Classic Pork Cordon Bleu Schnitzel

Cordon Bleu Schnitzel is thin tenderised meat, filled with cheese and ham, coated in breadcrumbs and fried to crisp perfection. This Swiss dish makes for a special meal, whether you use pork, veal or chicken.

Plate of Cordon Bleu Schnitzel.
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What is cordon bleu?

Cordon Bleu is a schnitzel that is filled with cheese and ham, breaded with crumbs and deep-fried until it is crisp. The characteristic of this dish is a crunchy outside, and inside tender flesh which oozes melted cheese.
Classic cordon bleu is made with veal or pork, however, in recent times it has become popular to use turkey or chicken instead

Why do they call it cordon bleu?

Cordon Bleu, is a French term that means “blue ribbon” in English. This was the name of an order of knights in France, and the name became synonymous with prestige. Excellent cooks, receive the “blue ribbon” as a sign of appreciation. Also, a cooking school in France carries this name. However, this stuffed schnitzel has little to do with traditional French cuisine.

Plate or Cordon Bleu Schnitzel with Gherkins, Cheese and Ham in the Background.

Origin

The dish is thought to originate from Switzerland, however, there is no concrete proof. Two legends are especially interesting.

Around the 19th century in Brig, in the Swiss Canton Valais, a large group visited a guest house. They ordered a large portion of pork cutlets. When a second group ordered the same, the cook decided to half the portions of pork and stuff them with cheese and ham instead. The owner was so happy with her ingenuity, that he offered her a “cordon bleu”. She replied she did not need the award, he should call the dish “cordon bleu instead”.

Pork Cordon Blue on a plate.  One piece of schnitzel is forked on a fork.

The title “cordon bleu” was also given for a ship that could cross the Atlantic quickest. The second legend is that when the German captain Leopold Ziegenbein won the prize for the 2nd time in 1933, he told his cook (who was Swiss), that he should cook something special. The cook filled veal schnitzel with ham and cheese, and this is how the dish cordon bleu was born.

Which of those two versions is right, we will never know. Cordon Bleu Schnitzel only appeared in a Swiss cookbook in 1949. There was no mention of cordon bleu schnitzel in Germany until 1967. (Source: Petra Foede (2009) Wie Bismark auf den Hering kam, Pößneck: GGB Media Gmh)

How to make Cordon Bleu Schnitzel

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork loin or pork legs about 150g-200g (5 – 7oz) each. Alternatively use veal cutlets.
  • 5 tbsp flour Germany type 405, UK plain flour, USA pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream (optional)
  • 150 g bread crumbs
  • 80 g / 3 oz clarified butter – Alternatively if you want the butter taste but cannot get hold of clarified butter, use sunflower oil and add in a tablespoon of butter.
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz cooked ham in 4 slices
  • 100 g/ 3.5 oz cheese Emmental or Gouda in slices

Cordon Bleu Schnitzel Recipe Steps:

Schnitzelstreet
  1. Line up three deep bowls. Place the flour in the first one. In the second bowl breaking the eggs, whisk them with the cream (optional) and season with salt and pepper. In the third bowl add the bread crumbs.
schnitzel being tenderised with a meat mallet or heavy pan.
  1. Rinse the meat and pat it dry with some kitchen towel. Place it between two sheets of plastic. (I used a freezing bag) and pound the meat with a meat mallet (smooth side) or the bottom of a heavy pan (to about 4mm thickness.)
  2. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
Fill the cordon bleu schnitzel with cheese and ham.  Then hammer the sides to secure.
  1. If you are a perfectionist, you can fold the schnitzel in half and ensure that they make a perfect rectangle, and cut of the excess. I do not do this, as I do not like the waste. Fold the schnitzel in half and fill with ham and cheese. Ensure that you leave a 1 cm border around the edges.
  2. Now you hammer with the meat mallet around the edges of the schnitzel pocket. This should bind the edges without the need to use tooth picks or cooking yarn. If you find that your cordon bleu still falls apart, you can secure the edges with tooth picks, but in my experience it is not necessary.
Picture of cordon bleu coated in flour, coated in egg and then turned in bread crumbs.
  1. Coat the schnitzel pocket with flour, ensure that both sides are covered.
  2. Next coat the schnitzel in the egg.
  3. Lastly coat the meat in bread crumbs.
Picture of Cordon Bleu being fried in pan, and a spoon pouring hot oil over it.
  1. Place the clarified butter or oil in the frying pan. The optimal temperature for frying the schnitzel is 170°C/338°F. There should be enough butter/oil in the pan so the cordon bleu schnitzel can “swim”. With a spoon pour the hot oil over the schnitzel. This is how the famous wave effect is created.
  2. Fry each schnitzel for about 4-6 minutes on each side until they have a golden brown colour. Serve immediately.

Recipe Variations

  • Use different meat. Instead of using veal or pork, you can also use chicken or turkey breasts.
  • Season the meat before baking it. For additional seasoning, you can add some garlic granules or paprika powder on the meat before baking it
  • Play around with different fillings. You can fill the cordon bleu with smoked ham, such as Schwarzwälder Schinken or Prosciutto. Alternativley use a stronger cheese such as blue cheese or gogonzola to fill your cordon bleu.
  • Instead of deep-frying the cordon bleu, you can also bake it in the oven.
A piece of pork cordon bleu on a fork.  In the background a plate with the rest of the schnitzel.

How to serve

Side dishes for cordon bleu

Sauce Suggestions

It is up to personal preference, whether you prefer to eat your cordon bleu with a sauce. Any schnitzel sauce will be suitable for this dish. Here are some of my favorites:

Read here about the Best Sauces for Schnitzel

Storage Instructions

The best way to store a cooked cordon bleu schnitzel is in an airtight container in the fridge. Here it will last between 2-3 days.

If your cordon bleu is uncooked but already coated in breadcrumbs then you can keep it in an airtight container overnight but fry it the next day.

Can you freeze cordon bleu schnitzel?

You can freeze the fill the uncooked schnitzel meat and filling, in an airtight container for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature and prepare as usual.

Technically you can freeze a cooked schnitzel that is already coated in breadcrumbs. However, the breadcrumb coating will get soggy when defrosted, as it soaks up the water. You cannot expect the schnitzel to be as crispy as when freshly made.

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Recipe

Plate of Cordon Bleu Schnitzel.

Classic Cordon Bleu Schnitzel

Marita

A delicious traditional dish. Pork or Veal Schnitzel, stuffed with cheese and ham and coated with bread crumbs. An easy dish that never fails to impress.

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 30 mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine Suisse

Servings 4 people.

Calories 730 kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 pork loin or pork legs about 150g-200g (5-7 oz) each. Alternatively use veal cutlets.
  • 5 . flour Germany type 405, UK plain flour, USA pastry flour
  • 2 eggs medium size
  • 2 . whipping cream optional
  • 150 g bread crumbs 5 oz
  • 80 g clarified butter 3 oz, alternatively if you want the butter taste but cannot get hold of clarified butter, use sunflower oil and add in a tablespoon of butter.
  • 100 g cooked ham 3.5 oz – in 4 slices
  • 100 g cheese 3.5 oz Emmental or Gouda in Slices

Instructions

  • Line up three deep bowls. Place the flour in the first one. In the second bowl breaking the eggs, whisk them with the cream (optional) and season with salt and pepper. In the third bowl add the bread crumbs.

  • Rinse the meat and pat it dry with some kitchen towel. Place it between two sheets of plastic. (I used a freezing bag) and pound the meat with a meat mallet (smooth side) or the bottom of a heavy pan. (to about 4mm thickness.)

  • Season the meat with salt and pepper.

  • If you are a perfectionist, you can fold the schnitzel in half and ensure that they make a perfect rectangle, and cut of the excess. I do not do this, as I do not like the waste. Fold the schnitzel in half and fill with ham and cheese. Ensure that you leave a 1 cm border around the edges.
  • Now you hammer with the meat mallet around the edges of the schnitzel pocket. This should bind the edges without the need to use tooth picks or cooking yarn. If you find that your cordon bleu still falls apart, you can secure the edges with tooth picks, but in my experience it is not necessary.

  • Drench the schnitzel pocket with flour, ensure that both sides are covered.

  • Next coat the schnitzel in the egg.

  • Lastly coat the meat in bread crumbs.

  • Place the clarified butter or oil in the frying pan. The optimal temperature for frying the schnitzel is 170°C/338°F. There should be enough butter/oil in the pan so the cordon bleu schnitzel can “swim”.

  • Fry each schnitzel for about 4-6 minutes on each side until they have a golden brown colour. Serve immediately.

Notes

Please check out the recipe steps images in the main post.

Storage Instructions

The best way to store a cooked cordon bleu schnitzel is in an airtight container in the fridge. Here it will last between 2-3 days.
If your cordon bleu is uncooked but already coated in breadcrumbs then you can keep it in an airtight container overnight but fry it the next day.

Can you freeze cordon bleu schnitzel?

You can freeze the fill the uncooked schnitzel meat and filling, in an airtight container for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature and prepare as usual.
Technically you can freeze a cooked schnitzel that is already coated in breadcrumbs. However, the breadcrumb coating will get soggy when defrosted, as it soaks up the water. You cannot expect the schnitzel to be as crispy as when freshly made.

Nutrition

Calories: 730kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 46gFat: 44gSaturated Fat: 24gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonnounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 786mgPotassium: 684mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 368IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 266mgIron: 3mg

Keyword Cordon Bleu Recipe, How to make Cordon Bleu, Pork Cordon Bleu Schnitzel

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