Chicken Cordon Bleu – Once Upon a Chef

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Master the art of Chicken Cordon Bleu: juicy chicken, savory ham, and melty Gruyère cheese, all bundled up in a crispy golden crust.

chicken cordon bleu with sauce and peas on plate

Chicken Cordon Bleu, or “blue ribbon chicken,” might sound intimidating with its fancy-sounding name, but it’s easier to make than you’d think. Hailing from Switzerland—it has nothing at all to do with the famous Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris—it features succulent chicken, savory ham, and melty Gruyere cheese, all rolled up and encased in a crispy golden crust. The dish becomes even more irresistible when served with a simple dijon mustard cream sauce, which you can whip up while the chicken bakes. Serve the chicken with buttered peas, French green beans, or creamy mashed potatoes for a meal that’s cozy yet elegant—perfect for a festive holiday meal or special dinner any night of the week.

Mastering Chicken Cordon Bleu involves a few key techniques that make all the difference. First, wrapping the cheese in “ham packets” is a clever way to keep it beautifully contained within the chicken as it bakes, ensuring each bite is as gooey and delicious as the last. Second, chilling the rolled chicken breasts in the fridge before cooking is another important step; it helps them hold their shape and ensures the filling stays put. Finally, a three-step breading method—coating first with flour, then with beaten eggs, and finishing with breadcrumbs—is crucial for achieving that perfect, crispy exterior.

“This recipe is outstanding! The sauce is absolutely delicious, a big hit with the entire family!”

Rachel

What you’ll need to make chicken cordon bleu

Step-by-Step Instructions

For the Chicken

Slice and pound the chicken: Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to form flat fillets. Place a fillet in a resealable freezer bag and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound it to an even thickness between ⅛ and ¼ inch. Remove the pounded cutlet and set it aside. Repeat with the remaining three chicken pieces.

pounded chicken breasts

Prepare the chicken for filling: Lay each chicken breast vertically, smooth side down, on a 12×16-inch piece of plastic wrap that is positioned horizontally (looking down at the plastic wrap, it should be wider than tall). Evenly season the rough sides (facing up) with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper (you’ll use about ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper for each piece of chicken).

chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper

Create the ham and cheese packets: Place ¼ cup shredded Gruyère in the center of each ham slice.

ham slice with gruyere in center

Fold the ham over the cheese, starting with the sides and then the top and bottom. This encases the cheese within the ham, forming neat packets. Place the packets seam-side down to keep them closed.

rolled ham filled with cheese

Assemble and roll: Place these ham and cheese packets atop the seasoned chicken breasts, towards the end closest to you.

ham and cheese packet on top of chicken breast

Begin rolling the chicken away from you, enclosing the ham and cheese packet tightly.

fully rolled up chicken breasts

Once rolled, wrap the chicken tightly in the plastic wrap. Squeeze gently to seal and twist both ends to form a log-like shape. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

chicken wrapped tightly in plastic wrap

Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Bread the chicken: Set out three large shallow bowls. Place the flour in the first bowl. Beat the eggs and mustard in the second bowl. In the third bowl, mix the panko, butter, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Set up a breading station in this order: flour, egg/mustard mixture, panko mixture.

breading station to coat chicken

Remove the plastic wrap from the chicken cordon bleu rolls. Gently dredge each roll in the flour, coating evenly all around.

dredging rolled chicken in flour

Dip in the egg/mustard mixture.

coating chicken breasts with egg mixture

Dredge in the panko mixture, turning and patting to adhere.

rolling chicken breasts in panko mixture

Place the breaded chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving with the sauce.

baked chicken cordon bleu on foil-lined baking sheet

For the Sauce

While the chicken bakes, make the sauce: In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

skillet with shallots cooking in butter

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.

adding flour to pan with shallots

Add the chicken stock, stirring to combine, and then bring to a boil.

adding chicken stock to skillet

Add the heavy cream, salt, pepper, mustard, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

heavy cream, salt, pepper, mustard, and Parmigiano Reggiano added to skillet

Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

sauce mixture combined and simmering in skillet

Add the thyme, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Before serving, if you wish to slice it into pinwheels, use a serrated knife with a gentle sawing motion, as the breading can be delicate. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

sliced chicken cordon bleu

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Chicken Cordon Bleu

Master the art of Chicken Cordon Bleu: juicy chicken, savory ham, and melty Gruyère cheese, all bundled up in a crispy golden crust.

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 thin slices black forest ham
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded Gruyère, Emmenthal, or Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

For the Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots, from 1 to 2 shallots
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups chicken stock (or broth)
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)

Instructions

For the Chicken

  1. Slice and Pound the Chicken: Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to form flat fillets. Place a fillet in a resealable freezer bag and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound it to an even thickness between ⅛ and ¼ inch. Remove the pounded cutlet and set it aside. Repeat with the remaining three chicken pieces.
  2. Prepare the Chicken for Filling: Lay each chicken breast vertically, smooth side down, on a 12×16-inch piece of plastic wrap that is positioned horizontally (looking down at the plastic wrap, it should be wider than tall). Evenly season the rough sides (facing up) with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper (you’ll use about ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper for each piece of chicken).
  3. Create the Ham and Cheese Packets: Place ¼ cup shredded Gruyère in the center of each ham slice. Fold the ham over the cheese, starting with the sides and then the top and bottom. This encases the cheese within the ham, forming neat packets. Place the packets seam-side down to keep them closed.
  4. Assemble and Roll: Place these ham and cheese packets atop the seasoned chicken breasts, towards the end closest to you. Begin rolling the chicken away from you, enclosing the ham and cheese packet tightly. As you roll, tuck in the chicken’s sides. Once rolled, wrap the chicken tightly in the plastic wrap, squeezing gently to seal and twisting both ends to form a log-like shape. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Bread the Chicken: Set out three large shallow bowls. Place the flour in the first bowl. Beat the eggs and mustard in the second bowl. In the third bowl, mix the panko, butter, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Set up a breading station in this order: flour, egg/mustard mixture, panko mixture.
  7. Remove the plastic wrap from the chicken cordon bleu rolls. Gently dredge each roll in the flour, coating evenly all around; dip in the egg/mustard mixture; then dredge in the panko mixture, turning and patting to adhere. Place the breaded chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving with the sauce. If you wish to slice it into pinwheels, use a serrated knife with a gentle sawing motion, as the breading can be delicate.

For the Sauce

  1. While the chicken bakes, make the sauce. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, stirring to combine, and then bring to a boil. Add the heavy cream, salt, pepper, mustard, and Parmigiano Reggiano and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  2. Make-Ahead Instructions: Prepare the chicken by rolling it with the filling up to a day in advance. If adding breading, do so no more than 3 hours before cooking. Once breaded, store the chicken uncovered in the refrigerator and then bake as directed.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 821
  • Fat: 47 g
  • Saturated fat: 25 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 64 g
  • Sodium: 1001 mg
  • Cholesterol: 337 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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