Zigeuner Schnitzel

One of the most popular schnitzel recipes in all of Germany! Zigeuner Schnitzel or Gypsy Schnitzel is a delicious combination of crumbed pork cutlets and a lightly spiced sauce made from tomatoes and fresh peppers.

All traditional German restaurants will have at least one schnitzel on the menu. If it isn’t the world-famous Wiener Schnitzel or the ever-popular Jaeger Schnitzel, it is guaranteed to be a Zigeuner Schnitzel.

Sometimes known as Balkan Schnitzel, or Paprika Schnitzel this is a winning combination of golden crumbed pork schnitzel, topped with a lightly spicy sauce of bell peppers, tomatoes and plenty of paprika.

Zigeuner Schnitzel or Gypsy Schnitzel on a plate served with french fries and a glass of beer

What does Zigeuner Schnitzel mean?

Zigeuner is simply the German word for gypsy, and this recipe is a classic crumbed pork chop in a ‘gypsy sauce’. It is more of a poetic name than anything else, as this recipe does not feature in any authentic Sinti or Roma cooking.

In fact, I think the sauce is a lot more inspired by the flavours of a Hungarian-style paprika goulash, as it is filled with red and yellow bell peppers, garlic and paprika powder.

What meat to use for Zigeuner schnitzel?

Traditionally this schnitzel is made from pork. Any lean, boneless pork cutlets or boneless pork loin chops can be used as long as they are pounded thin. This is a deliciously flavoursome sauce however, and it tastes wonderful with any kind of meat, such as chicken breast or turkey breast.

Ingredients

To make my Zigeuner schnitzel recipe you’ll need the following main ingredients:

  • Pork Schnitzels: You can use any type of lean, thinly cut pork steaks for this recipe as long as it is pounded thin. Traditionally, schnitzel meat comes from the loin.
  • Breadcrumbs and flour: for that crispy, golden-brown crumb
  • Paprika powder: I use both sweet and spicy paprika powder here in Germany. If you are having trouble finding spicy paprika powder, use mild chili powder or cayenne pepper instead.
  • Red and Yellow Bell Peppers: Sweet red and yellow peppers form the base of the paprika sauce. It is possible to use green bell pepper, though it isn’t as tasty in this dish.
  • Canned tomatoes and tomato paste: I recommend using whole, peeled tomatoes for the best results.
  • French Fries: It is traditional to serve Zigeuner Schnitzel with french fries (Pommes Frites). It’s also delicious served with a traditional Bavarian Potato Salad.
Pork schnitzel in crumb mixture

How to make Zigeuner Schnitzel

This is a fairly simple recipe with only a few steps:

  1. First, pound your schnitzels thinly, then dredge through flour, eggs and fresh breadcrumbs.
  2. Next, make the Zigeuner sauce by sautéing the peppers, onions and garlic until tender. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and spices, then simmer until thick and reduced.
  3. Then, fry your schnitzels in plenty of butter and oil (in Germany they say your schnitzel should float in the oil, but that’s not strictly necessary) until golden brown.
  4. Lastly, top your schnitzels with plenty of sauce and serve with french fries!

The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Prepare in advance

Zigeuner schnitzel makes a fantastic weeknight dinner as you can do lots of prep work in advance. The sauce can be made up to a week in advance and simply heated through before serving, and you can crumb the schnitzels up to 24 hours before cooking them.

Because schnitzels are so thin they cook up extra quick, which means you can have dinner ready in a flash.

Cooking Schnitzel

It’s tempting when cooking meat to copy all those TV chefs and get the pan screaming hot before adding the meat. This is not the way to cook schnitzel!

If the pan is too hot, the schnitzel will simply burn. It’s better to gently cook schnitzel over medium to low heat, turning just once when the breadcrumbs have turned golden brown.

Schnitzels frying in butter in a frying pan

Pro tip: Use a fork, rather than tongs to turn schnitzel. That way you don’t risk pulling all the bread crumb coating off as you turn it.

What to serve with schnitzel?

This particular schnitzel is usually served with french fries. If you fancy, you could serve it with a classic Bavarian Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat) instead. Most definitely you’ll want a frosty cold German beer!

Looking for more German food? Click here for more easy recipes.

Zigeuner Schnitzel or Gypsy Schnitzel on a plate served with french fries and a glass of beer

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can Zigeuner Sauce be frozen?

Yes! It freezes beautifully. Defrost overnight in the fridge before using.

Can I reheat schnitzel?

Yes, you can. I like to reheat it in the oven, loosely tented with foil. That way it stays crisp.

Can I make this recipe low Carb?

Sure! Just don’t crumb the schnitzels. The sauce is loaded with flavour, so it is perfectly tasty even without the bread crumbs.

Zigeuner Schnitzel or Gypsy Schnitzel on a plate served with french fries and a glass of beer

Zigeuner Schnitzel Recipe

Zigeuner Schnitzel or Gypsy Schnitzel on a plate served with french fries and a glass of beer

Zigeuner Schnitzel (Paprika Schnitzel)

Jay Wadams
One of the most popular schnitzel recipes in all of Germany! Zigeuner Schnitzel or Gypsy Schnitzel is a delicious combination of crumbed pork cutlets and a lightly spiced sauce made from tomatoes and fresh peppers.
4.80 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
 

for the schnitzel:

  • 500 g pork schnitzels, 4 boneless pork chops / escalopes
  • 2 Tbsp plain or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 50 g butter

for the Zigeuner / Paprika Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste or tomato puree
  • 400 g can of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tsp spicy paprika powder or mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • sea salt and black pepper

to serve:

  • small bunch of fresh parsley
  • French fries / pommes frites
  • lemon wedges

Instructions
 

  • PREPARE THE SCHNITZELS: Use a meat tenderizer or rolling pin to pound the schnitzels thinly. Season well with salt and pepper.
  • CRUMB THE SCHNITZELS: Stir the flour and paprika powders together in a shallow bowl, pour the eggs into a second shallow bowl, season with a little salt and spread the breadcrumbs over a large dish. Working one at a time, dredge the schnitzels through the flour, then the beaten egg mixture, shaking off any excess. Place into the breadcrumbs, turning until covered. Set aside.
  • SAUTÉ THE VEGETABLES: Melt the butter and oil together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the peppers and red onions to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring until soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir to combine.
  • MAKE THE SAUCE: Use a pair of clean scissors to cut the tomatoes in the can, then add to the pan along with the wine, stock powder, paprika powders and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer for 10 minutes until reduced. Pour into a bowl or small saucepan and keep warm.
  • FRY THE SCHNITZELS: Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel, then return to the heat. Melt the butter and oil together, then gently cook the schnitzels two at a time, turning when golden brown. You’ll need around 3-4 minutes on each side. Keep the first schnitzels warm while cooking the remainder.
  • SERVE: Divide the schnitzels between 4 warmed plates, top with the Zigeuner sauce, fresh parsley and serve with French fries and lemon slices on the side.

Notes

  • If you can't get a mixture of bell peppers, use all red peppers instead.
  • 1 medium onion weighs approximately 200g.
  • Feel free to add more paprika powder of a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1schnitzel | Calories: 763kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 969mg | Potassium: 796mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 2850IU | Vitamin C: 108mg | Calcium: 185mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Leave a review or a star rating and let me know how it was! Use the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations.
Course | Main Event
Cuisine | German
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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

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