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I frequently fry breaded chicken breast, but I can't seem to get the temperature right. Sometimes the first couple pieces come out overdone and sometimes if I don't let them sit in the pan for a while, they will come out under-cooked. I would like to get the outside of each piece crispy without having it be overcooked. How can I know what is the correct temperature to fry at and is there a trick to know once the oil has reached this temperature?

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did you mean how hot? –  lomaxx Jul 14 '10 at 10:50
    
Yes, I did. Corrected. –  Oren Jul 14 '10 at 11:20
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Also, it should be schnitzel with a c, shouldn't it? –  HenningJ Jul 14 '10 at 11:56
    
Also corrected. Clearly I am not the best speller. –  Oren Jul 16 '10 at 3:25
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2 Answers 2

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I generally use about 1cm deep of olive oil when I'm making schnitzel which may or may not be the right oil but it works for me.

I generally find that if the oil is smoking, it's too hot so I tend to get it to a temperature that is very hot, but not smoking.

Once I get it to that temperature, I don't cook too many schnitzel's at once, generally 2 or maybe 3 max to a pan depending on how big your pan is.

The final thing is that you need to make sure you beat the schnitzel out nice and thin before you crumb it so it's only about 1/2 a cm thick when you're cooking it. This way it'll only take a minute or two to cook through and won't overcook the crumb.

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A recent episode of America's Test Kitchen recommended heating the oil to 375F and to gently shake the pan back and forth while frying.

I tried it the other day and the schnitzel came out great. Shaking the pan keeps the oil temperature more even and help form a nice crisp crust.

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Infrared thermometers are exceedingly useful for determining the temperature of frying oil, particularly shallow-frying oil that can't be measured with a probe thermometer. And yes, about 375 F would be a good temperature for something like schnitzel, where you want some good browning and crust, without risk of burning. (For comparison, 325 is good for sweating onions; 450 or so is good for stir frying or searing steak.) –  Harlan Jul 16 '10 at 13:40
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