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How to Cook Thin Sliced Chicken Breast

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Learn how to cook thin sliced chicken breast; you can bake it, pan-fry it, air fry it, or grill it. You can cook them as they are or you can bread them.

one thin slice of chicken breast cooked in the oven.

These tender, thin sliced chicken breast pieces are super easy and quick to cook, regardless of your cooking method.

And the best thing about cooking thinly sliced chicken? The pieces will cook evenly and remain tender and juicy all over, with no more dry edges or chewy meat.

What are the advantages of cooking thin pieces of chicken breasts?

  • Time: These thin cuts are quick to cook, much quicker than cooking a whole chicken breast.
  • Juicy: Since they are cut into evenly thick slices, and thanks to the short cooking time, the pieces will remain moist without the unpleasant dry edges.
  • Customizable: You can flavor them any way you like. And you can bread them if desired.
  • Versatile: You can serve them as they are with a classic side dish like mashed potatoes or simple rice. Or you can use the thin chicken cutlets for sandwiches, salads, enchiladas, etc.

Recipe ingredients

collage of two pictures of ingredients for cooking unbreaded or bread chicken breast.

Ingredients for unbreaded chicken:

  • Four chicken breasts or eight thinly cut chicken cutlets, a total weight of 1 ½ lbs/ 700 g.
    • Thin-cut chicken cutlets, two per serving, should be fine, but you can add a third one for ravenous teenagers.
    • You might be able to buy already cut breast pieces, but in most cases, I have to cut the breast myself. That’s super easy, don’t worry about it.
  • Spices: Fine sea salt or Kosher, ground black pepper, brown sugar, sweet paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and curry powder. You can use any spices or spice mixtures you like. Check if they contain salt and adjust the amount of salt accordingly.
  • Olive oil or another vegetable oil of choice. I use canola or sunflower oil most of the time.

Recipe Ingredients for breaded chicken

  • Chicken cutlets, cut horizontally and gently pounded to an even size.
  • Oil and spices for seasoning the pieces. I often use a poultry spice mixture or a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sweet paprika.
  • For the breading: All-purpose flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs (regular breadcrumbs or Panko breadcrumbs).

How to cut chicken breast into thin slices?

  • Place the breast on a cutting board, and ensure that the board won’t slip on the working surface. I usually place the board on a folded kitchen towel.
  • Remove the tender if it’s still attached.
  • Hold the piece flat with one hand. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the piece in two horizontally, taking care to cut evenly (1).
  • To make the pieces completely even, pound them with a meat mallet or a heavy object like a pan.
  • Cover the pieces with a plastic wrap and pound them to an even thickness, about ½ – ¾  inches/ 1.2-2 cm thick. Do it gently and evenly; you don’t want to tear the breast pieces (2).
collage of two pictures of slicing and pounding chicken breast slices.

How to season chicken slices?

Well, the short answer is any way you like. You can rub them with a bit of olive oil and spices and marinate them shortly or for a couple of hours. You can marinate them for longer in yogurt or Asian-style sauces like teriyaki or hoisin.

Or you can marinade them shortly in a light lemon marinade and cook them immediately. See this recipe for Cast-Iron Chicken Breast and use that marinade for flavoring the thinly cut chicken pieces.

How to cook thinly cut chicken breasts?

  • Prepare the chicken: Slice the breast pieces horizontally as instructed above. Pound them lightly to an even thickness.
  • Season: Mix the spices in a small bowl.
  • Place the meat slices into a large bowl. Pour the oil on top and turn the pieces to coat them all over.
  • Sprinkle the spice mixture on top and turn the chicken to coat it evenly with the spices.
raw chicken pieces in a bowl.

How to bake thin-cut chicken pieces?

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (4).
  • Bake the slices for about 13 minutes (5). Check the internal temperature; it should be 165°F/74°C.
collage of two pictures of unbaked and baked sliced chicken on a baking sheet.

How to pan-fry thinly cut chicken?

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil or butter in a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan.
  • Cook the slices for about 3-4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature is 165°F/74°C.
collage of two pictures of pan-frying chicken slices.

How to air fry thin sliced chicken?

  • Preheat the air fryer and spray the basket with cooking spray.
  • Arrange the slices in the air fryer in a single layer (8).
  • Cook them for about 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. Check the internal temperature after 10 minutes already (9).

How to grill thinly sliced chicken?

  • Preheat the grill to high heat and brush the grates with oil.
  • Place the marinated chicken on the grates, cover it with the lid, and grill for 2-3 minutes per side or until the safe internal temperature is reached.

How to cook breaded thin-cut chicken breasts?

  • Prepare and season the chicken pieces as instructed above (slice, pound, and rub with oil and spices).  
  • Breading station: Place the flour on a plate or in a bowl. Beat the eggs in another bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and poultry seasoning on a large plate or bowl (10).
  • Bread chicken: Turn the slices into the flour and shake them gently to remove the excess (11).
  • Dredge them through the beaten eggs (12) and turn them into the breadcrumb mixture until well coated on both sides. Press gently to help the breadcrumbs adhere to the meat (13).
collage of two pictures of breading chicken.
collage of two pictures of breading chicken with breadcrumbs.

How to bake breaded thin-sliced chicken?

  • See the recipes for breaded chicken cutlets or Baked Chicken Cutlets for detailed instructions. Or try a version made with buttermilk – Crispy Panko Breaded Chicken.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200 °C. Line a baking sheet and spray it lightly with cooking spray (14).
  • Bake the cutlets for 10 minutes. Flip them with tongs and bake them for another 5 minutes or until cooked through (15).
collage of two pictures of breaded chicken before and after baking.

How to pan-fry breaded chicken cutlets?

  • Basically, this is how to make a chicken schnitzel, probably the most delicious way of enjoying thinly sliced chicken breasts. Try our Crispy Fried Panko Chicken recipe; it’s delicious.
  • Bread the chicken.
  • Heat about ½ cup/ 125 ml of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or skillet. The oil should be hot but not smoking.
  • Fry the chicken in 2-3 batches for about 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through (16,17).
  • Remove and place on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
collage of two pictures of frying breaded thin cut chicken.

How to air fry breaded thin sliced chicken?

  • Bread the chicken.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 390°F/200°C and spray the basket with cooking spray. Arrange the pieces in the basket in a single layer (18).
  • Cook for 7 minutes. Flip using tongs and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the breading is golden and the meat is cooked through (19).
  • Check out Air Fryer Panko Chicken.
collage

How to grill breaded chicken slices?

  • Prepare the slices and preheat the grill to medium. Brush the grates with oil.
  • Grill covered for 4-6 minutes per side or until cooked through.
slices of chicken breast on a baking sheet with parsley.

Expert Tip

The cooking time always depends on the thickness of the cutlets. The best way to check that the chicken pieces are cooked through without overcooking them is with an instant-read thermometer; the internal temperature should be 165°F/74°C (Amazon affiliate link).

Recipe FAQ

Should I marinate the chicken?

If you have the time, you definitely should. Thirty minutes are fine if that’s all the time you have, but several hours or overnight are better.
If you are using a marinade containing lemon juice, you should not marinate the thin-cut slices for more than 30 minutes; the acid will start “cooking” the exterior of the meat, making it white and leathery.  

Can I cook frozen chicken breasts?

Sure. Check How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast – The Ultimate Guide; you will find all the information you need.

How to store and reheat?

Refrigerate the pieces in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze the cooked and cooled chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge.
Reheat in the preheated oven at 400°F/200°C for about 10 minutes or until hot.

How to serve?

Serve thinly cut chicken breast with any of your favorite side dishes. How about making a simple salad with Yogurt Dressing or Raspberry vinaigrette? The Sour Cream Potato Salad or the Deviled Egg Pasta Salad would make great sides for grilled chicken in summer.

Serve them with Smashed Garlic Potatoes, Air Fryer Baked Potatoes, BBQ Rice, Vegetable Pasta with Pesto, or Carrot Rice.

Slice the breast pieces and make sandwiches, salads, enchiladas, and so on.

thin cut chicken breast sliced, served with parsley.

More chicken breast recipes

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one thin slice of chicken breast cooked in the oven.

How to Cook Thin Sliced Chicken Breast

Learn how to cook thin sliced chicken breast; you can bake it, pan-fry it, air fry it, or grill it. You can cook them as they are or you can bread them.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Chicken Breast, Poultry
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 336kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients 

  • 4 chicken breasts or 8 thin-sliced chicken breast pieces, 1 1/2 lbs/ 700 g, Note 1

Unbreaded chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more as needed for each cooking method, Note 2
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt Note 3
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder

Breaded chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs Note 4
  • ½ cup Parmesan pressed a bit, 30 g/ 1 oz
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • cooking spray

Instructions

Slice chicken breasts:

  • Place one breast on a cutting board and ensure that the board won’t slip. I usually place the board on a folded kitchen towel.
  • Remove the tender if it’s still attached.
  • Cut: Hold the piece flat with one hand. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the breast in two horizontally, cutting as evenly as possible.
  • Pound: To make the pieces completely even, pound the with a meat mallet or a heavy object like a pan. Cover the slices with a piece of plastic wrap and pound them to an even thickness, about ½ – ¾ inches/ 1.2-2 cm thick. Do it gently and evenly to avoid tearing the meat.

Unbreaded thin-sliced chicken:

  • Season chicken: Place the slices into a large bowl. Pour the oil on top and turn the pieces to coat them all over. Add all the spices and mix well to coat.
  • Bake: Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake the seasoned chicken for about 12 minutes. Check the internal temperature; it should be 165°F/74°C. If it’s not there yet, give it another 2 minutes and check again.
  • Pan-fry: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil (or butter) in a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan. Cook the slices for about 3-4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F/74°C.
  • Air-fry: Preheat the air fryer and spray the basket with cooking spray. Arrange the slices in the air fryer in a single layer. Cook them for about 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. Check the internal temperature after 10 minutes already.
  • Grill: Preheat the grill to high heat and brush the grates with oil. Grill the marinated chicken with the lid on for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Breaded thin-sliced chicken:

  • Season chicken: Place the chicken slices in a large bowl. Coat with the oil, add the spices, and mix well to coat.
  • Breading station: Place the flour, a pinch of salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Beat the eggs in another bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and poultry seasoning on a large plate or bowl.
  • Bread chicken: Lightly coat the slices with flour (shake to remove the excess). Dredge the pieces through the beaten eggs. Mix the breadcrumbs with grated Parmesan and poultry seasoning. Press gently to help the breadcrumbs adhere to the breasts.
  • Bake: Preheat the oven to 400°F/200 °C. Line a baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray. Bake the slices for 10 minutes. Flip and bake them for another 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Pan-fry: Heat about ½ cup/ 125 ml of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or skillet until hot but not smoking. Fry the breaded cutlets in 2-3 batches for about 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and place on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
  • Air-fry: Preheat the air fryer to 390°F/200°C and spray the basket with cooking spray. Arrange the chicken in the basket in a single layer. Cook for 7 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  • Grill: Preheat the grill to medium. Brush the grates with oil. Grill covered for 4-6 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Notes

  1. You can cut regular chicken breasts in half or use already sliced chicken cutlets. The total weight should be about 1 ½ lbs/ 700 g.
  2. Substitute olive oil with another oil like canola or sunflower oil
  3. Substitute the spice mixture with any spices or store-bought seasonings you like. Check if the spices mixture already contains salt and adjust the salt you need accordingly.
  4. Regular breadcrumbs or Panko breadcrumbs.
  5. Nutrition is calculated for the unbreaded chicken slices. Breaded chicken slices have about 350 calories per serving, more when they are fried in oil. All these values are approximate. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2slices | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 559mg | Potassium: 864mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 328IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
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