Chicken Cordon Bleu

I’ve always struggled in the past to make chicken cordon bleu turn out edible-looking. I flatten my chicken breasts (usually too much so that there are holes and it is paper thin), layer the cheese and ham inside and then I begin the process that makes me want to pull my hair out. With icky chicken covered fingers. Where some people can finish with a neat little bundle, my chicken cordon bleus are lumpy and punctured with at least 23 toothpicks to keep everything together. Not some of my finest cooking moments.

Thankfully Cook’s Country came out with a clever version of how to stuff this classic dish and it peaked my interest. The shredded swiss cheese is rolled up in ham slices and then gently tucked inside a pocket cut into the chicken. The chicken is crusted in buttery bread crumbs and crackers and baked perfectly. For once – my cheese didn’t erupt into a volcanic mess on the baking sheet. It stayed put just where it needed to be – inside the chicken and the result was perfection. The chicken is tender and juicy, the crunchy bread crumb crust is delicious and the ham and Swiss are just epically cordon bleu.

{Update 3/14: After making this chicken for four years – revolutionary stuffing method and all – I can honestly say it is the only way I make classic chicken cordon bleu. I just love this dish so, so much. So traditional; so delicious.}

Chicken Cordon Bleu

What To ServeRoasted Asparagus or steamed peas or broccoli
Simple Rice Pilaf or Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Spinach Salad with Sweet-Spicy Nuts, Apples, Feta & Bacon or Strawberry Spinach Salad

Two Years Ago: Unbelievable Carrot Cake

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Yield: Serves 4-6

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Note: To make sure the cheese doesn’t leak out of the chicken while baking, use large (at least 8-ounce) chicken breasts and chill the stuffed chicken breasts in the refrigerator before breading.

Make-Ahead Tip: The breaded chicken can be refrigerated covered for up to 1 day.

Ingredients

  • 25 Ritz crackers, regular or whole wheat
  • 4 slices hearty sandwich bread, white or whole wheat
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 8 thin slices deli ham (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 4 thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total), see note
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pulse the crackers and bread in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse until the ingredients are incorporated. Transfer the crumbs to a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs are lightly browned. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow baking dish (a pie plate works great!) or leave them on the pan and scoop them together into a low mound. Reduce the oven temp to 400 degrees F.
  2. Top each ham slice with about 1/4 cup shredded cheese. If your ham slices are too small, shingle two ham slices on top of each other to create a larger slice and roll the cheese up in that. Roll tightly and set aside. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Following the pictures below, cut a pocket in the thickest part of the chicken breast and stuff each pocket with 2 ham/cheese rolls. Pull the top flap of chicken over the rolls and press to seal (you can use a toothpick to gently secure the pocket edge, if you like). Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the stuffed chicken, covered, for at least 20 minutes.
  3. In another shallow dish or pie plate, beat the eggs and mustard. Place the flour in a final shallow dish. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Working with one stuffed chicken breast at a time, coat the chicken lightly with flour and then dip in the egg mixture, covering both sides. Dredge the chicken in the toasted bread crumbs, pressing lightly to help the crumbs stick to the chicken. (The breaded chicken can be refrigerated covered for up to 1 day.)
  4. Transfer the chicken to a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Make sure an oven rack is in the center of the oven. Bake the chicken until golden brown and cooked through (160 degrees on an thermometer inserted into the chicken, not the filling), about 25-30 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/chicken-cordon-bleu/
Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Cook’s Country April/May 2010

To stuff the cordon bleu, start with your thick chicken breast and have a sharp knife handy.

Cut into the thickest part of the chicken breast to make a deep pocket. Be careful not to cut to far over to the edge that needs to stay intact. The opening of the pocket should be three to four inches.

Place two of the ham and cheese rolls gently inside of the pocket.

Make sure the rolls are completely inside of the chicken.

Fold the top flap of the chicken over the ham and cheese rolls and press to seal (or use a toothpick to help things along). Now bread and bake according to the recipe directions!

86 Responses to Chicken Cordon Bleu

  1. chrissy says:

    OMG, this makes perfect sense!… for years I’ve been rolling the chicken and dealing w/that same cheese blowing out even tho I’ve put toothpicks in.. Will have to try this.. thanks.

    • Robert says:

      FINALLY !!!!! A true stuffed chicken Cordon Bleu recipe that isn’t swimming in wine and artery clogging heavy crème. I have been looking for a simple recipe that does not beat the poor chicken with a hammer, but allows me to do a little brain surgery and insert the cheese and the ham under the flap you create and use the paddles to shock it back to life. Stitch it up with my favorite unflavored dental floss tightly so the new brains don’t leak out and cook according to the rest of the recipe…..( I am having a little fun about the surgery and shocking, ya gotta play when ya can) I don’t mind spending the extra time stitching and slitting because I am Medically retired and 100% disabled so I have plenty of time to arrange a really great dinner for my wife (Who works too many hours) so that it is ready for her to walk in cool off a bit and sit down to eat a nutritious and wholesome meal rather than artery clogging fast food, and heavy crème sauces that only hide an inferior flavor. So have fun in your kitchen and try to learn and experience a new recipe at least 3 or 4 times a week!!!

  2. joann says:

    Thanks so much! This technique I’ve got to try; maybe added a couple pieces of asparagus in there also. I did make your chicken cordon bleu casserole last weekend and it’s definitely a keeper!

  3. Kim in MD says:

    Only Cook’s Illustrated (Country) could come up with such a clever idea! This makes perfect sense, and I can’t wait to try it (I, too, always had trouble with oozing cheese, chicken pounded too thin, etc.)! Thanks for sharing, Mel!

  4. Kim in MD says:

    Oh- I forgot to share a favorite tip of mine that I have been using for years…

    When you stuff chicken breasts and need to use a toothpick, use a dried spaghetti noodle instead. The noodle cooks along with the chicken, and you won’t even know it is there when the chicken is done. Edible toothpick! :-)

  5. LyB says:

    I have always been intimidated by chicken cordon bleu, but this post makes it look easy! And delicious too! I might have to try the casserole first, though, just to ease into things! ;)

  6. Jenn says:

    One of my all time favorite dishes, but for the same reasons that you describe above I have never tried making it. I had visions of oozing, messy cheese outside instead of inside and that isn’t very appealing.

    I can’t wait to try this version. It looks wonderful!

  7. Shelly says:

    I am so glad you posted this. I have been wanting Chicken Cordon Blue and I almost spent $4 a pound on some from the store. I am glad I didn’t! I can’t wait to try this!!

  8. Tori says:

    YOWZA!! That looks amazing Mel!

  9. Cammee says:

    That is one attractive Chicken Cordon Bleu! This method is soooo much easier, you’ve converted me!

  10. Debbie says:

    I’ve always had the same troubles with this dish too, and add to that the problem of not having the chicken cooked through (in a sauteed in a pan version). I can’t wait to try this!

  11. Camille says:

    I’m SO excited to try this. This is hands-down my favorite meal, but I’m always put off by all the work of pounding and whatnot! YAY!!! Thanks!

  12. grace says:

    good ol’ cook’s country–that’s a really great tip. if your method and recipe for regular chicken cordon bleu is anywhere near as easy and awesome as that casserole, it’s a must-try. great easter suggestion!

  13. Cski says:

    That is awesome! I haven’t made CCB for so long because it was so time consuming and I never start cooking on time to have the dinner on the table by 5–this will make it possible to do just that! Thanks and your blog is awesome! Love it!

  14. Sharon says:

    What a great tip! I too always had an explosion of cheese oozing out the sides.. Your version looks amazing!!! Chicken was B1G1 free last week this will be a great way to use it up!!!

  15. Katy says:

    I was howling with laughter. I had the exact same results with the holey, runny cheesy, 23 toothpick salute going on. This sounds sooo much nicer and boy I can’t wait to try it. Thank you so much!!

  16. Patricia says:

    I discovered your blog about three months ago and have been hooked ever since! I have always loved to cook, but was in a real rut until I discovered all your wonderful recipes. My family raves about everything! The Pineapple Meatballs and the Honey Mustard Chicken are two of our newest favorites. I love that the recipes are kid friendly (although at 15 and 19 – mine are eeking out of that category) and able to be made with everyday ingredients for a fantastic meal.

  17. Mel says:

    Patricia – what a nice comment. Thank you! I really appreciate that you let me know and I’m thrilled you’ve found some great recipes to use for your family. Thank you!

  18. Jenn says:

    Made this for dinner last night and it was really good. I really liked the coating–adding the mustard to the eggs is a great way to bump up the flavor, and the buttery, toasted crackers were a delicious addition. Unfortunately, my chicken wasn’t thick enough to try out your method of stuffing, so I had to do it the old fashioned way. But, because of the way it was breaded most of the cheese stayed inside!

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

  19. Mel says:

    Jenn – thanks for letting me know these worked out ok, although I’m pained for you that you had to roll them up the traditional way. Apparently, you are much better at it than I am!

  20. Erica says:

    thanks for sharing such a great recipe! i made this for easter and everyone LOVED it!

  21. Mel says:

    Thanks, Erica – so glad this worked out for your Easter meal!

  22. kimberly says:

    i did it! i couldn’t believe it. while i wasn’t the biggest fan of the crackers i ended up using (no one in my house would eat them so i hoped they would turn out great on the chicken), this still turned out great! i made the cheddar herb biscuits too. awesome! i just love your site and get so excited when i see another recipe posted! thanks for sharing and for all your tips!

  23. Mel says:

    kimberly – I’m so, so glad this turned out for you! Thanks for letting me know. (And I’m glad you liked those little cheddar biscuits, too!)

  24. Jennifer says:

    You are officially my BFF! I loooooove chicken cordon bleu but gave up trying to make it for myself; I get a big fat F in chicken flattening. I made this for Easter dinner and it was divine. Made the potatoes and roasted asparagus, too. It was all superb! Many thanks!!

  25. Debbie says:

    I made this last night! It was delicious. The ham roll did poke through the chicken on one of them (I guess the chicken breast wasn’t big enough) and a little bit of cheese did ooze out during baking, but it was cooked through perfectly without the breading getting too browned. So yummy and cheesy!

  26. Mel says:

    Jennifer – I am in serious need of a BFF – do you want to move to Wisconsin? Seriously, though, I’m so glad this method worked better for you because I, too, would be flunking the whole “flattening” section of cooking school. Thanks for checking in to let me know!

    Debbie – glad this worked out for you, too!

  27. Jennifer says:

    Wisconsin??? Oh dear. This former Florida girl has been shivering her way through dreary, damp Oregon winters (and springs!) for 18 years. I’m afraid a Wisconsin winter would probably do me in, so I guess we will just have to be cyber buddies. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes with us!

  28. Wow! Thanks for sharing the new way to make chicken cordon bleu! I greatly appreciate it!

  29. Lauren says:

    Melanie- we tried these for dinner tonight and they turned out delicious (and beautiful, too!). I’ve always loved cordon bleu but have been intimidated by it- I’ve even occasionally bought those nasty frozen ones in the past- yech! Thanks for the great tips and recipe!

  30. TraciW says:

    This was so good! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers! I am going to make a big, BIG batch and flash freeze them. I’ll do some for my mom, too.

    • Mel says:

      TraciW – Great idea to make a bit batch of these and freeze them! I’m glad you liked them so much and I think the fresh mozzarella would be delicious as a filling!

  31. TraciW says:

    Oh, I used little mozzarella balls in place of the swiss cheese. Yum!

  32. rose says:

    I love you for the tutorial photos. Just met you because of a sour chicken ref by how sweet. Loving it here.

  33. Amber says:

    I’m making this for the sister missionaries tonight, we’ll see how they like it! I used the Perdue “perfect portions” chicken breasts, I think they were a bit too thin, but I made it work. They’re in the oven right now and smell delicious! I also included a leaf of fresh sage with my ham and cheese… my herb garden is overflowing! Thanks for the recipe!!

  34. Adrienne Yancey says:

    Hi Mel!
    I made this dish for Easter yesterday and everyone loved it. Thanks for posting it, it really did turn out perfectly. I made a bechamel (with a little swiss cheese) and served it with the chicken and mashed potatoes. It was so good.

  35. Andrea says:

    So good. I made these for Easter and they turned out perfectly! Thanks Mel!

  36. Eric B. says:

    I make a similar recipe, but MUCH easier. It definitely does not look as nice, but it should taste almost the same. I just coat a chicken breast in dijon mustard and then roll it in bread crumbs. Top it with the ham and cheese and bake it in the oven. LOVE your site I have spending hours looking through it and saving recipes.

  37. Beth S. says:

    Thank you!!! This recipe was a huge success for me. My family loved it.

  38. [...] Feature image via Pinterest via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Rate this: Share this:TwitterFacebookDiggEmailRedditStumbleUponPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  39. Brittany says:

    You’re probably sick of hearing from me by now, but I love your recipes. I’ve probably posted a few more of yours that I haven’t even told you about. But, I thought I would thank you for giving me the idea to stuff the chicken. I’ve made my own recipe for a long time now, but have always rolled the chicken. But, I gave you credit for the stuffing on my blog. I also used part of your recipe (you worded it better than I would’ve) Thanks! http://brittsapron.blogspot.com/2011/09/chicken-cordon-bleau.html

  40. Marlene says:

    I saw the Chicken Cordon Bleu recpie on T.V. I tried it turned out great. Want to add some spark use honey mustard to dip chicken before the crumb mixture adds some
    omph.

  41. Mandi says:

    I am so excited to try all your recipes! They all look fantastic. I love to cook, but I have been in a rut with the same old recipes every week for dinner, so I am so glad I found your website!!!
    Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  42. Mandi says:

    Question with the 4 slices of bread- Do you use fresh bread, I would think that it would not be able to be coarsly ground with the crackers, being soft?

  43. Mel says:

    Mandi – I use bread that is usually a day or two old so it grinds up just fine. If you only have fresh bread, try toasting it first (in the oven or toaster) to help it crisp up. Hope that helps!

  44. Eva says:

    Wow, it goes to show, you are never to old to learn a new trick! I have been making Cordon Bleu for decades, but always had the hassle of pounding the chicken and inserting tons of toothpicks. Never thought about just slicing a pocket into the chicken breast. Not pounding it flat will also help keep the chicken moist.
    Awesome idea! Thanks

  45. Ellen says:

    Woot! Just the cordon bleu I was looking for. I really don’t like the frozen ones, but I do wonder how they make theirs so pretty. Mine are usually pretty, but in a different way, sort of a cinnamon roll style, if you will. Thanks for the pocket method discovery :)

  46. Heidi says:

    Just wanted to let you know I made this without screwing it up, which I always seem to do with a recipe. It’s great that you can switch it up a little. I used vegatable ritz crackers, horseradish mustard and it turned out great. Question, I had a lot of the crumb mixture. Could you freeze that mixture? Thanks again, I already spread the word on my facebook page too!

  47. Mel says:

    Heidi – I’m glad to hear this worked out for you! I think you could freeze the topping mixture just fine, by the way.

  48. Deb says:

    Delicious!!! Took a bit of time to prep but it was so worth it. Made this for company and it was a big hit. Be sure to stuff those ham rolls with the Swiss cheese, gooey cheese filling = YUM

  49. Holly says:

    Thanks for the yummy recipe. I made this for Easter and the chicken turned out moist and delicious. I’ve never seen my husband so excited for leftovers the next day, and one of my little guys said this was the best chicken ever. Thanks for all the time you spend testing an posting recipes, I have loved everyone I’ve tried.

  50. Bliss says:

    Trying this out tonight, and I’m sure it will be a hit as all of your other recipes have! I’ve only had CCB a handful of times, and I can’t remember when the last was. Grilled Asparagus, Mashed Potatoes and French Bread are on the menu tonight as well. I can’t wait!

  51. Erin says:

    Do you know about how many cups of bread crumbs 4 slices would make? I have bread crumbs in a bag in my freezer, but I’m not sure how many slices that is.

  52. Mel says:

    Hi Erin- I’ve never measured exactly but I’m guessing it would probably be about 3/4 cup of bread crumbs.

  53. Nadya says:

    this recipe is so yummy!!! My family loved it! I’m making it again tonight! thank you!

  54. [...] Chicken Cordon Bleu, Fettuccine and Summer [...]

  55. [...] cordon bleu, which was the first dish that popped in mind when I first took a bite. Unlike the chicken cordon bleu, which naturally can be a bit heavy due to the breaded chicken cutlet surrounding the inside [...]

  56. Eli Scott Weinberger says:

    I tried this recipe for the first time and it came out great!Plump,juicy,and crisp!,but I would like to try it without the 6 Tbs. melted butter.I bet it would be just as good if I sprayed the breasts with a drop of canola oil so it crisps.Thanx,Eli

  57. [...] Chicken Cordon Bleu and Fettuccine [...]

  58. Sondra says:

    I just made this at home for dinner. It was my first attempt at Cordon Blu and every one was happy with the results! This recipe was super easy. Its a definite keeper!

  59. Katie says:

    Just made this last night. I don’t know if chicken breasts are bigger in the States than here in Canada, but I had a really hard time fitting 2 ham rolls into each breast. Toothpick was definitely needed. Also, using the bread in the coating made everything really clumpy and messy looking, so next time I make this I will probably use the Ritz crackers and Corn Flake crumbs or something. It tasted great though, but definitely did not look as pretty as it does in the recipe photos! Will for sure make this again.

  60. [...] in my mistake I found a Ritz cracker breading which turns out better than regular bread crumbs since there’s butter in the [...]

  61. Jennifer A says:

    Another great recipe from Mel. I used Panko breadcrumbs and made the dijon parmesan sauce that’s on the easy recipe version. I also used dried spaghetti noodles to close the chicken up in lieu of toothpicks. You didn’t notice when they were cooked and didn’t have to fuss taking the toothpicks out. Great recipe. Made 2 more batches and froze them for another day.

  62. Keri says:

    I made this last night and it was AWESOME. I am not a cook by any means, but I followed your directions and not only was it easy but it tasted GREAT! My husband was impressed :) Thank you!!

  63. Stacy says:

    I don’t understand how everybody is doing this. When ever I make a pocket, matter how careful I am it always slices through the other side. I have used large breast, maybe if I buy a boning knife, I don’t know.

  64. Stacy says:

    Mel,
    Sorry I did not want to seem rude…I forgot to say I just came across your website, I love it! Great job.
    I am so upset I can’t get the chicken with no leaks even with that pocket.

  65. Christine says:

    Great recipe. I made these for book club and they were a hit. I followed your recipe exactly. As I was preparing the chicken breasts, it seemed like an enormous quantity of bread crumbs, but it was just right. The chicken was wonderfully tender – the cooking time and temperature were perfect. And the hint of dijon mustard was excellent. And the best part of all – you can make them ahead! Thank you.

  66. [...] I looked for a cordon bleu recipe I searched for “very easy cordon bleu recipe” and this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe caught my attention. And it really is a super easy recipe – I’m also pretty sure [...]

  67. Tyler says:

    Chicken? LOVE IT!! Cheese? Bring it on!! Ham? DUH!! How can you go wrong with chicken cordon bleu…..I use panko bread crumbs if I don’t have intalian bread crumbs on hand. Now, “I feel like chicken tonight”

  68. Jenn says:

    Made this for Easter dinner with the Chantilly potatoes per your suggestion. It was excellent as always, but I did feel like it was missing a little something… maybe the swiss I got was too blah, or maybe I should have salted the chicken more. But it really was a clever way to contain the cheese! One thing… I used even larger chicken breasts (2.5#/4) and my chicken was done (DONE! I checked several places and even cut one open!) in only 15 minutes as opposed to 25-30! Crazy! I have no idea how it cooked so fast. Luckily I rely on a thermometer instead of a timer and I recommend others do the same.

    P.S. I love that tip about using a spaghetti noodle instead of a toothpick. I used toothpicks and once they got battered over I couldn’t get them out. Had to warn everyone to keep their eyes peeled.

  69. Melissa says:

    This chicken was AMAZING!!! I followed the recipe to a “T” and it was soooo incredibly fantastic!! Everyone loved it, my kids couldn’t get enough!

  70. Carol says:

    Making dinner for 35 people, buffet style. Thought I would do this (after a trial run). Plan is to make day ahead and cook extra 5-15 minutes as your other chicken cordon blue recipe suggests.
    Was going to make your Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce also. Any suggestions…I have a double oven to cook and chaffing dishes to keep warm.

  71. Carol says:

    I didn’t say that quite right. I would assemble the day ahead and start to cook about 1 hour ahead of dinner.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Carol – I think assembling the chicken cordon bleu the day before would work just fine. You may not even need to add any extra time (just check it well or use a thermometer to check for temp).

  72. Kim says:

    Like others, I’ve never had success with making this the traditional way. This recipe was wonderful! No runny cheese at all. It took a little practice to get the hang of rolling the ham so it was tight but all in all, it was fairly easy. I also made the Parmesan Cream Sauce which everyone loved.

  73. jenni says:

    i am attempting this tonight. i am not a good cook i hope it stays moist as my chicken breast are very thick.

  74. Wilna says:

    Oh my gosh, why haven’t I thought of this! Now I won’t get the dreadful ooze and all the “delish” is lying on the outside instead of inside. I am definitely going to try this and surprise my daughter with her creamed spinach filling!

  75. Pauly says:

    Hi M., can’t wait to prepare your chicken cordon bleu for a second choice of Christmas dinner dish. Do you have suggestions for a cream sauce for the chicken. Thanks,.

  76. Julie says:

    Yum. We all loved them, even my picky eater ate every bite. (In fact, he tried beets tonight. A little supper miracle.) Thanks for your photo tutorial on how to make them.
    They turned out great.

  77. Kay says:

    Ladies,
    It is really simple to flatten chicken. Just lay it on the cutting board with the under side of the chicken UP and shiny side DOWN. Place a piece of saran wrap over it, and gently flatten, and it WILL cooperate. The reason it isn’t working for you is you are pounding the shiny side with the mallet instead of the under side. :) Give it a try!

  78. Shelley says:

    did this recipe say whether we should cover when baking? I read and re-read and could’ve still missed it. thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.