Cooking thinly sliced, breaded meat in a fry pan is the easy technique used for any authentic, crispy German or Austrian schnitzel recipe. I use bone-in, thinly cut, tenderized pork chops coated in panko bread crumbs, but you can easily substitute tenderized chicken breast instead.
There are precious few things that can take you right back to childhood like certain foods can.
When looking back to those childhood faves, you either crave it like no tomorrow, laugh in hysterics at the lengths you’d go though to avoid it (liver and onions passed under the table to Posey the dog), or vehemently defend it as haute cuisine. Ambrosia anyone?
At my house, German schnitzel—or as we knew it, wiener schnitzel—was a favorite of everyone at the table. My dad loved it because he grew up on it, my mom loved it because it’s easy to make, and me and my little sister loved it because it was breaded, crispy, and totally non-threatening. Sorry pup, you’re not getting any of this passed to you for dinner.
Today you can find a version of schnitzel on many dinner tables, and you don’t even have to be Austrian, or German, or attend Oktoberfest to make it your own family favorite recipe, too.
What Kind of Meat to Use in Schnitzel
Growing up, we called this dish wiener schnitzel, but I’ve seen it elsewhere as plain old schnitzel. So what’s the difference between the two? I had to look it up, and discovered traditional wiener schnitzel is Austrian and made from veal, where German style schnitzel is made from pork.
In fact schnitzel actually describes the cooking technique rather than the meat it’s made from. The meat is pounded thin with a meat tenderizer then lightly breaded and fried, for a juicy but crispy pork chop.
It’s likely that here in the U.S. you’ll most traditionally see schnitzel made with thin cuts of pork (we prefer bone-in pork chops) but chicken breast has definitely made it’s way up the schnitzel popularity poll, too.
How to Make Easy German Schnitzel
When my mom and dad were married 55 years ago, my Grandma Frieda passed along this recipe to my mom, probably in an attempt to help this young bride satisfy my dad’s love of his German mother’s cooking.
I mean the guy likes head cheese. Really Dad?
Today at our house, my husband Jeff has taken over the schnitzel-making reigns where he’s made one or two slight changes along the way.
Bone-in pork chops are still our protein of choice. Be sure to buy the thin-cut version to make the process of tenderizing them easier.
The pork chops are lightly dredged in flour, then egg, then patted down with panko. My grandma’s original recipe calls for bread crumbs, but we’ve found that panko delivers a crispy crust that just can’t be beat.
My mom makes these in the electric fry pan, but my man cooks his on the stove in a heavy-bottom skillet. You don’t need a lot of oil for frying, but don’t skimp on it either or the pork chops won’t brown and crisp. Move the pork chops in the pan as they cook so they cook evenly to achieve more consistent browning.
If you can’t commit to cooking in oil, you could try this in the air fryer or oven instead, and let me know how it goes. But for me, I’ll forego butter on my toast for a crisp juicy pork chop any day of the week.
What to Serve With Schnitzel to Make a Meal
This is one of those times I defer to my childhood where we ALWAYS ate schnitzel with Pasta Roni Angel Hair Pasta with Herbs and jarred—not canned—sweet and sour red cabbage. I’m partial to Aunt Nellie’s, my mom swears by Steinfelds. I had a devil of a time finding it in the grocery store this time around so it looks like I better come up with my own recipe for it soon.
Or, go full-on with the German theme with:
And don’t forget the lemon wedges to spritz on top of the pork chop. Thank you, I’ll have another.
Tools You’ll Need for this Recipe
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My Grandma's Easy German Schnitzel Recipe
- 8 thin-cut, bone-in pork chops
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 eggs, whisked
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup oil for frying, divided
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- With a meat tenderizer or the bottom of a heavy pan, pound out the pork chops to ¼ inch thickness.
- Add the flour to a shallow bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, and season with the salt and pepper. Add the panko to another shallow bowl.
- One at a time, lightly dredge the pork chops first in the flour, then the egg mixture, and then in the panko crumbs, shaking off excess. Repeat with the remaining pork chops.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Fry the chops in batches, moving the chops in the pan, until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes on each side. Add 1 tablespoons of oil to the pan at a time and repeat with the remaining pork chops. Serve with lemon wedges, noodles, and sweet and sour cabbage.
More Recipes Like This You’ll Want to Make Too
Quick and easy, no-fuss dinners made in the skillet or fry pan are always on demand. Check out these to add to your must-make soon list:
- 30 Minute Pork Scallopini With Lemons And Capers
- One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Rice
- Easy Chicken Breasts With Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- 30-Minute Caprese Chicken Recipe
- How to Make Homemade Chicken Parmesan
- 30-Minute Creamy Mushroom And Leek Chicken Breasts
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