Crispy and Delicious Israeli Schnitzel Recipe

Gentle readers, I am overjoyed to share with you today a recipe that has captured the hearts and taste buds of many around the world: Joan Nathan’s Classic Israeli Schnitzel Recipe. Spanning time and cultures, food is an intricate part of our lives and has a way of bringing people together. From traditional Jewish dishes to classic recipes reflecting Israel’s past and present, Joan Nathan has emerged as one of the foremost authorities on Jewish cuisine, producing over 300 recipes with stories and history woven into each.

This timeless dish is no exception; schnitzel made from bread crumbs fried to golden perfection is a staple of Jewish cooking throughout the world. Israel today is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, and this classic Israeli schnitzel recipe reflects this diversity. Whether it’s made from boneless skinless chicken breasts or turkey breast cutlets, this recipe adds an extra zing with za’atar, a Middle Eastern blend of herbs and spices that will leave your taste buds dancing.

What makes this dish so special? It’s versatile enough for any occasion – whether it’s a quick weeknight supper or part of an elaborate holiday meal. The plantain kugel or honey orange chicken recipe found in Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook will pair perfectly with the tangy zest of the lemon wedges served alongside the schnitzel.

This recipe has stood the test of time for decades- even appearing on the menu at The Penguin Buffet Classic in Tel Aviv. These days schnitzel can be found sizzling away in kitchens from Amsterdam to Shanghai, but this particular recipe remains rooted in tradition.

Through this introduction, dear readers, I invite you to join me on a culinary journey back in time while also exploring something new and flavorful. Let us roll up our sleeves, preheat our ovens, gather our ingredients, and dive into this succulent dish together.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Joan Nathan's Classic Israeli Schnitzel
Joan Nathan’s Classic Israeli Schnitzel

Dear reader,

If you’re looking for a new and exciting recipe to add to your cooking repertoire, look no further than Joan Nathan’s classic Israeli schnitzel recipe. This dish is sure to captivate your taste buds with its perfect blend of flavors and textures.

One of the best things about this recipe is its versatility. Schnitzel, a traditional dish in many cuisines, can be made with all sorts of meats, but Joan Nathan’s classic Israeli version uses boneless skinless chicken breasts or turkey, making it a healthier option while still being delicious. The combination of all-purpose flour, eggs, and bread crumbs fried to golden perfection create a crispy exterior that perfectly complements the tender meat inside.

But what sets this recipe apart from others is the addition of za’atar seasoning. Za’atar is a blend of herbs and spices commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, and it adds a unique flavor that will have you coming back for more. With just one bite, you’ll feel transported to Israel, reflecting its rich history and many cultural influences.

Not only is this classic Israeli schnitzel recipe an incredibly satisfying dish on its own, it’s also extremely versatile and can be served with almost anything – from a simple salad to honey orange chicken. Pair it with some refreshing lemon wedges on top for an extra zesty kick!

Overall, there are so many reasons why you’ll love this recipe. It’s packed with flavor, easy to prepare, suitable for various occasions (including Jewish holidays!), and reflects the vibrant culinary culture of Israel. So why not try something new in your kitchen right now? Your taste buds will thank you!



Ingredient List

 A golden, crispy coating that's music to my ears.
A golden, crispy coating that’s music to my ears.

Let’s talk about the star of the recipe- the chicken. For this Classic Israeli Schnitzel Recipe, you will need boneless, skinless chicken breasts or turkey breast. Other ingredients include all-purpose flour, eggs, bread crumbs, and canola oil for frying. To add tangy flavors to the dish, have a few fresh lemons on hand as well.

Ingredient List:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or turkey breast
  • All-purpose flour
  • Eggs
  • Bread crumbs
  • Canola oil
  • Fresh lemons

The Recipe How-To

 An Israeli classic that's sure to satisfy any craving.
An Israeli classic that’s sure to satisfy any craving.

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients, it’s time to bring them together to create this delectable dish. Follow the recipe how-to below and enjoy the sizzling and savory flavors of Israeli Schnitzel.

Step 1: Prep the Chicken

  • Using a kitchen mallet, lightly pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or sliced turkey breast until flattened to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Sprinkle both sides of each piece with kosher salt.

Step 2: Create Breading Ingredients

In one shallow dish, combine:

  • all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt,
  • fresh black pepper

In a second shallow dish, whisk together:

  • eggs
  • fresh squeezed juice from lemons

In a third shallow dish, spread out:

  • bread crumbs

Step 3: Bread the Chicken

  1. Press each piece of chicken into the flour mixture, making sure both sides are coated evenly, then shake off excess.
  2. Dip each floured chicken into the egg-lemon mixture; let excess liquid drip off for 5 seconds.
  3. Finally, place the chicken in bread crumbs and press firmly so that bread crumbs adhere well.
  4. Lay the breaded chicken pieces on a tray.

Step 4: Fry the Schnitzel

In a skillet large enough for two pieces of chicken at once heat onto medium-high heat about:

  • 1/4 inch vegetable oil

Or use an electric fryer and heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees F.

Fry each side of the chicken in hot oil until golden brown, about:

  • 2 minutes per side.

Transfer onto wire rack or paper towels; season with kosher salt while still hot.

Enjoy your very own version of this classic Israeli Schnitzel derived from Joan Nathan’s recipe from her Jewish holiday cookbook containing over 300 recipes reflecting Israel’s past and present many cuisines.

Substitutions and Variations

 So tasty and juicy, it's love at first bite.
So tasty and juicy, it’s love at first bite.

In cooking, we are limited only by our imagination! Here are some substitutions and variations to try with Joan Nathan’s classic Israeli schnitzel recipe:

1. Meat: While the recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts, you can also use turkey breast or even pork loin. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

2. Crumbs: Instead of bread crumbs, you can use matzo meal, panko breadcrumbs, or even crushed cornflakes for a crunchy texture.

3. Fried vs. baked: To cut down on calories and fat, you can bake the schnitzel instead of frying it. Simply spray with a little oil and bake in a hot oven until golden brown.

4. Spices: Add some za’atar or other spices like cumin, paprika or coriander to the flour mix for a unique flavor twist.

5. Vegetarian: For a vegetarian option, swap the meat for sliced eggplant or portobello mushrooms and follow the same steps.

Whatever your preference, remember that cooking is all about experimenting and finding what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to get creative and put your own spin on classic recipes like Joan Nathan’s Israeli schnitzel.

Serving and Pairing

 The perfect union of crunchy and tender in one delicious dish.
The perfect union of crunchy and tender in one delicious dish.

Once your Israeli schnitzel is cooked to golden perfection, it’s time to think about how you want to serve and pair it. This classic Israeli dish is often served with a side of mashed potatoes and some vegetables. I find that roasted asparagus or green beans go particularly well with the crispy texture of the schnitzel.

If you’re looking for something a little different, try serving your schnitzel on top of a fresh salad with cherry tomatoes and avocado slices. The acidity of the cherry tomatoes and the creaminess of the avocado offer a refreshing balance to the richness of the chicken.

For an authentic Israeli twist, top your schnitzel with a sprinkle of za’atar – a Middle Eastern spice blend made from dried herbs like thyme and oregano. The earthy flavors of the za’atar perfectly complement the savory taste of the chicken.

To really bring out the flavors in this dish, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over your schnitzel just before serving. The acidity of the lemon cuts through the oiliness of the fried chicken, while also adding bright notes to the dish.

Of course, there’s no need to limit yourself to just these suggestions. Experiment with different sides and toppings until you find your perfect combination. Just remember that a good pairing can take a meal from ordinary to extraordinary – so don’t be afraid to get creative!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A delightfully simple recipe that's bound to impress.
A delightfully simple recipe that’s bound to impress.

Now, as much as I would love for you to devour every bit of the schnitzel right away, I understand that sometimes life gets in the way. Fear not – this recipe is great for making ahead and reheating!

Once the schnitzel is cooked and cooled completely, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Alternatively, you can also freeze it for up to two months. When reheating, place it on a baking sheet and reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until heated through.

But do keep in mind that while reheating, the schnitzel may lose its crispy texture. Combat this by placing it on a wire rack when reheating – this will help prevent it from becoming soft and soggy.

And if you’re feeling especially fancy, try topping a reheated schnitzel with some fresh lemon juice to give it a zesty kick. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A real crowd-pleaser at any dinner party or family get-together.
A real crowd-pleaser at any dinner party or family get-together.

As an Israeli chef, I know that perfecting any dish takes practice and the right techniques. In this section, I will share my top tips for achieving perfect results with Joan Nathan’s classic Israeli schnitzel recipe.

First and foremost, be sure to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or turkey breasts. These cuts of meat are lean and offer a subtle flavor that complements the breading and seasoning in the schnitzel. I recommend pounding the meat to around ¼ inch thickness for even cooking.

Next, it is important to use fresh ingredients, particularly lemons and eggs. The juice from the lemons adds a bright, tangy flavor to the dish and gives the breading a lightness that pairs perfectly with the tender meat. As for the eggs, make sure they are at room temperature before mixing them with the flour to ensure a smooth consistency.

When preparing the breading mixture, it is essential to have a balance between the all-purpose flour and bread crumbs. Too much flour can result in a heavy coating on the meat, while too many bread crumbs can make it dry and clumpy. It is also important to properly season your breading with salt, pepper, and za’atar to enhance its flavor.

To guarantee crispiness when frying, use about half an inch of oil in your frying pan or skillet. Heat it over medium-high heat until it sizzles when you sprinkle some water onto the oil’s surface. Once you add your meat to the oil, don’t overcrowd the pan – this will help each piece cook evenly.

Lastly, take advantage of variations on this recipe! Try out different meats, such as pork or veal. You can also swap out za’atar for other seasonings like paprika or cumin to create new flavors within this classic dish.

By following these tips and making adjustments along the way, you’ll be able to master Joan Nathan’s classic Israeli schnitzel recipe and impress your guests with delicious results every time.


Before we conclude this classic Israeli schnitzel recipe, I want to address some frequently asked questions that may help you succeed in making it. From tips to avoid dry schnitzels to ingredient substitutions and cooking methods, these FAQs will help troubleshoot any concerns you might have while following this recipe. So, let’s dive into the most common questions!

What is Israeli schnitzel?

For this recipe, we’ll be using chicken breast coated in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, then fried until crispy on both sides. There are two ways to prepare the chicken breast; some prefer to flatten it using a meat tenderizer, also known as a “schnitzel hammer,” while others opt to slice it thinly. Either way, both methods work well.

What is schnitzel made of in Israel?

To create a dish fit for a king, take a piece of veal and beat it mercilessly until it can cover a plate and becomes thin enough to cook evenly. Next, coat it in a mixture of flour, eggs, and bread crumbs to give it a crispy and flavorful texture. In a sizzling pan, fry it up in butter until it is golden brown and ready to be served. Don’t forget to add an extra touch of sourness with a slice of lemon and to serve it alongside a creamy bowl of mashed potatoes. This delectable recipe has its roots in Germany and was brought to Israel by Jewish immigrants in the 1930s.

How do you keep schnitzels crispy?

One surprising way to maintain the crispiness of fried dishes like schnitzel and churros is by using a cooling rack set over a baking sheet instead of the traditional paper towel method. The secret lies in allowing air to circulate beneath the food so that the bottom won’t become soggy while waiting to be served.

What is schnitzel traditionally served with?

When it comes to serving Schnitzel, it’s common to pair it with a side dish that includes a starch like German potato salad, French fries, or Spätzle. To balance out the meal, a green salad or green beans will add a refreshing touch that complements the heavier flavors of the Schnitzel.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Israeli Schnitzel is a dish that has stood the test of time and remains a favorite among many cuisines today. Thanks to Joan Nathan’s Classic Israeli Schnitzel Recipe, this dish has found its way to many holiday cookbooks and kitchens across the world. With flexibility in substitutions and variations, it is easy to tailor the recipe to one’s preferences and enjoy it any time of the year.

So why not give this classic Israeli Schnitzel recipe a try? With its simple and straightforward instructions and easy-to-find ingredients, it’s a dish that can be enjoyed by all. Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, served with lemon wedges or honey-orange chicken sauce, this dish is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Don’t just take my word for it, try out Joan Nathan’s recipe for yourself and savor the flavors of Israel past and present. As an Israeli chef myself, I can attest that this recipe truly captures the essence of classic Israeli schnitzel. Enjoy!

Joan Nathan's Classic Israeli Schnitzel

Joan Nathan’s Classic Israeli Schnitzel Recipe

This recipe is from Joan Nathan's book "The Foods of Israel Today". It's a basic recipe and you can add whatever spices you like. Paprika is standard. Cumin is nice, as are garlic, turmeric, cardamom, and za'atar. Enjoy! NOTE: You can also bake the breaded schnitzels in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes ahead of time. Then, just before serving, deep-fry quickly to crisp the outside.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Israeli
Calories 393.9 kcal


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 1/2 lbs turkey breast, sliced thin
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil or soybean oil (for deep frying)
  • 2 lemons, sliced in wedges


  • Place one cutlet at a time inside a large plastic bag. With a meat mallet, pound the turkey or chicken slice as thin as possible and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the flour on a flat plate. Break the eggs into a pie plate and beat well. Put the bread crumbs on a third plate.
  • Pour the oil into a heavy skillet to a depth of 1 inch and heat over a medium flame until almost smoking.
  • Dip each turkey or chicken breast in flour, then in egg, and then in bread crumbs.
  • Fry the schnitzels for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain the schnitzels on a plate lined with paper towel. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 219gCalories: 393.9kcalCarbohydrates: 43.8gProtein: 35.4gFat: 7.6gSaturated Fat: 1.9gCholesterol: 168.5mgSodium: 436.7mgFiber: 2.7gSugar: 2.9g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Asian, Beginner Cook, Chicken, Chicken Breast, Easy, European, Free Of..., Healthy, High In..., High Protein, Inexpensive, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Lactose-free, Lunch, Meat, Middle Eastern, Poultry, Savory, Stove Top, Turkey Breasts
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