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one plate with lemon butter basil chicken cutlets with parmesan cheese garnish and sauteed zucchini

Lemon Butter Basil Chicken Cutlets

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  • Author: Stacey
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 portions 1x


Time for an elevated, yet simple, dinner. Lemon butter basil chicken cutlets are a revelation. Crispy, lemony, buttery, awesome.


Units Scale
  • 4-6 thin chicken breast cutlets
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice, divided (about 3 medium, juicy lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 stick of salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped basil (about 20-30 leaves depending on size)
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Flakey kosher salt for topping, optional (regular salt is fine to)
  • Extra lemon wedges for garnish, optional

Dredging Station

  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups plain panko bread crumbs (more as needed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. I bought thin cutlets for this recipe, but the cutlets still need to be evened out a bit. Lay them on your cutting board, three at a time, and cover with plastic wrap. Pound them a little as shown in my video. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on one side only. Repeat the process with the rest of the cutlets. Set aside chicken in a bowl.
  2. Cut your lemons in half and squeeze the juice with a hand-held juicer. I used 3 medium, juicy lemons total to get 2/3 cup total. You’ll need 1/3 cup for marinating the chicken and 1/3 cup for serving. You can squeeze all the juice now or do half now and half after you get the chicken in the fridge.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of lemon juice to the bowl with the chicken and toss the chicken around to coat. Wrap in plastic and put in fridge for 15 minutes while you finish the prep. This is straight lemon juice so don’t let it go more than 15-20 minutes soaking. The acid from the lemon could break down the chicken too much and cause a weird texture.
  4. Chop your basil chiffonade style. Stack the fresh basil leaves on top of each other (10 at a time works well). Roll them up like a cigar then slice across making thin strips. Repeat the process until you have a full cup of basil.
  5. To keep the basil fresh, I usually wet a few paper towels and loosely wrap the basil in that until I’m ready to use it.
  6. Once the chicken is out of the refrigerator, drain the lemon juice and blot the chicken dry with paper towel. Set aside for now.
  7. Get your dredging station ready. It’s best to use three wide bowls for this:
    Bowl 1: Five beaten eggs (we’re doing a double egg dip which is why we need five)
    Bowl 2: Plain panko bread crumbs and shredded parmesan cheese. Toss them to combine.
    Bowl 3: Flour and salt mixed together.
  8. Start dredging the chicken in this order: dip in egg to coat both sides, let egg drip off a bit then add chicken to the flour making sure to fully coat both sides. Gently shake excess flour off then place chicken cutlet back in the egg and turn it 2-3 times to make sure it’s fully coated – let the egg drip a bit – last stop, cover on both sides with the panko bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture. Repeat process for all cutlets and set aside on sheet pan.
  9. Toward the end of dredging, heat canola oil in a pan on medium heat.  I don’t know the size of your pan so go with about ½” of oil. Make sure it’s hot before you add the chicken to it.
  10. My pan was able to fit three large cutlets at one time. Place the cutlets in the pan carefully and cook for around three minutes or so until you can see it getting golden brown around the edges. Carefully turn the chicken over and cook another few minutes until golden brown on the other side.
  11. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a paper towel lined sheet pan to absorb some of that oil. Then move it off the paper towel and onto an unlined sheet pan or wire rack. Repeat this process for all the chicken pieces.
  12. Melt one stick of butter in a pan or microwave. Use more if you want – it’s pretty awesome on the cutlets.
  13. For plating. I sliced the cutlet in half and stacked on top of each other on the plate. Spoon on some fresh lemon juice (1-2 tablespoons), then spoon on some melted butter (1-2 tablespoons). Give a couple shakes of flakey kosher salt (or regular salt) to the top of cutlets, then add a couple pinches of the fresh basil. If you have leftover parmesan cheese add a couple pinches to the top of the chicken for garnish. Serve immediately while the chicken is still hot and crispy.
  14. Serve extra lemon juice, butter, basil and parmesan cheese on the side.


  1. You can make four or six cutlets depending on your needs. If you use six you will likely need a bit more of the panko bread crumbs/parmesan cheese mixture.