The Fab 4 (Most Familiar Cuts)

Below, are 4 cuts that you’ll likely find in the main-stream grocery store or butcher. Look for veal that comes partially prepared as well, like meatballs or breaded cutlets. For a broader range of cuts, a butcher specializing in Italian, German or Middle Eastern foods could likely help you out.

Cutlets are thin cuts of veal from the leg, loin or rib sections. Also known as scaloppini, veal scallops, schnitzel or Wiener schnitzel, veal cutlets are ¼ to ¾ inch thick at most. Cutlets are often coated with seasoned flour or bread crumbs before cooking to protect against overcooking. Cutlets can be quickly pan-fried, or when stuffed and rolled, braise or bake as roulade. Since fully trimmed and boneless, there is no waste with veal cutlet.

Chops align with steaks for beef. Chops from the Rib or Loin sections are best for dry-heat cooking like grilling or pan-frying. Shoulder chops are best pan-fried to brown and then simmered slowly in a braising liquid like white wine or stock to make a luscious sauce.

Shank is typically cut across the bone into rounds and tied ideally.  It is famous for the classic, osso buco, and provides the bonus of rich bone marrow that can be added to the sauce or enjoyed on its own. Best for moist-heat cooking at a slow simmer in a covered pot that holds in the steam to tenderize.

Ground veal is designated as Lean with the same maximum fat content (17%) as lean ground chicken, turkey, beef and pork. It can be sold as is, as meatballs, or in a ‘duo-’ or ‘trio-mix’ pack along with ground beef, and/or ground pork. Ground veal provides a rich texture and subtle flavour to meatballs, meat loaf and tourtière when used alone or as a blend of ground meats. Depending on the use, ground veal can be cooked in many different ways.

Veal liver has a delicate, rich flavour and silky texture which could be a pleasant surprise to those who claim to be liver adverse. A quick pan-fry to medium at most is best.

Click each cut below for cooking instructions


The veal roasts and cutlets from the leg section are tender enough for dry-heat cooking such as quick pan-frying for the cutlets and oven roasting for the roasts. Cutlets can be baked (oven roasted) or braised when stuffed and rolled as roulades.


Perfect for the dry-heat cooking like grilling or pan-frying, the loin chops and medallions cut from this section are the parallel to beef grilling steaks. Ever-tender kabobs, oven roasts and cutlets also come from this section.


The rib section yields some of the most flavourful chops, roasts and cutlets, all tender cuts that take well to dry-heat oven roasting, grilling or pan-frying.


These sections are best for braised chops, roasts, or stewing cubes, and also lean ground veal for use in a variety of dishes. These cuts make the best pot roast or stewed dishes when first browned, and then slowly simmered to fork tender.


Typically sold sliced so ready for a quick pan-fry to cook.

How to Buy Tips

• Veal is naturally tender, with a fine-grained texture.  Since the marbling you find in beef is basically not present in veal, veal is typically not graded.

• The meat from grain-fed veal should have a rosy pink tone with white fat if any.

• For braising cuts like shank or roasts from the shoulder or breast, ensure the cut is tied before cooking so the meat holds together.

Some general rules of thumb when it comes to cooking veal:

Get Ready:

  • When roasting or braising, grilling or pan-frying always preheat your oven, barbecue or pan.
  • Season meat well before cooking.
  • Pounding cutlets is not necessary unless you want to thin-out your cutlet further
  • Veal can be marinated for flavour but is not necessary for tenderness – marinate for 30 minutes at most. Always discard a marinade after use or bring it to a boil if using as a glaze or sauce. Pat marinated meat dry before cooking.

Get Cooking:

  • Brown your veal to a light colour before braising or roasting and as a first step in pan-frying and grilling. Browning helps to develop flavour and colour but keep the sear lighter than you would for beef to avoid overcooking and overpowering veals’ delicate flavour.
  • After searing, use a gentle heat to finish cooking in order to optimize tenderness.
  • Avoid piercing the meat while cooking by using tongs to turn the meat.
  • When braising or stewing, use the oven set at a low temperature for a constant simmer with less risk of scorching than braising using the stovetop.
  • If using a slow cooker, use the LOW setting to avoid overcooking.

And you’re done!

  • Check for doneness early. When grilled or pan-fried veal chops or ground veal are close to being done, insert a digital instant-read thermometer sideways into the centre of the meat to check doneness.
  • For oven roasting, before cooking, insert an oven-safe thermometer into the centre of the meat loaf or roast avoiding bone.
  • For braised veal cuts, test doneness by inserting a fork and twisting it – if the meat fibres pull apart easily the meat is ‘fork-tender’. That’s done!
  • Without the marbling that you get with beef, quick-cooking and oven-roasted veal cuts are best enjoyed cooked to medium at most, removing from the heat when the thermometer reads between 145°F (46°C) and 160°F(71°C).
  • Braising cuts, like those from the shoulder or shank are best slowly simmered to fork-tender doneness.
  • Manage ground veal as you would ground beef, cooking thoroughly to 160°F (71°C), using a digital instant-read thermometer to test so you avoid overcooking while still cooking to a safe-doneness temperature.
  • Veal liver and cutlets cook quickly; cook to medium doneness at most.
  • When removed from the heat after cooking, let veal rest, loosely covered with foil to allow juices to settle before serving or carving.


Grilling is best used for thick veal chops/medallions or kabob cubes from the loin or rib sections, or with ground veal as kofta or burgers. You can also turn veal cutlets into satay by cutting into thin strips.

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high (400°F/63°C). If meat is marinated, discard or boil used marinade. Pat meat dry with paper towel. Season all over with salt and pepper to your taste.
  2. Brush grill with oil. Sear meat until there are good grill marks on both sides but meat is not charred. Transfer to a cooler part of the grill or reduce the heat to finish, turning twice or more until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted sideways into the meat, avoiding bone, reads 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare. IMPORTANT NOTE: Veal burgers or kofta need to be cooked to 160°F (71°C), testing doneness by inserting a digital instant-read thermometer sideways into each burger or kofta.
  3. Transfer to cutting board or plate, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Pan-frying is best used for chops/medallions from the rib or loin sections, ground veal or veal meatballs, or for thin-cut veal cutlets or sliced liver (breaded or not breaded).

  1. Pat meat dry with paper towel. Season all over with salt and pepper to your taste. Bread cutlets with seasoned flour or bread crumbs if you like.
  2. Preheat oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.
    Cutlets: use about a tablespoon (15 mL) of oil. NOTE: If cooking breaded cutlets, oil should come close to halfway up the sides of the cutlets.
    Chops/medallions and ground veal: lightly oil the pan.
  3. Add the meat to the skillet, careful not to overcrowd the pan.
    Cutlets: cook 2 to 4 minutes per side for medium at most.
    Ground veal: cook to 160°F (71°C).
    Chops/medallions: Sear meat until golden brown on both sides. Reduce the heat to finish, turning twice or more until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted sideways into the meat, avoiding bone, reads 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare. Thick chops/medallions: after browning in an ovenproof skillet, transfer to a preheated 300°F (150°C) oven to finish.

Simmering/Braising/Stewing is used for stew cubes, cuts from the shoulder and shank or to poach veal meatballs or stuffed cutlets (roulade).

  1. Pat meat dry with paper towel. Season all over with salt and pepper to your taste. Heat a lightly-oiled deep skillet/sauté pan or Dutch oven/enamelled cast iron roaster over medium-high heat; add the meat and brown all over to a light colour, turning with tongs. Transfer to a plate/platter; set aside. NOTE: skip browning for recipes where the meat is to be poached (e.g. Blanquette or meatballs in sauce or soup).
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add a splash of oil if necessary; cook diced onions, celery or other seasoning vegetables until softened. (Optional: for thickening, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of flour; cook stirring for 1 minute.) Add a splash of liquid (stock, wine or broth) and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up and brown bits from the pan.
  3. Return meat and any accumulated juices to the pan. Add more liquid to just come half way up the meat. Cover and cook in preheated 325°F (160°C) oven or keep at a constant low simmer on stovetop, turning meat occasionally.
    Stew cubes, chops, shank or roasts: cook until fork-tender, about 1¼ hours for stew cubes and chops, 1½ to 2 hours for shank, or 2 to 3 hours for roasts.
    Meatballs and stuffed cutlets: cook until a digital instant-read thermometer reads 160°F/71°C when inserted into several meatballs/pieces, about 30 minutes, depending on the size.
  4. Transfer meat and any vegetables to a bowl, platter or carving board; cover with foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes.

Oven Roasting is best for Rack of Veal or other roasts from the loin or leg sections such as Sirloin, Loin and Round cuts. You can also roast (bake) meatballs and meat loaf. Sear roasts before cooking to help develop flavour and colour.

  1. Roasts: Pat meat dry with paper towel. Season all over to your taste. Place fat side up, or bones down on rack in sauté or shallow roasting pan. (NOTE: When roasting a Rack of Veal, there is no need for a rack in the pan.)
  2. Insert oven-safe meat thermometer into centre of the roast or meatloaf.
    Roasts: Oven-sear in a preheated 450°F (230°C) oven for 10 minutes (or brown in a lightly oiled skillet on stovetop). Reduce heat to 275°F (135°C); roast uncovered, removing from the oven when 5°F (3°C) below 145°F/63°C for medium-rare, or 160°F/71°C for medium.
    Meatballs or Meatloaf: Bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven until cooked to 160°F (71°C).
  3. Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes (roasts and meat loaf), or 5 minutes (meatballs). Meanwhile, make a sauce for the roast if desired (See Step 4). Serve or carve roasts across the grain.
  4. To make a sauce for roasts: stir a splash of liquid (stock, wine or broth) into the roasting pan and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Strain the juices and thicken by cooking at a simmer until reduced, or stir in a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and cold water and heat, stirring, until thickened. Season to your taste.