ginger Maple Glazed Carrots, or Air Fryer Green Beans. It’s also delicious paired with potato salad, french fries, mashed potatoes, or my Air Fryer Sweet Potato Wedges!

Crispy chicken schnitzel cut into pieces on a tray with parchment paper garnished with lemon slices

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS HEALTHY CHICKEN SCHNITZEL

  • Lightened up chicken schnitzel! Lower in fat and a great protein-packed, star-of-the-meal, option
  • Staple + easy ingredients – all normal ingredients, you probably have most of them already!
  • Crispy, tender, juicy – tender juicy chicken coated in golden crispy perfection!
  • Both kids and adults alike will LOVE this! Truly, it will become a family favorite!
  • Ready in 30 minutes – an easy go-to for weeknights
  • A comfort food staple to add to your recipe collection. Because pan-fried juicy chicken always sounds pretty dang delicious!
Ingredients for healthy chicken schnitzel

INGREDIENTS FOR HEALTHY CHICKEN SCHNITZEL

  • Chicken Breasts – I used skinless boneless chicken breasts.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Eggs
  • Dijon mustard – gives it a little tang!
  • Olive oil
  • Flour – I used all purpose flour. You could also use gluten-free flour here. My favorite gluten-free flours are Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur’s.
  • Panko bread crumbs – make sure to use Panko and not Italian or it won’t get as crispy! Use gluten free if needed.
  • Canola oil – For pan frying the chicken. If you want to use a different oil, make sure it has a high heat point. If you use olive oil, make sure it is light olive oil for frying and not extra virgin olive oil.
  • Lemon zest – optional, but’s what’s used in the traditional version and it gives the chicken a lot of flavor!
  • Parsley – for serving, also gives it a whole other level of flavor and freshness! I used fresh chopped parsley.
  • Lemon wedges– for serving
How to make chicken schnitzel (process steps)

HOW TO MAKE

1. Flatten the Chicken: Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel then cut each piece horizontally (like you are butterflying) to make two thinner cutlets (so you have four total). Place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin them until they are 1/4 inch thick. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Prepare the Breading Station: Prepare three shallow bowls. In one, mix together the flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. In a second, whisk together the eggs, mustard and olive oil. In the third bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs and lemon zest (if using).

3. Bread the Chicken: First dip the chicken cutlet completely in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Next, dip completely in the egg mixture, shaking off any excess. Then lastly, dip in the breadcrumb mixture, using your fingers to press to ensure the chicken is coated evenly. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

4. Pan-fry the Chicken: Heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. When shiny, add two pieces of the coated chicken in a single layer and reduce heat to medium-low. Fry the first side for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, then flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155F.* After both sides of the chicken have been cooked, transfer chicken to paper towel-lined plate. Wipe the skillet clean and add another 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Repeat for the other two chicken pieces and placed on the paper towel-lined large plate.

5. Garnish and serve: Garnish breaded chicken with fresh parsley and lemon slices to serve! 

Carryover cooking will ensure your chicken reaches 165°F and prevents overcooking.

HOW TO STORE

Store leftover chicken schnitzel in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

TIPS FOR THE BEST SCHNITZEL

  • Do not skip pounding the chicken. The chicken needs to be even and thin (¼ inch thick) to ensure the chicken cooks evenly and fast. If chicken is too thick you risk burning the breading or overcooking the chicken.
  • Use Panko breadcrumbs – Normal Italian breadcrumbs don’t get as crispy as Panko breadcrumbs. Make sure you’re using Panko!
  • Use a high-heat point oil. What we don’t want is for the breading to burn before the chicken has a chance to cook throughout. That’s why I used canola oil. I typically prefer to use olive oil over canola oil because it’s healthier (see this article), but I hardly ever use it and it’s fine in moderation! Plus it’s worth it for me for this one because it really helps give this schnitzel that perfect crispy crunchy outer coating!
  • Don’t over-cook the chicken – over-cooking can result in the chicken drying out and not being tender and juicy – which we don’t want! Check internal temperature with a thermometer to ensure chicken is cooked through (no longer pink in the middle or internal temperature reaches 165F). I actually like to remove from chicken when it reaches 155F because it will still continue to cook some even when it’s not in the pan and this way it prevents overcooking.
Crispy chicken schnitzel on a tray with parchment paper garnished with lemon slices

HEALTHY CHICKEN SCHNITZEL: FAQ

What is Schnitzel?

Schnitzel actually comes from the German word schnitt, which translates to “cut.” It’s a simple way of preparing thin cutlets of meat by breading and frying them. Typically the most common meat for schnitzel is veal, pork, but you also see varieties made with chicken or turkey.

What makes this chicken schnitzel healthy?

It uses less oil than the traditional version. We’re more so pan-frying here than deep frying, so less oil is being used. Oils are great but they are calorie dense and it’s easy to add a lot of calories and fat with a little oil. So pan-frying them in this method cuts down the fat and calories and in a way we can better control and measure.

Why do you add olive oil to the egg mixture when you are using oil to fry?

It helps lock the moisture in! Don’t skip this!

What is this schnitzel best served with?

I honestly feel like it goes with just about everything! A baked potato, mashed potatoes, potato wedges or air fryer sweet potato wedges. Serve it with some vegetables like air fryer green beans, air fryer broccoli or ginger maple carrots. Or serve it over a bed of greens for a hella good, 5-star salad!

Can you make gluten-free chicken schnitzel?

You sure can! Just be sure to use gluten free flour and gluten free Panko breadcrumbs.

Can you make this chicken schnitzel dairy-free?

It is dairy free as written!

Crispy chicken schnitzel on a baking sheet with parchment paper garnished with lemon slices

MORE AWESOME CHICKEN RECIPES

WANT TO MAKE THIS RECIPE?

If you try this healthy chicken schnitzel and love it, please rate this recipe!

You can also tag me on Instagram, @LaurenFitFoodie. It makes my day seeing your yummy recreations!

Yield: 4

Crispy Panfried Healthy Chicken Schnitzel

Crispy Panfried Healthy Chicken Schnitzel

This Healthy Chicken Schnitzel is pure perfection! Golden and crispy on the outside, yet still tender and juicy on the inside. A family favorite German-inspired dish that is absolutely to die for and a winner every time!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 pieces)
  • 1 tsp salt, more for seasoning the chicken
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, more for seasoning the chicken
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard (30g)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (40g)
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs (224g)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, optional
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided (60g)
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for serving
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Flatten the Chicken: Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel then cut each piece horizontally (like you are butterflying) to make two thinner cutlets (so you have four total). Place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them until they are 1/4 inch thick. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Prepare the Breading Station: Prepare three shallow bowls. In one, mix together the flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. In the second, whisk together the eggs, mustard and olive oil. In the third, add the panko breadcrumbs and lemon zest (if using).
  3. Bread the Chicken: First dip the chicken completely in the flour, shaking off any excess. Next, dip completely in the egg mixture, shaking off any excess. Then lastly, dip in the breadcrumbs, using your fingers to press to ensure the chicken is coated evenly. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  4. Pan-fry the Chicken: Heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When shiny, add two pieces of the chicken and reduce heat to medium-low. Fry the first side for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, then flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155F.*
  5. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate: Wipe the skillet clean and add another 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Repeat for the other two chicken pieces.
    Garnish and serve: Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges to serve!

*Carryover cooking will ensure your chicken reaches 165°F and prevents overcooking.

Notes

MFP entry: LFF Chicken Schnitzel

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1 piece (237g)

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 344Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1.9gCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 1.5gProtein: 44g

Did you make this recipe?

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