Easy Pork Schnitzel consists of tender, thin boneless pork chops, seasoned and lightly breaded, then flash-fried to a crispy texture. Served with a lemon butter sauce and you have an easy 30-minute weeknight dinner in no time!
"Schnitzel" refers to a thin, breaded and fried piece of meat...typically a boneless, center-cut pork chop or pork cutlet. In America, you'll often this dish in your favorite German restaurant...usually with a side of warm German potato salad and Spätzle and gravy (egg noodles with brown gravy.) Interestingly, pork schnitzel is an Austrian dish with a German name...go figure:)
Why this recipe works
This easy pork schnitzel dinner comes together in no time and is perfect for busy weeknights.
- Wicked fast - the actual cooking process takes about 4-minutes to cook per batch; the quick frying method results in a juicy schnitzel with a crispy, golden brown bread coating
- Light - pork, "the other white meat" is always a good option if you're watching your fat intake
- Budget-friendly - center-cup pork chops are pretty inexpensive which is good if you're on a budget
Pork Schnitzel ingredients
You'll need: Boneless, center-cut pork chops, eggs, panko bread crumbs, all-purpose flour, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne powder (optional), salt and black pepper; oil for frying (vegetable or canola oil, but not olive oil- it doesn't have a high smoke point)
Lemon sauce ingredients
Make the quick and easy lemon sauce while the last batch is cooking! You'll need: butter, cornstarch, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and black pepper.
In a small saucepan on low heat, melt butter, whisk in cornstarch, remove from heat, add fresh lemon juice, Dijon and add salt and pepper to taste.
How to make it
The secret to making a really good pork schnitzel is to use thin cutlets: cut the pork chop in half lengthwise and use a meat mallet to pound them to ¼" inch thickness. The thin slices of pork cook quickly and result in a crispy crust with a fork-tender, moist inside.
Set up a dredging station: one shallow bowl with lightly beaten eggs and another with panko, flour, and seasonings.
Heat a high-heat oil in a large skillet (a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet works best.) You'll need enough to cover the bottom of the pan by about ½" inch.
Dredge pork cutlets in egg, then in panko mixture. For best results, press the panko breadcrumbs into the cutlet.
Place breaded pork chops in hot oil (about 300ºF) in a single layer; cook 2-3 minutes per side; (cooking time will vary); remove and place on a wire rack to drain. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
Buy boneless, center-cut pork chops or slice a pork tenderloin into ¼"-inch slices. Do not buy "breakfast chops" or "bone-in" chops. the meat in half lengthwise; this ensures a nice, thin slice which will be fork-tender
These cook fast so if you're making side dishes, make them first, then fry the pork schnitzel last.
Use a high-heat tolerant oil: canola, vegetable, peanut - do not use olive oil...it's not tolerant of high-heat.
If you're cooking several cutlets, work in batches; note, the second batch will be a darker color due to the oil; if this bothers you, pour the first batch out and start over with fresh oil for the remaining pieces
Once you place the pork cutlet in the skillet, don't move it for at least a minute or two; peek and see if the bottom is golden brown; if it is, turn it over
Pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF; you can use a meat thermometer if you want, but these cook in about 4-minutes when the oil is about 300ºF
How to properly thaw pork
As with any other meat, you want to thaw it either in the fridge or in a bowl of tap water; change the water every 30-minutes until meat is thawed. Do not re-freeze thawed meat
Storage and reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container or plastic ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, turn oven to 375-400ºF and place pork schnitzels in a single layer on a baking sheet (uncovered) for about 15 minutes or until they're warm throughout. Do not wrap them in aluminum foil because the crispy crust gets mushy.
There's a ton of delicious side dishes to serve with pork schnitzel. You could serve a warm potato salad, Southern Potato Salad, or braised cabbage. Or, serve it over lemon infused egg noodles with a side of broccoli or asparagus!
This easy pork schnitzel is perfect for a busy weeknight or a quick dinner.
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Pork Schnitzel Ingredients
- 1 lb. boneless pork chops , (about 4 center-cut pork loins)
- 1 cup oil ,canola or vegetable, not olive
- 3 whole eggs ,slightly beaten
- 2 cups panko crumbs
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt , kosher
Lemon Sauce Ingredients
- 8 oz. butter
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 large lemons ,juiced
- salt to taste
Pork Schnitzel Preparation
- Set up dipping and dredging station: 1 flat pan with slightly beaten eggs and another flat pan for the panko crumbs, flour, onion and garlic powder, salt and cayenne; combine well3 whole eggs, 2 cups panko crumbs, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, ⅛ teaspoon onion powder, ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Using a sharp knife, cut the pork cutlet in lengthwise; lightly season cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides
- Heat a heavy bottomed skillet with 1 cup oil on medium to medium-high1 cup oil
- Dip each cutlet into eggs, then dredge it in the panko crumbs; make sure both sides are well coated; add panko coated cutlet to hot oil. Do not move the cutlet until it has browned on the bottom1 lb. boneless pork chops
- Repeat process; work in batches; if the cutlets start to get too brown, pour the old grease into the trash, wipe out pan with paper towels, and add fresh oil; repeat until all cutlets are done. (Have a cooling rack nearby so as each cutlet can drain; tent cooked cutlets with foil or place on a baking sheet in a 200°F oven -don't cover with foil)
Lemon Butter Sauce Preparation
- In a skillet on medium heat, melt butter; whisk in cornstarch; remove from heat; allow to cool a few minutes; add lemon and stir well; season for salt8 oz. butter, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 large lemons, salt to taste
- Drizzle lemon butter sauce over pork schnitzel and serve
- This recipe is for four cutlets cut in half, eight total pieces of protein
- Cook them in batches, 3-4 at a time, depending upon the size of your skillet and burner
- Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145º F
- I used four small cutlets (about 2" x 4") and sliced them lengthwise for a total of 8 small pieces.
- I served two sides with the pork schnitzel and my husband had 3 pork pieces; keep this in mind if you're serving a larger group
- There's not much shrinkage on pork cutlets due to the fact that they're so lean in fat