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Whip up made-from-scratch comfort food with these quick-cooking crispy fried chicken cutlets smothered in creamy country milk gravy. Just add mashed potatoes and green beans for the ultimate down-home feast!

Front shot of crispy pan fried chicken cutlets on a plate with mashed potatoes and gravy
Table of Contents
  1. Crispy Pan Fried Chicken Cutlets
  2. Ingredients for Buttermilk Fried Chicken Cutlets
  3. How to Fry Chicken Cutlets
  4. What to Serve with these Easy Fried Chicken Cutlets
  5. Storage
  6. Country Fried Chicken and Gravy Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Fried Chicken Cutlets Recipe
  8. Fried Chicken Cutlets and Country Gravy Recipe

Who doesn’t love fried chicken and gravy?! Of course, if gravy’s not your thing, you can leave that off — the crispy, golden-brown fried chicken cutlets are still delicious on their own.

Crispy Pan Fried Chicken Cutlets

Chicken cutlets are really just thin pieces of boneless chicken that have been cut from a thick breast or pounded flat. I typically purchase thinly-sliced chicken breasts or “chicken cutlets” at the grocery store to save some time on the prep work.

Chicken cutlets are ideal for pan-frying for a couple of reasons:

  • Less Oil. You don’t need nearly as much oil to fry a thin cutlet as you need for larger bone-in pieces. This means less mess, less expense, and less prep time (because it doesn’t take the oil as long to heat up).
  • Faster. The thinner pieces of chicken cook in just minutes, so it’s easier to get dinner on the table quickly. Less time at the stovetop is always a good thing! Plus, you’re less likely to burn the outside of the chicken because you don’t have to leave it in the oil for very long.
Overhead image of a plate of pan fried chicken cutlets with gravy and mashed potatoes

Ingredients for Buttermilk Fried Chicken Cutlets

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for this easy chicken cutlet recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chicken cutlets: purchase thinly-sliced chicken breast at the grocery store for a shortcut, or pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts flat in between layers of plastic wrap with a meat mallet or rolling pin. You could also use chicken tenders in this recipe.
  • Self-rising flour: the added salt and leavening agents in self-rising flour give the breading a lighter, puffier texture.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Dried thyme, garlic powder, and paprika: dried herbs and seasoning for even more flavor.
  • Buttermilk: adds flavor, tenderizes the meat, and keeps the chicken juicy.
  • Egg: helps the breading adhere to the meat.
  • Oil for frying: I typically use peanut oil for frying, but canola oil or vegetable oil also work well.
  • All-purpose flour: to thicken the gravy.
  • Chicken stock or broth: to thin the gravy and add flavor.
  • Milk: gives the gravy a creamy, rich texture.

Best Oil to Fry Chicken Cutlets

Use either peanut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil to fry the cutlets. I typically use peanut oil because it’s affordable, it has a high smoke point, and it will not flavor your meat. You can use olive oil since it has a relatively high smoke point, but extra-virgin olive oil is not recommended.

So long as you don’t smoke the oil or use it to fry fish, it’s fine to strain the oil and reuse it. Just refrigerate the strained oil and reuse it up to 3 times.

Oil Temp for Fried Chicken Cutlets

Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F. It can get as high as about 375°F and as low as about 340°F, but you want to try to keep it within that general range.

You don’t need a thermometer to fry the chicken. Instead, when the oil is hot (but not smoking), add a drop of water to the pan — if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough for the chicken. You want to maintain a fairly steady temperature as the chicken cooks, so don’t overcrowd the pan with too many pieces at once (which will bring down the temperature). If the oil is really flying and it seems to be too hot, you can turn down the heat slightly.

How to Fry Chicken Cutlets

These chicken cutlets are dipped in buttermilk and dredged in seasoned flour for a family-friendly, easy dinner that’s ready in about 30 minutes. The detailed instructions are provided in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Stir together the fried chicken seasoning blend.
  • Dip each piece of chicken in the buttermilk mixture, and then dredge in seasoned flour. Shake off excess egg mixture and flour.
  • Place the breaded cutlets on a wire rack to rest and dry. Heat the oil, and preheat the oven to 200°F.
  • Fry the breaded chicken cutlets in batches for about 3-4 minutes per side, and then keep warm in the oven while you make the gravy.
  • Whisk together the gravy in a separate skillet, using some of the cooking oil and seasoning mix to flavor the classic milk gravy.
Seasoning for fried chicken
Breading for fried chicken cutlets
Breaded chicken cutlets on a wire rack
Fried chicken cutlets draining on paper towels
Skillet of country gravy

How to Keep Crispy Chicken Cutlets Warm

Once the cooked chicken drains on paper towels, transfer it to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in a 200°F oven to keep it warm while you continue frying the remaining batches and prepare the gravy. Do not cover the chicken or tent with foil — that will make it soggy.

Square shot of a plate of pan fried chicken cutlets with country gravy and mashed potatoes

What to Serve with these Easy Fried Chicken Cutlets

Chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy is a classic combination! Here are a few other simple sides to serve with chicken cutlets:

Horizontal shot of pan fried chicken cutlets on a plate with gravy

Storage

Fried chicken is best when it is fresh and crispy. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days; however, the breading will not be as crispy when reheated.

How to Freeze

Wrapped tightly, you can freeze the fried chicken cutlets for up to 3 months. You do not need to defrost them before reheating.

How to Reheat

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, place the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Next, reheat the chicken until the breading feels hot and very crispy, about 10 minutes for room temperature chicken cutlets or about 20 minutes for frozen chicken cutlets (flip halfway through).

Country Fried Chicken and Gravy Recipe Variations

  • Adjust the Seasoning. Add cayenne to the seasoning for spicy fried chicken and gravy. Use other herbs that you enjoy, such as parsley, chives, or rosemary. Anything goes, so play around with the mix to suit your preferences.
  • All-Purpose Flour. The self-rising flour puffs up a little bit when it’s cooked, making the chicken cutlets extra light and crispy. If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can substitute with all-purpose flour.
  • Parmesan. Add grated Parmesan cheese to the flour mixture for a cheesy touch.
  • Buttermilk. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make your own buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and adding enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Chicken Cutlet Sandwich. Skip the gravy and serve the fried chicken on a toasted sandwich roll with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and pickles!

Tips for the Best Fried Chicken Cutlets Recipe

  • Give the breaded chicken time to rest (dry) for a few minutes while the oil heats. This will help the breading adhere to the meat when it cooks.
  • Never cover your warm fried chicken cutlets with foil. This traps steam and moisture, which will make your chicken soggy.
  • If you’re using a meat thermometer to know when the chicken is done, the thin chicken cutlets will be best at 165°F.
  • Keep the oil at a steady temperature of about 350°F. Don’t overcrowd the pan by trying to cook too many cutlets at once, which will bring down the temperature. If the oil is too cool, the chicken will absorb the oil and have a soggy texture when done. Too hot, and the breading will burn.
  • Don’t have chicken cutlets? Make your own cutlets by slicing two large chicken breasts in half horizontally. Pound the chicken to an even thickness (so that it cooks evenly in the skillet).
Close up side shot of crispy pan fried chicken cutlets and gravy

More Thin Chicken Cutlet Recipes to Try

Overhead square shot of a plate of fried chicken cutlets with gravy and mashed potatoes.

Fried Chicken Cutlets and Country Gravy

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 643 kcal
Whip up made-from-scratch comfort food with these quick-cooking fried chicken cutlets and a creamy milk gravy!

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken cutlets (or two large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise and pounded flat), about 1 ½ lbs. total
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • Peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil, for frying (about 1-2 cups, depending on the size of your skillet)
  • 2 tablespoons oil from the fried chicken (or sub with butter)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chicken stock or broth
  • ½ cup milk

Instructions

  • Let the chicken come to room temperature on the counter for about 15-20 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, prepare the seasoning mix by combining salt, pepper, thyme, garlic powder and paprika.
    Seasoning for fried chicken
  • Place self-rising flour in a shallow bowl. Set aside ½ teaspoon of the seasoning mix to use for the gravy later; whisk the rest of the seasoning mix into the flour.
    Breading for fried chicken cutlets
  • In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg.
  • Dip each cutlet in the buttermilk mixture first, then dredge in the flour mixture. Place the breaded cutlets on a wire rack to rest for a few minutes while you heat the oil and preheat the oven to 200°F.
    Breaded chicken cutlets on a wire rack
  • Pour oil into a large Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet to a depth of about ½-inch. Warm over medium heat until it’s really hot (about 350°F). The oil is ready when you drop a little bit of water on it and the water sizzles and pops.
  • Working in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan, fry chicken in oil until golden brown on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side). Transfer to a paper towel-lined tray, season with additional salt and pepper (if desired), and then place (uncovered) on a tray in a 200°F oven to keep warm.
    Fried chicken cutlets draining on paper towels
  • Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • While the chicken stays warm in the oven, make the gravy.
  • Whisk together broth and milk in a large measuring cup; set aside.
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons of oil that the chicken was fried in into a medium skillet (you can substitute with melted butter in lieu of the oil, if you like). Over medium heat, sprinkle in the flour and cook while whisking, until the flour is browned, about 1-2 minutes. Very gradually, whisk in the broth and milk. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of seasoning mix that you set aside earlier. Cook and stir until gravy thickens. Remove from heat, taste and add seasoning if necessary, then spoon over chicken.
    Skillet of country gravy

Notes

It’s difficult to calculate the exact nutrition information for homemade fried chicken cutlets because the amount of oil absorbed in each piece will vary, and the amount of breading that adheres to each piece will vary. The nutrition provided below is merely an estimate; the numbers assume that about ½ cup of oil is absorbed by the chicken in the cooking process.
  • Give the breaded chicken time to rest (dry) for a few minutes while the oil heats. This will help the breading adhere to the meat when it cooks.
  • Never cover your warm fried chicken cutlets with foil. This traps steam and moisture, which will make your chicken soggy.
  • If you’re using a meat thermometer to know when the chicken is done, the thin chicken cutlets will be best at 165°F.
  • Keep the oil at a steady temperature of about 350°F. Don’t overcrowd the pan by trying to cook too many cutlets at once, which will bring down the temperature. If the oil is too cool, the chicken will absorb the oil and have a soggy texture when done. Too hot, and the breading will burn.
  • Don’t have chicken cutlets? Make your own cutlets by slicing two large chicken breasts in half horizontally. Pound the chicken to an even thickness (so that it cooks evenly in the skillet).

Nutrition

Serving: 1fried cutlet with gravyCalories: 643kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 45gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 914mgPotassium: 829mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 320IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 123mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: fried chicken and gravy, fried chicken cutlets, pan fried chicken cutlets
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Jobe Tim says:

    5 stars
    Is it ok for me to do this chicken cutlets recipe except that I’ll air fry the cutlets instead?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Jobe! I think so, but I’m not familiar with how long they would need to cook or exactly what the texture would be like. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  2. Shannon says:

    5 stars
    This recipe turned out great. Only one thing, the recipe does not make enough gravy. Three out of four in my house like a lot of gravy. Doubling the gravy recipe worked, but no leftover gravy. Just an FYI if you like to really smother everything with gravy.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Shannon! 🙂

  3. Janice says:

    5 stars
    Made cutlets for dinner tonight. Delicious! I made more gravy also. The taste of the gravy was so good. Will use more recipes from this site. Thanks

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Janice!

  4. onchees says:

    Always excited to get new delicious chicken recipes!!