Chicken Saltimbocca is a weeknight-friendly dish that takes 25 minutes to make! Thin chicken breast cutlets are wrapped in fresh sage and prosciutto, cooked in a butter wine sauce, and topped with provolone cheese. There’s so much flavor, and it pairs beautifully with sides like Potato Gratin and Roasted Brussels Sprouts!
Saltimbocca Chicken is easily one of the Italian classics, and what’s lovely about it is it’s full of flavor, but also a relatively light dish. It’s a protein-heavy preparation with bold flavor from fresh sage and quality prosciutto.
I worked at an Italian restaurant in high school and college that was well-known for their trinity of classics: Marsala, Piccata, and Saltimbocca. I have tended to cycle through these classics in my kitchen as well, because they’re good weeknight workhorse kinds of recipes.
While these three classics are traditionally made with veal cutlets, veal is pretty hard to find. Fortunately, chicken takes nicely as the stand-in for this restaurant dish. Just as I did in my Easy Chicken Marsala recipe, we will make Saltimbocca Style Chicken for this tasty dish.
This recipe is gluten-free, as I do not think it’s necessary to dredge the chicken cutlets in flour. We will thicken the sauce by reducing down the wine and broth or stock, and save the breading for the Chicken Cordon Bleu!
Tips for Best Results
Take the chill off the meat – Ideally, remove the chicken breast from the fridge an hour before you plan to cook. I always do this meat now, after experiencing how essential it is for steaks like Grilled Ribeye. It’s the same thing with this Glazed Spiral Ham. If the meat isn’t super cold as a starting point, then it requires less cooking and will dry out much less.
Use good prosciutto – It’s absolutely wild how much quality varies with prosciutto. You don’t need to use totally top-of-the-line stuff here, but do use a decent salty prosciutto from Parma or another kind that tastes good out of the package. If your grocery store has a deli, purchasing it from the deli counter is typically cheaper than the prepackaged meat.
Consider the cheese – In my experience, Chicken Saltimbocca is most often made with provolone. I worked at an Italian restaurant in high school and college, and provolone was the preferred cheese for the dish. It’s what I use here too, but know that it more adds creaminess and gooeyness, and not really flavor. I’m fine with that because the prosciutto and sage are the dominant flavors of the dish. However, I’ve also experimented with Fontina and Gruyere and had great results. You can also get away with no cheese at all.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
The Chicken Saltimbocca ingredients are actually quite minimal. You’ll need prosciutto, fresh sage, provolone, salt, and pepper for the chicken, and you’ll need butter, chicken broth, white wine, and a wine vinegar for the sauce.
Step by Step Overview:
Boneless chicken breasts is the cut you’ll need here, though in cutlet form. This just means the breast has been cut into thin pieces that cook quickly.
Purchase chicken breast cutlets from the store to make this especially quick and easy. But also know you can cut them yourself.
Carefully slice through the middle of the breast, applying pressure on the meat with a flat palm on top.
If there are some parts that are still significantly thicker than the rest, you may pound it flatter using a meat mallet. Place the cutlet in between two pieces of plastic wrap first.
Next season the cutlets evenly with sea salt and black pepper on both sides.
Lay fresh sage leaves on top of each cutlet. You can do as much or as little as you want. I like to cover most of one side, with about 4 whole sage leaves per piece.
Next wrap each piece with a slice of prosciutto, completely around the front and back.
Over medium-high heat, melt butter in a large skillet that’s ovenproof (a cast iron skillet works great too), then add the prosciutto wrapped cutlets in a single layer.
Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until the meat is almost cooked through and there are browned bits on the exterior of the meat.
Repeat in batches as necessary, keeping the meat warm and covered on a plate, to collect any juices that come out.
Once all the meat is cooked, add white wine to the pan.
What kind of wine to use
Any relatively dry white wine will do. I generally use sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio, but because there’s not a lot used here, it’s usually okay to use whatever you have on hand.
Marsala wine is also nice if you enjoy Chicken Marsala and want a bit of crossover.
Simmer to reduce the wine down, making sure to whisk and incorporate the leftover brown bits in the pan into the sauce.
Next add chicken broth (or chicken stock).
Again, simmer to reduce the broth for about 5 minutes, until it thickens slightly.
Then at the very end, add 1/2 tsp of vinegar to balance the sauce with a little acidity. You may also use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead, if you prefer.
Add the meat back to the pan, in addition to all of the juices on the plate.
Cover each piece of chicken with a slice of provolone cheese.
Pop the pan under the broiler for about a minute, until the provolone melts and just begins to brown over the crispy prosciutto.
If you desire, during this time, you can do a quick fry of any leftover sage leaves in some olive oil. It’s not needed for flavor, as there’s already plenty in the dish, but it can be fun for presentation.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or wrap the skillet well with aluminum foil and keep in the fridge.
Microwave on half power for a minute or two until warmed through (timing will depend on how much you’re reheating and the wattage of your microwave). Or you can warm in a 300F oven for about 10 minutes.
Yes, store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
You can complete all the prep work by wrapping the breast cutlets in the sage and prosciutto, but I recommend cooking the meat fresh. Fortunately, it only takes about 15 minutes.
Greens – If you don’t love sage flavors, you may top the chicken with fresh basil leaves instead, or even some sauteed spinach. That way you still get some green color and flavor, but it’s milder.
Red pepper flakes – Add a few shakes of crushed red pepper at the end to make it a little spicy.
Cheese – You may also enjoy using fontina cheese instead of provolone. It has a great melting quality, but a stronger flavor.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets* (I had 6 pieces)
- 1.5 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper (I add this by eye, but about 3/4 tsp)
- 1 bunch fresh sage leaves (about 4 leaves per breast, or 24 total)
- 4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup white wine**
- 1 cup chicken broth or stock
- 1/2 tsp white or red wine vinegar
- 6 slices provolone cheese***
- Ideally, remove the meat from the fridge an hour before cooking, to warm up slightly at room temperature. If this is not possible, it's no problem.
- Season the cutlets evenly on both sides with the salt and pepper.
- Lay four sage leaves across the top of each cutlet (or as much as you'd like), then wrap tightly in prosciutto.
- Preheat the oven broiler on high.
- In an ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the prosciutto wrapped cutlets in a single layer, then pan fry about 3 minutes on each side, until the meat is mostly cooked through, to at least 155F inside. Depending on the size of the skillet you're using, you may need to cook in batches. If so, keep the cooked meat covered in foil while cooking.
- Remove all the meat to a plate, then add the wine to the pan. Increase the heat to high to reduce the wine to about half, which should only take a minute or two.
- Add the chicken broth to the pan, and reduce until the sauce thickens, which should take about 5 minutes. See blog photo if needed.
- Add the meat back to the pan, along with any juices from the plate. Lay a slice of provolone cheese on top of each piece of chicken, then pop the pan under the broiler for a minute or two, until the provolone is melted and just starting to brown.
- Serve immediately while hot. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.