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Learn how to butterfly chicken, a simple technique for splitting chicken breasts so they cook quickly or hold a filling. Or, cut them all the way through to make cutlets.

Somebody butterflying a chicken breast.
Table of Contents
  1. Tutorial notes
  2. Step-by-step instructions
  3. How to Butterfly Chicken Recipe

Tutorial notes

  • Uniformity: Butterfly and pound chicken breasts so they cook quickly and evenly without burning. You can cut and pound chicken thighs the same way, too.
  • Cutlets: Cut all the way through to make chicken cutlets.
  • Buying: Look for pink chicken (without even a hint of gray) and check the “best buy” date.
  • Storing: According to the USDA, store raw chicken for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing: Remove chicken from the grocery store package and re-wrap in foil, freezer paper, or plastic wrap, then place in freezer-safe bags. Label, date, and freeze for up to 9 months (technically they will last indefinitely, but the quality will suffer). Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Add chicken breasts. Working with one breast at a time, place your palm on top of the breast and slice in half horizontally taking care to not slice all the way through. Repeat with the second breast.
Somebody butterflying a chicken breast.
  1. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on the plastic wrap-covered cutting board. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness, about 1/4-inch. Remove top layer of plastic wrap.
Somebody pounding chicken breasts after butterflying them.

How to Bread Chicken

Learn How to Bread Chicken with this simple technique that wows everyone in the house and keeps the mess to a minimum. Then pan-fry, air-fry, or bake your cutlets to golden, juicy perfection. There’s nothing…

10 minutes
View Recipe

Recipes for chicken cutlets

Somebody butterflying a chicken breast.

How to Butterfly Chicken Breasts

Learn how to butterfly chicken breasts, a simple technique for splitting chicken so it cooks quickly or holds a filling. Or, cut chicken breasts all the way through to make cutlets.
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 4 servings (4 ounces each)
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 129

Ingredients 

  • 16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large)

Instructions 

  • Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Add chicken breasts. Working with one breast at a time, place your palm on top of the breast and slice in half horizontally taking care to not slice all the way through. Repeat with the second breast.
  • Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on the plastic wrap-covered cutting board. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness, about 1/4-inch. Remove top layer of plastic wrap.

Notes

  1. Uniformity: Butterfly and pound chicken breasts so they cook quickly and evenly without burning. You can cut and pound chicken thighs the same way, too.
  2. Cutlets: Cut all the way through to make chicken cutlets.
  3. Buying: Look for pink chicken (without even a hint of gray) and check the “best buy” date.
  4. Storing: According to the USDA, store raw chicken for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
  5. Freezing: Remove chicken from the grocery store package and re-wrap in foil, freezer paper, or plastic wrap, then place in freezer-safe bags. Label, date, and freeze for up to 9 months (technically they will last indefinitely, but the quality will suffer). Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ouncesCalories: 129kcalProtein: 24gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 132mgPotassium: 420mgVitamin A: 34IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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