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

updated Aug 11, 2023
How To Pound Chicken Breast: The Easiest, Smartest Method
Learn when you should pound your chicken flat and the smartest, easiest way to do it.
Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post 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. Place a single breast in a plastic zip-top bag, seal it, and use any heavy, flat object to pound it.

Quick Overview

Tips For Pounding Chicken Breast

  • Pound chicken breast anytime you intend to apply even, direct heat.
  • Remove as much air as possible when you place meat in a plastic zip-top bag.
  • Use a French rolling pin, an empty wine bottle, or a meat mallet to pound meat.
  • Pound chicken breast one at a time.

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).

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 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.

A Few of Our Favorite Recipes for Flattened Chicken Breast

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How To Pound Chicken Breast: The Easiest, Smartest Method

Learn when you should pound your chicken flat and the smartest, easiest way to do it.

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

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

Equipment

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

Instructions

  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, rolling pin, or small skillet to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with remaining breasts.