Chicken Cordon Bleu night made me giddy growing up. My favorite meat (chicken) pounded thin and wrapped around my other favorite meat (ham) and melty cheese, then breaded and deep-fried? What’s for a kid (and any honest adult) not to love?!
Let me clarify: we were baking store bought cordon bleu.
My mom had neither the patience nor the motivation for the kind of painstaking, oily mess it would take to fry chicken cordon bleu at home.
Neither do I.
This healthy baked chicken cordon bleu, however?
It is EASY to make, doesn’t require a deep fryer, and it still has that unstoppably appealing, breading-on-chicken-on-ham-on-cheese situation.
Why I Love Cordon Bleu
This oven baked chicken cordon bleu gave both myself and Ben the nostalgic feels, except that (as Ben so eloquently put it) “it tastes a thousand times better than the frozen stuff we had growing up.”
- The chicken is juicy, the ham savory, the cheese melty and satisfying, and the golden, crisp breadcrumb exterior adds the exclamation point.
- In other words, it tastes amazing.
History of Chicken Cordon Bleu
Chicken cordon bleu is believed to be the product of tweaking a similar recipe, veal Kiev. Sometime between veal Kiev’s arrival on the scene in Paris in the 1840s and the arrival of chicken cordon bleu in North America in the 1960s, the adaptation we know today was created.
How to Cook Chicken Cordon Bleu
It takes a few minutes to set up your work station, but once you do, this easy cordon bleu comes together rather quickly.
In addition to being scrumptious straight out of the oven, we were delighted with how well the leftovers were reheated.
- Like this Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast, the interior filling insulates the meat and keeps it juicy, even the next day.
- Unlike this Baked Chicken Breast, you don’t need to brine the meat first to make your chicken cordon bleu juicy.
- Chicken Breast. Tender, juicy chicken breast is a delicious vessel for our cheesy ham filling. It’s flavorful while being a lean source of protein.
- Breadcrumbs. A blend of regular breadcrumbs and Panko breadcrumbs creates the ideal crispy, golden crust. I opted to use the whole wheat version of both types, but you can use regular if you prefer.
- Parmesan. Adds a salty, cheesy element to the breadcrumb mixture.
- Spices. Garlic powder and onion powder are the perfect flavor additions to the breadcrumb mixture.
- Eggs. Helps the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken breasts.
- Deli Ham. Ham is a scrumptious, integral part of the chicken cordon bleu stuffing. It’s salty, smoky, and pairs wonderfully with the cheese.
Rather than purchasing pre-sliced, packaged ham, which is usually thicker cut and not the best quality or flavor, purchase it directly from the deli counter and ask for it to be sliced very thin.
- Gruyere. Rich, creamy, and nutty, Gruyere works beautifully for stuffing the chicken.
- Stir together the breadcrumb coating. Beat the eggs in a separate dish.
- Lay the chicken breasts smooth side down and pound until about 1/2-inch thick.
- Lay the ham and cheese on top.
- Roll up the chicken and secure it with toothpicks.
- Dip each chicken breast into the eggs.
- Dip it into the breadcrumb mixture, then lay it in a baking dish.
- Mist the tops of the chicken breasts with baking spray, and add a drizzle of melted butter.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes. Let rest, then DIG IN!
- To Store. Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the chicken breasts through Step 5 above (do not make the breadcrumb mixture or beat the eggs).
Refrigerate the rolled, stuffed chicken breasts until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
Recommended Tools to Make this Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe
- Baking Dish. A 9×13-inch dish is ideal for this recipe.
- Rolling Pin. My go-to for pounding chicken breasts.
- Pie Dish. I like to use a pie dish for the breadcrumb mixture and eggs. It’s wide, shallow, and the perfect size.
Baked chicken cordon bleu is just the kind of lighter comfort recipe we all need a little more of, especially this time of year.
I hope you’ll try it soon and that it makes everyone at the table smile as wide as we did.
Frequently Asked Questions
To tell when chicken cordon bleu is done, use an instant read thermometer inserted at the thickest part to check the meat for doneness. Chicken is considered cooked at 165 degrees F. I typically remove the meat at 155 degrees F, as its temperature will continue to rise as it rests.
Yes, you can use frozen chicken breasts to make this chicken cordon bleu, but you’ll need to thaw the chicken completely first.
Since this recipe wasn’t designed for the air fryer, I can’t say for certain whether or not it would turn out, but I do think you can have success. If you decide to experiment with it, I’d love to hear how it goes! For guidance, check out my Air Fryer Fried Chicken Breast and Air Fryer Chicken Breast.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs whole wheat if available
- 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs whole wheat if available
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 4 small/medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 8 to 10 ounces each
- 4 thin slices deli ham a scant .25 pounds
- 3 ounces freshly shredded Gruyere Swiss, or white cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Generously coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. In a wide, shallow bowl (a pie dish works well), stir together the breadcrumbs, Panko, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- In a separate wide, shallow dish, beat the eggs.
- Working one at a time, place a chicken breast on the cutting board with the presentation (smooth) side down. To keep things tidy, cover with a large piece of plastic wrap. With a mallet or rolling pin, gently pound the chicken breasts until they are each 1/4-inch thick (it will seem very thin, but will be easy to roll this way. Be careful not to hit too vigorously for as the meat becomes thinner, it may tear).
- Top each chicken breast with 1 slice of ham and 3/4 ounce (3 tablespoons) cheese.
- Starting on the narrower side, roll up the chicken like a sleeping bag, tucking in the ham and cheese as you go. Secure with toothpicks (I used about 2 per breast).
- Arrange your work station in the following order: rolled chicken, beaten eggs, breadcrumbs, baking dish. Working one at a time, dip each piece of chicken into the eggs to coat, shaking off any excess.
- Dip the chicken into the breadcrumbs, gently patting as needed so that the crumbs adhere to all sides. Place in the prepared baking dish.
- Lightly mist the tops of the chicken with baking spray. Drizzle with melted butter.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 155 to 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer (chicken is considered cooked at 165 degrees F, but the temperature will continue to rise as it rests). Let rest 5 to 10 minutes, remove the toothpicks, then serve.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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