Chicken Cordon Bleu
For this east Chicken Cordon Bleu, lean chicken breast is stuffed with black forest ham and swiss cheese, then rolled in crunchy panko bread crumbs. It’s an easy and delicious oven baked dinner that only takes 45 minutes to make.
I ate chicken cordon bleu all. the. time. when I was a kid.
However, this chicken cordon bleu came in a box. Frozen. The quality was questionable. But oh boy, did I love the flavors.
Fortunately, this is a recipe that’s pretty simple to put together yourself using scratch ingredients. And of course, this homemade version is far better than any frozen option you can buy. It’s a perfect dinner for busy weeknights!
Classic chicken cordon bleu is typically deep-fried or pan fried, but here we simply bake it in the oven. It’s much healthier and also much less of a pain.
Every once in a while I will set up my deep fryer for Homemade Mozzarella Sticks or Homemade French Fries, but I generally dread setting up the deep fryer, and will only do so when there’s not a good alternative.
Once you’ve made this classic dish once, know that you can play with the fillings a bit.
I use a modest amount of ham and cheese in the middle, but you could add a few extra slices of cheese to make it extra gooey and delicious. You can also turn it into a sandwich and make this Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini next time! These ingredients make for such great comfort food.
Tips for Best Results
Buy chicken cutlets – While you can certainly butterfly boneless skinless chicken breasts yourself and pound them thin with a meat mallet between sheets of plastic wrap, I find that buying them already cut at the store yields much more evenly thin pieces, which is better for rolling. They are usually about the same cost as ordinary chicken breast, and it’s great that they’re ready to work with straight out of the package.
Roll tightly – Meat always shrinks as it cooks, so you’ll want to roll each chicken cutlet up extra tight before baking. This looks nicer, but will also hold the melted cheese filling and ham slices better.
Use great cheese – Cheese varies HUGELY in quality, and I recommend going for a good quality swiss or gruyere here. Don’t get the cheap store-brand swiss cheese. Try to use cheese from a reputable brand like Emmentaler. Tillamook is also good.
Step by Step Overview:
Start by mixing together a simple spice mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried thyme in a small bowl:
This isn’t necessarily traditional for chicken cordon bleu, but I really prefer my food to be well-seasoned and the flavors go great here, without overpowering the dish.
Sprinkle this spice mixture all over the thin cutlets, along with salt and pepper, then lay them out on a flat surface or cutting board. I like to add the spices directly to the meat instead of into the flour mixture during breading.
Add a slice of ham (I like black forest, but any smoky ham or honey ham will do!) and two slices of swiss cheese onto each cutlet, so that each piece is generously covered.
Roll the chicken tightly lengthwise, and secure with a few toothpicks. You really don’t need more than three toothpicks per piece to keep everything in place:
The chicken rolls are going to look hideous but trust me, it will all turn out okay when you slice and serve it later.
Set up a breading station with all-purpose flour, egg wash (simply an egg mixture made with beaten egg and water), and panko breadcrumbs, each in a shallow bowl. Feel free to add parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs, if you want more cheese.
Bread each rolled cutlet in that order, making sure to shake off the excess each step of the way. That prevents the breading from falling off.
Once you’ve breaded each piece, line the prepared chicken bundles up on a sheet pan or baking sheet:
If you have some handy, spray the tops of each roll with cooking spray to encourage browning, but know that it’s not necessary. I’m not using any here. I don’t recommend attempting to brush on any oils, because it will remove the bread crumbs.
Bake for about 25 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees F, until the cheese is gooey and the meat is cooked through:
Because the thickness of the rolled chicken varies depending on the size of your cutlets, I find it important to use an instant-read thermometer here (affiliate).
Cooking to an internal temperature of 160F is sufficient, as it will rise another 5 degrees from carryover cooking after it’s removed from the oven.
How to Serve
Remove the toothpicks from each piece of chicken, then cut into slices for the most attractive presentation.
Fan the slices out on each plate, then serve with whatever side you enjoy. Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Cauliflower are two of my favorite healthy sides to serve with this. In the photos above, I have my Herb Mushroom Barley on the side.
Though the dish does not need it, you can try adding a simple sauce. For dipping, try a honey dijon mustard sauce. Or make a cream sauce like the mornay from this Croque Madame as the perfect complement.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Yes, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Before reheating, I recommending thawing in the fridge overnight.
The microwave is easiest, though it will not yield a crunchy breading. Cook in 30 second intervals until warmed through. For a crunchier exterior, reheat in a 300F oven for about 10 minutes, until warmed through.
Yes, you can roll up the chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks a day in advance, then roll in the flour/egg/breadcrumbs right before baking and pop it into the oven. Cook time may be be a few minutes longer since the meat will be colder coming right out of the fridge.
Most likely, though I have not tested this personally.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
- 1.25 lbs chicken cutlets (I had 6)*
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs whisked with 1 tbsp water
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham
- 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese
- cooking spray optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and thyme. Sprinkle evenly all over the chicken. Season the chicken evenly with the salt and black pepper as well.
- Set up a breading station by placing the flour in the first bowl, the whisked eggs in the second, and the panko in the third.
- Lay out the chicken cutlets on a flat surface, and place a single layer of both ham and cheese on each cutlet. Roll each one up tightly lengthwise, then secure with 3 toothpicks.
- Dip each chicken roll in the flour, then in the egg, then in the panko breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess coating every step of the way. Place on a baking tray.
- If you have cooking spray, you may spray the tops of each chicken roll to encourage browning. This is not required.
- Bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, until it registers an internal temperature of 160F using a thermometer. Baking time may vary depending on how big your cutlets were, so a thermometer is important for making sure you don't over or undercook the chicken. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes, then remove the toothpicks, slice, and serve!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.