Garlic Butter Chicken Kiev

published Aug 20, 2021
Chicken Kiev Recipe

If you’re a firm believer that garlic butter makes everything better, you’ve got to try chicken Kiev.

Serves4

Prep40 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

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Chicken Kiev on a plate, cut in half, with a salad and potatoes.
Credit: Kelli Foster

If you believe that garlic butter makes everything better, you’ve got to try chicken Kiev. From the outside, it might not look like much: a rolled chicken breast with a blanket of glistening, golden-brown breadcrumbs. But once you cut into it, a river of herby garlic butter emerges and you’ll discover the most tender, juicy piece of chicken waiting for you. Try it once and you’ll never look at mild-mannered chicken breast the same way again. Trust me: I’m telling you from experience. 

What Is Chicken Kiev?

The exact history of chicken Kiev is murky and there have been a number of varied claims about its origin. But what we do know is that this comforting chicken dish hails from Russia, and very well may have been created by a French chef or a chef influenced by French cuisine, most likely during the 19th or early 20th century.

Chicken Kiev is made with a pounded-thin chicken breast that’s rolled around cold compound butter, then coated with egg and breadcrumbs, and then fried.

How to Make Chicken Kiev

  1. Make compound butter and chill. Mix the softened butter with chopped herbs and minced garlic. Place on plastic wrap, roll into a log, and chill in the freezer.
  2. Pound chicken breasts. Carefully pound the chicken breasts to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Take care not to split or break apart the chicken breast.
  3. Assemble chicken. Place each pounded chicken breast on a large piece of plastic wrap, and place a piece of compound butter in the center of the chicken. Using the plastic wrap as a guide, tightly roll up the chicken around the butter, then tightly twist the ends of the plastic wrap to create a log shape. 
  4. Chill chicken. Chill the rolled chicken in the freezer for 30 minutes; this helps the chicken better hold its shape for breading and cooking.
  5. Bread chicken. Dip each piece of chicken in beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs.
  6. Cook chicken. Shallow-fry the chicken in a cast iron skillet, then finish cooking in the oven.

What’s the Difference Between Chicken Kiev and Chicken Cordon Bleu?

While these popular chicken dishes do share some similarities (both start with chicken breast that’s pounded thin, and include a stuffing and a breadcrumb coating), chicken Kiev and chicken cordon bleu are not the same thing. And you’ll know it as soon as you cut into them. 

Chicken Kiev is stuffed with garlic and herb compound butter, while chicken cordon blue is stuffed with sliced ham and cheese.

Credit: Kelli Foster

What to Serve with Chicken Kiev?

As soon as you cut into chicken Kiev, the herby garlic butter weeps onto your dinner plate. I mention that because you’ll definitely want a side dish or two that does a great job of mopping up all that delicious butter. Roasted or mashed potatoes, broccoli, green beans, rice, or even some crusty bread are all great options. 

Chicken Kiev Recipe

If you’re a firm believer that garlic butter makes everything better, you’ve got to try chicken Kiev.

Prep time 40 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 stick

    (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon

    fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

  • 1 small bunch

    fresh chives

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 4

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups

    panko bread crumbs

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon

    water

  • 1/2 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups

    vegetable oil, for deep frying

Instructions

  1. Cut 1 stick unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature until softened, about 45 minutes.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the butter as you complete it: Finely chop 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves until you have 1 tablespoon, plus more for garnish. Finely chop 1 small bunch fresh chives until you have 1 tablespoon. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and mix until well-combined.

  3. Spoon the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a 1-inch-thick log. Wrap tightly and freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, pound 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, place inside a gallon zip-top bag and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Pound the breast and the tender if attached with a rolling pin, small skillet, or the flat side of a meat mallet to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Take care not to split or break apart the chicken breast.

  5. Remove the butter from the freezer. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half crosswise, for 4 even pieces.

  6. Roll and wrap one piece of chicken at a time: Place one piece on a sheet of plastic wrap. Season all over with 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper. Place a piece of compound butter in the center of the chicken breast. Trim the any ragged edges off the chicke if needed, and place the on the butter. Using the plastic wrap as a guide and starting with a long side, tightly roll up the chicken, tucking the short sides in as you go. Tightly twist the ends of the plastic wrap to create a log shape. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

  7. Place the wrapped chicken seam-side down on a plate. Freeze until the bottoms are slightly firm and hold together, about 30 minutes. The chicken should not be frozen solid. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat oven to 400ºF. Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.

  8. Place 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Place 1/2 cup all-purpose flour on a large plate. Whisk 2 large eggs and 1 tablespoon water together in a second shallow bowl until evenly combined.

  9. Unwrap the chicken. Working with one piece at a time, dredge completely in the flour, then dip into the egg, and finally thoroughly coat with the breadcrumbs. Return to the plate.

  10. Heat 1/2-inch vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet (about 4 cups in a 12-inch skillet) to 350ºF. Add 2 chicken breasts and cook until golden-brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the rack and repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of chicken. The chicken will not be cooked through.

  11. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and registers 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with the parsley.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The herb butter can be prepared up to three days in advance, wrapped, and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. The chicken can be assembled with the herb butter up to a day in advance and refrigerated. Wait until ready to cook to coat with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.