Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe made with tender chicken breasts, stuffed with savory ham and melty cheese, crusted in crispy Parmesan panko is a showstopper that’s surprisingly easy to make!
This crunchy, flavorful Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe is flavor, texture fireworks (perfect for Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, etc.) but is secretly easy to prepare! Succulent, golden, crispy, Parmesan panko crusted chicken breasts are stuffed with savory Black Forest ham and tangy Gruyere Swiss cheese, rolled and baked to melty perfection, then finished with the dreamiest Dijon cream sauce. Best of all, this recipe tastes just as good (or better) than fried versions thanks to my secret tip! Serve Cordon Bleu Chicken with mashed potatoes, and roasted Parmesan broccoli along with some Parmesan breadsticks for a complete meal that everyone will love!
How to Make Chicken Cordon Bleu Video
WHY this chicken cordon bleu recipe works
Decadent dinner made easy. Although Chicken Cordon Bleu screams of an indulgent, restaurant worthy dish, it’s surprisingly easy to prepare, especially with my shortcut wash. Instead of dredging the chicken in flour and eggs in order for the breading to stick, the chicken is brushed with a coating of Dijon, honey and olive oil for superior flavor, easy and juiciness!
Golden, buttery, crispy panko that tastes better than fried! Instead of frying the chicken or relying on baking the chicken to create golden panko, the panko is first toasted in olive oil and butter before baking so it’s supremely crunchy, golden and buttery.
Baked not fried. Baking the chicken is easy, mess free, hassle free and all the Cordon Bleu Chicken emerges hot and juicy form the oven at the same time.
Flavorful! The quality of the ingredients and seasonings used in your Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe will either make it a spectacular dish or an exceedingly dull one – this recipe is spectacular! In addition to being buttery crunchy, the breading is adeptly seasoned with Italian seasonings and nutty Parmesan for a flavor explosion. The Dijon sauce is silky and creamy, imbued with aromatic seasonings and both chicken broth for flavor and heavy creamy for richness.
Prep ahead friendly. The chicken can be rolled and refrigerated and both the chicken coating and breading can be prepped ahead of time for easily assembly.
CHICKEN CORDON BLEU FAQS
Chicken Cordon Bleu is a classic French dish made of thinly pounded chicken, layered with thinly sliced ham and Swiss cheese, then rolled up, breaded in panko breadcrumbs, then either pan fried or baked. It is typically served with a Dijon cream sauce.
Chicken Cordon Bleu sounds fancy because it is a French term, but is actually simple to make. In French, cordon bleu translates to “blue ribbon” and refers to the blue ribbon worn by members of the highest order of knighthood in France in 1578.
This blue-ribbon term has come to mean anything of a very high standard. In the culinary world, it is reserved for food prepared to the highest standard – and Chicken Cordon Bleu has earned the highest honor in its very name, so you know it has to be good!
The earliest reference to Cordon Bleu Chicken is in the New York Times in 1967, but it no doubt dates much earlier. It originated from other veal/pork cordon bleu recipes from Switzerland dating back to around 1940.
The story of the first “cordon blue” goes that two large dinner parties showed up at a restaurant in Brig, Switzerland in the early 19th century, both claiming to have a dinner reservation. The chef didn’t have enough meat for both parties, so she cut the meat into schnitzels, filled them with ham and cheese and then breaded and fried the schnitzel so it would stretch to feed both groups.
The owner of the restaurant was so pleased with the results, that he offered her “the cordon bleu” (the blue ribbon), the highest honor for an excellent cook. The modest chef answered that she did not need a blue ribbon, but she would keep the term “cordon bleu” for her signature creation.
While we may never know the exact origin of the now famous Cordon Bleu Chicken, we do know that it is still worthy of its name!
CHICKEN CORDON BLEU Ingredients
Chicken Cordon Bleu has stood the test of time because it is flavor-texture fireworks! From the salty, roasted ham to the tangy, oozing melty cheese, to the crispy, buttery breading, to the succulent juicy chicken, to the creamy tangy sauce – it will have your taste buds swooning! Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need to make this recipe (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
FOR THE CHICKEN ROLLS
Black Forest ham is named after the Black Forest area of Germany in which it originated. It is a type of dry-cured smoked ham that typically takes up to three months to produce from start to finish! The raw ham is first seasoned with pepper, garlic, juniper berries, coriander and other spices, cured for four weeks then cold-smoked over pine or fir.
At this point, it can be sold as-is, or smoked to about 130 degrees in a smoker. This second smoke adds additional flavor to the ham depending on what type of wood is used. Maple, hickory-smoked and applewood-smoked are all popular varieties.
For the breading
CAN I USE REGULAR BREADCRUMBS INSTEAD OF PANKO?
Please do not substitute panko breadcrumbs with regular breadcrumbs or you will be missing out on the gorgeous, satisfying CRUNCH that makes Cordon Bleu Chicken. If you only have regular breadcrumbs, they can be used, but don’t expect the chicken to be as crunchy fabulous.
WHAT IF I’M GLUTEN FREE?
This Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe is easy to make gluten free with gluten free panko; the rest of the ingredients are gluten free. My favorite gluten free panko is Aleia’s Gluten-Free Panko made of rice and potato flour – it’s spectacularly crunchy! I often use it even though I’m not gluten free.
FOR THE wash
CHICKEN CORDON BLEU SAUCE
The Chicken Cordon Bleu Sauce marries all of the flavors and textures together for a spectacular finish! It is finger licking, spoon licking good. You will use some of the same ingredients you used earlier. You will need:
HOW TO MAKE Chicken Cordon Bleu
Chicken Cordon Bleu is a celebration of juicy chicken on the inside, and a crazy, crunchy golden crust on the outside. Let’s take a closer look at how it’s made (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
TIPS FOR making chicken cordon bleu
This recipe has a few steps, but is quite simple to make. Here are a few tips to make it even easier and more successful:
possible recipe variations
Once you understand the technique of Chicken Cordon Bleu, you can make all sorts of variations!. Here are just a few:
Our favorite sides with this Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe are Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Balsamic Roasted Carrots and Apple Salad. Here are a few more tasty ideas:
Cordon Bleu Chicken is best if breaded right before baking (for optimal crunchy breading), but you can prep all the components ahead of time, then it’s just quick dip, roll and bake!
-Breading: Toast the panko, cool, and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Grate the cheese and refrigerate in an airtight container. Measure the spices and store in an airtight container.
-Roll chicken: Roll the chicken and secure with toothpicks. Wrap individual pieces tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
-Wash: Combine and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
-Dijon Cream Sauce: The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to use, gently rewarm in a skillet, adding additional milk or broth as needed to thin.
HOW long is chicken cordon bleu good for?
Store Chicken Cordon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. When storing, don’t stack your chicken so the breading stays crunchier, instead, place a piece of parchment paper in between the layers. Reheated chicken will still be flavorful but not as crunchy as freshly baked.
How do I reheat chicken cordon bleu?
The Parmesan crust will soften a bit upon refrigeration so I suggest reheating in the oven or air fryer to revive the crispy texture:
-Microwave: Transfer chicken slices to a microwave safe plate in an even layer. Microwave for 60 seconds, then at 10 second intervals as needed.
-Air fryer: Place chicken slices in a single layer in the basket without touching, air fry using the “snack” setting for 4 minutes, or until warmed through.
–Oven: Place chicken slices on a baking rack set in a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake at 300 degrees F for approximately 8 minutes or until heated through. If baking whole chicken rolls (not slices), then bake closer to 15-20 minutes.
HOW TO freeze chicken cordon bleu
You can freeze the Chicken Cordon Bleu before or after baking, but after baking should be reserved for leftovers:
1. Flash freeze the crusted chicken on a baking rack for 2-3 hours or until solid, taking care the chicken isn’t touching.
2. Wrap each chicken roll tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a ziploc bag; squeeze out any excess air.
3. Freeze for up to 3 months.
4. When ready to enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake or reheat according to recipe directions.
Looking for more crispy chicken Recipes?
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders
Skinny Chicken Parmesan
Oven “Fried” Chicken
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Chicken Cordon Bleu
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- 4 medium chicken breasts (6-7 oz. each)
- 8 slices (12 ounces) deli cut Black Forest ham (like Boars Head)
- 1 1/4 cups freshly shredded Swiss Gruyere cheese
- Fresh parsley for garnish if desired
- 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried parsley, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder
- 1/4 tsp EACH salt, pepper
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
DIJON CREAM SAUCE
- 1 cup LOW SODIUM chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream (or evaporated milk or half and half mixed with 1 TBS cornstarch)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried basil, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder
- 1/4 tsp EACH salt, pepper
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Top a rimmed baking sheet with a baking rack and lightly spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- Flatten Chicken: Place chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness of 1/4-inch using the flat side of a meat mallet or side of a can (they will spread out a lot).
- Layer: Lay 2 slices of ham over each chicken breast. Evenly line a heaping ¼ cup shredded cheese down the center of the ham, leaving about 1/2-inch border on all sides.
- Roll Chicken: Starting on the smaller end of the chicken, tightly roll up, folding the ham over the cheese on the end (to prevent it from oozing out). Secure with toothpicks.
- Panko Breading: In a large skillet, melt 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter in 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the panko and stir to coat. Continue cooking until the crumbs become golden brown, then immediately transfer to a large shallow dish (like a cake pan or pie plate). Once cool, stir in the Parmesan and breading spices.
- Dijon Wash: In a separate large shallow dish, whisk together 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Working with one chicken roll at a time, add chicken to the Dijon Wash and brush to evenly coat.
- Bread Chicken: Transfer to the breading and press the crumbs into all sides, turning as needed. Transfer to the prepared baking rack, leaving a few inches between each roll.
- Bake: Bake chicken at 350 degrees F until cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer (this one is my favorite), about 30-35 minutes. Check the chicken the last 10 minutes of baking, and top with foil if necessary to prevent excess browning. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. The last few minutes of baking, make the Dijon Cream Sauce (or make early and reheat):
- Dijon Cream Sauce: Whisk all of the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until thickened. The sauce will be on the thin side, but will thicken once removed from the heat.
- Serve: Serve the Dijon Cream Sauce over the sliced chicken; garnish with parsley if desired.
- STORAGE: Store in a single layer in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: You can freeze the chicken before or after baking, but after baking should be reserved for leftovers: Flash freeze the crusted chicken on a baking rack for 2-3 hours or until solid, taking care the chicken isn’t touching. Wrap each chicken roll tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a ziploc bag; squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake or reheat according to recipe directions.
- To REHEAT: Microwave: Transfer chicken slices to a microwave safe plate in an even layer. Microwave for 60 seconds, then at 10 second intervals as needed. Air fryer: Place chicken slices in a single layer in the basket without touching, air fry using the “snack” setting for 4 minutes, or until warmed through. Oven: Place chicken slices on a baking rack set in a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake at 300 degrees F for approximately 8 minutes or until heated through. If baking whole chicken rolls (not slices), then bake closer to 15-20 minutes.
Meal PrepCordon Bleu Chicken is best if breaded right before baking (for optimal crunchy breading), but you can prep all the components ahead of time, then it’s just quick dip, roll and bake!
- Breading: Toast the panko, cool, and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Grate the cheese and refrigerate in an airtight container. Measure the spices and store in an airtight container.
- Roll chicken: Roll the chicken and secure with toothpicks. Wrap individual pieces tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- Wash: Combine and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Dijon Cream Sauce: The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to use, gently rewarm in a skillet, adding additional milk or broth as needed to thin.
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