What Is a Chicken Cutlet—And How Is It Different From a Chicken Breast?

Here's what you need to know.

<p>Getty Images/Allrecipes</p>

Getty Images/Allrecipes

The boneless, skinless chicken breast remains one of America’s favorite proteins. It’s lean, versatile, and packed with protein. The only challenge is that it’s not easy to cook evenly. The thickness of a chicken breast means it can often overcook on the outside before the inside is cooked through.

Enter the chicken cutlet, a cut that cooks quickly and evenly and is ideal for breading and pan-frying. We’re sharing everything you need to know about chicken cutlets, including some of our favorite recipes.

What Is a Chicken Cutlet?

A chicken cutlet comes from a boneless, skinless chicken breast that has been halved horizontally. The cutlet is relatively thin (about half an inch thick) and has an even thickness throughout. This makes them perfect for quick cooking methods like searing. Chicken cutlets are often pounded thin, breaded, and pan-fried. Many cultures have their own version of this recipe, including Italian scallopini, German schnitzel, and Japanese tonkatsu.

<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

How to Make a Chicken Cutlet from a Chicken Breast

To make a cutlet from a boneless, skinless chicken breast, start by placing the breast on your cutting board.

  1. Place one palm on top of the breast.

  2. Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut horizontally through the thickest part of the breast, aiming to create two cutlets of an even thickness.


To butterfly your chicken breast (a technique often used for stuffed chicken breasts), simply stop your knife before separating the two halves so that they open like a book.

Recipes with Chicken Cutlets

Just like a chicken breast, there isn’t much you can’t make with a chicken cutlet. The big difference between the two is the speed: Thinner chicken cutlets cook much quicker, making them an easy go-to for weeknight meals. We’ve collected our Best Chicken Cutlet Recipes of All Time and 16 Incredibly Quick Chicken Cutlet Recipes.

Here are a few standouts you’ll want to add to your meal rotation:

<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Chicken Cutlet Cooking Tips

Here are some quick tips to remember as you prep and cook chicken cutlets:

  • Cut carefully: Try to keep the thickness no thinner than a half-inch throughout, otherwise the thinner parts will cook much faster than the rest. A cutlet with an even thickness will be easier to pound thin.

  • Pound evenly: Cover the cutlet with plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness (we love a heavy skillet for this job). You’ll need less force than you think. Try to drag the pan outward each time to flatten the thicker portion in the center. Or try this brilliant hack that uses a tortilla press.

  • Start in a hot pan: Be sure your pan is hot before adding your cutlets. This is especially important for breaded cutlets: Too low, and the breading will absorb too much oil—but too high, and the breadcrumbs could burn before the chicken cooks through.

How to Buy Chicken Cutlets

As chicken breasts have ballooned in size (and price) over the years, chicken cutlets are a great way to get more value from the package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts you buy at the store. You can also buy chicken cutlets that are ready to cook.

How to Store Chicken Cutlets

Store raw chicken cutlets in a container that’s tightly wrapped in plastic for three to four days. To freeze chicken cutlets, wrap each individual cutlet in plastic, then place them in a resealable freezer bag. Press out the air before sealing, then label and freeze flat.

Read the original article on All Recipes.