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All About Schnitzels

Updated on July 10, 2015
gmarquardt profile image

gmarquardt has an M.A. in history and German from SWTSU and has over 25 years teaching experience at public high schools.

The Schnitzel Garten!
The Schnitzel Garten!

The Variety of Schnitzel Offerings in Germany are Almost Endless!

Traditional schnitzels, by definition, are made with veal. However, many German restaurants will offer a "Schnitzel" using different meats while still following the preparation techniques of the original Wiener Schnitzel (coated in flour, then dipped in egg, and finally coated in bread crumbs, and then fried to a golden brown). In certain restaurants, you may see this preparation called "Wiener Art," meaning it was prepared in the same manner as a Wiener Schnitzel, but the meat is not veal. Today, different types of meat that are found in schnitzels include veal, chicken, pork and turkey.

Quite popular in German cuisine, the original Wienerschnitzel is wholly Austrian. Originating in Vienna, Austria as Vienna in German is Wien, and anything that is Viennese is Wiener, hence, the Wienerschnitzel. European immigrants brought their own recipes for schnitzel to the United States, but during World War One, the word schnitzel was dropped for the patriotic Salisbury Steak. Of course, the traditional side of sauerkraut also had a name change and became "liberty cabbage!" Down in the South, we use a chopped beef steak and smother it in cream gravy and call it chicken fried steak.

There are a plethora of schnitzels out there, and everyone has their favorite. Almost popping up overnight, many restaurants have their own recipes and their own flair that they put on a schnitzel. Just check out www.schnitzel-culture.de/ to see the great diversity in Schnitzel! (They have at least 40 different types)! I’ve put together a quick list of my own personal favorites, but this is by no means a comprehensive list.

The following variations are typically offered by German restaurants.

Wienerschnitzel: The original is veal only. Pounded very thin, coated with bread crumbs and sauteed to crispy perfection, but never deep fried. (Well, maybe by cheaper fast food restaurants. A wedge of lemon is a must and is placed directly on top of the schnitzel. These are often pounded so thin, they occupy the entire plate, and the sides are on additional plates.

For all other schnitzels, the meat is usually only half the original Wienerschnitzel size.

The Real Deal! An authentic Wienerschnitzel covers the entire plate.
The Real Deal! An authentic Wienerschnitzel covers the entire plate.

 

Cordon-Bleu: This dish came from Switzerland. It is a schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese.

Jägerschnitzel: This is a veal or pork schnitzel topped with a wine-mushroom or a cream-mushroom sauce. Often, a simply fried chop is smothered with the sauce. However, sometimes the original breaded schnitzel (made according to the Wiener Schnitzel method - "Wiener Art") is topped with the sauce.

Jägerschnitzel
Jägerschnitzel | Source

Zigeunerschnitzel: This is a schnitzel covered in a tomato based sauce with red peppers. Zigeuner means gypsy in German, so think Hungarian with plenty of bell peppers. The word has gotten out of use, and Paprikaschnitzel is now often used. Paprika are bell peppers in German. Many purists, however, insist they are different. I’ve simply noticed that the Paprikaschnitzel has more peppers in the sauce. Unfortunately, the schnitzel is pretty much devoured before I get around to counting out individual pepper strips and making any comparisons.

Zigeunerschnitzel
Zigeunerschnitzel | Source

Käseschnitzel: Käse is cheese in German, so imagine a schnitzel with melted cheese all over it!

Rahmschnitzel: This chop is covered in a cream sauce, with lots of fresh cracked pepper. Rahm in German is cream. Full of creamy goodness and very popular.

Rahmschnitzel
Rahmschnitzel | Source

Holsteinschnitzel: A schnitzel topped with sauteed onions, a slice of ham and a fried egg. The Holstein area is in north Germany, and I have seen a Holsteinschnitzel with small filets of fish on it as well.

Holsteinschnitzel
Holsteinschnitzel

Guten Appetit!!!

Variations abound, but this is what I have usually encountered throughout Germany. I am sure many have had other experiences, and other flavors with different ingredients combined with different cooking methods. Almost as important are the side dishes that accompany each Schnitzel. I hope to try them all!

Let me know what type of schnitzels you’ve tried.

What is your favorite style of schnitzel?

See results

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    • profile image

      Justsilvie 5 years ago

      You did the Schnitzel proud. Well done and enjoyable hub!

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 5 years ago from Arizona

      I've tried all of these and I gotta say that the Holsteiner Schnitzel takes the cake. Second to that is the Rahmsnitzel. I guess I'm lucky in that I have an authentic German restaurant located fairly close tome. They do awesome snitzels but don't make the doner sandwich that I really want to try now.

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 5 years ago from Norwich, CT

      I defintitely learned something new today! Now I know what a schnitzel is! Very informative hub! Thanks!

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 5 years ago from Miami, US

      I always thought schnitzel was sausage. Great hub.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 5 years ago from USA

      I never knew what this was, but now I do. Thanks!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Beautiful hub, I may have to go back to Germany and try it again. I didn't like it when I was there and the restaurant was supposedly very nice.

    • profile image

      donar-m 5 years ago

      They never fail to please. Every Schnitzel can demonstrate the individuality--and skill--of the chef. You have successfully given us the basic types of Schnitzel and I choose them all! You also show the variety of side dishes, though most often we find pommes frites. But I am particularly fond of the traditional (?) cucumber salad, a delightful acidic accompaniment to a perfectly and lightly fried Schnitzel.