How to stuff a chicken breast

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Learn how to add flavor, texture and seasoning to plain chicken with this simple technique.

How to stuff a chicken breast

Given how much chicken gets eaten in America, you’d think stuffing a chicken breast would be pretty routine. However, there are as many wrong ways to stuff a chicken breast as there are cooks trying to do it because the process is far more difficult than you’d think. You have to have the right incision, the right mix and some twine and toothpicks sure don’t hurt. Here’s the definitive guide to making the perfect stuffed chicken breast every time.

Oh, and yes, there are eight steps, but don’t worry. They’re easy.

Step 1: Select your bird

When it comes to stuffing chicken, the first thing to do is find the right meat. You can stuff both bone-in or bone-out chicken breasts, whichever you prefer. However, avoid finding the biggest, thickest chicken breasts you can because they may not cook evenly. Instead, try to find chicken breasts that are generally rectangular in shape.

Step 2: Let your chicken breathe

When you are ready to stuff your chicken, the first thing you should do is take it out of the cooler for about twenty minutes. Warmer chicken cooks more evenly and doesn’t keep the filling so cool that it won’t cook properly.

Step 3: Make the incision

Here’s where the magic happens. Get the sharpest knife you have, preferably one with a point. Use the point of the knife to make a small incision in the middle of the breast (both lengthwise and widthwise). If you are using bone-in chicken, you should make this incision on the side away from the bone.

Use one continuous motion to cut from the incision almost to the other end of the breast, leaving about 1/2 inch uncut. Flip the chicken and make a second cut so that you can then open the breast like a book.

Step 4: Season

Liberally coat the insides with salt and pepper. This is very important for flavor.

Step 5: Find the right ingredients

Next, consider what you want to put in the chicken breast. You’ll want something that can work like a glue (normally cheese, ricotta, cream cheese or silken tofu). That will be your base, but you can add anything else you want, like spices or meat. However, make sure that the stuffing is sticky enough to keep the chicken together.

Apply the filling to one side of the “book” only and leave about 1/2 inch’s worth of space between the edge of the chicken and the filling.

Step 6: Fold

Now, fold the chicken over like you were closing a book. Press gently down on the top of the chicken to spread the filling.

Step 7: Seal

Either secure the chicken with a toothpick through the middle or wrap it in twine.

Step 8: Cook

Finally, cook the chicken by searing it on both sides over high heat for a minute or two, then finishing in the oven until the filling is melted and the chicken is done all the way through. This can easily take up to 15 or more minutes.

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