Have you ever bitten into a thin piece of fried white chicken parmesan in an Italian restaurant and wondered how they made the chicken so uniform? Well, you’ve found your answer. The secret is in the slicing.
How to Thinly Slice Chicken Breast
It may seem silly to describe how to thinly slice chicken breast, but the real advice is to pound out the chicken if you really want thin slices and/or a more uniform shape. This technique is known as butterflying chicken breast.
- Lay chicken breast on top of a piece of parchment paper.
- Put another piece of parchment paper on top.
- Cut in half lengthwise (you can avoid cutting all the way through for a butterfly or cut all the way through for individual slices).
- Pound out with a rolling pin or another heavy object like a meat mallet in between plastic wrap to flatten into ¼-½ inch pieces (or desired thickness).
- Cook to 165° however you’d like.
Here’s a great video from Taste of Home demonstrating this process.
Why Thin Sliced Chicken Breast Rules
Why bother thinly slicing chicken breast? Well, there are a few reasons:
- It cooks faster
- It cooks evenly
- It can look better for certain dishes
- Seasoning and salt penetrate faster
- Easier to tell when it’s finished
What to Make With Thin Sliced Chicken Breast
Thin sliced chicken breast is about as versatile as it gets, so it really just comes down to the texture you want.
A few awesome ways to cook use thin sliced chicken breast include:
- Tacos (thin strips or diced chicken)
- Chicken cordon bleu
- For air fryer chicken
- Breaded chicken parm
- Salad topping
- Easy chicken sandwiches
- In pastas
- Chicken stir fry
15 Awesome Thin Sliced Chicken Breast Recipes
Got some chicken breasts in the fridge you’re looking to cook up? We’ve sourced 15 of our favorite recipes from varying cuisines to get those cast irons seasoned, so to speak. Happy cooking!
If you’re in the mood for a heavy Italian dinner but don’t want to feel guilty about it (or are gluten-free), try this healthy chicken parm recipe that substitutes almond flour in for the typical bread crumb route. Jillian also recommends serving this alongside fresh parmesan green beans. Yum.
Sun-dried tomatoes and chicken just do something to me. Heavy cream doesn’t hurt either, I guess! This brilliant recipe makes a delicious cream sauce with a hint of dijon and serves it over fresh orzo pasta. This is a perfect weekday or date night dish.
If quick and tasty is your play, then these cheesy bruschetta chicken cutlets from SimplyRecipes are the move. Ready in 15 minutes flat, just serve them alongside some fresh pasta, rice, or fresh vegetables to turn them into a complete meal.
One of the most exciting aspects of cutlets or thin sliced chicken breasts is how easy they are to fry up. This recipe from The Spruce Eats covers all the details on frying up a perfect chicken cutlet. It’s quick, delicious, and can be used in just about anything. Try making your own spice blend for brownie points. Hint: this is also how you fry up chicken tenders or cutlets for chicken parm.
Use an air fryer to cut the frying calories a bit. This recipe uses a flour -> egg -> panko bread flour coating and can mean fried chicken in under 10 minutes! There are also a lot of helpful tips in this recipe on how to use the air fryer, such as avoiding overcrowding and letting the air fryer preheat a bit.
Ready to make that signature deep char chicken breast you know and love? This Once Upon a Chef recipe is the one. All you need is an overnight marinade and a ripping hot grill. The rest is execution!
It doesn’t get any more weekday than this, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. A pre-sear gets you the right color, and then all you need is 3 hours in a crockpot with a few ingredients. You can make the veggies separately, but you could also add some gold potatoes, onions, and/or carrots to the pot if you want!
Mushrooms are one of those ingredients that when cooked well are incredible, but it’s so easy to fail at mushrooms. By combining mushrooms with delicious chicken juices directly in the casserole dish, The Recipe Critic does a great job of making sure that your mushrooms are full of flavor.
Honey balsamic is a combination I will never say no to, but what’s nice about this recipe is you cook everything, including the sides, all in one pan. You roast up chicken in the oven, make the glaze in the meantime, pull the pan out a few minutes before to top it with the glaze, and then finish it all in the oven to allow the glaze to settle a bit into the chicken and veggies. So good!
10. Chicken Marsala
The only work in this recipe is taking the time to grab some dry Marsala wine. If you have that, then a delicious chicken marsala with mushrooms is within your reach! As suggested, put these cutlets over angel hair for a delicious and easy dinner.
Another fun use of thin sliced chicken breast is to roll it up! Because it’s so thin, you can easily stuff cheese or veggies in between the rolls. This recipe from Girl Gone Gourmet is a good roll up recipe to start with: you slice your chicken, roll up sauce and cheese in each one, place it seam-side down in a dish, bake, cover with bread crumbs toward the end, and ta-da!
Keeping an eye on the carbs? This recipe from Go Healthy Ever After is for you. Just because chicken doesn’t have bread and sugar doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious. The secret is in the seasoning, and I really like the blend this recipe has.
I’d eat mixed parmesan and panko by itself. Put it on chicken? Forget about it. These are like healthy fried chicken tenders in the best way, and Jessica from the Forked Spoon does a wonderful job walking you through how to make them just right. There’s a gluten-free substitution in here as well!
This is a recipe that relies on the quality of ingredients. Chicken and pepper jack cheese is always good, but if the chicken is low quality and you use bad bbq sauce, you’ll end up with a dish that tastes cheap. Things tasting cheap is not necessarily a bad thing (nostalgia can do wonders), but it’s something to keep in mind with a recipe like this.
15. Chicken Fajitas
A lot of chicken recipes won’t specifically say to use cutlets or thin sliced chicken since you are slicing it up eventually anyway, but making fajitas with thin chicken breast can better blend the chicken in with the other ingredients and play nicer in tacos. This recipe from Taste of Home is lovely and the perfect one to give a shot.
Thin Sliced Chicken Breast FAQ
What is it called when you slice a chicken breast in half?
Cutting a breast in half but not all the way through is known as butterflying chicken breast, and it is used to speed up cooking and expand the surface area of a breast. If you cut all the way through, then you are making cutlets or thin sliced chicken breast.
How long does it take to cook a thinly sliced chicken breast?
That depends on how you’re cooking it, the temperature, and so on, but thinly sliced chicken breast cooks up quickly. Frying can be as short as 3-5 minutes on each side. Grilling can be even shorter depending on the heat. Just pick up a meat thermometer and make sure it’s at 165 degrees if you’re worried about undercooking it.
How long do you cook thin sliced chicken breast in an air fryer?
Thinly sliced chicken breast in an air fryer at 400 degrees should cook within 5 minutes on each side. Always check that the internal temperature is at 165 degrees before eating, though.
How do you cook thin chicken breast on the stove?
Salt the chicken 30 minutes or so in advance, get a cast iron ripping hot with some neutral oil like peanut or canola, and cook it for a few short minutes on each side before checking that it has reached temp.
The tastiest pasture-raised chicken delivered to your door
You are what you eat, eats. That means if industrial chickens are stuffed with antibiotics, those chemicals end up in your body too. No thank you. Fortunately, chicken that is raised on pastures tastes better, too. So you double the incentive to order good chicken.
And at U.S. Wellness Meats, we can deliver you that kind of chicken right to your door.
See what the different types of pasture-raised chicken breasts we sell.
Nathan Phelps owns and writes for Crafted Copy, a boutique copywriting shop that finds the perfect words for interesting products. He is also an ethical foodie, outdoors-aficionado, and hails from Nashville, TN. He splits his time between helping sustainable businesses find new customers and managing his ever-increasing list of hobbies, which include playing guitar, baking bread, and creating board games.