Wiener Schnitzel

    The eponymous breaded and fried veal escalope wasn't actually invented in Vienna - but it surely is where they make it best.

    How to make it:

    Step 1:

    Lay out the cutlets, remove any skin and pound until thin. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour and breadcrumbs into separate flat plates, beat the eggs together on a further plate using a fork.
    Coat each schnitzel on both sides in flour, then draw through the beaten eggs, ensuring that no part of the schnitzel remains dry. Lastly, coat in the breadcrumbs and carefully press down the crumbs using the reverse side of the fork (this causes the crumb coating to “fluff up” better during cooking).

    Step 2:

    In a large pan (or 2 medium-sized pans), melt sufficient clarified butter for the schnitzel to be able to swim freely in the oil (or heat up the plant oil with 1 – 2 tbsp of clarified butter or butter).
    Only place the schnitzel in the pan when the fat is so hot that it hisses and bubbles up if some breadcrumbs or a small piece of butter is added to it.
    Depending on the thickness and the type of meat, fry for 2 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Turn using a spatula (do not pierce the coating!) and fry on the other side until it is of similar colour.

    Step 3:

    Remove the crispy schnitzel and place on kitchen paper to dry off. Dab carefully. Arrange the schnitzel on the plate and garnish with slices of lemon before serving.
    Serve with parsley potatoes, rice, potato salad or mixed salad.

    Cooking time: depending on the thickness and the meat: 4 – 8 minutes

    Watch our Schnitzel Recipe Video Here...

    The Real Wiener Schnitzel

    The Wiener Schnitzel is Vienna's most famous dish and well known around the world. But is it just a tourist treat these days or do Austrians still enjoy it, too? Find out! #realAustria

    The Wiener Schnitzel is indeed the most popular dish at the Sunday lunch table of Austrian families or when visiting a Viennese restaurant. With its golden-yellow breading, it not only cuts a good figure on the plate, but tastes tender, juicy and crispy at the same time.

    Garnished with parsley potatoes or potato salad, cranberries and a lemon slice, the Wiener Schnitzel is a feast for the eyes. This explains why it has spread rapidly to all Austrian provinces. In the city, at the lake, on the mountain and in the far corners of the country, the Schnitzel is well known. And although the reputation of its predecessor was not impeccable, it is the favourite dish of most Austrians.

    The true origin of the Wiener Schnitzel has become a matter of vigorous debate between culinary historians. One thing, however, is absolutely certain: the Wiener Schnitzel is truly cosmopolitan.

    The earliest trails lead to Spain, where the Moors were coating meat with breadcrumbs during the Middle Ages. The Jewish community in Constantinople reportedly had a dish similar to the Wiener Schnitzel in the 12th century, too. So, whether the legend surrounding the import of the “Cotoletta Milanese” from Italy to Austria is true or merely a nice story makes little difference at the end of the day. As long as the schnitzel is tender and crispy!

    Wiener Schnitzel, Plachutta Restaurant

    Golden Meal

    The predecessor of the Viennese Schnitzel is one of those dishes that originally served representative purposes. In order to demonstrate a sophisticated lifestyle, the Venetians in the Renaissance covered dishes - especially confectionery - with gold leaf. When the Catholic Church wanted to put a stop on the excesses in 1514 and prohibited the gilding of food by law, Italian cooks turned to an older, alternative preparation method: golden yellow breading.

    The meat dish allegedly made its way to Austria around 1857, through the Austrian Field Marshal Radetzky. Legend has it that he took a liking to "Cotoletta a la milanese" and brought the recipe to the Danube in person. However, the first known mention of Wiener Schnitzel in Austrian cuisine dates back to 1831.

    Plachutta's original Viennese veal schnitzel


    Original Wiener Schnitzel

    When ordering a schnitzel in Austria, it's worth noting that not every schnitzel can be called a Wiener Schnitzel. When it says Wiener Schnitzel on the menu, it refers to a veal escalope that is fried out in clarified butter.

    Before breading, the meat is carefully pounded, seasoned and moistened, then dredged in flour, egg and finally breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs are not pressed down so that they souffle when they are baked. This is how you get that "Wow! It's a real Wiener Schnitzel!" effect.

    "A good butcher loves animals. It's all about respect. Towards the animal, towards nature, towards the farmer and towards the meat. My grandpa and my father taught me to treat animals with care."

    Robert Buchberger at work
    Robert Buchberger
    Robert Buchberger at the grill

    How much meat do we eat in Austria?

    • 315.664 t of pork
      35,4 kg / 78 lb per person
    • 111.246 t of poultry
      12,5 kg / 27,5 lb per person
    • 96.850 t of beef and veal
      10,9 kg / 24 lb per person

    Where does the meat that is served as schnitzel actually come from? In Austria, farmers, producers and chefs often rely on tradition and the knowledge of their ancestors. They are united by a vision: to refine high-quality, sustainable food and traditional recipes with innovative approaches.

    Josef Göltl, a farmer of Mangalitza and Turopolje pigs on Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland, has turned his farm all organic and chose animals that could live outdoors all year round. Philip Wind, a farmer and master butcher, is already the second generation of his family to live and work organically in the Lungau region of Salzburg. He loves to share his lifestyle with his clients. Or let's take the two-star chef Heinz Reitbauer at the Steirereck restaurant in Vienna. He is not satisfied with just finding a good ingredient for a new dish; he wants to "understand" the roots of taste.

    Source: 2020, Statistik Austria

    The Best Restaurants for Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna

    • Gasthaus zu den 3 Hacken

      The tavern with its rustic rooms is one of the oldest of its kinds in the city, a popular place to visit. In the Gasthaus zu den 3 Hacken, real Viennese inn culture comes to life.

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    • Zum Schwarzen Kameel

      For 400 years, this noble tavern has combined Viennese hospitality with lifestyle. You get an excellent Wiener Schnitzel here, but it is also a popular meeting place right in the heart of Vienna's city centre.

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    • Gmoakeller

      The Gmoakeller is a Viennese Beisl - a classic pub serving Viennese cuisine. Here, dishes are prepared at a high standard, and the Wiener Schnitzel is considered a cultural heritage.

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    • Figlmüller

      The Wiener Schnitzel has found its home in the headquarters of the Figlmüller, located behind St. Stephan's Cathedral. That's what the website says. Add a glass of wine and the world looks a lot brighter immediately.

      Learn more
    • Plachuttas Gasthaus zur Oper

      The Plachutta family serves its guests an excell ent Wiener Schnitzel in a modern ambience at their inn, which is located close to the Vienna State Opera house.

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    • Pichlmaiers zum Herkner

      After enjoying a Wiener Schnitzel at the Beisl (pub) "Zum Herkner" in the district of Hernals in Vienna's outskirts, it is worth taking a walk in the surrounding vineyards.

      Learn more

    8 Top Wiener Schnitzel Restaurants in Austria