Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (2024)

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By

Jennifer McGavin

Jennifer McGavin

Jennifer McGavin learned to cook German food while living in Germany for 11 years and has worked in the food industry for many years.

Learn about The Spruce Eats'Editorial Process

Updated on 03/6/23

Tested by

Diana Rattray

Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (1)

Tested byDiana Rattray

Southern-cuisine expert and cookbook author Diana Rattray has created more than 5,000 recipes and articles in her 20 years as a food writer.

Learn about The Spruce Eats'Editorial Process

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 18 mins

Total: 33 mins

Servings: 4 servings

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Wiener schnitzel means "Viennese cutlet" in German, and it is one of Austria's most traditional and representative dishes. So much so, in fact, that its definition is fiercely protected by Austrian law. It must be made of veal; when made with any other type of meat, it cannot technically be called Wiener schnitzel.

To make Wiener schnitzel from scratch, thinly pounded veal is dredged in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, traditionally in lard or clarified butter. Although it is deep-fried, it should be a light, tender, and delicate dish. Several steps are key to this result: Beating the eggs thoroughly, pounding the meat thinly, frying it in enough oil and at a hot temperature, and lightly coating it with breadcrumbs (making sure not to press them into the meat) are all important factors.

Wiener schnitzel is almost always served with a wedge of lemon. Common Wiener schnitzel side dishes include cucumber salad, potato salad, and fries.

Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (2)

"The cooking time depends on whether or not you can fit them all in the pan. I made mine with pork that was pounded to about 1/4-inch thick and it was done after a total of 5 minutes cooking time. This was an excellent meal and preparation was fast and easy." —Diana Rattray

Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (3)

A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 4 (5-ounce) veal cutlets (or chicken or pork cutlets)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose (or brown rice flour)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs, well beaten

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

  • Oil or lard, for frying

  • 4 slices lemon, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (4)

  2. Place the cutlets between sheets of plastic wrap, and use a heavy, flat-surfaced pan, rollling pin or meat mallet to pound the meat evenly to 1/4-inch thickness.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (5)

  3. To bread the schnitzels,set up 3 shallow dishes: Mix the flour and salt in the first dish, the beaten eggs in the second dish, and the breadcrumbs in the third dish.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (6)

  4. In a large skillet, heat at least 1/4-inch of oil to 350 F. This takes about 8 minutes and the oil will just start to shimmer and smoke a bit.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (7)

  5. Working one at a time, dredge cutlets first in flour until the surface is completely dry.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (8)

  6. Dip in egg to coat, allow the excess to drip off for a few seconds.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (9)

  7. Then roll quickly in the breadcrumbs until coated. Do not press the breadcrumbs into the meat, as this will moisten them and not make for a crispy coating. The crust should not adhere completelybut form a loose shell around the schnitzel.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (10)

  8. Immediately place meat in the pan with the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Cook the schnitzel in batches, if necessary. Fry the schnitzel for 2 to 3 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Make sure the breaded meat “swims” in fat. Contrary to instinct, the breading will take on less oil than if the meat is sticking to the pan. Also, the breadcrumb topping has a chance to puff up a little, and your cleanup is easier. You may want to swish them around a little with your fork to make sure they are not sticking to the pan.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (11)

  9. Turn them over once and fry an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until both sides are golden brown and the meat registers an internal temperature of 145 F. Remove from pan and allow the oil to drain off. Serve in the traditional manner with lemon slices.

    Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (12)

Tips

  • As with many simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients is what will make or break your experience. Buy the best quality meat and ingredients that you can afford.
  • Even if you can buy or cut a very thin cutlet, it's important to pound your meat before breading. In addition to making meat thinner, pounding meat also tenderizes it.
  • Avoid old oil or less-than-perfect meat and watch your schnitzel carefully to avoid burning.
  • While Wiener schnitzel is a dish best eaten right after cooking, many people enjoy turning leftover cutlets into a sandwich. Once cool to room temperature, refrigerate the schnitzel in an airtight container; reheat gently and eat it within three days.

Recipe Variations

  • Some people choose to refrain from eating veal due to its cost or animal welfare concerns. Either chicken or pork cutlets can be used in this recipe and should also be pounded until thin.
  • Those seeking a vegetarian option have several substitutions available, including TVP (textured vegetable protein), seitan, and tofu.
  • For a gluten-free alternative, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and flour. Homemade breadcrumbs are easy to make from gluten-free bread. In a pinch, cornstarch will also work as a flour substitute; it will make the cutlet crispier.

What's the Difference Between Schnitzel and Wiener Schnitzel?

Schnitzel describes a "cutlet" of meat that's breaded and fried, and it's used for several dishes with German and Austrian origins. Wiener schnitzel can only be made with veal. Schweineschnitzel uses pork and is traditionally made with pork chops in Germany (in the U.S., pork tenderloin is common). Schnitzel made with chicken breasts is called hähnchenschnitzel, and it's also a favorite in Israel. While jägerschnitzel (hunter's cutlet) often uses pork as well, it was originally made with venison or wild boar. Other types of schnitzels add various gravies.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
704Calories
36g Fat
61g Carbs
32g Protein

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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories704
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g46%
Saturated Fat 6g29%
Cholesterol 227mg76%
Sodium 691mg30%
Total Carbohydrate 61g22%
Dietary Fiber 4g13%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 4mg19%
Calcium 136mg10%
Iron 5mg28%
Potassium 400mg9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Recipe Tags:

  • veal
  • dinner
  • german
  • family dinner

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Traditional Wiener Schnitzel or Viennese Cutlet Recipe (2024)

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