There are a few techniques that every home cook should master in order to make spot-on chicken dinners. Learning how to carve a chicken is critical and learning how to spatchcock is helpful, too. But many classic recipes like chicken cordon bleu, herb-stuffed chicken and chicken Kiev rely on one skill to get them just right: butterflying a chicken breast. It might seem tricky, but we’ll break it down for you!
When Should You Butterfly Chicken
The purpose of butterflying a boneless chicken breast is to create a cut that’s thin and even. This is to make frying the chicken a bit quicker—like with chicken piccata. Other times you need the chicken breast nice and thin so you can stuff it with great ingredients and bake it off, like with that classic cordon bleu.
How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast
To butterfly a chicken breast, first, start with a sharp knife. Then place your hand on top of the boneless, skinless chicken breast, slice horizontally into the chicken, dividing it half. Stop about a half-inch from the opposite side. When done, you should be able to open up the chicken like a book so it lies flat. To get the thickness more even, cover with plastic wrap and use the flat side of a meat mallet to flatten to the desired thickness.