The Important Step To Prevent Your Chicken Coating From Falling Off

In the pantheon of easy weeknight meals there may be no option as comforting and tasty as battered chicken. With just a few common kitchen ingredients, you can go from hungry to crispy chicken cutlets in no time flat. They are so popular that almost every cuisine on earth boasts a variety of them, from German schnitzel to Japanese katsu. While they can inspire endless variations, like chicken Parmesan, it's hard to improve on them in their most simple form. Golden brown and savory, with a perfect contrast between that crackling crust and the tender chicken, a well-made chicken cutlet doesn't even need a sauce to be delicious.

The key to good fried chicken cutlets is, of course, the batter or breading. Outside of slicing or pounding it appropriately thin and even, the chicken is the easy part. For the breading you have quite a few options, with Bon Appétit suggesting everything from your standard store-bought breadcrumbs, to cornflakes and Doritos. The breading is bringing all the texture and most of the flavor to your cutlets, so you want to make sure you do it right. 

One of the saddest sights for crispy chicken cutlets is watching as the breading or batter falls off in the pan, leaving you with naked spots of mostly flavorless chicken. So don't skip this essential ingredient that will keep your breading intact while it cooks.

Always dip your chicken in beaten egg before coating

A properly breaded chicken that holds together and doesn't fall off comes from a few different ingredients working in tandem. According to Taste of Home, the essential glue holding together all the parts in your crispy chicken project is beaten egg. Dipping your chicken in egg helps the breadcrumbs, or whatever coating you use, adhere evenly to the outside of the cutlet. You should start with a thin layer of flour, which gives the egg a better surface to cling to, then the egg, then the coating. The egg will also quickly cook and combine the flour once your chicken goes in the pan, further gripping the coating and ensuring an even, crunchy exterior that doesn't separate from the cutlet or flake off in the pan.

No matter what type of coating you are using, the eggs will also combine with it to form that perfect crust. Food52 states that you should let your fully dredged and coated cutlets sit for up to 30 minutes at room temperature before cooking, which helps the egg mix with coat and form an even stronger bond. While other options like mayo can take the place of eggs, this classic coating method produces a perfectly crunchy coating that won't let you down in either sturdiness or flavor.