Can Chicken Cutlets Be Breaded Ahead of Time?

by Charlie
Chicken cutlets

Chicken cutlets are a great food, but it’s always nice to be able to prepare a dish ahead of time, saving yourself stress later. If you’re planning a big meal, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to do the breading in advance – and how far in advance if so.

Can chicken cutlets be breaded ahead of time? You can bread chicken cutlets in advance, yes. In fact, chicken cutlets will benefit from being prepared ahead of time, because it gives the breading a bit of time to dry out, and this makes the cutlets crispier when they are then cooked for the meal. You can bread them a day ahead or even two days ahead.

What are the Advantages of Breading Chicken Cutlets Early?

The main reason to bread your cutlets in advance is simply convenience. If you can get the breading done before the meal, it gives you a significantly reduced workload when dinner prep actually starts, making it easier to stay on top of everything.

It can be challenging to prepare everything you need to when you start making dinner, and juggling everything so that all the components of the meal are ready at the same time is really hard. This is particularly true with more complex meals, such as breaded cutlets.

While breading cutlets may not be particularly complicated, doing it while you’re also trying to cook vegetables or other parts of the meal is frustrating, and the more you can do without the time pressure of getting dinner on the table, the better.

Another good reason to bread cutlets early is that it can actually improve the result. The breading is more likely to cling to the meat properly, and you should be able to achieve a crispier finish because some of the moisture will have evaporated out of the breading.

How Far in Advance Can You Bread Cutlets?

Estimates vary, but as long as you are following proper storage techniques, you should be able to bread cutlets as much as a couple of days in advance. You can certainly do it on the morning of the meal, or a few hours before you plan to start cooking.

If you bread the cutlets too early, you might find that they do not crisp up properly. Some people prefer to bread them shortly before cooking them, and feel that this makes the meal crispier, because the breadcrumbs aren’t absorbing too much moisture.

You may wish to experiment and find out which method works before for you, but in general, cutlets will crisp up beautifully even if they are breaded ahead of time.

Can You Fry Chicken Cutlets And Then Store Them?

You might want to go even further and fry your breaded cutlets, and then refrigerate them and simply reheat them for the meal. Unfortunately, this isn’t a great strategy. The fried breadcrumbs will soon go soggy in the fridge, and you may struggle to get them crispy again.

It is better to keep raw, breaded chicken cutlets in the fridge and just cook them when you are ready. If you really cannot do this, there is nothing unsafe about cooking and then refrigerating your cutlets to be heated up the following day (provided you cool and refrigerate them promptly), but the texture will not be as good.

How Should You Store Breaded Cutlets?

Place the breaded cutlets on a tray and cover them with foil, and then put them in the fridge. You can also put them in an airtight container if you prefer, but try to spread them out so you don’t have a whole stack. They are more likely to go soggy if the air cannot circulate around them.

If you have cooked the cutlets in advance, wrap them in foil before you put them in the fridge. Reheat them in a pan with very little oil – this will help the breadcrumbs to crisp up and avoid them becoming too greasy.

You can freeze the cutlets too if that suits you better. Again, opt for an airtight container and don’t stack the cutlets until they are frozen.

Do You Need More Breadcrumbs After Storing?

Adding a second coat of breadcrumbs after you have taken the cutlets out of the fridge is an option. It may help to make them crispier. However, it does somewhat defeat the object of preparing the cutlets in advance, making the meal prep more complex again.

The second layer should be thin and just enough to complement the first. Make sure that you fry the cutlets enough to cook the chicken through the breading, especially if you end up with a thick layer.

Will Advance Preparation Help the Breading Stay on the Chicken Cutlets?

Yes, breading your cutlets in advance should help the breading to stay on the chicken. If you have problems with the breading falling off, prepare your cutlets at least half an hour before you cook them. The breading should stick better.

A second trick is to ensure that you are cooking them at a high enough temperature. If your pan is warm but not hot, the breading will likely just slip off.

Turn up the heat so that the cutlets are sizzling, but make sure you don’t burn them. This can be a fine balance, but with a bit of practice, you will master it.

If you can’t get the cutlets cooked in the center but the outsides are at risk of burning, put them in the oven to finish cooking. This will apply a gentler heat than frying them in a skillet, giving the chicken a chance to cook without the breading getting burnt.

This trick is also a great way to keep the cutlets warm while you are frying more. Put them in the oven at a low heat and enjoy piping hot cutlets when you sit down to eat.

Final Thoughts

You can bread cutlets ahead of time, making meal prep easier and improving the finished product. Give this a try, and experiment with how far in advance you add the breading. You may find that leaving the breading for just half an hour is best, or you might find that your cutlets are perfect if you do them a day ahead.

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