The Standard Breading Procedure

salmon croquettes
Chris Alack / Getty Images
  • 01 of 06

    First: Pat the Item Dry

    The Standard Breading Procedure
    Danilo Alfaro

    The standard breading procedure is a three-step process for coating foods in a crispy breading before frying them. It's basic procedure that's used all the time in the culinary arts — everything from fried chicken to onion rings uses this technique.

    Breading helps to seal in moisture when deep-frying or pan-frying. It also provides a crunchy and delicious exterior, and the golden-brown color makes the food more attractive. While the standard breading procedure is typically used for items that...MORE will be fried, breaded items can be baked as well.

    The standard breading procedure includes three steps: dredging in flour, moistening in egg wash (beaten egg plus a tablespoon or two of water or milk), then coating in crispy breadcrumbs like Panko. Doing it this way ensures the breading actually sticks to the food instead of falling off in the hot oil.

    To begin with, make sure the item you're going to bread is dry. Here we're going to bread some salmon croquettes, but the procedure will work for chicken cutlets, fish, vegetables, or any other item you want to fry.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Dredge the Item in Flour

    The Standard Breading Procedure
    Danilo Alfaro

    Figure out what direction you're most comfortable working in, whether that's right-to-left or left-to-right. And then arrange your three dishes in that order: the flour first, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs. My preference is left-to-right, but any number of variables, including how your kitchen is configured, might make the other way preferable for you.

    With your left hand (assuming you're working left-to-right), dredge the item in flour and shake off any excess.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Transfer to the Egg Wash

    The Standard Breading Procedure: Step 3
    Danilo Alfaro

    Your left hand is going to be your "dry hand," while your right hand is going to be your "wet hand." So when you transfer the item to the egg wash dish, try not to get your left hand wet. Otherwise, when you go to dredge the next item in flour, you'll make a big mess.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Toss in Seasoned Bread Crumbs

    The Standard Breading Procedure
    Danilo Alfaro

    Now, when you go to remove the item from the egg wash, switch hands. Use your wet hand (your right hand) to take the item out of the egg wash, let any excess egg drip off, and then transfer it to the dish with the bread crumbs. Toss it in the bread crumbs until it is thoroughly coated. Now repeat the steps for all the items to be breaded.

    I like to season the Panko with salt as well as herbs and spices appropriate for whatever I'm cooking.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Chill for 15 Minutes

    The Standard Breading Procedure
    Danilo Alfaro

    Chilling helps the breading really take hold. What happens is that the flour sticks to the food, and the egg wash sticks to the flour. Finally, the bread crumbs stick to the egg wash.

    When you're done, make sure you discard any leftover breading ingredients, especially the breadcrumbs that have had raw egg in them.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Fry in Hot Oil Until Golden Brown

    The Standard Breading Procedure
    Danilo Alfaro

    Fill a heavy-bottomed sauté pan with enough oil to come about halfway up the side of the thing you're frying. Use safflower oil or another high-heat oil. Heat the oil until a few breadcrumbs sizzle when tossed in. If your pan is small, fry in batches rather than overcrowd the pan.

    Fry for a minute or two, until golden brown on the bottom. Then flip and repeat. Drain on paper towels and serve. Yum.