In Epi’s 3-Ingredient Recipes series, we show you how to make great food with just three ingredients (plus staples like oil, salt, and pepper).

We like breadcrumbs here for an old-school cutlet feel, but panko would work just fine in their place.


  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup plain fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 large)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto, plus more for serving


  1. Pour oil into a large heavy skillet fitted with thermometer to come 1/2″ up sides. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°F. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup pesto all over chicken. Dip chicken into breadcrumbs, turning to coat and pressing with your fingertips to adhere.
  3. Carefully add chicken to hot oil, then reduce heat to medium. Fry 4 minutes, then flip and continue to fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack.
  4. Serve chicken with pesto alongside for dipping.


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