What could be better than tender, juicy chicken stuffed with melting herb butter? This easy Chicken Kiev recipe is perfectly crispy, flavorful, and festive.
A Retro Chicken Recipe with Drool-Worthy Flavor!
Raise your hand if you remember Chicken Kiev – I do! 🤚 This “fancy” entree has been around for a long time, and it has a way of coming back into popularity over and over again. It’s unclear when and where this iconic crispy chicken was invented, but the recipe was a huge success and is popular worldwide.
Crispy, breaded, stuffed chicken might sound difficult, but it’s really not. That’s why I say that Chicken Kiev is “fancy.” It takes a little time to put together, and the flavors and textures are fabulous, but it’s also surprisingly easy to make.
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Cordon Bleu and Chicken Kiev?
You might be thinking, “Hold on a second! Breaded stuffed chicken breast – isn’t that Chicken Cordon Bleu?” Well, yes – both of these recipes are made with juicy white meat and a nice crispy breadcrumb coating. The difference is the filling: chicken cordon bleu has a ham and cheese filling (and yes, that’s delicious!), while chicken Kiev is made with a simple garlic-butter filling that makes the meat extra juicy and tender.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
If you want to make homemade chicken Kiev, you will need ingredients for the breaded chicken, and for the buttery filling. Let’s take a closer look at both of those components:
For the Garlic Herb Butter
- Butter: Set the butter out ahead of time, to soften up a bit.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves, minced or pressed with a garlic press.
- Herbs: Chopped fresh parsley and thyme.
- Salt: To taste.
For the Chicken
- Chicken Breasts: You will need boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe.
- Seasonings: Salt and pepper.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is fine.
- Eggs: Beat the eggs lightly, for dipping the chicken.
- Breadcrumbs: Use your favorite breadcrumbs. Panko crumbs are extra-crispy, so I often use those.
- Vegetable Oil: For frying.
How to Make Chicken Kiev
This dish is made in several stages. Both the garlic butter and the chicken have to be chilled at different points, so be sure to read over the recipe a couple of times before you get started and budget the right amount of time.
- Make the Garlic Herb Butter. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the garlic herb butter. Mix them well to make an even, blended butter mixture. Then spoon or scrape this onto some plastic wrap, and roll it up into a log shape. Freeze for about 30 minutes, or until it’s firm and ready to slice.
- Butterfly the Chicken. Next, butterfly the chicken breasts by slicing them horizontally, without cutting all the way through. Open up the chicken breasts like a book.
- Pound the Chicken Breasts. Lay the butterflied chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using a meat mallet, a small saucepan, or a rolling pin, pound the chicken until it’s an even thickness. Season each one with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the Chicken Kiev. Cut the frozen garlic butter into four equal pieces, and place one piece in the center of each chicken breast. Fold the chicken over the butter, forming either a log shape or a round ball. Make sure to cover the butter completely, and use plastic wrap to wrap up each roll, twisting tightly to seal.
- Freeze the Chicken Kiev. Place the wrapped-up rolls or balls in your freezer for about an hour, to freeze well and help the chicken hold its shape.
- Bread the Frozen Chicken Pieces. Once the chicken pieces are nice and firm, take them out and unwrap them. Set up three shallow bowls, one with eggs, one with breadcrumbs, and one with flour and salt. Roll the chicken in the flour, followed by the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs.
- Fry the Chicken. Next, heat up your oil in a large, heavy saucepan or a Dutch oven. It should reach 350°F. Once the oil is hot, carefully lower the chicken pieces in, just one or two at a time, and deep-fry until they’re golden brown on all sides.
- Bake. While the chicken fries, preheat the oven to 400°F. Once the chicken is golden brown, take it out of the hot oil. Transfer the fried chicken pieces into a baking dish, and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. The baking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken.
- Enjoy! Serve the chicken Kiev warm.
Tips for Success
This classic recipe may take a bit of time, but it pays off hugely. There’s a reason that so many people love chicken Kiev! And these helpful tips will make sure that your homemade chicken Kiev turns out just right.
- No Leaks: To make sure that the butter doesn’t leak out during the cooking process, make sure to cover it completely with the chicken breast and then freeze until all of the “seams” are frozen together.
- Deep Frying: Deep frying can be a bit messy. If you want to reduce the amount of oil you use, you can also shallow-fry the chicken Kiev pieces in a heavy skillet, turning them to brown evenly all over.
- Doneness: Keep in mind that every oven is slightly different. Even though we all set our ovens to the same temperature, some will actually cook a little cooler, while others will cook hotter. To make sure your chicken is done correctly, use a meat thermometer. Thoroughly cooked chicken should register at 165°F.
Perfect Side Dishes
Without some side dishes, even a recipe this tasty would fall a little flat. So what would go well with homemade chicken Kiev? I’ve collected a few great recipes here for inspo. Check them out:
- Potatoes: Since that melty garlic butter is going to be running out onto your plate, make sure your sides go well with it garlic butter – like these Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes.
- Roasted Vegetables: Healthy, gorgeous, and perfect with any main course, these Easy Roasted Vegetables will quickly be a go-to side dish once you try them! Or my Roasted Asparagus. 🙌
- Salad: A wholesome little salad is one of my all-time favorite sides for chicken Kiev, because the cool, crunchy texture is such a great contrast with the juicy breaded chicken and melted butter. Try this Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream Dressing – it’s a fabulously simple recipe.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Leftover chicken Kiev can stay in the fridge for about three to four days, stored in an airtight container. You can reheat it easily, too – place it in an ovenproof dish and reheat it at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until hot. I don’t recommend reheating in the microwave since that can result in soggy breading and dry chicken.
Can I Freeze This?
- Yes, and one of the best ways to do that is to freeze them before you cook them. That way, they’ll be freshly cooked just before serving, instead of just reheated.
- To freeze, place the formed, uncooked chicken Kiev pieces in the freezer to firm, but then transfer the frozen pieces into airtight containers or freezer bags for long-term storage. Use them within three months.
For The Compound Butter
For The Chicken
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For The Compound Butter
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, parsley, thyme, and salt to taste. Mix with a fork until well blended.
- Place the butter mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a log shape.
- Put it in the freezer for 30 to 40 minutes until firm and ready to slice.
- Place each chicken breast onto your work surface and slice it horizontally, without cutting all the way through. Open up the chicken breasts like a book and spread them out flat.
For The Chicken
- Put the chicken breast between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and pound with a meat mallet to flatten.
- Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Cut the frozen garlic butter log into four equal pieces.
- Place one piece of the frozen garlic butter in the center of each chicken breast, and fold the chicken over the butter, gathering the sides to form a round ball or a log.
- Wrap each chicken piece in plastic wrap and twist the ends tightly.
- Place the wrapped chicken pieces in the freezer for about 1 hour, or until the seams have frozen (this helps the chicken hold its shape and not leak the butter filling during cooking.
For The Breading
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven to 350°F.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Set out three shallow bowls. Place flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in one bowl, the beaten eggs in another, and the breadcrumbs in the third bowl.
- Unwrap the chicken breasts and discard the plastic wrap. Roll each chicken piece in flour, then in egg, and finally in breadcrumbs, making sure to coat them evenly.
- Deep fry each chicken piece for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown on all sides.
- Transfer the fried chicken pieces into a baking dish, such as a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
- Bake the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken registers at 165˚F. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken.
- Remove chicken from the oven and transfer to a plate or cutting board; let rest for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Chicken Breasts: This recipe requires boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Softened Butter: Pull the butter out of the fridge for about 20 to 30 minutes before you start working with it.
- Breadcrumbs: Use your favorite plain breadcrumbs, but you can also use Panko crumbs.
- Leftover Chicken Kiev can stay in the fridge for about three to four days, stored in an airtight container. To reheat, place the chicken in an ovenproof dish and reheat it at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until hot.
- You can make this ahead by preparing the Chicken Kiev pieces and freezing them before you cook them. That way, they’ll be freshly cooked just before serving instead of just reheated. To freeze, place the formed, uncooked chicken Kiev pieces in the freezer to firm. Then, transfer the frozen pieces into airtight containers or freezer bags for long-term storage. Use them within three months.