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Chicken Cordon Bleu

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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 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

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: Pounded thin to wrap around the ham and cheese for a tender, juicy bundle.
  • Black Forest Ham: Provides a layer of savory, smoky flavor when wrapped inside the chicken breasts.
  • Shredded Gruyère, Emmenthal, or Swiss cheese: Melts inside the chicken, adding a rich, creamy texture and a complex nutty flavor.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs: Used to coat the chicken, offering a crispy, golden crust when baked.
  • Butter: Mixed with the panko for a richer, more flavorful crust, and it is also used for sautéing shallots for the sauce.
  • Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese: Infuses the panko with a nutty, savory flavor and enriches the sauce.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Acts as the first coating in the breading process for crispiness and serves as a thickener for the sauce, ensuring it has the right consistency.
  • Eggs: Help to bind the flour and panko to the chicken.
  • Dijon Mustard: Adds a tangy depth to the breading and is also used to flavor the sauce.
  • Shallots: Provide a subtle, slightly sweet flavor foundation for the sauce..
  • Chicken Stock: Forms the base of the sauce, adding deep, savory flavor.
  • Heavy Cream: Gives the sauce its creamy texture and rich flavor.
  • Thyme: Adds a light, woodsy note to the sauce.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

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. 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.

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. 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.

Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. 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

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Chicken Cordon Bleu be made ahead of time?

You can 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.

How can I tell when Chicken Cordon Bleu is cooked through?

The chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). However, using a meat thermometer for this dish can be unreliable because the thermometer might measure the temperature of the hot, melted cheese filling instead of the chicken, which can lead to an inaccurately high reading. If you’re using a thermometer, ensure it’s inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast, avoiding the filling, to get a more accurate measurement. Alternatively, you can judge doneness by following the recipe’s recommended cooking time, about 25 minutes. Look for visual cues such as a lightly golden crust on the chicken and cheese that starts to ooze out slightly.

Can I use thin-cut chicken breasts for this recipe?

No, thin-cut chicken breasts are not suitable for Chicken Cordon Bleu because they are too small to effectively roll into bundles with the ham and cheese filling. For this recipe, it’s best to use regular-sized chicken breasts that can be sliced in half horizontally and pounded to an even thickness. This ensures there’s enough surface area to contain the filling and allows for secure rolling and sealing of the chicken, so the filling stays enclosed during cooking.

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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.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes, plus at least 30 minutes chilling time

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 12x16-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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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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Comments

  • Excellent! Next time, I will modify the sauce recipe. Looking forward to making it again, prepping it so it can refrigerate overnight. May try it without the toothpicks if refrigerating overnight.

    • — Bev on February 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Really delicious! The chicken was moist and the sauce was yummy. Like another commenter, I did add more Dijon to the sauce. I also would suggest baking the chicken rolls on a wire rack set in the baking sheet so the bottom of the rolls get crispy like the tops do. Would definitely make again!

    • — Linda on January 30, 2024
    • Reply
  • One of the best recipes I have ever made, excellent!

    • — Suzy on January 28, 2024
    • Reply
  • Really Delicious! Plan to make for next dinner party!

    • — Susie on December 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’m making this for eight on Christmas. I bought everything needed except I forgot the cheese! Would grated Pecorino Romano work instead of Parmigiano Reggiano? I don’t want it to suffer so will run out again if necessary.

    Thank you for years of fantastic recipes that have made me look like a good cook and also have honed both my skills and confidence. I’m so grateful. Happy holidays.

    • — Renee on December 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Renee, Pecorino Romano will work beautifully here (I’ve actually made it that way). Hope your family enjoys and Merry Christmas! 💕

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2023
      • Reply
    • This recipe is exceptional. The instructions are great and assure a successful end result.
      The sauce for my liking required a lot more dijon, but a great accompaniment to the chicken.

      • — Lesley West on January 13, 2024
      • Reply
  • This recipe was absolutely delicious!! It is definitely a keeper and will be sure to impress my friend who is a chef!

    • — Anna on December 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely amazing!!! Thank you so much Jen!

    • — Maria on December 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I have made many many of your recipes. I can’t say I’ve ever had a fail. I am making the cordon bleu and wondering if it can be made ahead and frozen. When thawed, breaded etc. and then baked?

    • — Cindy on December 16, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you’ve had success with the recipes! Yes, I think you could get away with what you’re suggesting. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen! What is the best way to make reheat the sauce if you choose to make it ahead of time? Thank you!

    • — Ashley on December 14, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Ashley, You can definitely make it ahead and reheat in a skillet on the stovetop. You may need to add a bit more cream if it seems too thick.

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was phenomenal Jen! My first time making it and it was so delicious. I used prosciutto in combination with the ham. The sauce is a showstopper and really brings it together. I think I already know the answer but… I have two leftover, I’d love to freeze… is that possible?

    As always, thank you and hope your holidays are bright and filled with warmth of family and friends. Cheers!

    • — Ashlee on December 12, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Ashlee, so glad you enjoyed it! I think you can get away with freezing it. Hope your holidays are wonderful!

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2023
      • Reply
    • Thank you for an over-the-top-dinner!! There was not even a crumb left over!
      This is now on my “company’s coming” menu!

      • — Barbara Kettler on February 15, 2024
      • Reply
  • Excellent recipe! My husband is still talking about the sauce that accompanies it. It was very easy to make as the step by step instructions were very clear. This will be a new favourite at our home.

    • — Lynn P on December 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made just as indicated. Excellent. the idea of wrapping them tightly in cling film is brilliant.

    • — LoisS on December 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is a fantastic recipe! I have made this recipe many times over the years but this was the first time that I nailed it. The secret is in the clear wrap. Wow!

    I have been a follower of yours for many years now (over 10) and I love how you cook. My first job after my paper route was in a restaurant and I have been cooking ever since. I just celebrated my 80th Birthday last month.
    May I post a photo of your creation that my wife and I had for dinner on our 44th wedding anniversary?

    • — Jim Ryan on December 8, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jim, So glad you enjoyed it and you can definitely post a photo on social media (or if you’re not on social media, you can always send it directly to me at jennifer@onceuponachef.com)—I’d love to see it! Happy 80th birthday and 44th anniversary! 😊

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • I have never had success with Chicken Cordon Bleu. The cheese always oozed out of the chicken roll. Your method of wrapping the cheese in the ham is a great technique. It was so easy to pull the wrapped chicken rolls out of the refrigerator and prepare them for the oven. I’m planning on using this recipe on Christmas Eve for a small dinner party. Just a side note, I always know your recipes are tested and tested until perfect. Thanks, Jen.

    • — Fran Huizenga on December 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is by far… The best Chicken Cordon Bleu I have ever made! And I have been cooking over 50 years!

    • — Linda on December 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • I cooked this tonight to rave reviews from my family. I am on a dairy and gluten free diet but the cheeses in this recipe do not contain lactose. I used Bob’s Red Barn 1 to 1 gluten free flour, gluten free panko crumbs and Earth’s Own oat milk as well as dairy free butter. I had regular size chicken breasts but would definitely use large ones next time.
    This is a recipe to have on hand for the holidays!

    • — Sylvia on December 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’m making this tonight! I always have such an issue cutting breasts in half as one side is always thicker and the other has been butchered. Next time, can I buy the breasts that have already been thinned?

    • — Anjli on December 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Anjli, Unfortunately, the pre-sliced cutlets are too small for this recipe. Sorry! You can even out the breasts when you pound them.

      • — Jenn on December 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • Did a trial run for the holidays tonight and my family raved! I can’t wait to make this again. It was actually pretty easy and I love that it’s baked not fried!

    • — Suzanne on December 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe is outstanding! The sauce is absolutely delicious, a big hit with the entire family!

    • — Rachel on December 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can the sauce be made ahead, refrigerated and then reheated when ready to serve?

    • — Mary on December 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, Yes, definitely — enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2023
      • Reply
      • What would be the best way to reheat the sauce? I’m also thinking of making it ahead of time. Thanks!

        • — Ashley on December 14, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Ashley, You can definitely make it ahead and reheat in a skillet on the stovetop. You may need to add a bit more cream if it seems too thick.

          • — Jenn on December 14, 2023
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    When rolling the chicken around the ham bundle, do you also fold in the sides of the chicken?
    Thanks, Kay

    • — Kay on December 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kay, If you can, yes, but it’s not always easy to do so. Rolling the chicken bundles in plastic wrap in a tootsie-roll shape is effective when it comes to sealing the edges. And because of cheese is enclosed within the ham, it’s not that critical that the edges be completely sealed. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2023
      • Reply

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