Why it’s so good!

Pork cotoletta Milanese is a tender and juicy pork chop coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crunchy all over. Leave it to the Italians to create a delicious recipe that tastes amazing, uses just a handful of ingredients, and is super quick to make.

So, what is cotoletta Milanese, anyway? Traditionally, it’s a veal cutlet (normally bone in), coated in breadcrumbs and fried in clarified butter until crunchy – essentially Italy’s version of a schnitzel. Originating in Milan (hence the name), the clarified butter or ghee it’s fried in gives it the most wonderful flavour.

I make my cotoletta recipe with pork as it’s more readily available, and it’s just as utterly delicious, but if you can get veal, give that a try too. On the side, I like to serve this gorgeous, fresh pear and walnut salad.

Two pork cutlets on a serving platter with a salad beside them.


Ingredients for pork cotoletta.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  • Pork cutlets: I use pork rib cutlets on the bone here. You can use other cuts as well but the bone in will give you more flavour and juiciness. You can also use veal cutlets, just like the traditional cotoletta Milanese.
  • Salt and pepper: These two are all the seasoning you need for your crumbed pork cutlets.
  • The breading: The crumb coating is the simplest of all coatings being just flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. For the bread crumbs, use stale white bread, and you can let them dry out overnight on an uncovered tray or in the oven at 100C for 20-30 minutes. Homemade bread crumbs are best as opposed to using panko breadcrumbs or store-bought fine breadcrumbs. You can also use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs for added flavour.
  • Clarified butter: Also known as ghee, clarified butter is butter which has had the milk solids removed, leaving just the fat. It can withstand prolonged cooking without burning and is key to the flavour and amazing crunchy texture in this pork cotoletta recipe.
  • Sage: While optional, the sage takes just a minute or so in the already hot butter and goes beautifully with pork or veal.


While there is certainly a classic recipe, many Italian families have their own little spin on cotoletta Milanese. Some might add a little parmesan to the bread coating, and some will add finely chopped herbs or dried herbs (like flat-leaf parsley or basil). Others will cook their breaded cutlets in extra virgin olive oil instead of ghee. I urge you to try out this simple but perfect version first and then feel free to play around with the flavours a little.

How to make cotoletta Milanese

This pork cotoletta is truly one of the most simple recipes and while a little luxurious, it’s a great quick weeknight dinner, served with a simple side salad.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

1. Prepare the pork

You don’t have to French your cutlets which just means to scrape any meat away from the top portion of the bone but it does give a nice finish. It’s easy to do too and explained in the recipe below. You’ll need to flatten out the meat a little to about 1cm thick using a meat mallet – this will help it cook in time without the crumbs burning – and then season it with salt and pepper.

Two raw pork cutlets on a chopping board.

2. Bread the pork

Pork cotoletta is made using a very traditional breading technique – flour, egg, breadcrumbs and that’s it. Cotoletta Milanese doesn’t typically have any other ingredients in the breading and it doesn’t need it, though some Italian family recipes include parmesan cheese or herbs. I stick to the classic for mine. Coat cutlets in flour to help the egg stick.

I use a separate baking tray for each part of the breadcrumb mixture but a deep large bowl will work too.

A pork cutlet being coated in flour.

Make sure to get the egg over every bit. The breadcrumbs will not adhere to any bare bits.

A pork cutlet being coated in egg.

Use your hands to press the breadcrumbs on firmly.

A pork cutlet being coated in bread crumbs.

3. Fry the pork cotoletta

Melt the clarified butter in a pan over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until it feels nice and hot when you hold your hand over the top. Add the pork chops and cook for about 4-6 minutes on the first side until golden brown underneath, then flip carefully and fry the other side for 3-4 minutes until cooked through.

Two pork cutlets in a frying pan beginning to fry.
Two pork cutlets frying in a pan with golden bread crumbs.

Tips and tricks

  • Make sure the pork chops are coated all over in flour before adding to the egg. Then make sure they’re fully coated in egg and let the excess drip away. This combination in breading acts like a glue.
  • Press the bread crumbs on well so you have a nice thick coating.
  • Breadcrumbs from stale white bread works best for these. Regular square bread is fine and I often use ciabatta. I like to dry mine out first in the oven but it’s not absolutely necessary as long as they’re stale. You can crumb your bread in a food processor or blender, then lay them out in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Cover it with a tea towel overnight and they’ll be stale by the next day or even within a few hours.
Pork cotoletta on a dinner plate with a side salad.

What to serve with cotoletta Milanese

I love these crumbed pork cutlets served with my simple pear and walnut salad. The crisp crunch of the pears and their sweetness is wonderful with pork and the freshness of the whole salad is just a perfect contrast to the rich meat.

Other salads that work well are my asparagus, rocket and parmesan salad or this pesto caprese pasta salad for something a bit more hearty. This fresh and creamy cucumber salad works well too. A creamy coleslaw like this, apple coleslaw, always works well with crumbed meats too.

If you want to add some carbs, aside from that pasta salad above, classic crunchy roast potatoes work a treat here. Try these roasted mini potatoes with sage butter sauce too.

If you want a sauce, this cream mushroom sauce is just sublime with any type of schnitzel. Cotoletta Milanese is often served with lemon wedges too and just a little squeeze of lemon juice gives the rich flavour a zingy lift.

Top down view of a pork cotoletta cut into slices.

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Closeup of the crunchy coating on a pork cotoletta.
5 from 1 rating
Crunchy and juicy, this pork cotoletta Milanese is so full of flavour. With just a few simple ingredients, you can have quick and delicious dinner on the table.


  • 4 pork cutlets, on the bone
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • cup plain flour (all purpose flour) (75g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups stale fine breadcrumbs
  • 170 g clarified butter (ghee) (6oz)
  • Handful fresh sage leaves
  • Flaky sea salt to serve

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided



  • Frenching the bone (optional):
    If they’re not already done and you’d like to French your cutlets, use a sharp paring knife or filleting knife slice away excess meat from the end of the bone. Now use a scraping action with the butt end of the knife (not the tip) to scrape away excess cartilage and sinew from the bone.
  • Place the cutlets on a large chopping board and slice away any excess fat from the outer edge. Use a meat mallet to gently bash the meat until it’s about 1cm thick. This is important for getting it cooked through before the outside can burn.
  • Sprinkle the salt and pepper all over the outside of the meat and use your hands to press it on.
  • Place flour into a large shallow bowl or baking tin (something flat with sides that will fit the meat in). Whisk the eggs in a second bowl and add the bread crumbs to a third bowl.
  • Working with one pork chop at a time, coat the meat all over with the flour, then shake off the excess. Next, coat it all over in the egg and let the excess drip off. Then lastly, coat in the bread crumbs, using your hands to press them on firmly all over so they’re well coated.
  • If you have time, chill the cutlets for 30 minutes – this will help the crumb mixture to stay on while frying.
  • In a large non-stick frying pan or skillet, heat the clarified butter over medium high heat. Let it melt, then continue to heat for another 2 minutes.
  • Working in batches of one to two pork chops at a time (don’t overcrowd the pan), holding the bone to gently lower it in.
  • Immediately turn it down to medium heat and cook for 4-6 minutes or until golden brown underneath. Turn and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the crumbs are crisp and golden. Be careful when you turn it so that it doesn't slip and splash the butter up at you.
  • Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels while you cook the remaining cutlets.
  • Once all the cutlets are done and set aside, fry the sage leaves in the hot butter for 2-3 minutes, then scoop out onto paper towel to drain and crisp up.
  • Serve immediately with sage leave scattered over the pork cutlets.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. Bone-in chops are best and will give you the best flavour though other cuts of pork will work too.
  2. Cotoletta Milanese is traditionally made using veal cutlets and you can swap them in this recipe with no other changes.
  3. Regular white bread processed to fine breadcrumbs in a food processor or blender work best. Make sure they’re stale.
  4. Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Pork Cotoletta Milanese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 669 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Trans Fat 0.05g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 233mg78%
Sodium 1383mg60%
Potassium 820mg23%
Carbohydrates 55g18%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 50g100%
Vitamin A 120IU2%
Calcium 124mg12%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Do I have to use ghee / clarified butter?

Cotoletta Milanese is traditionally cooked in clarified butter but you can use olive oil or a good vegetable oil.

What cut of pork is pork cutlets?

The term pork cutlets, very confusingly, can be used for a variety of pork cuts. For this recipe, you’re looking for single serves of pork on the bone. I use pork rib cutlets here.

What is cotoletta made of?

Classically cotoletta is made using veal cutlets, coated simply in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Much of the flavour comes from the butter it is fried in.

What is the difference between schnitzel and cotoletta Milanese?

The short answer is not much. While weiner schnitzel and cotoletta are both made using veal, cotoletta is traditionally made with a bone-in cutlet while schnitzel is made using a boneless cutlet pounded very thinly.

Can I use other meats?

Yes. I use pork here but you can use the traditional veal or even chicken breast works well.