Fried schnitzel is a quintessential German dish that is quick, easy and so delicious! This schnitzel recipe is one of our favorite weeknight meals!
While a good schnitzel needs no more than a squeeze of lemon juice, this recipe is made even more delicious by a rich Swiss cheese fondue sauce! Check out this post to see the ingredients needed for this recipe, step by step photo instructions for perfect schnitzel, instructions for our creamy Alpine fondue sauce and some of our favorite serving suggestions!
Ingredients & Preparation
This traditional German dish is quick and easy to make with cutlets of your favorite protein and a few pantry staples. As pictured, we used boneless pork chops for this recipe. For other protein ideas, see Different Types of Schnitzel.
- Pork Chops - You can also use chicken breasts, turkey or veal cutlets.
- Breadcrumbs - A more authentic German Schnitzel recipe would probably use traditional plain breadcrumbs. However, we much prefer the crispy crunch of flaky Panko breadcrumbs. You can use either for this recipe.
- Fry Oil or Butterschmaltz - Not Pictured. You will need fry oil or clarified butter (known to the German's as butterschmaltz) to fry the schnitzel.
Chef's Note: Butterschmaltz - Butterschmaltz, also know as clarified butter (AKA ghee), is butterfat that has been purified of butters milk solids. Clarified butter has a high smoke point that allows you to cook with butterfat at a higher temperature, suitable for frying. Do not try to fry schnitzel in regular melted butter. Regular butter will burn and smoke heavily. A more cost-effective solution is to use a neutral cooking oil, like vegetable oil, for frying.
Recipe Variations: Different Types of Schnitzel
A schnitzel refers to a thin piece of pounded meat that has been breaded and fried. It is similar to Italy's milanese, Japan's katsu, or Grandma's chicken-fried steak. There are versions of traditional German schnitzel using various types of meat. This recipe can be adapted to use with pork loin (as demonstrated), veal, chicken or turkey.
- Pork Schnitzel - Schweine-Schnitzel
- Veal Schnitzel - Weiner Schnitzel, also known as Vienna Schnitzel
- Chicken Schnitzel - Hänchen-Schnitzel
- Turkey Schnitzel - Puten-Schnitzel
Preparing the Schnitzel
For this pork schnitzel recipe we are making schweine-schnitzel from boneless pork chops. You can substitute boneless chicken breasts, pieces of turkey breast, or veal shoulder steaks. To prepare your schnitzel cutlets, follow this same pounding and breading process.
1. Whichever protein you are using, start by trimming and discarding any excessive fat. Next, for sanitary purposes, enclose your piece of meat in plastic wrap. To do this, lay a large plastic wrap entirely over your cutting board. Place the piece of meat in the center. Fold additional plastic wrap over the meat to envelope it. I like to fold along the top seam to help secure the plastic in place.
Pro Tip: Plastic Wrap Pounding - Use a clean, damp kitchen towel to lightly moisten your cutting board. The moisture helps the plastic to adhere to the surface. Make sure to use a very large section of plastic wrap to allow plenty of room for the piece of meat to spread out during the pounding process.
2. With the flat side of a meat mallet, rolling pin, or the bottom of a heavy frying skillet, pound the meat until very thin - about ¼ inch thick. This process tenderizes the meat while giving it that authentic German schnitzel appearance.
Next, prepare your breading station. You will need three wide and shallow containers. (You can see our containers were a bit small for these pounded pork cutlets! Feel free to cut the pounded cutlets into smaller, more-manageable pieces, if preferred.)
3. In the first bowl season all-purpose flour with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. In the second bowl, whisk eggs with a fork until thin and liquid. Finally, in the third bowl, add your bread crumbs. Do not begin the breading process until your fry oil is already heating. Breaded schnitzel should be prepared immediately before frying.
4. To begin breading, dip your cutlets (one at a time) into the flour mixture. Make sure the entire cutlet is covered. Shake off any excess flour.
5. Next, dip the floured cutlet into the egg wash. Again, be sure the piece of meat is completely covered and allow any excess egg mixture to drip away.
6. Finally, coat the cutlets in breadcrumbs. For the best results, do not press breadcrumbs into the meat. Instead, allow a light coating to adhere to the egg wash. The best schnitzel gets it's airy, extra crunchy coating from a gentle breading. Place breaded schnitzel on a wire rack lined baking sheet briefly, while you repeat the breading process with the remaining servings.
7. Fry the schnitzel in about ¾ inch of hot oil (or butterschmaltz). The breaded cutlets should be able to "swim" in the oil without touching the bottom of the pan. Fry for about 2 - 3 minutes per side or until the schnitzel is golden brown and cooked through.
8. Transfer fried schnitzel to a large, paper-towel lined plate to drain of any excess grease. Season with salt immediately, while the oil is still hot and wet on the breading. Serve schnitzel immediately with lemon wedges and/or Alpine Fondue Sauce.
Alpine Fondue Sauce
This German schnitzel recipe is made even better with a rich, cheesy fondue sauce. This Alpine cheese fondue sauce is based off our recipe for a classic Sauce Mornay. Mornay (one of France's mother sauces) is a versatile cheesy white sauce that can be a great addition to many dishes. For this recipe, we are using a super-melty Swiss cheese, whole grain mustard and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It's the perfect, saucy accompaniment to the crispy fried schnitzel. Here's what you need:
- Alpine Cheese - Alpine cheeses are semi-firm cow's milk cheeses hailing from the Alps Mountain regions of Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy. The cheeses range from mild and grassy to rich and nutty and are known for their supreme meltability! We used a Swiss raclette cheese for this recipe but any type of Swiss-style cheese will work well. Gruyere and comté are some of our other favorite options.
Cheesy Schnitzel Sauce
This Alpine cheese sauce (sauce mornay) is a quick and easy recipe. For more information and to see additional serving suggestions, check out our entire Fondue Sauce recipe post. Here's the step-by-step:
1. To make the cheese sauce, start by whisking melted butter and flour together to make a roux. Cook for one minute.
2. Then, stream in cold milk while whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Do not boil!
3. Add in freshly shredded cheese, a little at a time. Whisk until cheese is completely melted and the sauce is velvety smooth.
4. Stir in mustard. We like to use a whole grain Dijon mustard.
5. Season the sauce with salt, white or black pepper and fresh lemon juice, to taste.
Serve the Alpine Cheese Sauce hot over crispy fried schnitzel!
Fried German schnitzel is a versatile lunch or dinner that pairs well with various side dishes. Here are a few of our favorite pairings:
- Lemon wedges - Authentic German pork schnitzel is almost always served with a few lemon slices. That zippy acidity pairs perfectly with crispy fried cutlets.
- French Fries - As you can see, our favorite fried food pairing is more fried food! French fries make for an easy, yummy side. They're great for dipping in that cheese sauce, too!
- Potato Salad - So good with a mustardy German potato salad or our Fried Potato Salad with Bacon!
- Spaetzle - German spaetzle is a dumpling style pasta made from a loose batter. It's the perfect pairing with schnitzel and that fondue!
- Greens - Whether it's a fresh green salad or some steamed green beans, it's always nice to pair fried proteins with some lighter vegetables.
Saving & Storing the Leftovers
- Schnitzel: Like most fried foods, German schnitzel is best enjoyed immediately. However, it can be kept in the refrigerator and safely eaten for 3 - 5 days. We recommend reheating schnitzel for a few minutes in a hot oven or air fryer. Try leftovers on a sandwich for a yummy next day lunch!
- Fondue Sauce: Alpine cheese sauce can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 - 5 days. To reheat, we recommend warming it in a sauce pot over low heat. Stir frequently and avoid boiling. If the cheese sauce begins to separate, whisk vigorously to emulsify.
More Dinner Recipes To Try
Crispy German Schnitzel with Alpine Fondue Sauce
- 1 Meat Mallet OR Rolling Pin OR Heavy Bottomed Skillet
- 1 Instant Read or Candy Thermometer Optional for frying
- 4 boneless pork chops OR chicken breasts OR turkey cutlets OR veal cutlets
- ⅓ Cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon fine kosher salt* plus more for seasoning to taste
- ½ Tablespoon Freshly-ground black pepper
- ½ Tablespoon garlic powder
- 3 large eggs whisked
- 2 Cups breadcrumbs We prefer panko breadcrumbs
- Fry Oil or Butterschmaltz as needed, About 2 Cups
- Lemon Wedges for serving
Alpine Fondue Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1¼ Cus whole milk cold
- 4 ounces Swiss or Swiss-style cheese freshly shredded (About 1 Cup); raclette or gruyere work well
- 1 pinch fine kosher salt* to taste
- 1 pinch Freshly-ground black or white pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 squeeze lemon juice to taste
- Gather, measure and prepare the German Schnitzel ingredients as listed. To view metric measurements, toggle the US Customary/Metric switch at the top of this recipe card.Start by preparing your protein. Use a sharp knife to trim any excessive fat from your pork chops, chicken breasts, turkey or veal cutlets. Then, one at a time, envelope the pork chop (or other protein) in plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet (rolling pin or heavy bottomed skillet) to pound the protein to a ¼ inch (6 millimeter) thickness. Set aside and repeat with remaining pieces
- Next, set up a breading station using three wide, shallow bowls. In the first bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. In the second bowl, make egg wash by whisking eggs until thin. Place your breadcrumbs in the third bowl.
- When ready to fry heat about ¾ inch of fry oil (or butterschmaltz) in a deep, wide frying pan or dutch oven. (The ideal frying temperature is between 350° - 375° Fahrenheit/ 175° - 190° celsius.) Bread each cutlet by coating first in flour, then in egg wash. Then, gently coat egg washed cutlets in breadcrumbs. Do not press the crumbs into the meat. Set breaded schnitzel cutlets on a wire rack lined sheet tray while you repeat the process with the remaining pieces.
- Fry each schnitzel in hot oil for 2 - 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Do not overcrowd the pan, you may need to fry in batches. Transfer fried schnitzel to a pare towel lined plate to drain of any excess oil. Season with salt immediately. Serve schnitzel immediately with lemon wedges and Alpine Fondue Sauce, as desired.
Alpine Fondue Sauce
- Gather, measure and prepare the Alpine Fondue Sauce ingredients as listed.In a heavy medium-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Cook one minute.
- Add cold milk a couple Tablespoons at a time (or in very a slow, steady stream) while whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 5 - 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly and is beginning to thicken. If there are any lumps, strain through a fine mesh strainer and return to a cleaned pot.
- Lower heat to it's lowest setting. Add shredded cheese, a little at a time, while stirring. Once cheese is completely melted and the sauce is velvety smooth, remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in mustard and lemon juice. Serve hot over crispy German Schnitzel and enjoy!
*Unless otherwise noted, foodworthfeed recipes are developed using Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt. If using iodized or table salt, reduce quantities by about half.