The Two-Ingredient Combo for Ultra-Crispy Breaded Chicken Cutlets

published May 13, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
fresh breadcrumb breaded fried chicken closeup
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

A breaded chicken cutlet is one of the last truly beautiful and pure things in life. The combination of golden, crispy crust and tender chicken is simply fantastic. That said, the dredging process is an involved project: dirty dishes, hot oil, wet hand, dry hand, etc. But if you’ve enjoyed the fruits of the process, you know it’s totally worth it. 

The typical breading process consists of three components: seasoned flour, a whisked egg (sometimes with cream or water added), and breadcrumbs (Italian, panko, gluten-free — whatever you like!). This has been a steady pillar in the church of my culinary education for as long as I could reach the counter.

Use an Egg White Mixed with Cornstarch Instead of the Whole Egg

Recently, however, my whole worldview shifted when I read about an alternative to the whole egg in the second step. After subbing out the whole egg for just an egg white mixed with cornstarch, I realized it creates a crispier, crunchier exterior. 

When you think about it, though, it makes sense: A cooked egg yolk is creamy, custardy and rich. Egg whites, however, make foods like meringue shatteringly crisp and delicate. It made me wonder why I had never considered this shakeup before!

Credit: Laura Manzano

How to Use an Egg White Mixed with Cornstarch for Breading

Because the egg white is literally half of the egg, I used two egg whites to take the place of the one whole egg I would normally use. I added about 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the whites, and whisked well until the egg white was broken-down, and even slightly frothy. 

I break the mold by seasoning my chicken (or whatever I’m breading) instead of the flour. You have control of exactly what ends up on the chicken this way, and because there’s almost always a bit of flour left over that I inevitably toss, I don’t feel like I’m throwing away precious spices. 

Credit: Laura Manzano

When it comes to the breadcrumbs, I’m definitely a panko loyalist, but I’ve recently taken my devotion one step further by seeking out imported brands of panko either in my favorite Asian grocery store or online. I find that the flakes are larger and more crisp, and when the cutlet is the star of my dinner, I want to do everything I can to make it as perfect as possible. 

The new-to-me egg white method worked better than I could have expected, and I’ve since vowed never to waste a yolk where it needn’t be ever again! The happy byproduct is an extra egg yolk, which I often use to make homemade pudding as a quick and easy dessert.