Milanesa recipe: A Classic Uruguayan Comfort Food

Milanesa, a beloved dish in Uruguay, is a culinary delight that combines crispy breaded meat with rich flavors and hearty textures. Originating from Italy and brought to Uruguay by Italian immigrants, Milanesa has become a staple of Uruguayan cuisine, enjoyed by families across the country for generations. This dish typically features thinly sliced meat—usually beef or chicken—that is breaded, fried until golden and crispy, and served with a squeeze of lemon. Whether enjoyed as a simple weeknight dinner or a special occasion meal, Milanesa is a comforting and satisfying dish that is sure to please the whole family. In this article, we’ll explore the ingredients and preparation methods for making authentic Uruguayan Milanesa at home, allowing you to savor the flavors of Uruguay in your own kitchen.


  1. Meat: The most common meat used for Milanesa in Uruguay is beef, specifically thinly sliced beef steaks such as sirloin or flank steak. Alternatively, chicken breasts or pork cutlets can also be used for a variation of the dish. The meat should be sliced thinly and pounded to an even thickness for tender and uniform cooking.

  2. Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are used to coat the meat and create the crispy outer layer of the Milanesa. You can use store-bought breadcrumbs or make your own by drying out bread slices and pulsing them in a food processor until finely ground.

  3. Eggs: Eggs are used to create a binding mixture that helps the breadcrumbs adhere to the meat. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl before dipping the meat slices into the egg mixture.

  4. Flour: Flour is used to coat the meat before dipping it in the egg mixture, creating a base layer that helps the breadcrumbs stick to the meat more effectively.

  5. Seasonings: Common seasonings used for Milanesa include salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. These seasonings add flavor to the breading mixture and enhance the overall taste of the dish.

  6. Oil for Frying: Vegetable oil or canola oil is typically used for frying Milanesa. Choose an oil with a high smoke point and neutral flavor for best results.

  7. Lemon Wedges: Lemon wedges are served alongside Milanesa to add a bright and tangy flavor to the dish. Squeeze the lemon wedges over the crispy Milanesa just before serving for a burst of freshness.


  1. Prepare the Meat: Start by slicing the beef steaks thinly, or use pre-sliced beef cutlets if available. Place the meat slices between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound them to an even thickness, about 1/4 inch thick. This helps tenderize the meat and ensures uniform cooking.

  2. Season the Meat: Season the meat slices with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika on both sides, rubbing the seasonings into the meat to ensure even distribution.

  3. Coat the Meat: Set up a breading station with three shallow bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with breadcrumbs. Dredge each meat slice in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip it into the beaten eggs, and finally coat it evenly with breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere.

  4. Fry the Milanesa: Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully add the breaded meat slices to the hot oil, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry the Milanesa for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy. Use tongs to flip the meat slices halfway through cooking for even browning.

  5. Drain and Serve: Once the Milanesa is golden and crispy, transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Repeat the frying process with the remaining meat slices until all are cooked. Serve the crispy Milanesa hot, garnished with lemon wedges for squeezing over the top.

Tips for Success:

  • Even Thickness: Pounding the meat slices to an even thickness ensures that they cook evenly and tenderize properly. Aim for a thickness of about 1/4 inch for the best results.

  • Proper Breading Technique: When breading the meat slices, use one hand for the dry ingredients (flour and breadcrumbs) and the other hand for the wet ingredients (eggs). This helps prevent the breading mixture from clumping and ensures an even coating.

  • Hot Oil: Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the breaded meat slices to the pan. The oil should sizzle and bubble when the meat is added, but it should not be smoking. Frying the Milanesa in hot oil helps create a crispy and golden exterior.

  • Avoid Crowding the Pan: Fry the breaded meat slices in batches if necessary, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. This allows the Milanesa to cook evenly and ensures that it crisps up properly without becoming soggy.

  • Serve Immediately: Milanesa is best enjoyed hot and fresh from the frying pan. Serve it immediately after frying, garnished with lemon wedges for squeezing over the top for a burst of citrus flavor.

In conclusion, Milanesa is a classic Uruguayan comfort food that celebrates the simple pleasures of crispy breaded meat and tangy lemon. By following this recipe and mastering the art of breading and frying, you can recreate the flavors of Uruguay in your own kitchen and enjoy the deliciousness of Milanesa with your friends and family. So fire up the stove, grab your favorite cut of meat, and get ready to savor the crispy goodness of this beloved Uruguayan dish.

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