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Culinary Arts

Chef Thomas Keller’s Wiener Schnitzel Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Nov 23, 2018 • 3 min read

Wiener Schnitzel—a thin, breaded, and pan-fried veal cutlet—is a staple of Austrian cuisine. It is traditionally served with parsley and lemon.

Here, Michelin-starred Chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry shares his technique for making a classic wiener schnitzel.

Written by MasterClass

Nov 23, 2018 • 3 min read

What Are Varieties of Wiener Schnitzel?

Different culinary cultures have given rise to a wide variety of schnitzels, each inviting their own garnishes and sauces. Try different recipes and combinations, and find the ones that you like best.

Jägerschnitzel

  • Jägerschnitzel, or jager schnitzel, is traditionally served with a mushroom sauce (pictured).

Chicken-fried steak

  • Jägerschnitzel’s American poultry-based sibling, chicken-fried steak is served with mushroom gravy (though in the United States, the mushroom sauce is also called a hunter’s sauce).

Zigeunerschnitzel

  • Often accompanied by zigeuner sauce, this German schnitzel is made with tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions.

Skinkeschnitzel

  • In Denmark, a breaded pork cutlet called skinkeschnitzel often lends itself to a garnish of lemon, capers, horseradish, and anchovy.

Floridanleike

  • The Finnish cutlet known as floridanleike is frequently enjoyed with a fried peach and béarnaise sauce.

Veal Milanese

  • An Italian classic, veal Milanese is often garnished with nothing more than a lemon wedge.

While different culinary traditions have given rise to different kinds of schnitzels, Chef Keller’s focus here is on wiener schnitzel, with a classic garnish of parsley and lemon, a preparation that he hopes will make his Austrian friends proud.

How to Make the Best Wiener Schnitzel

Chef Keller offers you a few tricks of the trade.

  1. Seasoning the meat directly with salt pulls moisture from the surface, which means you’ll get a thick and heavy coating of flour, so Chef Keller recommends you season the egg wash instead—and season it generously.
  2. Instead of buying pre-sliced meat, Chef Keller recommends slicing the veal yourself.
  3. It’s better to cut thicker slices and pound them thin rather than cutting thin slices, as pounding tenderizes the meat.
  4. Because pounding veal for wiener schnitzel calls for a more forceful motion than pounding chicken breast for chicken paillard, Chef Keller puts the meat inside a sturdy, sealable kitchen bag rather than between layers of plastic wrap.
  5. While making your own breadcrumbs is an option, high-quality breadcrumbs are readily available in stores. Look for breadcrumbs that don’t contain any added sugar or flavor. You can also use panko, but pulse it in a food processor to a fine crumb for this application because it is so flaky.
  6. Spritz the meat with water to help create an airy layer of separation between the meat and its crispy breadcrumb coating—the mark of a true schnitzel.

Chef Thomas Keller’s Recipe for Wiener Schnitzel

Ingredient Checklist

Mise en place

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds trimmed veal top round, cut across the grain into 12 ½-inch thick slices (5-6 ounce slice of veal per person)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs broken into a bowl, but not beaten (2 to 3 eggs is enough for most applications, enough for a ¼-inch layer at the bottom of a wide-bottom dish)
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • Canola oil
  • Lemon wedges
  • Parsley

Equipment

  • Cutting board lined with plastic wrap
  • Mallet (smooth side)
  • 12-inch sauté pan

Place a piece of veal in a large food-grade plastic bag and pound with the spiked side of a meat mallet until it reaches a uniform thickness of about ¼-inch. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining veal. The cutlets can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 12 hours.

Set up a breading station with three bowls. Put about ½-inch of flour in a shallow bowl wide enough to hold the cutlets. Lightly beat the eggs in a second bowl. Add water to dilute the egg wash—the egg wash should have the viscosity of cream, and season it generously with salt.

Spread half an inch of breadcrumbs in the third. If you use panko, first pulse in a food processor until finely ground.

Heat the oil in the pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer. You can adjust heat as needed once you begin cooking.

Dredge the cutlets, working one at a time. First, spray the cutlet with water. Dip both sides of the cutlet in the flour, patting off any excess. Then dip both sides into the eggs, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Finally, coat both sides with breadcrumbs.

Add the dredged cutlet to the hot oil and cook for about 1 minute on each side, until crisp and golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to rest. To plate, garnish simply with lemon and parsley.

Recipe notes:

  • If preparing larger quantities, prepare in subsequent batches or use multiple pans to avoid overcrowding—one schnitzel per pan. If you’re working in batches, keep warm in oven on a wire rack so you don’t lose the crispiness.
  • If you want to serve this with a side dish, look for something light, bright, and refreshing with good acid like Chef Keller’s German potato salad—a classic accompaniment to wiener schnitzel.

Thomas Keller

Teaches Cooking Techniques I: Vegetables, Pasta, And Eggs: Fundamental techniques. Fantastic food.

Chef Thomas Keller is the only American chef to hold multiple Michelin three-star ratings. In his MasterClass, the chef behind The French Laundry teaches you the foundations of his kitchen, from cookware to essential ingredients. Learn techniques like blanching, glazing, confit, and more. Gain the skills—and confidence—that will help you execute vegetables, eggs, and pastas to perfection.

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