How (and When) To Pound Chicken Breast: The Easiest, Smartest Method

How (and When) To Pound Chicken Breast: The Easiest, Smartest Method

Meghan Splawn
Sep 7, 2017
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There's one technique to learn for better chicken breast: pounding chicken breast into thin, even pieces. Pounding doesn't require any forethought or planning, it relieves a little mid-week tension, and helps chicken breast cook faster and more evenly.

If flattening chicken seems arduous, there's a simple equipment hack to make the job easier, less messy, and maybe even a little fun.

When and How to Pound Chicken Breast

This technique is called for in many classic recipes: schnitzel, chicken marsala, even our favorite stovetop and oven-baking techniques. You should ideally pound chicken breast anytime you can apply even, direct heat (i.e., pan-searing, pan-frying, oven-baking, or even slow-braising).

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

A Bag Is Better

Instead of using plastic wrap to cover your work surface and the chicken breast, place a single breast in a plastic zip-top bag, removing as much air as possible and sealing before pounding. You can use almost any heavy, flat object to pound the breast — a skillet, a meat mallet, even an empty wine bottle. I rely on my French-style rolling pin the most.

Once you've got the chicken pounded to your desired thickness, you can remove the chicken breast from the bag and reuse the bag for the remaining chicken breasts.

How To Pound Chicken Breast: The Easiest, Smartest Method

What You Need

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)

Plastic cutting board
Gallon zip-top bag
Mallet, rolling pin, or skillet


  1. Trim the chicken. Trim any membranes or fat from the breasts with a knife.
  2. Place the chicken in a bag. 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.
  3. Pound the chicken thin. Pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with remaining breasts.
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