A lighter take on an old-fashioned recipe! This chicken cordon bleu is made with tender chicken cutlets rolled and stuffed with Swiss cheese and ham coated in breadcrumbs then baked, not fried, until golden and crispy. Serve with a creamy Dijon sauce and you’ve got an impressive dinner any day of the week!
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Simple Dish with a Fancy Name
We’re taking it back with this comfort food classic chicken cordon bleu recipe. It’s made with thin chicken cutlet rolls filled with ham and melty Swiss cheese. Before baking, we coat them in crispy Panko breadcrumbs giving them a nice crunchy outer crust.
This way of making cordon bleu chicken is a bit of a shortcut making it much easier than the traditional way of dredging in all-purpose flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs before deep frying. I do this with baked chicken parmesan and baked chicken tenders too.
Baking is much easier and much healthier than frying in heavy oil, although we do love to pan fry this parmesan crusted chicken. Each bite has a bit of crunch surrounding tender juicy chicken and a filling of ham and cheese. It is so good!
This easy chicken cordon bleu might sound fancy, but you don’t need to be a Michelin star chef to make it. I’m going to show you how to impress your guests or your family any night of the week!
If you enjoy the flavors in this recipe, you’ll love this one pan chicken cordon bleu pasta.
What is Chicken Cordon Bleu?
In French, cordon bleu translates to “blue ribbon”. Back in the day (we’re talking the 1500s) Henry III of France gave knights that were kind of a big deal a wide blue ribbon to signify their rank, the highest order. So, eventually, blue ribbon became a way to describe the high standards of certain food and certain chefs.
Cordon bleu can be made with any type of thin cutlet of meat including veal, pork, beef, or chicken stuffed with cheese, then fried. It’s usually served with a cordon bleu sauce, and even that has variations to it now.
We’re making baked chicken cordon bleu stuffed with ham and cheese served with a Dijon mustard cream sauce because it’s my favorite!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Chicken: You’ll need about 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts. They’ll be sliced in half crosswise, to make 8 thinner cutlets in total.
- Ham & swiss: You want to use thinly sliced deli ham for this. If it’s too thick you won’t be able to roll it up. I prefer to use pre-sliced Swiss just to make life easier, but by all means, use grated from a block, or slice your own.
- Panko breadcrumbs: I love the lightness and crispness that the larger Panko crumbs provide. I also find they brown evenly and aren’t as dark as regular breadcrumbs.
- Salt & pepper: This is just a bit of seasoning for the breadcrumbs. See below for other seasoning ideas.
- Salted butter: Once melted, we’ll use this to dredge our chicken rolls. This is to help the breadcrumbs stick to the outside. Use unsalted butter if preferred.
- Mayonnaise & Dijon mustard: A delicious combination of tangy and creamy to serve with the meal. While not traditional, it’s certainly easy and tasty!
- Use your favorite cheese instead of Swiss. Sharp cheddar cheese, provolone, Mozzarella, or gruyere would be a nice alternative.
- You could also add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs.
- To add a bit of extra seasoning to the breadcrumbs feel free to add Italian seasoning. You can also add some garlic powder or add it to the melted butter for extra garlicky flavors.
- Use crushed cornflakes or Ritz crackers instead of panko bread crumbs for the outer crust.
- If you don’t have Dijon mustard for the sauce, yellow mustard will work too.
How to Make Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Prepare the breasts. Use a sharp knife to slice them horizontally to create 2 halves. You should have a total of 8 pieces. One at a time, place half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to gently pound it into 1/4” thickness. Try not to tear the chicken!
- Add the filling. Lay each piece flat on a piece of plastic wrap. Add 1 slice of ham and 1 slice of cheese on top. Start with the smaller end of the breast and start rolling it up tightly, bringing in the sides as you move up.
- Roll and wrap. Once you’ve rolled them up, use the plastic wrap to wrap them up and contain them in a firm bundle. Twist the extra plastic on the sides like a candy wrapper. You can either chill it for 30 minutes now or keep it in the fridge until tomorrow’s dinner.
- Dredge in butter and crumbs. In one shallow dish whisk together the Panko, salt, and pepper. In another dish add melted butter. Discard the plastic wrap, dip one bundle at a time into the butter, and then roll it around in the breadcrumbs, pressing lightly to help them stick. Repeat with all bundles and place them on a prepared rimmed baking sheet. Spray them all with a bit of cooking spray to help with the browning.
- Bake until golden. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 30 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. When meat is stuffed, it can take a little longer for the inside to cook, so you must use a digital thermometer to test for doneness.
- Serve with sauce. Feel free to serve the pieces whole with a side of mayo and Dijon mustard sauce, or for presentation, you can slice the chicken and present them as pinwheels on a platter and have people take a few pieces each. It’s up to you!
You can make these up to 1 day ahead, or freeze them for months. Once wrapped in plastic wrap, store uncooked rolls in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and continue as directed.
- If you don’t have a meat mallet, use a rolling pin to pound the meat. You want to make it an even thickness for even cooking.
- Tuck in the sides as you roll the chicken like a burrito that way the filling won’t fall out.
- Don’t skip the chill time, it helps keep the roll in its shape to prevent unfolding and falling apart!
- Keep an instant-read thermometer nearby. It’s the most accurate way to tell when your chicken has an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Allow the pieces to rest before serving. Otherwise, the juices will run out leaving the meat dry if you cut into it too soon.
Traditionally, the sauce is made with a base of garlic butter as a roux, thickened with flour and milk, then seasoned with Parmesan, fresh herbs, and Dijon mustard. If you want to give it a shot, go for it. It’s delish!
These two are very similar so it’s easy to see why people might mistake one for the other. The main difference is what is used to stuff the meat. Chicken Kiev is made with a flavorful compound butter while cordon bleu is made with ham and cheese.
Certainly, for a larger dinner crowd, double the recipe and use two baking trays.
Storing + Reheating
Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge. The longer it sits, the soggier the breadcrumbs get, so this is best enjoyed the day of.
To reheat, you can use the microwave for single portions, or the oven at 350°F for more. Or try the air fryer if you have one.
More Chicken Recipes to TryBrowse all
Chicken Cordon Bleu
- 4 (about 2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 8 thin slices ham
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter , melted
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard , plus more to taste
- Using a sharp knife, cut each chicken breast in half horizontally to create 2 chicken breast halves. Place 1 chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Gently pound each piece into an even 1/4-inch thickness, being careful not tear the chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Lay chicken flat on a piece of plastic wrap. Layer 1 slice of ham and then 1 slice of cheese over the chicken, leaving 1/2-inch uncovered around all edges.
- Starting on the smaller end of the chicken, roll the chicken tightly, while tucking in the ham and chicken on each side, to the opposite end (like you would a burrito). This will help keep the cheese inside as it bakes.
- Wrap the chicken tightly in the plastic wrap, twisting the excess plastic on the sides to create a tootsie-roll shape of a firm chicken bundle. Chill at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day in advance.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a rimmed 9×13-inch baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together the panko, salt, and pepper until combined. Place melted butter in a separate shallow dish.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the chicken bundles. Dip 1 bundle into the butter. Transfer to panko mixture, pressing lightly to help the panko stick to the chicken. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bundles. Spray the panko with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bake 30 minutes, or until a digital thermometer inserted into the chicken (not the filling) reads 160°F degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise and mustard together. Serve with the chicken.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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