Kid-friendly German Tender Bean Schnitzel Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: German Tender Bean Schnitzel

Recipe: German Tender Bean Schnitzel

German Tender Bean Schnitzel

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Sabine Schemken/
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
20 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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German Tender Bean Schnitzel

Holy Schnitzel—this recipe is delicious! Chef Dylan, the recipe’s author, was teaching a Sticky Fingers Cooking class the first time he tried substituting beans for meat. He and his students made bean "meat" balls with gravy and marveled at the soft and flavorful results! This recipe riffs on that idea, stretches it into dough, and flies it all the way to Deutschland. Schnitzel is a classic German dish typically consisting of meat (usually pork) that’s pounded flat, breaded, and fried. This recipe follows the same formula, replacing the meat with beans. So, don your chef hats and get ready to make a beanie creation that’ll knock your lederhosen off!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • coat :

    to apply a covering of flour, breadcrumbs, oil, sauce, or batter to food before baking or frying.

  • knead :

    to work dough by pushing, pulling, and folding it by hand or with a stand mixer.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • pan-fry :

    to fry in a pan in a small amount of fat.

Equipment Checklist

  • Can opener
  • Strainer
  • Blender or masher
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Small bowls
  • Grater
  • Small or medium sauté pan
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Pitcher


German Tender Bean Schnitzel

  • 1 can pinto beans **(for LEGUME ALLERGY sub frozen, thawed, unseasoned hash browns or canned potatoes, drained)**
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour + more for dusting **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY: sub 1 T flaxseed + 3 T warm water—more info below)**
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp + 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp + 1 pinch black pepper
  • 3 T plain yogurt **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free yogurt)**
  • 4 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 C breadcrumbs **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free breadcrumbs)**
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil

Food Allergen Substitutions

German Tender Bean Schnitzel

  • Legume: Substitute frozen and thawed unseasoned hash browns or canned potatoes that have been drained for pinto beans in Schnitzel.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs in Schnitzel.
  • Egg: For 1 egg in Schnitzel, substitute 1 T flaxseed + 3 T warm water. Stir and soak flaxseeds in warm water for 5 minutes or until fully absorbed and thickened.
  • Dairy: Substitute plain dairy-free/nut-free yogurt for plain yogurt in Schnitzel.


German Tender Bean Schnitzel

drain + blend + measure

Drain 1 can of pinto beans and rinse them under cold water in a strainer. Place the rinsed beans into a large mixing bowl and either blend with an immersion blender or mash until smooth. Measure 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 3 tablespoons yogurt and add to the blended or mashed beans.

crack + mix + knead

Crack **1 egg into the large mixing bowl of beans and mix. Add all of the 1 1/2 cups flour at once. Start mixing until a dry dough begins to form. (If the dough is sticky to the touch, add more flour until dry.) Pour the dough onto a clean and floured surface and start kneading. Press down on the dough with the heels of your hands, fold the dough in half, rotate the dough, and then repeat the process. This is the best way to knead dough and create an even texture. Continue kneading until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is dry, so that it can be shaped into patties easily.

shape + bread

Divide the dough into 4 to 6 large balls. Flatten the balls into circular patties about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. In a separate bowl, measure 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 pinch of black pepper. Press the bean patties in the breadcrumb mixture until they are coated. Shake off the excess coating over the bowl before placing the patties somewhere safe before frying.

important note

It's important for safety to monitor your pan whenever frying. Keep a lid nearby to cover the pan to avoid splattering of hot oil. Keep kids at a safe distance and turn off the heat as soon as you finish.

fry + serve

Measure 1/4 cup vegetable oil and pour into a small sauté pan. Heat the oil over medium heat and place a small amount of leftover bean dough in the pan. When the small bit of bean dough sizzles, then the oil is hot enough to fry the rest. Place one bean patty in the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes on each side, holding each schnitzel in a warm oven until ready to serve! (You can also cook up to four at a time in a large skillet, but be sure to control excessive splattering by turning the heat down accordingly.) Make sure each Schnitzel is golden brown and crisp! Serve with a squeeze of lemon and some Creamy Cucumber Gurkensalat Salad (see recipe) on the side.

Surprise Ingredient: Pinto Beans!

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Photo by IKGM/

Hi! I’m Pinto Bean!

"Do you know what a bean with freckles is called? A pinto bean! Yep, we "frijoles pintos" (that's "pinto beans" in Spanish) have speckled skin, just like a pinto horse! We're especially popular in Mexican, Spanish, and Brazilian cuisines."


  • Globally, there are 13,000 known varieties of beans. They include the white bean, like the Italian Cannelini, Great Northern, and Navy Bean; the black turtle bean (usually shortened to black bean); and the pinto bean. What kind of beans are you using today?
  • Beans were one of the first foods gathered, according to archaeologists. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors used beans as food tens of thousands of years ago. They were grown around 7,000 years ago in the Middle East. 
  • In ancient Greece, public officials were elected if they picked the single white bean from a bunch of black beans. 
  • In the 15th century, Spanish explorers brought beans to Europe when they returned from voyages to the New World. Then, Spanish and Portuguese traders took them to Africa and Asia to sell. 
  • Beans are now prevalent worldwide, primarily due to their use as an inexpensive, plant-based protein.
  • Pinto beans are the most widely produced bean in the United States.
  • Dove Creek, Colorado, proclaims itself the Pinto Bean Capital of the World, and in New Mexico, the Pinto Bean is one of the official state vegetables!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Did you know: Beans are technically a fruit! 
  • Beans are legumes, so they have seeds that dry in the seed pod. Other legumes include lentils, peas, peanuts, and soybeans.
  • Beans plants leave the soil better and healthier than before they were planted. Most plants deplete the soil, but not beans. This is because they have nodules on their roots that add nitrogen, which the soil needs. 
  • The world's tallest bean plant was over 45 feet tall! That's the equivalent of three average-sized giraffes stacked on top of one another. The plant was grown in the USA in 2003.
  • Pinto beans got their name from the Spanish word "pintado," which means "painted."
  • The word "bean" was first used before the 12th century. It comes from the Old English "bēan," from the Proto-Germanic "bauno," and is related to the Dutch "boon" and German "Bohne."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Beans are harvested at full maturity when their pod reaches about six inches long, and the leaves turn brown and fall off about 75 days after the beans are planted.
  • When harvested, the shells are broken open, and the beans are collected as long as they are dry. If they're not thoroughly dried, they can be hung up to finish drying before they are popped from their shells. 
  • Before pinto beans are cooked, they are pale pink in color with reddish-brown speckles.
  • We can't eat raw, uncooked beans. Why? Because beans have something called lectins that are poisonous, and the only way to remove most of these lectins is to cook the beans.
  • If you're using dried beans, soak them before cooking to remove "antinutrients," compounds that block the absorption of nutrients. 
  • Dried beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins; both canned and dried beans are available throughout the year. 
  • Canned beans can stay fresh for years! 
  • Combine the creamy texture of beans with a whole grain such as brown rice, and you have a virtually fat-free high-quality protein meal. 
  • Beans are made into burgers, dips, brownies, cakes, dips, fudge, muffins, pies, and drinks (coffee and cocoa beans). They can also be used in jewelry, toys, and musical instruments. "Bean bag chairs" are made with polystyrene "beans," but the small bean bags for play are sometimes made with real dried beans. 


  • Beans are complex carbohydrates and high in fiber, which keeps our digestion strong and smooth and our tummies happy. 
  • Beans are excellent sources of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. The body needs these minerals to grow, develop, and stay healthy.
  • Beans supply several B vitamins to our diet, especially folate (B-9). These vitamins contribute to healthy brain function, formation of red blood cells, increased energy, and decreased cancer and cardiovascular disease risk.  
  • The fiber and protein in beans are also good for stabilizing blood sugar. They are popular with vegans and vegetarians because they replace some of the nutrients found in meat.

Beany Expressions:

  • Bean counter = an accountant
  • Bean feast = a party with food and drink
  • Bean pole = describing someone tall and thin
  • Cool beans = when something is cool
  • It doesn't amount to a hill of beans = when something doesn't add up to much
  • Full of beans = full of energy, enthusiasm
  • ​Hasn't got a bean = doesn't have any money
  • Has-been = once was something, maybe famous or rich, and now those days are gone
  • Not worth a bean = not worth anything
  • ​Spill the beans = dish the dirt, tell the truth


What is Schnitzel?

Photo by from my point of view/
  • "Schnitzel" is a German word that means "cutlet." A cutlet is a piece of meat pounded thin and often breaded before being fried in oil or grilled. "Schnitzel" is also the name of a German dish, usually made with pork. 
  • You can serve schnitzel with lemon slices or a sauce. Types of sauces include mushroom, tomato, and cream. There is also a version of schnitzel where you prepare the cutlet with mustard or horseradish before breading it. 
  • Schnitzel is typically served with spaetzle (a cross between a dumpling and pasta) or potatoes.

Let's Learn About Germany!

Photo by Oksana Trautwein/
  • The central European country of Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is known as "Deutschland" (DOYCH-lunt) in the German language. It is a federal parliamentary republic with a president, a chancellor (the head of the government), and a legislature.
  • Germany has over 83 million people in an area of 137,847 square miles, a little smaller than the U.S. state of Montana.
  • The capital and largest city in Germany is Berlin, but only since 1990 when East and West Germany reunified. Before that, East and West Germany were divided by the Berlin Wall, built after World War II to keep Eastern citizens from fleeing to the West. The Berlin Wall kept the two sides of Germany separated for 28 years. The wall finally crumbled in November 1989, and you can see segments of the original wall in many places in Germany and other countries.
  • Germany was the first country in the world to adopt Daylight Savings Time. This was done in 1916 during World War I to conserve fuel.
  • Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Germany, and the German Football Association is the largest single-sport league worldwide. Motorsports are also big in Germany, with three well-known German carmakers heavily involved, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche.
  • Hamburg, Germany, has the most bridges in the world. The city has more than 2,300 bridges!
  • In Germany, undergraduate university education is free, even to international students. Although a few programs are taught in both English and German, a student would need a firm knowledge of the German language to attend most universities. Germany also has a vocational education system that combines learning with company apprenticeships.
  • Germany is known for its sausages, and some, like "bratwursts" or "brats," are popular in the United States. Over 850 million "currywursts" (curry sausages sold on the street) are eaten in Germany per year! Bread, cheese, and beer are also significant parts of German cuisine.
  • During World War II, Coca-Cola syrup could not come into the country due to a US trade embargo with Nazi Germany. This resulted in the company's German division inventing Fanta soda, what we now know as an orange soda. However, the modern version was developed in Italy in the 1950s. They initially made the early German version with whey (the liquid left after making cheese), apple pomace (the pulp left from making apple juice), and beet sugar. 
  • The Autobahn is a famous access highway in Germany. It is over 8,000 miles long, and many parts have no enforceable speed limit. People travel from around the world to drive fast cars on the Autobahn. It's illegal to run out of gas on this highway!

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Germany?

  • In Germany, often both parents work, and every child under three can go to daycare. Kids can start kindergarten from 3 to 5 years old. 
  • On the first day of first grade, parents give their children a giant cone filled with toys, candy, and school supplies. The school cone is called a "schultüte," celebrating an important rite of passage in their young lives. 
  • Popular sports for youth include football (soccer), handball, and gymnastics. Kids primarily participate in a sport through a sports club, and there are thousands of sports clubs in Germany for almost every sport. 
  • German kids can visit one of the biggest zoos in the world, the Zoologischer Garten Berlin (Berlin Zoological Garden). Although its size isn't the largest, it houses the most animal species worldwide. The zoo opened in 1844 and its aquarium in 1913. 
  • There are several amusement and theme parks in Germany, and if kids are familiar with stories from the Brothers Grimm, families can drive the German Fairy Tale Route (Deutsche Märchenstraße) that runs 370 miles. The route passes through scenic nature parks and charming villages, and several places on the way relate to the fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood's house, Sleeping Beauty's castle, and the Pied Piper's town of Hamelin. Speaking of castles, you can also visit the Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, which may have inspired Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Lettuce Joke Around

What kinds of beans can’t grow in a garden? 

Jelly Beans!

The Yolk's On You

What bean is the most intelligent? 

The Human Bean!

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