This Wiener schnitzel recipe is how I remember it in Austria as a child. It’s a classic Austrian dish, loved by children and adults alike. And for good reason: it’s simple, comforting and delicious. Plus it’s really not hard to make at home.
I’m currently in the UK visiting family and friends (plus some time in Iceland on the way back). We often visit this time of year as my husband has a recurring meeting in Geneva and so we typically get dropped off and meet up with him either end. Three years ago, instead of visiting my parents in Edinburgh, we met them in Austria which was a real trip down memory lane for me. Austria holds a lot of memories for me as I used to go there with my parents most years for vacation/holiday in the summer, so it was great to re-live some of them with my husband and son.
I was never much of a ‘kids menu’ kid – I was always brought up eating the same as my parents and that didn’t include many of the things typically on kids menus like chicken fingers or burgers. In Austria, however, kids menus pretty much always include Wiener schnitzel – it’s practically the national dish and also child-friendly – and it was something I loved (along with Kaiserschmarrn, spaetzle, German pancake soup, jaegerschnitzel and many more).
When we were visiting three years ago, we stayed at a bed and breakfast that had become somewhere we always went as part of our visits when I was a child. The owner was such a character, so warm and welcoming, and I know my parents would now certainly consider her a friend. When we all visited, she made Wiener schnitzel for us one night and it reminded me how tasty it can be.
Is Wiener schnitzel made with pork or veal?
Traditionally, Wiener schnitzel is made from veal. However these days it’s common to have a variation using pork escalopes/fillets since veal is more expensive. In Austria at least it has to be clear if it’s ‘vom schwein’ (from pig) or not, but other places are not as strict. I have to say I prefer veal and since I found some, that’s what I used here.
How to make an authentic Wiener schnitzel
The classic Wiener schnitzel recipe is a very simple dish, really, as you just bread and fry veal escalopes. You dip them in flour, then egg then breadcrumbs before frying them in butter (sometimes mixed with a little oil). A couple of tips, though:
- Make sure you handle the veal carefully and gently shake off excess at each step in dipping so you don’t get clumps of flour/breadcrumbs.
- Don’t press on the breadcrumbs so the breading stays light and can ripple up a bit (mine didn’t really in the pictures – typically it did the first time I made it but the pictures weren’t very good! But it doesn’t matter, really, either way, it was still not overly-breaded and tasted great).
- Make sure you have enough oil/butter in your pan that it doesn’t go dry and toast. I know it can be tempting to cut back, as I often do, but the meat won’t cook as well and the crumbs can darken as you try to get the meat cooked (as a little bit in the pics here).
There is nothing more to it than that, except maybe a squeeze of lemon on top, which I always liked. Serve it with potato salad, fries, or potatoes with parsley. You might also get a side salad or vegetables like green beans or broccoli but nothing too complicated.
This Wiener schnitzel recipe takes me back to childhood and holds many memories for me. But even without the memories, it’s one that anyone can enjoy. It is a simple but tasty and comforting dish, perfect for young and old alike.
- 2 veal escalopes/slices (approx ½lb/ 225g but larger fine)
- 2tbsp flour
- ¼tsp salt, approx
- 1 egg
- 1 cup/50g breadcrumbs
- 2tbsp butter for frying, or more as needed
- Lightly pound the veal escalopes with a meat tenderizer to thin them slightly and help to tenderize them.
- Spread the flour over a plate and sprinkle over the salt. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate. Beat the egg in a flat dish such as an oven dish.
- Dip the veal slices in the flour, ensure it is covered all over then shake off the excess before dipping in the egg. Again ensure it is covered then place on the plate with the breadcrumbs. Carefully turn so that both sides are covered with breadcrumbs but don't pat them on - it's characteristic of a schnitzel for the breading to ripple a little.
- Heat the butter in a skillet/frying pan over a medium heat then add the breaded veal. I prefer to cook one at a time in a slightly smaller pan to make it a little easier to turn but as you find best. Cook for around 3-5minutes before turning and cooking around the same on the other side - in both cases until the breadcrumbs are lightly brown. Add extra butter as needed - the breadcrumbs do need to all have contact with some butter or it wont cook through.
- Remove from the pan and serve immediately.
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