Crispy Tarragon Chicken Cutlets with Lemon

Crispy chicken cutlets and a lemon wedge on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack.

This used to be a recipe for chicken with arugula, roasted potatoes and maybe a sauce. I dreamt of an entire dinner emerging effortlessly from one recipe- but all I ended up with was a sheet pan of chicken cutlets. 

And I couldn’t stop eating them. 

Six breaded chicken cutlets on a wire-rimmed sheet pan with three lemon wedges.

This recipe needs no accompaniment. Better to skip the sides and save room for seconds and thirds and sneaky bites straight from the pan. 

Crispy strips of chicken spiced with tarragon, topped with flaky salt and a squeeze of lemon are as addictive as a bag of chips, but with a nutritional value that qualifies as dinner-worthy. 

Serve this with a lemony salad and it’s a complete, healthy meal.

Crispy chicken cutlets on a white plate with a green salad.

The golden-brown, panko crust appeals to men and children alike, while the lean, white-meat protein might just be America’s most agreed-upon food. Who says we live in polarizing times?

Everyone can get along over a plate of (lightly) fried poultry.

The dried tarragon gives this recipe enough character to delight the adventurous cook without scaring away her dinner companions. Try it with thyme or oregano if you’d prefer.

Crispy chicken cutlets save the night as a craveworthy, healthy-ish recipe that your family will love. Their superpower lies in simplicity, subtle spice and universal appeal.

When you bring this to the table on a Wednesday night, you become everyone’s weeknight dinner hero. 

Let’s Make Crispy Chicken Cutlets

We’ll get the worst part of this recipe out of the way: halving and pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness.

This can be tedious work. I find it easier to slip one or two of the halved breasts into a large ziplock bag, seal it, and then pound them. Dealing with a tangle of raw meat in saran wrap can cause the tired weeknight cook to order a pizza. 

The next step involves dipping, so all of the labor is uphill from here. 

It’s the classic breaded chicken cutlet dipping formula: beaten eggs, seasoned panko, shake off excess, set aside. Repeat. 

Raw chicken breast being dipped in panko in a glass bowl.

Next you’ll sear the chicken in a shallow pool of olive oil until it crisps like a tanned beachgoer under the sun.

Once you see that gorgeously golden-brown crust for the first time, you’ll know your labor was worth it. I imagine new moms feel the same way about their first baby (no?).

A final sprinkle of flaky salt (use regular salt if you don’t have flaky) and a hit of lemon make a good thing great. Pass extra lemon wedges at the table for the citrus-curious.

If by some stroke of luck there are leftovers, the chicken cutlets would make a stunning addition to a sandwich with too many pickles and a slick of mayo.

In fact, set one aside for yourself before serving. Be your own hero and enjoy a good night’s work again, tomorrow.

Crispy Tarragon Chicken Cutlets with Lemon

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
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Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

A craveworthy, healthy-ish recipe that your family will love. Sometimes simplicity is the greatest superpower.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups panko
  • 3 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • 2 lemons, quartered into wedges

Instructions

1

Halve the chicken breasts from top to bottom so you are left with thinner cutlets. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten chicken between sheets of plastic wrap (or sealed in a Ziploc bag) to ½ inch thickness.

2

Mix panko, granulated garlic, tarragon, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisk eggs in a small bowl.

3

Using tongs, dip chicken in beaten eggs, turn to coat and shake off excess. Dredge in panko mixture, coating completely. Set aside on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

4

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook cutlets until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side, adding more oil after each batch. Transfer to a wire rack. Be sure to scrape off any burnt bits of panko in between batches to avoid a smoky kitchen.

5

Sprinkle the crispy cutlets with flaky salt and serve hot, passing the lemon wedges around the table.

Nutrition

  • 521 Calories

Notes

A cold, light wine would pair nicely with the crispy fried chicken. Try a dry, crisp rosé or a lemony unoaked chardonnay.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Doreen
    September 19, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you for another tasty recipe. I used chicken thighs which are a bit easier to pound thin. Tasted fabulous. And I really appreciate all your helpful tips as I need all I can get.

    • Reply
      Samantha
      September 20, 2019 at 6:02 am

      Yes love the idea of using chicken thighs instead! They can be tastier too 🙂

  • Reply
    Doreen
    September 20, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    I tried to give 5 stars but it registered lower and I can’t fix it. 😳

    • Reply
      Samantha
      September 20, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      Haha it’s not your fault- it’s the recipe card’s fault!! You have to click it all the way to the right to register as 5 stars, my mom has accidentally rated my recipes lower a couple times. It’s confusing- I should get a different plug-in. Thank you 🙂

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