Chicken Kiev (Breasts stuffed with butter & herbs)

Chicken Kiev (as served at a Ukrainian East Village Restaurant)

Chicken Kiev (as served at a Ukrainian East Village Restaurant)

By Cat, Feb 2013  (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Poultry & Fowl Menu

I first encountered Chicken Kiev at a small French restaurant in the basement of a Portland brick apartment building. While the dish likely has Ukrainian or Russian origins, the French have certainly embraced it. I introduced my Mom to this dish at that same restaurant, and she then encouraged the new 1980s dining spot in Bigfork – The Bigfork Inn – to include it on their menu, where it can still be found today.

It is a chicken breast stuffed with a brick of butter, garlic and herbs, then baked so that the stuffing melts and seeps out, thus also flavoring the entire breast. Simply divine!

Chicken Kiev

This recipe serves is adapted from Viking River Cruises (1). The original serves 6; I’ve cut it down to serve 3. It is hard to find a 5-oz chicken breast halves these days – they are usually twice that size; so if needed cut a half-breast in half again.

The original recommends using panko for breading the chicken, but you could certainly use your own breadcrumbs, made from dried bread.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Butter brick:
  • ½ stick (¼ cup) real unsalted butter at room temperature (do not use margarine)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ Tbsp finely chopped dill weed
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice ½ small or ¼ large lemon
  • Chicken:
  • 3 each, 5 – 6 oz chicken breast pieces (boneless)
  • unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole egg, beaten (adjusted from 2 eggs per testing)
  • ¼ cup unbleached white flour (adjusted from ⅓ cup per testing)
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs or panko (adjusted from1 ¼ cup per testing)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil plus 1 Tbsp butter or ghee
  • Equipment
  • cast iron skillet
  • waxed paper or plastic wrap and baggies


  1. Butter Brick: If using dried herbs, reconstitute them together in a little white wine and lemon juice, then strain.
  2. Combine in small bowl: butter, herbs, garlic and lemon juice with a pinch of salt. Blend well, then put on a piece of waxed paper and form into a 1 ½” thick roll. Slice cross-wise to create 3 discs.
  3. Wrap, separating sections with waxed paper, and place in freezer for one hour.
  4. Prepare Chicken: Brine chicken breast halves for 30 minutes in refrigerator. Remove, rinse and pat dry.
  5. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  6. Place each breast in a small baggie; gently pound until about ⅛” thick.
  7. Remove from bag and lightly season with pepper. Repeat for each breast piece.
  8. Remove butter discs from freezer and wrapping; place one disc on each pounded breast. Then roll up the breast around the brick. Secure with a toothpick (1 or more as needed to hold it together).
  9. Prepare 3 shallow bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs and one with crumbs. roll each chicken breast in the flour, dip generously in egg, then roll in crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs so they stay in place. Place on a plate until all are breaded.
  10. Heat oil and butter/ghee in skillet over medium heat. Pan fry the chicken until golden brown on all sides. Transfer pan to oven and bake about 40 minutes, to internal meat temperature of 180°F. Remove toothpicks and serve immediately.

Assembly or Serving Suggestions


2/17-18/2013: I made as written, starting with 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. I brined for 30 minutes but forgot to set the timer so it was probably more like 50 minutes. Each weighed about 10-11 oz, so I cut them in half, lengthwise, so there would be less thickness to pound out, then set one piece aside for another use. I forgot to add garlic to the butter, so I sprinkled it over the disc when I placed it on the breast. Also didn’t add lemon juice because it would not have mixed well with the butter – I drizzled it over the disc after placing on the meat. I used dried herbs and in retrospect I think I should have soaked the herbs in the lemon juice. I rolled the brick into a sausage, but it was very difficult to divide after freezing, so in future, I will make separate butter patties for each breast. Did not need as much flour, egg and panko as directed so I have updated amounts in the recipe. The stuffed breasts held together fairly well during the browning process, and they browned nicely. Had to bake about 45 minutes to reach 180°F. Result: Very tender and tasty, but I don’t think I had enough salt in the brine, as they needed salt. I served with lightly braised spinach, baked squash and beets.


  1. Viking River Cruises recipe (

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