This oven-baked schnitzel comes out crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. With a flavorful make-ahead marinade, it comes together fast and goes into the oven with minimal maintenance, no frying required.Yum
There are times that call for baked schnitzel: times when frying is just a nope; when the timing doesn't work well for schnitzel's fry-and-serve mentality; or maybe when you need a nice schnitzel to slice on the diagonal and perch atop of your salad. For such times, there's this fantastically crispy, tender-on-the-inside, easy-to-make schnitzel. Oh, and by schnitzel, we mean Israeli-style chicken schnitzel, just baked, not fried.
There are three secrets I've discovered, mostly by making lots of oven-baked schnitzel that turned out dry and unappealing:
- While regular fried schnitzel doesn't need a lot of pizzazz in the marinade department, baked schnitzel benefits from it. Nothing fancy, just a few pantry basics. Just half an hour to marinate is fine, more is even better. I pop it in a lidded glass baking dish and stick it in the fridge whenever I remember to do that.
- Placing the schnitzel on an oven-safe baking/cooling rack inside a sheet pan helps it crisp up on all sides without any turning or other maintenance.
- Misting the schnitzels with cooking spray (spray oil) of your choice helps keep them from drying out but also not get soggy from drizzled oil.
A make (a little) ahead marinade
Again, nothing fancy. Two eggs, soy sauce, honey, Dijon mustard, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk it all together in a pan, place the schnitzels inside, turn them so they're nicely coated, and refrigerate for half an hour, or more. You want your chicken breasts to be either thin cut or pounded before they go in the marinade.
Breading the schnitzel
Since the schnitzels are all nice and marinated, you just need to dredge them in bread crumbs. I've discovered that a loaf pan is the perfect vessel for holding the bread crumbs so that they don't get all over my counter, and also little goes to waste. Set yourself up with a baking/oven rack placed inside a sheet pan (like this one; I got mine at Costco). You can place the breaded schnitzels right on the rack.
About the bread crumbs: I keep a bag of fresh bread crumbs in my freezer, which I make by blitzing the ends of bread or other undesirables that became stale. I've made schnitzel with homemade bread crumbs, and it works; but, though it hurts my DIY purist pride, I think commercial crumbs, specifically Israeli brands, work best for schnitzel. The crumbs you see in the photo are Osem Golden Crisp Homestyle Bread Crumbs.
Baking the schnitzel so it comes out crispy
If you have an oven-safe rack, then most of the crisping work is behind you. If you don't have one, you can bake the schnitzel on a lined sheet pan and flip it over halfway through the baking time, about 15-20 minutes in.
The final crisping maneuver is to mist the chicken breasts generously with cooking spray. This oils them just a little.
Looking for a side dish for your crispy baked schnitzel?
- Rice with Vermicelli is a classic, very Israeli choice (seen in the first photo above).
- Dairy-Free Creamy Mashed Potatoes are always a good idea.
- How about a Pashtida, a savory, crustless vegetable pie?
Crispy Baked Schnitzel (meat)
- Oven-safe baking/cooling rack placed inside a sheet pan
- 4 chicken breasts, thin cut, pounded, or tenders - about 1 lb / 500 g
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- ¾ cup bread crumbs - can add sesame
- cooking spray
Half an hour or more ahead:
- Mix the mustard, silan or honey, soy sauce, and spices in a baking dish. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Bread the chicken:
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and dredge in breadcrumbs. Place on a baking rack inside a sheet pan. Spray generously with cooking spray.
- Bake the chicken breasts for 35 minutes, until crisp and cooked through.