These crispy baked chicken cutlets are the healthier alternative of fried chicken cutlets, with no egg, and no deep frying. They are coated with homemade Italian breadcrumbs to create a crispy crust while keeping the meat tender and juicy. The breadcrumbs are mixed with Parmesan cheese, fresh garlic, and fresh basil to add a distinctive taste to an otherwise bland crust. These oven-baked chicken cutlets can be served with a simple salad and some healthy baked potato wedges. This perfect weeknight dinner is ready in only 30 minutes.
You are familiar with the Veal Milanese, a breaded and deep-fried cutlet that can be made with any meat, beef, chicken, pork or even eggplants for a vegetarian option.
It is delicious but not the healthiest meal as it is deep-fried.
A lighter and healthier alternative is breaded baked cutlets in Italy called the Palermitana Cutlet.
There is no flour, egg, frying butter, or oil, and it can be made with any meat you like.
The meat is simply coated with olive oil and homemade Italian breadcrumbs and baked in the oven.
The chicken breast cutlets are marinated in olive oil, binding the breadcrumbs to the meat, creating a nice crispy crust.
While plain breadcrumbs can be very boring and bland, in this recipe, the breadcrumbs mixture is flavored with fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil or parsley.
Those healthy breaded chicken cutlets are full of flavors, and a simple green salad seasoned with extra virgin olive oil is all you need to complete this easy and light weeknight dinner.
For more Italian breaded and baked recipe you can read the articles: Italian chicken nuggets, fried olive Ascolane, Eggplant or Veal Milanese, stuffed calamari, spiedini, and meat braciole without sauce.
This is an easy chicken recipe as it doesn't use flour or egg mixture.
The ingredients you need are very simple:
- Chicken breast: you will need deboned and skinless chicken breasts. Large chicken breasts are difficult to cook evenly as one side is larger than the other. I, therefore, cut them into thin-sliced chicken breasts. This also speeds up the cooking time as the thin breast will cook much faster and you will not need a meat thermometer.
- Breadcrumbs: always use stale bread, never store-bought or panko bread crumbs, as they are too dry and flavorless. Stale bread still has some moisture which makes the coating crispy but with texture and flavor
- Fresh Italian seasoning: in Italy, we do not have already prepared Italian seasoning. Using fresh ingredients instead of garlic powder or prepared spices makes a big difference. For these breadcrumbs, you will need fresh garlic clove, fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil for coating
- Salt and black pepper
See the recipe card for measurements.
I always use seasoned Italian breadcrumb mixture in many of my recipes, which is why I usually prepare a large amount and keep it in the freezer.
They don’t need to be defrosted ahead of time.
I always keep the stale bread aside, and when I have time, I prepare and freeze the breadcrumbs.
Prepare the breadcrumbs
- Blend with an electric blender a cup of shredded breadcrumbs with basil or parsley leaves and a garlic clove
- Add the grated parmesan to the breadcrumbs
- Stir with a fork to remove all the lumps
Hint: place some of the breadcrumbs into a shallow dish to coat the chicken. Do not put them all as leftover breadcrumbs that have been in contact with raw meat cannot be stored and reused.
Making the chicken cutlets
- With a sharp knife, cut the chicken into thin chicken cutlets over a cutting board
- Season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Once they are well seasoned, the oil will help the breadcrumbs to stick to the chicken.
- Coat the chicken in the breadcrumbs on both sides.
Hint: if you have leftover breadcrumbs, you cannot reuse it as they have been in contact with raw chicken. To avoid throwing away breadcrumbs, place a small amount of breadcrumbs each time.
- Lay the breaded cutlets on a single layer over parchment paper in an oven pan.
- Cook 5 minutes on each side at 355 F - 180 C, till the edge of the chicken become white, then turn and bake until golden brown.
- Serve them warm
Hint: you do not need any non-stick cooking spray, as the breadcrumbs and the parchment paper will keep the crispy chicken cutlets from sticking to the pan
How to serve them
These baked chicken cutlets are so full of flavors that you can serve them with a side salad seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and salt.
However, if you want to recreate a lighter version of chicken nuggets and chips, I would suggest making microwave baked potato chips, soft inside and crisp on the outside, just like the fried ones.
The secret is to microwave the potatoes before you put them in the oven and use the oven just to crisp them up.
It will take a fraction of the regular baking time.
Other side dishes you can serve with baked chicken cutlets are Tomato pesto pasta, pasta with green pesto alla Genovese, pasta with pistachio pesto, grilled zucchini, peppers and egglants, easy tabbouleh recipe.
- It is better to prepare the breadcrumbs ahead of time to absorb the basil, garlic, and Parmesan flavors. I always have a frozen bag in my freezer.
- Always cut into thin chicken breasts, no thicker than ¼ inch - 5 millimeters. They need to cook thoroughly in a short time; otherwise, the breadcrumbs will burn, and the meat will remain raw.
- Place some of the breadcrumbs into a shallow dish to coat the chicken. Do not put them all as leftover breadcrumbs that have been in contact with raw meat cannot be stored and reused.
- The breadcrumbs will create a nice crust that keeps the chicken moist.
I use chicken breast in this recipe, but you can also use chicken thighs, turkey, beef, or pork cutlets.
You can also use the same recipe for tuna or swordfish steaks. Check this article for the best swordfish cut to use: Swordfish Meat: buying fresh and cooking choices
It is a very easy recipe to prepare!
- Vegan: You can also try a vegan version of this Palermitana cutlet using eggplants, cauliflower, mushrooms (porcini are the best), or zucchini.
- For a buffet or children's party you can make the Sicilian beef braciole instead. Small bites of braciole baked without tomato sauce. Easy to eat in one bite while standing.
If you have any leftover chicken cutlets, you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days
If you are not using already frozen breadcrumbs, these chicken cutlets can be frozen once breaded and before they are cooked.
They can be packaged into portions by separating them with aluminum foil and placed into a plastic bag.
It is a handy prepared meat to keep in the freezer for a busy day dinner
You can defrost them in the morning, and they will be ready to bake for a quick, easy, and delicious dinner.
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For more chicken recipes, check out the category: Main Course
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📋Easy Crispy Breaded Baked Chicken Cutlets (No Egg)
Cooking the potatoes
- Pierce the potatoes. cover them with a paper towel and put them in the microwave for 15 to 20 minutes depending on their size10 medium potatoes
- Once they are cold cut them in quarters and season with salt, garlic powder and olive oil and lay them on a baking tray with parchment paper3 tablespoon olive oil, salt & pepper
- Put them in a hot oven at 355 F - 180 C to crisp 20 minutes before serving
Cooking the chicken
- Prepare the breadcrumbs by mixing them with the parmesan, the garlic clove and the basil. For more instruction see the Breadcrumbs post mentioned above2 cup breadcrumbs, 1 clove peeled garlic cloves, ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, ⅓ cup fresh basil or parsley leaves
- Cut the chicken breasts into slices and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Once they are well seasoned the oil will help the breadcrumbs to stick into the chicken.4 half chicken breast, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper
- Coat the chicken in the breadcrumbs.
- Lay them over parchment paper in an oven tin
- Cook 5 minutes on each side at 355 F - 180 C, till the edge of the chicken become white, then turn.
- I always use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs in many of my recipes, that is why I usually prepare a large amount and keep it in the freezer. They don’t need to be defrosted ahead of time.
- It is best if the breadcrumbs rest overnight to absorbs all the flavours.
- You can also roast them in a heavy roasting pan, preferably cast-iron. You do not need to add oil to the pan as the breadcrumbs will prevent the chicken from sticking.
- You can also use chicken thighs, beef cutlets, or pork. Always use thin slices, no thicker than ¼ inches - 5 millimeters. They need to cook thoroughly in a short time otherwise the breadcrumbs will burn and the meat will remain raw.
- You can also try a vegan version of this Palermitana cutlet using eggplants, cauliflower, mushrooms (porcini are the best), or zucchini.