Chicken Milanese with Panko Breadcrumbs and Lemon Zest

Chicken Milanese is an Italian dish of either chicken, beef or veal that is breaded and lightly fried in oil. My Chicken Milanese with Panko Breadcrumbs and Lemon Zest gets additional flavor from fresh basil, arugula and tomatoes. I have said this before many times here on the blog, but cooking with fresh herbs is the absolute key to good flavor. Yes, they cost more than dried herbs, but the flavor is absolutely worth the cost and you don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant and pay upwards of $20 for a delicious meal.

Chicken Milanese is not a difficult dish to prepare and you can serve it with a simple side of some pasta or a light salad. It’s also another great dish for entertaining. It makes a beautiful presentation and tastes like it took a lot of time and preparation (only it doesn’t!)

Start by pounding out the chicken breasts until they are about 1/4 inch thick. The easiest way I have found to accomplish this (without a big mess) is to place two breasts in a large Ziploc bag, seal the bag, and take the flat side of a meat mallet and pound away until they are the desired thickness. This evens out the thickness of the breasts, ensures even cooking time, and allows them to cook completely without burning the breading on the outside. If the middle of the breasts are too thick, they won’t cook completely and you do not want to serve undercooked chicken. Trust me on this!

Next, create your breading station. I don’t really measure, I just pour the ingredients onto the plates. Add plain flour to one plate (about 1.5-2 cups or so), beat 2 eggs into a bowl, and add Panko breadcrumbs and the zest of one lemon onto another plate. You can add salt & pepper to the flour if you wish, but I don’t find it necessary.

Chicken Milanese Breading Station

Adding lemon zest to the Panko breadcrumbs adds texture and a nice kick of lemon to the breading. Citrus zest packs a TON of flavor in a small amount. You can substitute regular breadcrumbs for the Panko, but I really prefer the texture of the Panko breadcrumbs with chicken milanese.

Panko with Lemon Zest

In a deep skillet, heat up enough canola oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. We’re not doing  a deep fry here, we just need enough oil to brown the chicken. Also add three whole garlic cloves to give the oil some garlic infused flavor. You can tell the oil is ready for the chicken by placing the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If it bubbles all around the spoon, the oil is ready.

When the chicken is golden brown on the first side, flip it and continue cooking on the other side. Remove when brown and drain on a baking rack.

Chicken Milanese in Pan

While the chicken is browning, chop up some fresh basil and fresh arugula, slice the grape tomatoes in half and slice up a lemon into wedges.

Lemon Arugula Basil

After the breasts have cooled, place on a plate and squeeze the juice of one lemon wedge over the top and garnish with the basil, arugula and sliced grape tomatoes. Serve with some pasta or a salad on the side. Enjoy! If you give this recipe a try, please come back and leave a comment and let me know how you like it and snap a photo and tag #ketchumkitchen on Social Media. Thanks for stopping by!

Chicken Milanese with Panko Breadcrumbs and Lemon Zest


Chicken Milanese with Panko Breadcrumbs and Lemon Zest


  • 4 Chicken breasts, pounded out to 1/4 inch thickness
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Flour for breading (approx 1.5-2 cups)
  • Panko breadcrumbs for breading (approx 1.5-2 cups)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Canola oil (enough to coat the bottom of a deep skillet)
  • 3 whole peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon sliced into wedges
  • Arugula for garnish
  • Fresh basil for garnish, chopped
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved


  • Heat up the canola oil and garlic cloves in a deep skillet on high heat until bubbles form around the end of a wooden spoon. Meanwhile, pound out the chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Prepare the breading station - flour on one plate, 2 beaten eggs in a bowl, and the breadcrumbs and lemon zest on another plate. Take each breast and dredge first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs and place in the oil and cook until completely browned on one side and flip to brown on the other side. Make sure there is no pink in the middle. When the breasts have cooked completely, let them drain and cool on a wire rack.
  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon wedge over each chicken breast and garnish with the basil, arugula and grape tomatoes. Serve with some simple pasta or a salad.
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