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Can Pork Schnitzel Be Pink in the Middle?

The pork schnitzel: the meatiest delight you’ll find! Here’s how to make sure it’s not only delicious but safe for you and the family to eat.

Consider this scenario: You’ve just finished frying your pork schnitzel. After a few minutes, you cut into your golden-brown dish, only to discover that the meat is still pink in the middle.

Is it safe to eat your pork schnitzel if it’s pink in the middle? Or does it need to go back into the frying pan?

Contrary to popular belief, the color of cooked meat is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

The only way to be certain if your pork schnitzel is safe to eat is to ensure its internal temperature is no less than 145°F (63°C). Pork schnitzel that reaches 145°F may still be pink in the middle but is safe to eat.

Still not convinced? Continue reading to learn how pork schnitzel can be pink in the middle and still be safe to eat.

Is Pink Pork Schnitzel Undercooked?

Prior to 2011, the USDA deemed pork safe to eat when it reached an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). Unfortunately, pork schnitzel cooked to this temperature is typically gray, dry, and chewy. Therefore, you may be wary of eating pork that looks different from this. 

We, as a society, used to be fearful of pink pork because of a parasite called trichinosis, but the chance of catching it these days is almost non-existent. This internal temperature for pork is set to cook the meat just long enough to kill E. coli, which means it may still have some color in the middle. 

Think about it this way: pork schnitzel that has an internal temperature of 145°F is considered “medium-rare”. If you ordered a medium-rare steak, you would expect to see some pink in the middle (and probably would be disappointed if you didn’t).

The same holds true for your pork schnitzel.  

Bottom line, as long as the internal temperature of your pork schnitzel is 145°F or above, it is not undercooked and safe to eat, regardless of the color.

How to Measure Pork Schnitzel’s Internal Temperature

Using a meat thermometer is the best method for checking your pork schnitzel’s internal temperature. 

There are other methods to test the doneness of your pork schnitzel, like piercing it with a skewer to ensure the juices run clear or the “poke test,” but these are not 100% reliable in letting you know your meat has reached a safe temperature.

For a sure-fire way to measure the internal temperature of your pork schnitzel and confirm is it safe to eat, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat when you suspect it is nearly done. 

Take your pork schnitzel off the heat source just when the thermometer reads 145°F (63°C) and let it rest. Your meat will continue to cook even after the heat is removed.

Enjoy your delicious dish!

Should You Rest Pork Schnitzel Before Serving?

The simple answer is yes! The USDA recommends allowing the pork to rest a minimum of 3 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows your schnitzel to finish cooking and absorb the flavorful juices of your meat. 

The juices are more of a liquid when the meat is hot.  All of the liquid will run out when you cut into an especially hot piece of meat. Resting your pork causes everything to relax and redistribute the juices, resulting in a more supple, juicier cut.

Is Undercooked Pork Schnitzel Safe to Eat?

It is never safe to eat undercooked pork schnitzel. Consuming raw pork can put you at risk of acquiring an E. coli infection. Further, parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms can be found in undercooked pork. 

These can result in foodborne infections such as trichinosis or taeniasis. While trichinosis is uncommon, it can cause catastrophic complications, including death. This is the reason the USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

The flesh may still be pink in the center at this point, but it is absolutely safe to eat.

Our Tips for Preparing Pork Schnitzel

While it is safe to eat pork schnitzel that is pink in the middle, as long as the internal temperature is at least 145°F, it’s ok if you are still a little wary about eating it.

Here are a few tips we have for preparing a delicious, authentic German pork schnitzel dish. 

  1. Lay your pork cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with the flat side of a meat mallet. Dust each side with salt and pepper. 
  2. Prepare a shallow bowl and two plates. Fill the bowl with a lightly beaten egg and the plates with a flour-salt mixture and plain breadcrumbs (not panko), respectively. Pro tip: We recommend adding a dash of cream to your eggwash to souffle the breading.  
  3. Dip pork into the flour-salt mixture, coating all sides. Next, coating the whole piece of pork, dip it into the egg wash. Then, coat all sides of the pork with the bread crumbs. Pro tip: Avoid pressing the breadcrumbs into the meat. Instead, lightly coat all sides and edges, and then gently shake off the excess.
  4. Immediately fry your schnitzel. If they sit too long in the breading, they won’t be as crispy.
  5. For oil, make sure you use enough butterfat (also known as clarified butter, or ghee) to make the schnitzels swim in the pan. The oil should be about 330ºF. If it is not hot enough, your schnitzel will be soggy and if it is too hot, the breading will burn before the meat is done. 
  6. Fry, shaking the pan back and forth, for about 2 minutes on each side. Squeeze a spritz of lemon juice over your pork schnitzel and serve with Spaetzel, German potato salad, or French fries. 

Can Pork Schnitzel Be Pink In The Middle?

So, is it okay to eat pork schnitzel that is pink in the middle? Absolutely!

Although color can indicate when beef has finished cooking, the same is not true for pork. The pink color does not always imply rawness, which is why it’s necessary to use a thermometer instead of relying on sight alone.