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I credit my wife, who grew up in Israel, for turning me—and now our son—onto schnitzel. In her home country, chicken schnitzel is as much a fixture on kids’ lunch plates as chicken fingers and grilled cheese are here in America.

Over the past few years, I’ve absorbed her schnitzel recipe, which she’d learned from her mother, making one notable tweak: switching its cooking vessel from a stainless steel skillet to a cast iron pan, which helps the thin cutlets brown more evenly (cast iron cookware is far less prevalent in Israel…their loss).

At home we always make a few extra cutlets, knowing that the leftovers can be reheated and spun off into sandwiches (aka “schliders”), salads, grain bowls, or super-quick chicken parmesan.

Field Notes:


I use a combination of panko (coarse Japanese breadcrumbs) and dried breadcrumbs for the breading: the finer breadcrumbs lay an even foundation for the coating, while the panko add extra crunch. If you don’t have dried breadcrumbs, add another ½ cup panko and crush them up with your hands to make a mix of coarse and finer crumbs. If you only have dried breadcrumbs, add 1 cup of those. If you have neither, toast a few slices of bread until dry and lightly browned, then pulse in a food processor until medium-coarse crumbs are formed.


To turn leftovers into chicken parm, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, top with the schnitzel, then cover the chicken with more sauce and a generous blanket of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 425°F oven until the cheese has melted.


Cast Iron Chicken Schnitzel

Yield: 4 servings


Four boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 to 6 ounces each)
1 cup panko
½ cup dried breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
½ cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
Canola or peanut oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving



Place a chicken breast between two sheets of parchment or plastic wrap (or inside a large Ziploc bag) and pound with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin, or small saucepan until it’s ¼ inch thick.


In a shallow bowl, combine the panko, breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Crack the eggs into another shallow bowl and beat. Place the flour in a third shallow bowl.


Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or plastic wrap. Season the pounded chicken with salt and pepper. Working with one chicken breast at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in the eggs and coat evenly in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly so it adheres. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining breasts. If time allows, let the breaded chicken rest for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking; this will allow the breading to dry out a bit, which will help it adhere.


In a No.10 or No.12 cast iron skillet, heat about ¼ in of oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Working in batches, gently add the chicken to the skillet and fry until golden brown on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and continue cooking until the other side is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer the schnitzel to paper towels and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes per side, then transfer to serving plates and serve with lemon wedges.