Polish Schnitzel (Sznycel) (Kotlet Mielony)

The big difference between Polish and German Schnitzel is that Polish Schnitzel uses ground meat in place of thin cutlets. ( Addendum, read the comments on this topic from some viewers in Poland, they have corrected me on this. I guess mine is more common in the Detroit area ). I prefer the Polish style as you can add extra ingredients to the mix and are not limited to dry spices mixed in with the flour.  Although I don’t remember my mom making these when I was a kid, I do order them at my favorite Polish restaurant Polonia in Hamtramck Michigan. Based on the fact that the Schnitzel at Polonia tasted similar to their meatballs with some subtle differences, I started with my base recipe for meatballs. I also included some internet searching (can’t remember all of the sites) and began tweaking the ingredients until I was happy with the results.  Although these always turn out well and my wife likes them better than my meatballs, I’d love to find the missing spice that I can’t seem to identify at the restaurant.  I guess I’ll have to keep trying which isn’t all that bad. I think if you make these you will agree that eating these while tweaking the recipe is far from being a punishment.  As always if you change one of my recipes and think you have made it better please drop me a line and let me know what changes you have made. Here is what you will need to get started.


1/2 pound of 80/20 beef

1/2 pound of ground pork

1/4 cup of fine chopped onion

2 green onions white and green parts sliced into thin rounds

1/3 to 1/2 cup homemade coarse breadcrumbs (not the store-bought sawdust garbage) plus more for dredging

2 tablespoons double strength tomato paste (I like Amore brand in the squeeze tube)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (then to taste)

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (then to taste)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon Emeril’s Essence (optional) I know, Emeril is not Polish but it works

Directions:  Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl (except for the bread crumbs for dredging). Shape to your desired size. (I make five oblong patties out of this recipe). Press the patties into more homemade breadcrumbs on a platter (whatever sticks is fine) and fry in the oil of your choice until done. Serve with the side dishes of your choice. I’ve served these with mashed potatoes, Pierogi, German Spaetzle, etc. you name it it’s all good.

COOKS NOTE:  Prior to completing any of my ground meat recipes I always fry a small patty and taste for seasoning before completing the entire batch. (Ancient Polish secret)


16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Raluca on February 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Ken! Wow, it really looks awesome, I am sure the taste is great too. I will keep the recipe in mind and maybe venture out to try it even one day, have you ever baked them instead of frying them? Just a thought, do not mind me. You speak of some ingredient that you think you are missing, parsley came to mind, as that is what my family uses in their meatballs, but chopped very, very finely and garlic. Thanks for the post. Any soups coming soon. Am I pushing my luck?


    • I’ve never tried to bake them, I just fry them in a few tablespoons of oil not actually deep frying them. It’s not Parsley, its more of a spice mix kind of like that Mitete mix from Romania. I have a bunch of soups that I have done and have pictures of but have just been lazy posting them. What are you looking for? Ken


      • Posted by Raluca on February 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        Thanks Ken, I see…Nothing in particular, I just know you cook every day and are great are it so was wondering if any new soup recipes. Lighter fear, no meat, sorry…I have quite a few of those spice packages left, I will bring you some on Tuesday, I am not going to use them any time soon. Enjoy your weekend!

  2. Posted by Skitz on February 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I’ll have to give this a try.

    My thoughts on Polish spices… Dill, marjoram, and celery salt.


  3. Posted by skitz on February 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Ken – I’ll have to try this. have never done sznycel before.

    When I think Polish spices, I think marjoram, dill weed, and celery salt. In fact I always add marjoram and celery salt to Delphine’s meatball recipe.


  4. Posted by SF. on May 21, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Tomato paste? *baffled* I mean, you sure are allowed to take liberties with sznycel (like I add chili flakes) but tomato paste is really “unorthodox”.


  5. Posted by ~stefan on June 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    nop …. german schnitzel is tenderized meat (originally veal) in flour,egg,and breadcrumbs. polish version is “schabowy” traditionally made the same way but from pork (neck/blade shoulder). the dish you mention, made from ground pork is called in polish “mielone” and it’s a form of breadcrumbed pork burger.


    • I guess we do it different in the Detroit area. LOL………It’s all good.


    • “Kotlet Mielony” is more of formal name used in cookbooks and restaurant menu. “Sznycel” is the common, informal nickname (similar use to “schabowszczak” vs your mentioned “kotlet schabowy”)


      • Thanks for the information. Too much work to change the original post so I’ll just roll with it. The restaurants in Hamtramck MI and Polish cooks around here is where I got my information from. My family has been here for a while and this is what they do. Maybe I’ll put a addendum to my post and give you guys credit. LOL

  6. Posted by Kristin on July 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I just ate at Polonia in Hamtranck this past weekend as an out of state visitor. The pork schnitzel is to die for !!!. I am going to make this for my family. Did you ever figure out the spices ?


    • My mom found a package spice mixed sold in a lot of the stores in Hamtramck that gets it close if you add a little. Can’t remember the name but next time I’m at her house I’ll get the name for you.


    • Nothing uncommon. Onion, garlic, black pepper, salt – these are the essential, and don’t skimp on the first two. Besides that use your own fancy. Mushrooms, marjoram, chili, thyme, allspice, rosemary, cumin, shallot, tomato paste, these are just some ideas of what would go just fine (forest mushrooms should make it quite excellent!), but think of the meat-crumbs-egg-onion mix as of pizza dough, to which you can add any toppings you like.


      • My Stepdads family still all live in Poland and they collect and send us the forest mushrooms all the time. He came over after WWII and fought in the Partisan Army.

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