4 Ways to Make Milanese

It's a quick and foolproof way to turn a weeknight dinner into something special.

Crispy Pork Milanese
Photo: © Leela Cyd

Preparing something Milanese (or Milanesa) style means dredging thin slices of meat in flour, eggs, and seasoned breadcrumbs and frying them. A traditional Milanese dish is a bone-in veal chop pounded until very thin, and then breaded and pan-fried. This method of cooking meat is simple and delicious, and it's no wonder that we use it to cook not just veal, but pork, chicken, and even beef, which is the preferred protein for this preparation in South America. Milanese looks impressive — with a thin, flat piece of meat covering most if not all of the plate — but it is pretty foolproof to make. Plus, it’s super quick, making it an ideal weeknight dinner.

How to make Milanese

You can ask your butcher to pound the meat flat, or do it at home. Place the meat — chicken breasts, pork chops, or top round steak — between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap, or inside a ziplock bag. Hold the meat mallet towards the end of the handle so you use the full power of the mallet, and pound the meat flat, working your way from the center of the meat to the edges, getting it a quarter inch thick. For the best results, bread the meat at least 30 minutes before cooking; the breading adheres to the meat better after it rests. Set up three shallow bowls: one with flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper, another with beaten eggs, and the third with breadcrumbs. Dredge each piece of meat in the flour, shake off the excess, then dip it completely in egg, and then finish it in the breadcrumbs, being sure to coat it completely. Place the breaded meat on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; you can do this step up to four hours in advance of frying the meat, making this dish doable for a dinner party or large gathering. You can get creative when seasoning the breadcrumbs, add a bit of pimentón, dried herbs, curry powder, or grated Parmesan. The accompaniment can be simple; Milanese pairs nicely with a crisp salad.

From there, you have plenty of options. Here are four ways to make Milanese.

Crispy Pork Milanese

Crispy Pork Milanese
© Leela Cyd

The mix of panko and Parmesan cheese in Melissa Clark's breading gets delightfully crunchy when pan-fried.

Chicken Milanese with Sage and Lemon Butter Sauce

Chicken Milanese with Sage-and-Lemon-Butter Sauce
© Fredrika Stjärne

These pounded, breaded, and fried chicken cutlets are served with a creamy butter sauce that's lightened with a touch of lemon juice and dry white wine.

Veal Chops Milanese with Sage

Veal Chops Milanese with Sage
© Melanie Acevedo

For this recipe, sage is mixed right in with the breadcrumbs to impart flavor into the golden, crunchy veal chops. Ask the butcher to pound the chops for you to an eighth of an inch thick, or do the flattening at home with a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy frying pan.

Milanesa Napolitana

Milanesa Napolitana

William Hereford

Milanesa Napolitana is a variation on the breaded fried steak popular throughout Argentina. In this recipe, thin slices of beef are dipped in a garlicky egg mixture and coated with breadcrumbs before they are pan-fried to golden perfection. The finishing touches of tomato sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, basil, and paper-thin slices of fresh tomatoes are simple but add flair to the meal.

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