These panko chicken cutlets are crispy on the outside with the most deliciously moist lemony chicken in the middle. This chicken cutlet recipe is incredibly easy making it perfect for weeknight dinner because this crispy breaded chicken is guaranteed to be a hit with the whole family (kids included!). Panko Chicken Cutlets


Chicken cutlets are a dish that my italian mother-in-law makes every times she comes to visit. My kids devour the these crispy chicken breasts in a matter of minutes and my husband who doesn’t generally love fried food polishes off 3-4 cutlets in one sitting. I have made breaded chicken for years but I could never get tender juicy chicken like my mother-in-law, until I learned her secret trick, leaving the chicken to marinate in lemon juice and eggs to give the chicken a light lemon flavor and ensure its incredibly moist and juicy. 


Panko Chicken Cutlets


When testing out this recipe I tried a bunch of different methods for the coating and ended up doing a blind taste test on friends and family. One batch had parmesan cheese added in with the panko breadcrumbs, another batch was coated in all purpose flour, followed by an egg wash and then breadcrumbs and another batch was made with italian breadcrumbs. I had high hopes for the coating with parmesan stirred in with the breading, but truthfully found that it created a slightly less crispy coating, and didn’t make a big enough impact on flavor to be worth it. The dredging of flour and egg wash was another method that I have used many times and ended up finding it wasn’t worth the extra effort and cleanup. The thicker coating actually tended to separate more from the chicken and was too thick for my liking. 


Panko Chicken Cutlets


Why You Will Love This Chicken Cutlet Recipe

  • The panko chicken is so crispy crunchy and addictively good
  • This is a practically foolproof recipe to make that requires only a handful of ingredients. 
  • It’s hard to find a dish that is a bigger hit with just about anyone. Absolutely everyone that I have ever served chicken cutlets to loves them.
  • These are fantastic to have in the fridge for quick meals. They are great for adding into salads, sandwiches or pasta. 
  • This chicken cutlet recipe is very adaptable. You can add in parmesan cheese, spices or herbs to the panko breadcrumbs, or swap them for a gluten free breadcrumb to make this recipe gluten free. 



Ingredients You Need To Make These Chicken Cutlets

  • Chicken Breasts: Look for large sized boneless skinless chicken breasts. 
  • Eggs: The beaten egg acts to both tenderize the chicken and help the panko crumbs to stick to the chicken. 
  • Lemon Juice: Either fresh lemon juice or bottled lemon juice can be used. 
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: While italian bread crumbs can be used, I find that panko bread crumbs result in a crispier coating. 
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika: paprika adds a nice warmth to the coating. Feel free to use any type of paprika you prefer. 
  • Oil: Use any type of neutral oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable oil. avocado oil or canola oil. 
  • Salt: I prefer using a flaky sea salt such as maldon salt. 



What Are Chicken Cutlets

​Chicken cutlets is simply the term used to describe a chicken breast that has been cut in half horizontally into two thinner pieces. Cutting a chicken breast into two cutlets not only dramatically reduces the cooking time, but also ensures that the pieces cook evenly and one side doesn’t dry out. 


Can I Use Chicken Thighs Instead Of Chicken Breasts

While you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs in place of regular chicken breasts in this recipe, I do not recommend it. The key to the perfect crispy chicken cutlet is a very thin piece of chicken which is hard to achieve with a chicken thigh. 


Breaded Chicken


Why Marinate the Chicken

Leaving the chicken cutlets to marinate in the lemon and egg mixture is a step that I have never seen anyone else do, but one that I have found really improves the texture and flavor of the chicken. Lemon juice gives the chicken a wonderful lemony flavor while the acid also helps to tenderize the meat. The enzymes in the eggs also help to tenderize the chicken while also working as a base for the panko breadcrumbs to stick to when coating. 



How Long To Marinate The Chicken Cutlets

I recommend leaving the chicken to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour but ideally overnight for the best flavor and tender texture. 


What Are Panko Breadcrumbs

Panko Breadcrumbs are a type of breadcrumb made from steamed, crustless loaves of bread that are processed into flakes and then dried, resulting in large, flaky breadcrumbs that don’t pack together when coating food so food stays crispier longer.

Breaded Chicken


How To Make These Chicken Cutlets

  1. Start by cutting the chicken breasts in half. I find it easiest to place the palm of your hand on top of the chicken breast to hold it in place and then slice through to get two thin slices of chicken breast. 
  2. Place the chicken pieces between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap on a cutting board and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the meat (using the flat side of the meat tenderizer) until each piece of chicken is even thickness.
  3. In a bowl add the eggs and lemon juice, whisk together and then add in the thin chicken cutlets. Toss to ensure they are all well coated in the egg mixture and transfer to the fridge. 
  4. In a medium shallow bowl add the garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and panko breadcrumbs. Working in batches place the chicken in the dish and cover in the breadcrumb mixture. Place the chicken on a plate or baking sheet in a single layer and repeat until all of the chicken is coated
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Only once the oil is hot, add in 2-4 pieces of chicken ensuring they are well spread out and cook for 3 minutes per side until golden brown in color and crispy. Place the pan-fried chicken cutlets on a paper towel lined plate or wire rack and while still warm generously season the tops of the cutlets with kosher salt. I also like to serve the crispy cutlets with lemon wedges and fresh chopped parsley sprinkled overtop. 

​You can find full step by step instructions in the recipe card below 



Ways To Modify This Chicken Cutlet Recipe

  • Add in additional herbs or spices with the panko bread crumb mixture. Feel free to add in italian seasoning, oregano or onion powder for added flavor. 
  • For a kick of spice add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder to the panko mixture. 
  • Make these chicken cutlets gluten free by using gluten free panko breadcrumbs




Helpful Tips For Making This Chicken Cutlets Recipe

  1. It has to be hot oil! Only add the chicken to the pan when the oil is hot, if you add the panko chicken in before the oil is hot,  the breadcrumbs will absorb the oil and the chicken will become soggy
  2. Don’t crowd the pan! Use a large frying pan and be sure to only cook 2-4 chicken cutlets at a time. Giving the chicken space as it cooks will ensure that the develop and crispy crust and become golden in color. 
  3. Make sure that there is enough oil in the bottom of the pan and add more in between each batch if needed. 
  4. Allow the chicken to cool on a wire rack. Placing the cooked pieces of chicken on a plate will cause them to absorb excess oil and become soggy rather than crisp. If you do not have a wire rack then a paper towel-lined plate also works. 
  5. The thin-sliced chicken breasts should only take 3 minutes per side to cook, but if you are unsure, I recommend using an instant-read thermometer to ensure that they are cooked through (you are looking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit).
  6. If you have a few extra minutes, after coating the chicken cutlets in the panko breadcrumbs, place the breaded cutlets on a baking sheet and transfer to the fridge for 10 minutes or so, this will help the panko coating to adhere to the chicken and ensure it doesn’t fall off when cooking. 
  7. If you are making a double batch of these crispy chicken cutlets and serving them immediately, I recommend placing them on a tray in a 250 degree f oven while you cook the remaining chicken so that they stay warm and crisp until ready to serve. 


Can I Cook The Chicken Cutlets In The Air Fryer

While you can cook the breaded chicken cutlets in an airfryer, unfortunately they won’t get nearly as crispy as pan frying. That being said they will still be delicious and it is a healthier cooking option. To cook the chicken cutlets in an air fryer generously spray the the chicken with cooking spray and place them in the airfryer in a single layer ensuring nothing overlaps. Cook the panko chicken at 400 degrees f for 6 minutes on the first side and then flip them over, spray with more oil and cook for an additional 6 minutes on the other side. 


Panko Chicken Cutlets


What To Serve With These Chicken Cutlets

These juicy chicken cutlets are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in so many ways:

  • Top the panko chicken breasts with a spoonful of tomato sauce or marinara sauce and a piece of mozzarella and then quickly put them under the broiler for a few minutes to make chicken parmigiana
  • ​Serve each crispy cutlet alongside an arugula salad, or with caesar salad served on top as a fun spin on a chicken caesar.
  • Chop up the crispy panko chicken cutlets and add them into a wrap or sandwich
  • Serve the panko-breaded chicken over pasta or zucchini noodles
  • I love it added to just about any type of salad

How To Store Leftovers

Leftover panko chicken cutlets are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leftover cutlets lose their crispiness so I recommend reheating them in a pan on medium-high heat with a bit of oil until crispy or alternatively they can be sprayed with cooking oil spray and reheated in an airfryer at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 4-6 minutes until crispy. 



Looking for more chicken recipes that your whole family will love?

If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!

Panko Chicken Cutlets

Every Last Bite
These panko chicken cutlets are crispy on the outside with the most deliciously moist lemony chicken in the middle. They are incredibly easy to make and always a hit with kids. Leftovers will last for up to 4 days in the fridge and can be reheated in an air fryer or in a pan with a splash of oil.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • cup lemon juice
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp maldon salt
  • Lemon wedges


  • Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise through the middle. Use your hand to hold the chicken flat while you slice through creating two thin pieces. Repeat with the other breasts
  • Place the chicken pieces between parchment paper and use a meat mallet to pound the meat using the flat side of a meat mallet until all of the pieces are approximately ¼ inch thick.
  • In a bowl combine the eggs and lemon juice, add in the chicken and toss to make sure all of the chicken pieces are well coated in the liquid. Transfer to the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours and up to overnight.
  • In a flat dish stir together the pepper, garlic powder, paprika and panko breadcrumbs. Working in batches place the chicken in the dish and pat down to ensure that the all of the chicken is well coated in the breadcrumb mixture. Place the coated chicken on a baking tray while you repeat with all of the remaining chicken.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large non stick skillet on medium high heat. Using tongs add in 2-3 pieces of chicken to the pan being sure not to crowd it. Cook the chicken until golden brown in color (approximately 3 minutes) and then flip and cook for a further 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate lined with paper towel and immediately sprinkle with maldon salt. Add 1-2 tbsp more oil to the skillet and repeat cooking the remaining chicken in batches adding more oil as needed.
  • Serve the chicken with lemon wedges on the side.
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below and let us know how it was!

This post was originally published on June 4, 2024.