Crispy chicken schnitzels with creamy mushroom sauce make a delicious family supper. Make the schnitzels extra crispy by coating them in panko breadcrumbs or by toasting your breadcrumbs in the oven before coating the chicken.
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Crispy chicken schnitzels
When I lived in South Africa, one of my favourite restaurant meals was chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce. It came on an enormous platter, with two gigantic schnitzels. On the menu, it was advertised as chicken schnitzels with french fries, but the restaurant was very obliging and always let me swap out the french fries for their vegetables of the day, which were normally glazed pumpkin, creamed spinach and peas. The schnitzel was covered in a creamy mushroom sauce, and it was absolutely delicious.
Much as I looked forward to eating it, the helping was far too large and I normally ended up asking for one of the schnitzels to be packed up in a take-away box. This was always presented to the African security guard whose unenviable job it was to look after the cars parked outside the restaurant. It was accepted with much hand-clapping and many thank-yous.
The best thing about this meal was how crispy the schnitzel was, even under all the sauce. I once asked the chef how he managed it, and his answer was to toast the breadcrumbs before coating the chicken.
Now that I'm living in lockdown in the UK, I've made it my business to try and recreate my favourite restaurant dishes at home. this dish. I think this one comes pretty close to the original. And if you are ever in Johannesburg you can try the original chicken schnitzel that I based this recipe on for yourself, at the Thundergun restaurant in Randburg. (That's not an affiliate link - but the restaurant is well worth a visit).
How to make a crispy chicken schnitzel
- This recipe will feed 4 people.
- Prep time : 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes refrigeration time - used for making the sauce)
- Actual cooking time : 20 minutes
You can find the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making chicken schnitzel with creamy mushroom sauce on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Butterfly the chicken
Start off by butterflying the chicken breasts. Do this by slicing them in half lengthwise through the middle. Don't cut them all the way through then open the chicken breast out to form a flat 'butterfly' shape (see image 1 below).
At this point, I sprinkle the schnitzels with a little salt. If you don't use salt you don't have to do this step.
Coat the schnitzels in breadcrumbs
Prepare 3 dishes with the coating ingredients (image 2 above). The chicken will be coated using the dry / wet / dry coating method.
- In the first bowl (dry) measure out 1 tablespoon of cornflour (cornstarch) per fillet.
- Break 2 eggs into the second bowl (wet). Whisk lightly to break up the eggs and then stir in 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. If you don't like mustard you can leave it out.
- Measure out approximately 1 cup of breadcrumbs into the third bowl (dry). I like to use Panko breadcrumbs, which are a type of Japanese breadcrumb that is extra crispy. If you don't have Panko, you can just blitz slices of bread in a food processor to make your own breadcrumbs (or grate the bread on a cheese grater). Spread the grated breadcrumbs evenly on a baking sheet and place in a hot oven (200C / 400F) for about 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs start to brown and become crispy.
- Dip the schnitzel into the cornflour (cornstarch) and shake off the excess. Next, dip the schnitzel into the egg mixture and finally dip it into the breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs firmly onto the chicken.
- Place the coated chicken schnitzels on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes until the coating sets (image 3 above). This step ensures the coating will stick to the chicken when it is fried.
- Fry each schnitzel in olive oil for 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.
Make the creamy mushroom sauce
While the chicken is resting in the refrigerator, you can make the sauce.
- Chop an onion finely, and slice the mushrooms. Use as many mushrooms as you like. If you don't want to use onion you can leave it out and just use mushrooms. I like to use white mushrooms, but you can use chestnut or portobello mushrooms too.
- Fry the mushrooms and onions gently in butter in a saucepan until the onions are softened and the mushrooms have released their moisture (image 2 above). Tip - put a lid on the saucepan while they are cooking, and allow them to cook on a low heat.
- Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of cornflour (cornstarch) (image 3 above).
- Now add 1 and a half cups of milk and half a cup of single cream. Return to the heat and stir until thickened (image 3 above).
- Season with salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
Arrange the chicken schnitzels on a plate alongside a helping of mashed potatoes and your choice of fresh vegetables. Spoon the sauce over and serve.
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Instead of chicken, you can use either veal, pork tenderloin or finely sliced beef.
If using one of these cuts of meat you should flatten the meat by placing it between two sheets of clingfilm or plastic wrap and pounding it lightly with a meat mallet. This has the effect of both thinning out the meat and also tenderising it.
Once flattened, coat the meat in breadcrumbs and continue as per the recipe instructions.
This dish can also be served with rice and a fresh seasonal salad.
Can I freeze chicken schnitzels?
You can freeze the uncooked crumbed schnitzels by arranging them on a baking tray and placing them in the freezer until frozen.
Once frozen, transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag and leave in the freezer for up to 4 months.
To use, remove as many schnitzels as you need from the freezer bag and fry from frozen, for approximately 6 minutes per side, until golden.
Cooked chicken should reach an internal temperature of 74C / 165F, or the inside of the chicken should be completely white, with no pink showing when you cut it in half.
The mushroom sauce can also be frozen. Just store in the freezer in a plastic container or ziploc bag. When you are ready to use it place the frozen sauce in a saucepan and heat gently until defrosted, Then increase the heat slightly and bring to the boil, stirring all the time so that the sauce doesn't split.
Prepare them in advance
You can prepare these schnitzels up to 2 days in advance. Once the schnitzels have been coated in breadcrumbs, you can store them, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.
When ready to use, just fry them for the time stated in the recipe.
The mushroom sauce can also be prepared in advance. Make the sauce and allow to cool. Then leave it, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to use, remove from the refrigerator, stir to incorporate any liquid that may have formed on top, and then reheat gently on the stove until piping hot.
Pin for later
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If you enjoyed this chicken schnitzel recipe you may also like to try some of my other chicken recipes:
- Creamy chicken marsala with mushrooms
- Oven-baked peri-peri chicken - just like Nandos
- Cheesy chicken and vegetable pasta bake
- Garlic chicken and rice tray-bake
- Chicken and mushroom puff pie
Crispy chicken schnitzels with creamy mushroom sauce
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- 4 large chicken breasts approx 100g or 4 ounces each
- 4 tablespoons / 30 grams cornflour/cornstarch
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs add extra if needed
- 2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil for frying the schnitzels
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 5 ounces / 150 grams sliced white mushrooms
- 2 ounces / 60 grams butter for frying the mushrooms
- 1.5 tablespoon / 15 grams cornflour/cornstarch
- 1½ cups / 360ml milk
- ½ cup / 120 ml single cream
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- Butterfly the chicken breasts by cutting them almost in half, then open them out and press flat. Sprinkle with salt to taste.4 large chicken breasts, salt
- Place the cornflour in one flat dish.4 tablespoons / 30 grams cornflour/cornstarch
- Break the eggs into the second dish and whisk in 1 tablespoon dijon mustard.2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- Place 1 cup of breadcrumbs into the third dish. (See note 1).1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Coat each schnitzel by dipping first into the cornflour, then into the beaten egg, and finally into the breadcrumbs. Press the breadcrumbs firmly onto the chicken.
- Place the schnitzels on a plate and put them into the refrigerator to rest for half an hour. This will allow the coating to firm up and help to prevent it from falling off while frying.
- Fry the schnitzels in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. See note 2.2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
Creamy mushroom sauce
- Saute the chopped onions and mushrooms in the butter in a saucepan until the onions are softened and the mushrooms have released their moisture (about 5 minutes). See note 3.1 large onion, 5 ounces / 150 grams sliced white mushrooms, 2 ounces / 60 grams butter
- Once the onions have softened, remove from the heat and stir in 1½ tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch.1.5 tablespoon / 15 grams cornflour/cornstarch
- Add the milk and single cream.1½ cups / 360ml milk, ½ cup / 120 ml single cream
- Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens. Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. See note 4.
- Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.salt, ground black pepper
- Serve the chicken schnitzels on a plate with mashed potatoes and your choice of vegetables. Spoon over the sauce and enjoy.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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