This Wiener schnitzel recipe takes me back to childhood visits to Austria. 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 quick and easy to make at home.
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This time of year, we often head to Europe, in part to visit family and friends, but timing it with my husband’s work trips. Three years ago, instead of visiting my parents in Edinburgh, we met them in Austria. It was a real trip down memory lane.
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 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 very child-friendly. It became something I looked forward to on our visits (along with Kaiserschmarrn, spaetzle, German pancake soup, and much 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 is such a character. She is so warm and welcoming, and I know my parents 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 always veal. And in fact, to be called “Wiener schnitzel” it has to be made with veal, in Austria at least.
These days it’s common to have a variation using pork or chicken since veal is more expensive. In Austria if it’s not veal, it must always be labelled as the meat it is made from, eg ‘vom schwein’ (literally ‘from pig’) for pork.
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).
Tips for making Wiener schnitzel
- 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 hugely here partly as I had less fine breadcrumbs).
- Make sure you have enough butter/oil in your pan so 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 burn as you try to get the meat cooked.
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.
Want to try more German and Austrian dishes? Try these!
- Kaiserschmarrn (Austrian torn pancakes)
- German pancake soup
- Obatzda (German beer cheese dip)
- Speckbohnen (German green beans)
- Plus get even more ideas in the German recipes archives.
- ½ lb veal escalopes 225g, approx, typically 2-3 pieces
- 2 tbsp flour
- ¼ tsp salt approx
- 1 egg
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs 60g
- 2 tbsp butter for frying, or more as needed
- Lightly pound the veal escalopes with the flat side of a meat tenderizer to thin them slightly, but not break up the meat, and help to tenderize them (if they are already very thin, you may not need to).
- Spread the flour over a plate. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate or baking sheet. Beat the egg in a flat dish such as an oven dish.
- Lightly salt the veal on both sides, then 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. Just sprinkle crumbs over the top to fill any gaps.
- 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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