These crispy chicken fillets are marinated in buttermilk, breaded, and pan-fried until golden brown and crispy - a great recipe for any day of the week.
Juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside – that’s how chicken fillets should be. Learn how to cook them today – it’s super quick and super easy!
You can serve them with any sides you like, make crispy chicken fillet burgers, slice them, and serve them on top of a salad, and so on.
- Chicken: Already cut chicken fillets or boneless skinless chicken breast that you can cut yourself (See below). I had four medium breasts, and I split each of them into two thin cuts.
- Two chicken fillets make one serving.
- Buttermilk: It acts as a tenderizer making the meat juicy and tender.
- Eggs: They contain enzymes that break down the protein in meat and help tenderize it as well. Additionally, they help the coating stick to the pieces of meat.
- The spices added to the marinade add tons of flavor. You will need sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, fine sea salt or kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
- Alternatively, you can use any dry rub or spice mixture you like.
- Use more cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for spicy chicken breast fillets, or add 1-2 teaspoons of sriracha to the buttermilk marinade.
- You will need an extra teaspoon of paprika powder to add to the breadcrumb mixture.
- Panko breadcrumbs are my favorite choice when it comes to breadcrumbs. Of course, regular breadcrumbs are also great, but panko makes the coating even crispier.
- Parmesan: Freshly grated cheese; just a small amount that adds much flavor.
- Oil for shallow frying. Use an oil with a high smoking point, like vegetable, canola, or peanut oil. Don’t use olive oil for frying.
How to cut chicken fillets from a breast?
- You will need a cutting board and a large sharp knife. Place a kitchen towel under the board to prevent it from slipping while you slice the meat.
- Lay the skinless, boneless chicken breast on the cutting board.
- Place one hand flat on the piece of meat. Slice horizontally through the middle of the breast.
- Open up the breast, so you have two fillets. If you didn’t manage to cut them to the end, finish slicing them now. You should have two pieces of an even thickness (1).
How to cook chicken fillets?
- If you use chicken breasts, you must slice them as instructed above.
- Marinate chicken fillets in a mixture of buttermilk, spices, and eggs (2). Bring it to room temperature before cooking it.
- Bread the chicken in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, paprika, and Parmesan in a large shallow bowl (3).
- Lift a fillet from the marinade and let the excess drip back into the dish. Then, dredge the pieces through the breading (4).
- Shallow-fry the fillets: Heat the oil while you bread the meat. Fry the chicken fillets on each side for 4-5 minutes until browned (5,6).
- Transfer to a large plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- Marinate the chicken, even if only for 30 or 1 hour. But, of course, a little longer is even better. I usually marinate it for 4-5 hours; I prepare everything in the morning and cook the fillets for lunch.
- Check the temperature of the vegetable oil with an oil thermometer; it should be around 350°-375°F/ 180-190°C (Amazon affiliate link opens in a new tab).
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken pieces to avoid overcooking them. The safe temperature measured with a meat thermometer is 165°F/ 74°C (Amazon affiliate link opens in a new tab).
The breast is the whole breast or an uncut piece of the breast (usually half of the bird’s breast).
A fillet is a smaller piece cut from the breast. It is usually sliced horizontally from the breast and has an even thickness.
The cutlets are even thinner than the fillets because they have been pounded.
The tenderloin is a thin muscle attached to each half of the chicken breast. The tenders are usually removed and sold separately.
It has something to do with the oil or the chicken temperature.
Before cooking, let the marinated chicken come to room temperature (45-60 minutes).
Ensure that the oil temperature is constant, not too high or too low. Ideally, it should be around 350°-375°F/ 180-190°C.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Reheat them in the oven or air fryer to help them stay crispy (they will not be as crispy as when freshly cooked, but still crispy enough).
The microwave works for reheating, but it will make the breading soggy.
Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat as instructed above.
How to serve chicken fillets?
There is a myriad of side dishes you could choose from; almost anything goes with this crispy chicken fillet recipe. Here are just a few examples:
- Potatoes: Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Crispy Smashed Potatoes, Romanian Potato Salad, or Air Fryer Baked Potatoes.
- Pasta: Garlic Butter Noodles, Peanut Butter Noodles, Cream Cheese Pasta, or Greek Pasta Salad.
- Rice: Buttered Garlic Rice, Zucchini Tomato Rice, Rice Pilaf, or Jollof Rice.
- Salads: Green Salad with Yogurt Dressing or Raspberry Vinaigrette, Beetroot Feta Salad, or White Cabbage Salad.
- Vegetables: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Sweetheart Cabbage, Roasted Leeks, or Buttered Vegetables.
More breaded chicken recipes
Crispy Chicken Fillets
- High-sided pan Note 2
- Shallow container for marinating
- 8 chicken fillets or 4 chicken breasts, Note 1
- ½ cup cooking oil 125 ml, Note 2
- 1 cup buttermilk 250 ml
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs 100 g/ 3.5 oz
- ¼ cup Parmesan freshly grated 15 g
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- If you use chicken breasts, you will have to slice them. 4 chicken breasts
- Place a kitchen towel under a large cutting board to prevent it from slipping.
- Lay the boneless skinless chicken breast on the cutting board. Place one hand flat on the piece of meat. Slice horizontally through the middle of the breast.
- Open up the breast, so you have two fillets. If you didn’t manage to cut them to the end, finish slicing them now. You should have two pieces of an even thickness.
Marinate chicken fillets:
- Mix buttermilk, eggs, and spices in a shallow dish (for instance, a baking dish). 1 cup/ 250 ml buttermilk + 2 eggs + 1 teaspoon paprika + 1 teaspoon garlic powder + ½ teaspoon onion powder + ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper + 1 teaspoon fine sea salt + ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Marinate chicken: Add the chicken to the marinade and turn it around to coat it all over. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes to 4-5 hours.
- Bring the chicken to room temperature before frying it; it will need 45-60 minutes on the counter.
Bread the chicken:
- Mix panko breadcrumbs, paprika, and Parmesan in a large shallow bowl.
- Lift a fillet from the buttermilk marinade and let the excess marinade drip back into the dish.
- Dredge the pieces through the breading, pressing the breading lightly onto the fillets to help them adhere.
Shallow-fry the fillets:
- Heat the oil while you bread the chicken. The oil temperature should be around 350°F/ 180°C (Note 3).
- Carefully lower a few chicken pieces into the oil (use tongs). Don’t overcrowd the pan.
- Fry the chicken on each side for 4-5 minutes until nicely browned and cooked. The internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer should be 165°F/ 74°F.
- Transfer the chicken to a large plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- Chicken cuts: You can purchase already-sliced chicken fillets or 4 chicken breasts, which you will cut yourself.
- Use an oil with a high smoking point, like vegetable, canola, or peanut oil. Don’t use olive oil for frying. The amount of oil you need depends on the size of the pan; its bottom should be covered with about ½ inch/ 1.5 cm of oil. For example, I needed about ½ cup/ 125 ml for a high-sided pan with a 10 inches/ 25 cm diameter.
- Oil temperature: Using an oil thermometer to measure the temperature is best. Alternatively, stick the tip of a toothpick into the hot oil; if small blisters are forming around it, the oil should be hot enough for frying.