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Baked Chicken Cutlets

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets in Oven are perfectly seasoned with a deep golden crust. Crunchy on the outside with tender and juicy inside, these are a perfect weeknight dinner idea or made into sandwiches.

If you love panko breaded recipes then try this Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp, Air Fryer Mushrooms or Air Fryer Tilapia.

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baked chicken cutlets in a baking pan.

Baked Chicken Cutlets

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets are basically a grown up version of chicken nuggets. They are so tender and juicy on the inside with a super crispy and crunchy outside. They are extremely versatile, easy to make with handful of pantry ingredients and are always a crowd pleaser.

They can be served in innumerable ways for weeknight dinner along with pasta or salad, made into a sandwich for lunch or frozen for later. A healthier alternative to the classic fried version without missing out on flavor.

If you love the fried chicken cutlets that most Italian restaurants serve, you will be pleasantly surprised with this healthier homemade version! We like to stir in some parmesan cheese for an Italian twist.

The SECRET

Instead of adopting a regular breading procedure of flour-egg mixture-bread crumb, we’ve used our tried-and-true easier method which involves marinating them in a batter and then dredging with breadcrumbs. The crumbs stay intact and forms a lovely crust on the outside.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  1. Cooked to perfection – This recipe is so crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside.
  2. Simple and easy: There is no deep frying which means there’s no baby sitting and also less clean up.
  3. Customizable – Switch up the seasoning based on how are going to serve them.
  4. Endless possibilities – These can be served as a main course with roasted vegetable or a side salad for dinner / Made into a sandwich / Meal prepped.
  5. Guaranteed crispiness and Color – The crispy cooked panko before breading helps with the beautiful color which might be difficult to achieve with oven baked version.
  6. Healthier – The amount of oil used in this recipe is almost negligible when compared to cooking on the stove top.
  7. Kid friendly – As we mentioned before, these are grown up nuggets.

What Is A Chicken Cutlet?

It is a thin piece of a breast, pounded and breaded that is usually pan fried until crispy. They can be easily purchased but are easy to prepare with boneless, skinless breasts at home. They are mostly found in Italian American restaurants on a salad, pasta or made into a sandwich.

How to cut?

To prepare chicken cutlets, cut a chicken breast in half crosswise and then pound it until it’s about 1/4″ thick (we did ours to 1/2-inch) with a meat mallet. If you are a visual learner, then check out this short video.

Quarter or Half Inch Thickness?

If you are pounding your meat, then we recommend making them about 1/2-inch thickness for a juicy and tender cooked meat.

Cutlets vs Tenders

Tenders are little strips of meat that are tenuously attached to the underside of each breast. This cut is similar in location to beef and pork tenderloins and are typically breaded and deep-fried. Whereas the former is a very thin cut of the breast that is deep fried.

Cutlets vs Breasts

The breast is a lean cut of meat taken from the pectoral muscle on the underside of the bird. Whereas the former is a very thin cut of the breast that is deep fried.

How long to bake?

At 400F, they should take no longer than 15-20 minutes. However, it depends on the thickness of the meat. An easy way to know for sure is to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F when you check with a digital food thermometer.

Do you need to flip over when baking?

We recommend cooking it only one side, which results well browned and crispier top crust with a slightly softer bottom crust.

Ingredients

  • Chicken – Use store bought cutlets or you can start with whole breasts and slice them in half and pound lightly to get the desired thickness.
  • Flour: all-purpose flour
  • Eggs: It helps to hold all of that delicous breading on the meat.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: For a lighter and crispier crust
  • Milk and Lemon: This helps in tenderizing the meat, acting as a buttermilk marinade.
  • Seasoning: The combination of a simple garlic powder, cayenne and black pepper for a simple, yet flavorful seasoning.

Pro Tips for Success

  1. Play around with different breading seasonings. While these are delicious as-is, you can add some seasonings into the marinade to elevate the flavor even more. (Check out more suggestions below).
  2. Use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness. The safe internal temperature of cooked chicken is 165°F. Take the guesswork out of gauging doneness by investing in an instant read thermometer. 
  3. Try to pound the meat into an even thickness so you don’t end up unevenly cooked areas.
  4. Dredge well – Using hands or tongs, make sure to press panko mixture well on all sides to help it adhere well and give a thicker coating.
  5. Don’t overlap: Placing the food in a single layer without over lapping will allow even cooking.

Variations

  1. Italian – Skip cayenne, mix Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes with the marinade. Mix in some shredded parmesan along with the outer coating.
  2. Mexican – Skip cayenne and mix in taco seasoning with the marinade.
  3. Indian – Add some coriander and turmeric powder, grated ginger and garlic with the marinade.
  4. Spicy – Increase cayenne along with some sriracha.
cooking panko breadcrumbs in a skillet.

whisking egg batter in a glass bowl.

marinated chicken cutlets in a glass bowl.

marinated cutlet in browned breadcrumbs.

How to make?

With just a few ingredients you likely already have in the kitchen, this recipe comes together in a pinch. Below, find a simplified overview of the recipe before you get started.

  1. Prep: First, slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Next, use a meat tenderizer or meat mallet to pound each breast until it’s about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. 
  2. Marinade: Mix egg, flour, milk, lemon juice and seasoning to make a thick batter and marinade the pounded meat for about 30 minutes.
  3. Cook panko: Saute panko along with some vegetable oil until golden brown and let cool.
  4. Dredge: Coat the breadcrumbs on both sides of the meat and place on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake: Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 19 minutes or until cooked through.

How to serve?

The possibilities are endless! Here are a few suggestions on how to serve them:

  1. All American dinner: Serve with mashed potatoes, garlic bread, corn on the cob, Asparagus, Cheesy Broccoli, Stuffed Mushrooms, green beans or kids favorite vegetable and just watch them clean the plates.
  2. With a side salad or rice dishes.
  3. Turn them into sandwiches: Make a classic sandwich with toasted buns, mayo, mustard, sliced tomato and lettuce.
  4. Caesar Salad: Slice and top your favorite homemade Caesar salad with a couple of lemon wedges.
  5. Chicken Parmesan: When cooked, remove from oven, spread some marinara sauce over the meat and then top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese. bake until cheese melts.
  6. With Pasta dishes: Pair the cutlets with a steaming bowl of any creamy pasta like fettuccine alfredo pasta, Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce, Penne alla Vodka, Pasta with Tomato Cream sauce, Alfredo Noodles or Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.
  7. Spicy Sandwich: Serve in between toasted brioche buns, Sriracha mayo and pickles.

What type of Sauces will go well?

Any spicy or flavorful sauce will pair extremely well with this recipe. Here are few of our seggestions:

  1. Marinara Sauce
  2. Tomato Cream Sauce
  3. Lemon butter sauce
  4. Sriracha Mayo
  5. BBQ sauce
  6. Cilantro Lime sauce
  7. Avocado Crema
  8. Pico de Gallo

Perfectly Crispy

Some might wonder if baked cutlets are simply not as good as the fried ones. But, we have a few tricks up our sleeves for guaranteed crispiness-

  1. They are baked at a higher temperature (400 degrees F) to get that golden color and crisp texture.
  2. Crisped panko before it goes in the oven. This helps in achieving a beautiful even golden brown color instead of pockets of uneven color when baked.
  3. Thickness of the batter is perfect enough to hold a thick coating of breadcrumbs.

What to Do With Leftovers?

Leftovers will keep refrigerated or frozen. You can also turn leftover cutlets into an easy, cheesy parmesan sandwich the next day, or thinly slice and toss with warm, fresh pasta until warm.

How to store?

Weather you have one leftover or making a larger batch to meal prep, you will find all the tips you might need here.

  • Refrigerator: Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Place them in a ziplock bag, seal well and freeze for up to 2 months.

To reheat: The best way to reheat is in the oven or in an air fryer until crispy and warmed through. Avoid microwaving, as it will make them soggy.

breaded chicken in a baking pan with lemon slices.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use regular bread crumbs instead of panko?

Absolutely! Panko will result in much more crispier and lighter crumb when compared to the regular variety.

How many calories in this recipe?

One serving has 465 calories with only 3 grams of saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrates and 30 grams of protein.

baking pan with panko breaded chicken cutlets.

white plate with crispy chicken along with kale salad.

More Delicious Crispy Chicken Recipes to try

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panko breaded chicken cutlets in a baking pan.

Baked Chicken Cutlets

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 4 minutes

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets in Oven are perfectly seasoned with a deep golden crust. Crunchy on the outside with tender and juicy inside, these are a perfect weeknight dinner idea or made into sandwiches.

Ingredients

Instructions

Marinade chicken


1. Using a sharp knife, cut chicken breasts in half horizontally and pound to 1/4 or 1/2 inch thickness (we went for 1/2-inch thickness).

2. Whisk egg, flour, milk, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and black pepper in a large bowl, until combined.

3. Toss the cutlets in the batter to coat thoroughly. Let marinade for about 30 minutes at room temperature (or few hours in the refrigerator).

Prepare breadcrumbs


1. Place a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add panko and vegetable oil and cook, stirring constantly until golden brown.

2. Transfer breadcrumbs onto a seperate plate to cool. (Refer notes to use parmesan)

Bake


1. Pre heat oven to 400°F and spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Working with one cutlet at a time, remove from the batter, draining excess batter, coat both sides with breadcrumbs and place them on the greased baking sheet. Spray the tops with a coating of non-stick cooking spray.

3. Bake for 16 to 19 minutes, until cooked through or chicken reaches 165°F.

4. Serve hot!

Notes

To use Parmesan cheese - Use 1 and 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs and stir in 1/2 cup parmesan after it cools.

Sauces that pair well:

  1. Marinara Sauce
  2. Tomato Cream Sauce
  3. Lemon butter sauce
  4. Sriracha Mayo
  5. BBQ sauce
  6. Cilantro Lime sauce
  7. Avocado Crema
  8. Pico de Gallo

Variations

  1. Italian – Skip cayenne, mix Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes with the marinade. Mix in some shredded parmesan along with the outer coating.
  2. Mexican – Skip cayenne and mix in taco seasoning with the marinade.
  3. Indian – Add some coriander and turmeric powder, grated ginger and garlic with the marinade.
  4. Spicy – Increase cayenne along with some sriracha.



Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 1002mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 30g

I am not a certified dietician or nutritionist. The information is a product of online calculator such as Nutrifox.com, although Kitchen at Hoskins attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the nutritional information in any recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their fact algorithms. Under no circumstances will Kitchen at Hoskins be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the nutritional information. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health and ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate.

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