Oven-baked chicken cordon bleu schnitzel: delightfully crispy, oozing with cheese, and incredibly easy to make.
This delicious cordon bleu schnitzel features chicken breast filled with ham and cheese; it’s baked in the oven and served hot with potato wedges and salad. A perfect, effortless meal for the entire family!
Plus, it's a healthier twist on the classic recipe, as the chicken breasts are coated in breadcrumbs and baked, not fried. And if you like schnitzel, check out more of our recipes: Jägerschnitzel, Wiener Schnitzel, or make a Chicken Schnitzel Burger.
Or try this Air Fryer Chicken Cordon Bleu.
Jump to recipe
What is cordon bleu?
The traditional cordon bleu typically consists of thin veal or pork fillets stuffed with cheese and ham, breaded, and deep-fried. This results in a thick, cheese-filled roll with a crispy breadcrumb coating from frying.
For a simpler approach, you can use smaller cuts of meat, stuff them with ham and cheese, coat the meat with breadcrumbs, and pan-fry it. Though not deep-fried, this method still requires a generous amount of oil for a deliciously crispy texture.
Cordon bleu schnitzel, also known simply as "chicken cordon bleu," is a popular and delicious dish that combines elements of chicken schnitzel and the classic cordon bleu recipe. It typically consists of a chicken breast fillet that is pounded flat to create a thin piece of meat. The chicken breast is then filled with ham and cheese, rolled up, and secured with toothpicks or kitchen twine.
Traditionally, cordon bleu schnitzel is deep-fried to achieve a crispy exterior, but it can also be baked in the oven for a healthier alternative. The result is a flavorful and mouthwatering dish with melted cheese and savory ham inside, and a golden-brown, crispy coating on the outside.
Why do we love this recipe?
- Healthier: There is no deep-frying involved; the cordon bleu schnitzels are baked in the oven.
- Quick and easy: Rather than creating a large, potentially unstable roll, along with the hassle of monitoring frying oil temperature, I take an easier approach. I cut the chicken breast while ensuring it stays intact on one side, give it a quick pound, fill it, coat it in breadcrumbs, and then bake it in the oven. That's all there is to it!
- Affordable: The cordon bleu rolls served in restaurants are either delicious and expensive or cheap and really bad: greasy and probably coming directly from the freezer. Making tasty and healthier cordon bleu schnitzel at home is the best idea; I gave up ordering it in restaurants.
- Small boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 4.5 - 5.5 oz/ 125 - 150 g each.
- Ham: I use cooked ham slices, which add a salty and savory taste to the dish, complementing the chicken and cheese.
- The slices I use are thin and large, so I fold the cheese in them. One slice is enough for one schnitzel, but if your slices are very small or thin, you can use 1 ½ or two pieces and fold them to make them fit snuggly into the schnitzel.
- Cheese: We like a slice of Cheddar; it tastes a bit stronger and has a nice color. However, other cheese types, such as Swiss or Gruyère, are commonly used in cordon bleu schnitzel, and they taste delicious as well.
- You will need one slice per schnitzel.
- Breadcrumbs: Dried breadcrumbs are used as a coating for the chicken cordon bleu schnitzel. When coated with a mixture of oil and spices, they become crispy in the oven and add a delightful crunch to the dish.
- Paprika: It adds a mild, smoky flavor and a vibrant reddish color to the chicken coating.
- All-purpose flour is used to coat the stuffed chicken schnitzel before dipping it into the egg mixture. The flour helps the egg mixture adhere better to the meat.
- Eggs: Whisked eggs are used as a binding agent to help the breadcrumbs stick to the breasts and play a crucial role in achieving a crispy texture.
- Oil: A cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, for brushing the ham and cheese schnitzel before baking.
- Other ingredients: Lemon zest, nutmeg, fine sea salt or kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
How to make cordon bleu schnitzel?
- Butterfly: Lay the breasts flat on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, carefully slice horizontally through the thickest part of the chicken breast, but do not cut all the way through to the other side. Open up like a book, creating a larger, thinner piece of meat (1).
- Pound: To ensure even cooking and a consistent thickness, place the butterflied chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap or in a resealable plastic bag. Gently pound it with a meat mallet, rolling pin, or the flat side of a heavy knife until it is an even thickness throughout (2).
- Season: Season both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper or any other desired seasonings.
- Fill: Slice the cheese into halves or break it into smaller pieces. Take two cheese halves and wrap them together in one piece of ham. Fold the ham to completely enclose the cheese, creating a small pocket that fits snugly into the chicken breast.
- Place this ham and cheese parcel on one side of the butterflied chicken breast. Fold the other side over the filling, creating a "sandwich" with the ham and cheese in the middle (3).
- Secure with toothpicks or kitchen twine to keep the filling in place. Remember to remove the toothpicks or warn the people at the table about them before serving (3).
- Coat the stuffed chicken with flour, dip it in beaten eggs, and then coat it in breadcrumbs (4).
- Brush: Mix the oil and the sweet paprika powder in a small bowl. Place the cordon bleu schnitzel on a lined baking tray and brush them all over with about ⅔ of the oil mixture (5,6). Reserve the rest of the oil for later.
- Bake the cordon bleu chicken schnitzel for about 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Flip, brush with the remaining oil, and bake for another 7-8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- If the chicken pieces are larger, adjust the baking time accordingly.
- Even thickness: Whether you butterfly the chicken or pound it flat, aim for an even thickness throughout the breast. This ensures uniform cooking and prevents one part from overcooking while waiting for the thicker areas to cook.
- Secure the filling: Properly seal the chicken pocket or fold it to secure the filling. Use toothpicks or kitchen twine to hold it together during cooking, preventing the cheese and ham from leaking out.
Swiss Cheese: Swiss cheese, such as Emmental or Gruyère, is a classic choice for cordon bleu. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, and when melted, it becomes creamy and gooey.
Cheddar: We love its stronger taste and bright color. It also melts very nicely.
Provolone has a mild and slightly smoky flavor and melts beautifully.
Fontina: Fontina cheese is another good-melting cheese, rich and creamy, with a nutty taste.
Cooked ham is the classic choice for cordon bleu and is widely used. Cooked ham is already tender and flavorful, making it easy to work with.
Prosciutto cotto or crudo can add a gourmet touch to the cordon bleu.
Black forest ham: A smoked, dry-cured ham that can add a smoky and slightly sweet taste to the dish.
Virginia ham: A type of country ham that is usually milder in flavor, making it a good option if you prefer a less salty taste.
Ensure that the cheese is enclosed into the pieces of ham and that the breasts are securely sealed with toothpicks or kitchen twine. However, a bit of leaking might always happen.
The internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer should reach 165°F/ 74°C (the Amazon affiliate link opens in a new tab).
While it's best to serve them fresh, you can prepare the parcels and stuff them in advance. Refrigerate them and bread them just before cooking.
How to store and reheat?
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Freeze uncooked cordon bleu chicken schnitzels. Wrap each one individually in plastic wrap or foil, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag, and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.
- Reheat in the preheated oven (350°F/175°C) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 15-20 minutes or until they are heated through and crispy.
- Microwave on a microwave-safe plate, covered with a microwave-safe cover on medium power for 1-2 minutes or until it's heated through. Keep an eye on it to avoid overcooking, as microwave power levels can vary.
- Reheating the schnitzels in the oven will help retain their crispy texture better than in the microwave.
What to serve with stuffed schnitzel?
More side dish ideas
- In spring, I often make sauteed asparagus, while in winter, I would go for some roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes.
- If I don't have any fresh veggies, I choose to make French-style green beans or buttered green peas because I always have them in the freezer.
- Mashed potatoes, garlic noodles, or even rice are suitable side dishes as well.
More crispy chicken?
Cordon Bleu Schnitzel
- 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts about 150 g/ 5.5 oz each
- 4 slices of cheese Note 1
- 2 slices cooked ham large and thin, Note 2
- fine sea salt or kosher
- ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- zest from ½ organic lemon
- a few gratings of nutmeg
- about 1 cup dried breadcrumbs 100 g/ 3.5 oz more if necessary, Note 3
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- Oil mixture: Mix the oil and the sweet paprika powder in a small bowl. 3 tablespoon oil + ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C. Lightly brush a little of the oil mixture onto the baking paper, but apply it only in the area where you'll be placing the chicken.
- Butterfly the chicken: Lay the chicken breasts flat on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, carefully slice horizontally through their thickest part, but do not cut all the way through to the other side. Open up like a book, creating a larger, thinner piece of meat.4 small chicken breasts
- Pound: Place the butterflied chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap or in a resealable plastic bag. Pound them gently with a meat mallet, rolling pin, or small thick-bottomed saucepan until it is an even thickness throughout.
- Season: Season both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper.
- Fill: Slice the cheese into halves or break it into smaller pieces. Take two cheese halves and wrap them together in one piece of ham. Fold the ham to completely enclose the cheese, creating a small pocket that fits snugly into the chicken breast. 4 cheese slices + 4 ham slices
- Place this ham and cheese parcel on one side of the butterflied chicken breast. Fold the other side over the filling, creating a "sandwich" with the ham and cheese in the middle.
- Secure with toothpicks or kitchen twine to keep the filling in place. Remember to remove the toothpicks or warn the people at the table about them before serving.
- Prepare breading stations: Place the flour on a large plate. Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Add the lemon zest and some nutmeg. Place the breadcrumbs on another large plate.2 tablespoon flour + 2 eggs + zest ½ lemon + a few gratings of nutmeg + 1 cup/ 100 g breadcrumbs
- Bread cordon bleu: Coat the chicken pieces in flour and shake carefully to remove the excess. Dip them into the eggs and coat them with the breadcrumbs, pressing slightly to help them adhere to the meat. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush: Brush the cordon bleu schnitzel all over with about ⅔ of the oil mixture. Reserve the rest of the oil for later.
- Bake for about 8 minutes. Flip, brush with the remaining oil, and bake for another 7-8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. If the chicken pieces are larger, adjust the baking time accordingly.
- Cheese: I used Cheddar, but Swiss cheese, Gruyere, and Emmentaler are also great. See Recipe FAQ for more ideas.
- Ham: I used thin, large, round slices of cooked ham. If your slices are smaller or thinner, you can use 1 ½ - 2 pieces for each schnitzel.
- Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are a great alternative.