Mexican Food Influences - Milanesa con Papas / Schnitzel with Chipotle Gratin

Milanesa is a very common dish in Mexico, often made with very thin beef or chicken cutlets and served as a main meal with potatoes, or even used to make tortas or Mexican sandwiches. To track the origins of this dish one has to look into the wiener schnitzel or the veal Milanese. 

History tells us that when northern Italy was part of the Austrian empire, culture and gastronomy were shared. For this reason, trying to figure out who made it first can get complicated. Regardless of where this dish was created~Italy or Austria~the truth is that it has left a mark in cuisines all over the world. Known as cotoletta in Italy, tonkatsu in Japan or milanesa in Latinamerica. They are all made using the same basic techniques. Even when the preparation and the way they are served change from place to place, in essence, they are all delicious breaded cutlets equally loved in many places around the world and Mexico is no exception. The milanesa was introduced to South America first by Italian immigrants. From there, the recipe travelled north thanks to Argentinian immigrants until it became one of Mexico’s favourite meals.

We have added an extra Mexican twist to ours by serving it with a delicious chipotle potato gratin. This recipe is perfect for a cold day and best enjoyed with your favourite beer.


Chipotle Gratin

-350g potatoes, peeled

-200g sweet potato or celeriac, peeled

-½ cup whipping cream

-1 egg

-1 garlic clove, pressed

-1 tbsp diced chipotles in adobo

-125g mature cheddar, shredded

-1 tbsp butter

1 Preheat the oven to 180C

2 Butter a small baking dish and set it aside.

3 Slice the potato, sweet potato and/or celeriac thinly, about 1 mm thick. Add a layer of potatoes to the buttered baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Add a new layer with either sweet potatoes or celeriac and season again. Continue layering and seasoning until you have used all the slices. 

4 In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the cream, egg, diced chipotles and garlic until they come together. Mix in ⅔ of the shredded cheese and pour over the potatoes. Add the remaining cheese on top and bake for 35 minutes or until the top is nicely brown and the potatoes cooked through. 


Schnitzel / Milanesa

-4 pork, veal or chicken fillets

-¾  cup flour

-1 to 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs (as needed)

-2 eggs

-1 tsp black pepper

-1 tbsp salt

-1 tbsp garlic powder

-1 tbsp Tajin

-vegetable oil

-1 tbsp butter

1 Using a meat tenderizer, pound the fillets until they are evenly thin and flat. Use paper towels to dab any excess liquid from them.

2 Add the flour to a large plate and mix with the black pepper, salt, garlic powder and Tajin. Whisk the two eggs onto another bowl and add the breadcrumbs to a third bowl. 

3 Flour the fillets, one by one, making sure they are very well coated on all sides. Shake excess flour and move the fillets to the egg bowl. Shake any excess and lastly, transfer to the breadcrumbs. Press really well a couple of times on each side to make sure a good layer of crumbs attaches to the fillets. Arrange the breaded fillets on a tray and reserve.

4 If you are frying them, add a good amount of oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan and a tablespoon of butter. Bring up the heat to medium and once the oil is ready, add the fillets. Fry for 4 to 6 minutes on each side. If they start to burn or brown too quickly, make sure to bring the heat down. Once they are done and well-cooked (juices should run clear), remove and transfer them to a draining rack or a plate lined with paper towels.


To Serve

-Lemon Wedges

-Parsley, roughly chopped

1 Serve the schnitzel with lemon wedges, add fresh parsley on top and enjoy with potato gratin.


  • You can make this same recipe for schnitzel in your air fryer. Just brush with a little bit of oil and cook according to your machine. Ours took 12 minutes on 180C 
  • Schnitzel is often seasoned with paprika but we added Tajin which works wonderfully well thanks to its lemony taste. 
  • Milanesa is a very common meal in Mexico. These are often made using very thin beef or chicken steaks. They can be served with potatoes or even used as filling for tortas or Mexican sandwiches. This recipe is heavily inspired by them and the classic schnitzel. 

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