Traditional German Schnitzel (Schweineschnitzel)

The most popular variations of Schnitzel is Jägerschnitzel (“hunter schnitzel”, served with a rich mushroom gravy – recipe to come!),  Zigeunerschnitzel (“gypsy schnitzel”, served with a zesty bell pepper sauce), and Rahmschnitzel (“cream schnitzel” served with a rich cream sauce).

Another heavenly option would be to use the recipe below for German Geschnetzeltes (omit the sliced pork) to serve with the Schnitzel and Spätzle.  This sauce amazing!

All three are commonly found in German restaurants and both are positively delicious.  When served plain, Schweineschnitzel (simply “pork schnitzel”) is usually garnished with a slice of lemon and a sprig of parsley, as pictured.

traditional German pork schnitzel recipe authentic Schweineschnitzel

Let’s get started!

The first key to achieving the perfect Schnitzel is to pound it very thin, no more than 1/4 inch thick.  The reason this is important is because you’ll need to fry it at high heat for a short period of time to get that perfect crispy crust without leaving the middle of the meat raw.

The easiest way to pound the pork chops is to lay them between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Be sure to pound them using the flat side of a meat mallet.

Schnitzel prep 1

Lightly sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.

Schnitzel prep 3

Have all of the “dipping bowls” laid out at the same time so you can move from one to the other quickly.  Lay out two plates and a shallow bowl:  Fill with flour/salt, lightly beaten eggs, and plain breadcrumbs (not panko).

Schnitzel prep 4

Dip the pork into the flour, coating all sides.

Schnitzel prep 5

Next dip the pork into the egg mixture, coating all sides.

Schnitzel prep 6

Then coat the pork with the breadcrumbs.   The next key to achieving the perfect Schnitzel:  Don’t press the breadcrumbs into the meat. Just softly coat the pork on both sides and all edges, and then gently shake off any excess.

Schnitzel prep 7

The next key is to immediately fry the Schnitzels.  Don’t let them sit in coating or the end result won’t be as crispy.  You don’t need a ton of oil, but you need enough so that the Schnitzels can “swim”.

Schnitzel prep 8

The final key is to make sure the oil is hot enough – but not too hot.  It should be around 330ºF – test it with a candy thermometer.  If it’s too hot, the crust will burn before the meat is done.  If it isn’t hot enough, you’ll end up with a soggy coating.  When the oil is hot enough it will  actually penetrate the coating less and you’ll end up with a crispy “dry” coating instead of an overly oily one.   The result will be a beautifully crispy coating with a tender and juicy interior, and that’s exactly what we want.

Schnitzel prep 9

Remove the Schnitzel from the fry pan and place them briefly on a plate lined with paper towels.  Transfer them to serving plates and garnish with slices of lemon and fresh parsley sprigs.  Serve immediately with Spaetzle, French fries, or German potato salad and a fresh leafy green salad.

traditional German pork schnitzel recipe authentic