Traditional German Schnitzel (Schweineschnitzel)

German schnitzel pork recipe traditional authentic

Okay, everyone, here it is!  Drumroll…

How to make perfect Schnitzel!

As much as I love to cook – and being from Germany – it would be unforgivably inexcusable, a total outrage, if I didn’t know how to make Schnitzel!  After all, it’s the quintessential German dish.  Every tourist to Germany has had Schnitzel and most fall in love with it.  (I suppose there are the occasional odd individuals who don’t like it, and there’s sadly just no helping them).

Most Americans associate Schnitzel with Wienerschnitzel.  “Wienerschnitzel” is actually a geographically protected term in Germany and Austria and can only be made with veal.  This traditional German Schnitzel is prepared the same way as Austrian Wiener Schnitzel.  The only difference – German Schnitzel is made with pork (my preference) instead of veal (nein danke).  As for where the Schnitzel originally came from…the technique of breading and frying thin cuts of meat is attributed to the Romans from around 1 BC.  Another little tidbit:  Austrians will be the first to admit that Wienerschnitzel doesn’t come from Wien (Vienna).

But whether it’s Schweineschnitzel or Wienerschnitzel, when it’s perfectly breaded, perfectly fried, and perfectly crispy, practically everyone loves a good Schnitzel!  And now you can make it – perfectly – in your own kitchen!

Throughout the pictured recipe steps below, I’m going to share some tips and tricks with you that are important for achieving perfect results – like the kind of Schnitzel you’d get at a German restaurant – so be sure to read.

As already mentioned, Schnitzel is traditionally served with Spätzle and gravy, Pommes (fries), or Kartoffelsalat (German vinegar-based potato salad – it’s the best and recipe to come!).  Additionally, it’s usually served with a leafy green salad.

Don’t forget to check out this authentic recipe for Homemade German Spätzle.

Homemade German Spaetzle

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!

German Geschnetzeltes

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

Perfectly Made Schnitzel (Schweineschnitzel)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour combined with 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup plain breadcrumbs
  1. Place the pork chops between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them until just ¼ inch thick with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Lightly season both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Place the flour mixture, egg, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow bowls. Dip the chops in the flour, the egg, and the breadcrumbs, coating both sides and all edges at each stage. Be careful not to press the breadcrumbs into the meat. Gently shake off the excess crumbs. Don't let the schnitzel sit in the coating or they will not be as crispy once fried - fry immediately.
  3. Make sure the cooking oil is hot enough at this point (about 330 degrees F) as you don't want the Schnitzel to sit around in the coating before frying. Use enough oil so that the Schnitzels "swim" in it.
  4. Fry the Schnitzel for about 2-3 minutes on both sides until a deep golden brown. Transfer briefly to a plate lined with paper towels.
  5. Serve immediately with slices of fresh lemon and parsley sprigs or with your choice of sauce. Serve with German Spaetzle (see recipe for Homemade German Spaetzle), French fries, or German potato salad, and with a fresh leafy green salad.

Traditional German Pork Schnitzel

18 Responses

  1. wrote on

    This looks just fabulous! I am so happy to have found you. I just got back from the local Indian store where I bought Kalonji to make your chutney. My family is going to be in for a real treat this weekend when I use this to make your Mango Chicken! Thanks.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Rhonda, I’m so happy you found my site as well! And I’m excited for your family – they’re going to be in taste bud heaven :) The mango chutney has been an especially popular recipe and it goes beautifully with the chicken. My whole family loves it! Enjoy! Best, Kimberly

  2. Karen

    wrote on

    Wienerschnitzel bitte… danke sehr :-).

    I was born in Augsburg, spent a couple of years there, then returned to Heidelberg and later Schweinfurt for my teen years. Loved the country, the country side, the people, the horses and the food!!! Heidelberg especially so.
    Nice to find your German recipes!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Karen, and welcome! Heidelberg is a beautiful place indeed as is the entire country. I’m from Stuttgart but I also lived a few years near Heidelberg and in the Hamburg area. But my heart is in southern Germany – Swabia where I grew up, and Bavaria where my mom is from. Southern Germany is also where all the best food is, Swabia in particular. Germans from others regions may attempt to argue that, but that is the general consensus – and it’s true! :) You know, I’ve had Wienerschnitzel maybe once or twice in my life. I’m just not a fan of veal. Schweineschnitzel (made with pork) is vastly more popular throughout Germany, it’s what I grew up with, and is my personal preference. But Wienerschnitzel is identical in every other respect and this recipe can be used with veal as well. Hope you’ll return often and give some of these recipes a try! Best, Kimberly

  3. Daniel

    wrote on

    This brings back good memories. My two younger brothers were born in Frankfurt and Munich, and we also lived in Heilbronn and Mannheim. Schnitzel and potato salad. Yum!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Good memories associated with good food are some of the best, Daniel! And this reminds me – again – that I need to post that Rotkohl (red cabbage) recipe! (*Note to self: Post the recipe! Soon!)

  4. JosieO

    wrote on

    Hi, I too am happy that I found your site. Lived in Stuttgart for 10 yrs. Moved to USA and bought German food from Now I moved to Canada and can’t afford to import anything really :( I’m glad I can finally find a good recipe site that I can make all of those things I love. Now, do you have a good German pretzel recipe :p doubt I can come close to getting it right. Much thanks!

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hello, Josie and welcome! That’s so wonderful that you had the privilege of spending 10 years in Stuttgart. It’s such a beautiful area and I regularly get homesick. Oh yes, nothing beats a freshly baked German pretzel! Thus far I haven’t had much incentive to because I happen to live right next to a German bakery here in WA, so they keep me happily supplied :) But you’re right, I should definitely add a recipe to my site! In the meantime, I have several German recipes on here and many, many more to come! So happy to have you on board! Best, Kimberly

  5. Sue Rauch

    wrote on

    This looks amazing, but how can you make the mushroom gravy for the schnitzel? I looked at the hunters pork chops but you use the drippings from the frying to make the gravy, but you don’t really fry the schnitzel the same way?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Sue! Good point. Most people don’t have beef drippings on hand like they used to in olden days. So you would just start from step #5 and make the rich roux, ensuring the butter/flour mixture is a rich caramel brown for optimal flavor. It will taste great!

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thanks so much, Carrie, and thank you for stopping by!

  6. Anonymous

    wrote on

    Schnitzel looks wonderful. My Polish grandparents cooked alot of German foods which I miss so much. This has encouraged me to give it a try. Thank you.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thank you and I hope you will give it a try!

  7. Karl Poetschke

    wrote on

    My Grandmother (from Germany hardly spoke english) would use graded parmesan cheese in her breading and never used flour. Do you know if this is traditional from some part of Germany or just her own twist? It was delicious!! And she always made a gravy using the same oil/butter from the frying pan with white wine, lemon, milk and flour. Is this traditional as well? or just another twist? Honestly, her Schnitzel and Red cabbage was the best I have ever had including the expensive German restaurants I have been to.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Karl, the Parmesan and wine-lemon sauce are not traditional ways of making Schnitzel in any region of Germany, but it sure sounds delicious! What she made sounds more Italian than German influenced (which is actually where the concept of pounding, breading and frying thin cuts of meats originated). I hope you were able to get her recipe – great family recipes are treasures. If not, I may need to add it to my (growing to the point of over-flowing) “Make a Request” list, because it sounds too good not to make! :) That recipe would lend itself especially well to chicken.

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