Crispy chicken cutlets baked or fried, and kept in the freezer for the quickest weeknight dinner! This is one of the best freezer meals ever, and such a treat for your future self.
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- several grinds black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups panko bread crumbs
- oil for frying or spray oil for baking
- Prep: Cut the chicken pieces in half crosswise, to form 2 thinner pieces. Place the chicken pieces in a ziplock bag 2 or 3 at a time, and seal the bag. Use a large heavy skillet or meat mallet to gently pound the chicken to about 1/3 inch and all one even layer.
- Set Up: Once the chicken is all pounded out, arrange the breading station. Place the flour on a plate or shallow dish and mix with the salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs lightly in a separate dish. Pour the breadcrumbs in a third dish. Place a 4th container (a large plate or baking sheet) in the same area for the breaded chicken cutlets.
- Bread: Bread each piece by lightly dipping it in the flour mixture, then lightly in the egg, then finally in the bread crumbs. Press as many bread crumbs as you can into the chicken, then place the breaded chicken flat in one layer.
- Freeze: Flash freeze the chicken by placing the entire tray (this may need to be done in batches) in the freezer. Let the chicken freeze for at least one hour, then transfer to storage bags or containers for long-term freezing.
- (this chicken may be cooked from frozen or from fresh, choose baking or frying method. there is no need to thaw these chicken cutlets once they are frozen)
- Bake: To bake the chicken cutlets, preheat the oven to 425F and arrange the frozen (or fresh!) cutlets on a baking sheet OR on a rack set inside of a baking sheet for slightly more browning. Spray both sides of the chicken with cooking spray or spray oil. Bake the cutlets for about 25 minutes total, flipping once halfway through, until the breading is crispy and the chicken's internal temperature measures 165F.
- Shallow Fry: Preheat a large skillet to medium (medium-low if your stove runs hot) with about 1/3 inch of oil. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken a few pieces at a time and fry for 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. If the chicken browns too quickly, reduce the heat to allow the breading to brown slowly and the chicken to cook all the way through.
- With both cooking methods, remove from the heat and immediately sprinkle with a bit of salt before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Servings: Even though one "piece" of this chicken is only a half of a chicken breast, I find that these can sometimes be shared by 2 people. The breading bulks them up, and they're deliciously filling!
This recipe can be scaled way up - there is nothing wrong with breading 25 pieces of chicken at once and keeping them in the freezer for months!
If you'd prefer to not cut or pound the chicken, you can look for pre-sliced "thin chicken cutlets" and bread them using the instructions above.
Keywords: baked chicken cutlets, breaded chicken breast baked, breaded chicken cutlets baked, breaded chicken cutlets