Learn how to make chicken cordon bleu using these easy step-by-step instructions! Ham and cheese stuffed chicken breasts are breaded in panko and then baked until crisp. It’s deceptively easy to make and sure to impress.
If you love stuffed chicken breast, this chicken cordon bleu recipe has to be next on your list.
They are an elegant and delicious way to elevate the humble chicken breast. They need little prep and taste incredible.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
This chicken may look intimidating but honestly, they are really quick and easy to prepare.
- Amazing texture and flavor. The texture of the chicken is crispy on the outside and moist in the middle. It’s cheesy and savory, thanks to the addition of the ham. The creamy sauce takes it to another level.
- Short list of simple ingredients. Despite feeling like a fancy French dish, this recipe is made with simple and easy-to-find ingredients.
- It’s versatile. Baked chicken cordon bleu is easy to make for meal prep or for weeknight dinners. However, it also feels elegant enough to impress guests at dinner parties and holidays!
Cordon bleu chicken is so easy, and besides chicken, cheese, and some seasonings, there isn’t much else needed to make. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken. Use large, boneless, and skinless chicken breasts. If frozen, let them thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
- Ham. You can use any thinly sliced deli ham, including black forest, Virginia, honey-roasted, capicola, etc.
- Swiss cheese. Use deli-sliced Swiss cheese if possible because cheese from pre-sliced packages doesn’t melt as nicely. You can also use Swiss cheese shredded directly from the block.
- Panko bread crumbs. For a light coating and maximum crunch! You can substitute panko for plain or Italian-seasoned regular bread crumbs.
- Parmesan cheese. For a cheesy and salty flavor in the breadcrumb coating.
- Italian seasoning. Use a pre-mixed blend or make your own.
- Eggs. Dipping the cordon bleu logs in egg wash gives the bread crumbs a wet surface to cling to and helps the crust turn golden in the oven.
Chicken cordon bleu sauce:
- Butter. Adds flavor and works with the flour as a thickening roux.
- Flour. To help thicken the sauce.
- Heavy cream. This is the base of standard cream sauce. It makes it extra rich and creamy.
- Dijon mustard. For a touch of tang! If you don’t have dijon, whole grain or spicy brown mustard will work in a pinch.
- Salt and black pepper. For flavor.
How to make chicken cordon bleu
Baked chicken cordon bleu is easy to make: the only thing to remember is to pound the chicken into even thickness.
Set up the breading stations: Assemble the breading stations. Stir the panko bread crumbs, parmesan, and Italian seasonings in a bowl. In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and beat until smooth.
Pound the chicken breasts: Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place a chicken breast on top. Cover with another piece of plastic. Pound the chicken into a thin and even thickness using a meat tenderizer or rolling pin. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Add ham and cheese: Remove the top piece of plastic from the pounded chicken. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss cheese on top.
Wrap it up: Roll up the chicken breast to form a log shape.
Dredge each log: Unwrap the rolled chicken from the plastic and dip it in the egg, followed by the bread crumb-parmesan mixture. Place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down and repeat with the other chicken breasts.
Bake: Bake the chicken cordon bleu in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the breading is golden.
Make chicken cordon bleu sauce. While the chicken is baking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, then slowly add the heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Whisk in the mustard, salt, and pepper, and gently simmer until it thickens.
Rest, slice, and serve: Let the baked chicken rest for 5 minutes out of the oven. Plate each chicken breast, drizzle some Dijon cream sauce over the top, then enjoy!
How to make air fryer chicken cordon bleu
Did you know that you can make chicken cordon bleu in the air fryer? Here is the process to do so:
- Preheat the air fryer to 180C/350F.
- Prep the chicken as instructed.
- Add the seasoned chicken to the air fryer basket.
- Air fry for 15-18 minutes, turning regularly.
- Make the chicken cordon bleu sauce.
- Serve together.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Avoid over-pounding the chicken. Take your time pounding each chicken breast to an even ¼ inch thickness, but don’t go overboard. You want to whack the chicken firmly, but not with so much force that the pieces fall apart.
- Use toothpicks. Are the rolled and stuffed chicken breasts unraveling? You can secure them with a toothpick or two. Just remember to remove them before serving!
- Rest the chicken logs. If you have extra time, place the plastic-wrapped logs of stuffed chicken in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes. This makes it easier for the logs to hold their shape during breading and baking.
- Avoid overcooking. To prevent the chicken from overcooking, use a meat thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (or a few degrees less as the temperature will rise an additional 2 to 3 degrees while the chicken rests).
Feel free to mix and match the filling ingredients with other types of cheese, sliced meats, or sauces:
Cheese: Swiss is standard, but that doesn’t mean it’s your only option. Try sharp cheddar, white cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, gruyere, gouda, or fontina cheese instead.
Meat filling: Instead of sliced ham, roll the chicken and cheese up with prosciutto or pancetta. Bacon or turkey bacon is also an option.
Finishing sauce: Instead of Dijon cream sauce, try drizzling the baked chicken with honey mustard sauce, mushroom cream sauce, or any other thick, creamy, and flavorful sauce.
Make ahead: You can pound, stuff, and bread the chicken up to 1 day in advance. Keep the chicken covered in the fridge overnight. The next day, set it out at room temperature for about 10 minutes before baking as instructed.
To store: Let the leftovers cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: This recipe freezes best before baking, making it an excellent make-ahead meal. First, prep the chicken up until it’s coated in panko. Freeze it in a freezer-safe container or wrap it individually in plastic for 2 to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
Reheating: Reheat the leftover chicken in the oven or air fryer at 350°F until warmed through.
More breaded chicken recipes
Frequently asked questions
To make this recipe gluten-free, use bread crumbs. As for the flour in the creamy sauce, a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour or cornstarch should do the trick.
Yes! Frozen chicken breasts will work just as well as fresh ones will.
Hearty sides are best to pair with this dish, including mashed or baked potatoes, pasta, or some fluffy rice.
While Cordon Bleu has French origins and features cheese and ham in the filling, Chicken Kiev is a Ukrainian dish with a chicken breast filled with garlic herb butter and crispier on the outside.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
- In a bowl, mix together the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasonings. In a separate bowl, add the eggs and beat them together.
- Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place a chicken breast fillet on top. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top to cover it. Pound the chicken using a meat tenderizer or rolling pin until it is around 1/4 inch in thickness. Repeat this step with each chicken breast.
- Remove the top layer of plastic, and onto each chicken breast, add a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss cheese, and roll each one up, using the outer layer of plastic to help them keep the shape.
- Unwrap each rolled up chicken breast and dip each one in the egg, followed by the panko and parmesan mix.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet and place the chicken breasts on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, add the butter and place over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, then slowly add the heavy cream. Bring everything to a simmer, then add the mustard, salt, and pepper. While stirring regularly, let the sauce simmer until it has thickened.
- Once the chicken is cooked, slice it up and drizzle the sauce on top.
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