Stuck between chicken cutlets vs. chicken breast? You’ve come to the right place to learn more. The simple fact is that while these two cuts of chicken meat have different names, chicken cutlets are in fact just chicken breast meat that has been sliced into thinner, leaner pieces. Chicken is a popular food in many parts of the world, this is because the chicken has been around for thousands of years and is not only a great source of protein, but lays eggs that can also provide an alternative food source. Chicken is affordable, easy to cook with, and a delicious protein option.
Keep on reading to learn more about the ways to cook chicken cutlets vs. chicken breast. We’ll discuss the minor differences between chicken cutlets vs. chicken breast, and learn a bit about these particular cuts of meat. You’ll learn some classic ways to cook each one and get inspired for your next chicken dinner. Let’s get into the meat of it!
Chicken Cutlets vs. Chicken Breast: How Are They Different?
The most important difference between chicken cutlets and chicken breasts is that cutlets are thin slices cut from chicken breasts. Because of this thinness, cutlets have some different qualities. Compared to chicken breasts, chicken cutlets will cook more quickly. This makes them popular for sandwiches, adding proteins to salads, and other quick meals while chicken breasts are often baked or grilled as an entree.
Let's look at chicken cutlets and breasts individually for more details on each.
What Are Chicken Cutlets?
Chicken cutlets come from halved chicken breast meat. Cutlets are pounded flat so that the meat cooks evenly and more quickly than a thicker cut. Chicken cutlets can be done up in a variety of ways. They can be breaded and fried, wrapped in toppings, sautéed in sauces, or marinated for cooking.
Where Do Cutlets Come From?
You can either buy chicken cutlets in the store, or you can make them yourself from a cut of chicken breast meat. You'll want to slice the breast horizontally so that it forms two pieces. If you're slicing from a whole raw chicken, you may need to remove the tender, there is one attached to the underside of each chicken breast. Next, you can take a meat mallet, rolling pin, or another flattening tool, and place your chicken cutlets between parchment paper, plastic wrap, or in a plastic bag. From here, try to flatten the culet until it's even. This will make the cooking process much faster since the meat will cook all the way through.
How to Cook Chicken Cutlets
The classic way to cook chicken cutlets is by breading the flattened meat. The Food Network‘s recipe calls for flour, panko, Pecorino Romano (cheese), kosher salt, onion powder, garlic, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Coat your cutlet pieces in an egg and water mixture before fully coating both sides of the cutlet with the breadcrumb mixture. You'll cook the cutlets on parchment paper at 200º Fahrenheit for 3-4 minutes for each side of the cutlets. Season and serve, with lemon wedges if you so desire! Another great recipe for chicken cutlets is this Slow-Cooked Honey Pineapple Chicken.
What is Chicken Breast?
Chicken breast is a white meat variety. The white meat of a chicken is lower in calories and fat than the darker meat portions. People enjoy white meat because it cooks faster and can be easily flavored. Chicken breast can be cooked in a variety of ways, which is likely part of its popularity.
Where Does Chicken Breast Come From?
Chicken breast is the white meat cut from the front chest of the chicken. Chicken is popular in cuisines all over the world, and chicken breast meat is often used when white meat is involved. You can serve chicken breast alone, or with a marinade. There are also numerous ways to break down chicken breast meat and include it in soups, stews, as a filling, in sandwiches, salads, and more.
How to Cook Chicken Breast
Depending on the dish you want to make, you can cook your chicken breast in a variety of ways. Try your chicken breast baked, poached, stuffed, pan-fried, and grilled! And that's only a few of the many ways! Check out some of these recipes that call for variations on chicken breast:
- Makeover Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
- Spinach Mushroom Smothered Chicken
- Crab Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- Slow-Cooked Honey Pineapple Chicken
- Chicken Enchiladas With Tomatillo Salsa
- Chicken Biscuit Stew
- Baked Chicken Nuggets
Nutritional Value of Chicken Cutlets vs. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast has fewer calories and a lower fat content than darker cuts of chicken meat (see table above for a full comparison). Therefore, it would suggest that chicken cutlets have even less because they're often smaller servings. Keep in mind that breading and frying your chicken cutlets will increase the calorie and carbohydrate count.
Healthline breaks down the nutritional profile of 172 grams of skinless, boneless, cooked chicken breast as follows. There are about 284 calories, 53.4 grams of protein, and 6.2 grams of carbohydrates. There are about 151 calories in 100 grams of light meat, so all those numbers would go down in a boneless, skinless, cooked chicken cutlet.
Chicken has other health benefits aside from protein and calories. Chicken breast naturally has vitamins and minerals that can be great for your health. These include B vitamins as well as selenium, zinc, thiamin, copper, phosphorous, and potassium.
Possible Alternatives to Chicken Cutlets or Chicken Breast
Not interested in eating chicken? Try out other meats like beef and pork that provide a boost in protein. Try veggies or meat alternatives (tofu, tempeh, Beyond Meats) with similar chicken recipes to get that delicious flavor without eating any meat!
Are Chicken Cutlets and Chicken Breast the Same Thing?
- Chicken cutlets are thinner than chicken breasts; they're actually cut from chicken breast.
- Because of their thinness, chicken cutlets will cook faster than chicken breast. Even though chicken cutlets come from chicken breasts, they shouldn't necessarily be cooked the same.
- Chicken cutlet is popular for sandwiches and salads, while chicken breast is often baked or grilled as an entrée. Of course, how you use these two cuts is entirely up to you!
If you started this post wondering about the difference between chicken cutlets vs. chicken breast, we hope to have steered you in a clearer direction. The short answer is, yes, chicken cutlets and chicken breast are virtually the same thing. Chicken cutlets are the result of cutting chicken breast in half and thinning it out with a meat hammer. This results in a different style of cooking and a faster end result.
Haven't yet seen a chicken recipe that stands out to you? Check out this awesome cheesy chicken and mushroom recipe:Print
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup reduced fat plain yogurt
½ cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
½ cup canned mushroom stems and pieces
1 Tablespoon diced pimientos
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon minced chives
1 Tablespoon reduced fat plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon dry bread crumbs
⅛ teaspoon paprika
1. Flatten chicken to ⅛ inch thickness; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and yogurt until smooth.
3. Stir in the cheese, mushrooms, pimientos, parsley, and chives.
4. Spread cheese mixture down the center of each piece of chicken. Roll up and tuck in ends; secure with toothpicks. Place seam side down in an 11 in. x 7 in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
5. Brush yogurt over chicken. Combine bread crumbs and paprika; sprinkle over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Discard toothpicks before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 stuffed chicken breast half
- Calories: 222
- Sodium: 544mg
- Fat: 5g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 4g
- Protein: 39g
- Cholesterol: 92mg
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Candice Bell/Shutterstock.com.