Barbecue Chicken Cutlets

Barbecue Chicken Cutlets are one of the simplest and most delicious ways to prepare chicken breast. The tender and juicy chicken, sautéed until it’s golden brown and then baked with sweet barbecue sauce, is so tender and definitely a family favorite.

Barbecue Chicken Cutlets

Chicken cutlets, or Куриные Отбивные, as we called them in Russian, were one of our family’s go-to dinners that my Mom and later on my sister and I made quite often.

It’s one of the easiest ways to transform chicken breast, make it more tender and easier to eat. Sometimes we would serve the chicken cutlets without any sauce and other times we would bake it with many kinds of barbecue sauce.

The sauce makes the chicken even more tender and flavorful. It’s such a versatile recipe that it can be served with just about any side dish and vegetable and it pairs perfectly with just about anything – mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, salads, green beans, broccoli, roasted zucchini, braised carrots or even some crunchy pickles or sliced up tomatoes.

What Are Chicken Cutlets?

Homemade Chicken Cutlets from chicken breast

Chicken cutlets are usually made with chicken breast that are made thinner by cutting them in half and/or pounding them out with a meat mallet or some other heavy object. 

Making chicken cutlets out of chicken breasts makes them easier to cook and eat. Chicken breasts are big pieces of meat, which takes a bit of time to cook all the way through. It can sometimes have a tendency to be more dry, if overcooked and even bland, since it’s such a thick piece of meat, it doesn’t have as much seasoning. Making the chicken thinner and pounding it out helps it to cook faster, you are less likely to over or under cook it, which makes it more juicy and tender. 

Dredging the chicken in flour and eggs gives it a nice coating, crispness and a golden color. It also gives it additional flavor – you can add all sorts of spices and herbs to the flour to make it more delicious. 

How To Make Chicken Cutlets From Chicken Breast:

  1. Trim the chicken breast and blot it dry on both sides with a paper towel. Place the chicken breast on your cutting board and carefully cut it in half horizontally, holding it flat with the palm of your hand while you cut it in half parallel to your cutting board. (If the tenderloin is still attached to the chicken breast, remove it before cutting the chicken breast in half.)
  2. I like to cover the chicken breast with a piece of plastic wrap before I pound it out with a meat mallet. The plastic wrap will create a barrier between the meat the the cutting board, which will protect the meat from getting torn up too much and will help to flatten it out more evenly. You can also use a ziplock bag instead, or don’t use any barrier at all, but in that case, be more gentle and careful when pounding out the meat.
  3. Starting from the center of the chicken breast and going outward, gently pound out the meat with the flat side of the mallet, flattening out the chicken to an even thickness. If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use a heavy skillet or even a wooden rolling pin.
  4. Cut the evenly flattened chicken into portions. If the chicken breast was on the smaller side, cut it in half and if it was larger, you can cut it in thirds.
  5. Repeat with the second side of the chicken breast. It will usually be a bit smaller, so I usually cut it in half or sometimes keep it whole if the chicken breast was small.
  6. Repeat with the second chicken breast. You will get about 10 pieces of chicken from 2 medium chicken breasts.

Meal Prepping Tip:

You can make chicken cutlets and then freeze them in portions to save yourself some time in the future. I will often do that when I buy a big batch of chicken breasts and then I have chicken prepped for many meals and it cuts down how much time I will spend on cooking later. 

What Can Be Used Instead of Chicken Breast? 

Chicken tenderloins are a great alternative, since they are already small pieces. Just gently flatten them out to make them an even thickness before cooking. 

Sometimes boneless, skinless chicken thighs can also be used, but that will have a different texture and flavor. It is also more work, since you will need to clean up the chicken thigh meat much more than chicken breasts. 

How to Cook Chicken Cutlets:

  1. Season all the chicken cutlets with salt and ground black pepper on both sides.
  2. In a shallow rimmed bowl or a pie plate, mix together the all purpose flour, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and any other spices and dry herbs that you like, such as poultry seasoning, dry parsley, dry rosemary/thyme/chives, etc.
  3. In another bowl, mix up the eggs with about 1 Tablespoon of water using a fork or a whisk until the eggs are evenly mixed.
  4. Dredge each chicken cutlets on both sides in the seasoned flour, tapping off any excess flour, then dip in the eggs and immediately place in a heated up skillet with oil. Cook the chicken in batches, on medium high heat, for 2-3 minutes per side, until it is golden brown. The chicken is NOT cooked through all the way at this point.

At this point, you can reduce the heat to low and keep cooking for a few more minutes, covered, until the chicken is cooked all the way through and serve it just like that. It is really delicious as the main protein in a meal or you can even make chicken sandwiches – so good!

Baking the Chicken:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you will bake the chicken in barbecue sauce, sauté the chicken cutlets until golden brown on both sides, but NOT cooked through all the way. Use any kind of rimmed baking dish that will hold all of the chicken.
  • Spread out a bit of barbecue sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. You can make your own barbecue sauce – here’s a delicious recipe for Sweet Homemade Barbecue Sauce, or use any kind of store-bought barbecue sauce that you like.
  • Place one layer or cooked chicken cutlets in the baking dish, brush generously with barbecue sauce, then top with more chicken cutlets and more barbecue sauce until it is all in the baking dish.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons of water (or apple cider, bourbon, orange juice, etc. instead of water) to the bottom of the baking dish. The water or other liquid will create steam and thin out the sauce, making the chicken really juicy and tender.
  • Cover the baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
Barbecue Chicken Cutlets

Serving the Chicken and the Best Way to Reheat Leftovers:

Serve the chicken hot. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave, or in a skillet, covered on medium low heat, adding 1/2-1 Tablespoon of water to the skillet, which will create steam and reheat the chicken gently and evenly, making it juicy and warm once again.

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Barbecue Chicken Cutlets

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Description

Barbecue Chicken Cutlets are one of the simplest and most delicious ways to prepare chicken breast. The tender and juicy chicken, sautéed until it’s golden brown and then baked with sweet barbecue sauce, is so tender and definitely a family favorite.


Scale

Ingredients

2 chicken breast halves (boneless, skinless) 

salt and ground black pepper, to taste, to season the chicken cutlets

seasoned flour (recipe below)

2 eggs + 1 Tablespoon water

45 Tablespoons oil, for frying the chicken cutlets (avocado, grape seed, light olive oil, sunflower, etc.)

3/41 cup Barbecue Sauce

2 Tablespoon water (or apple cider, orange juice, pineapple juice, bourbon, etc.)

Seasoned Flour:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic and onion powder, each

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

1/2 Tablespoon any dry herbs or poultry seasoning (salt free)


Instructions

Make chicken cutlets from the chicken breast. (Detailed instructions in the blog post.) Season the chicken cutlets evenly on both sides with salt and ground black pepper. 

In a shallow rimmed bowl or a pie plate, mix up the flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, dry herbs. In another shallow bowl, mix up the eggs with 1 Tablespoon water, using a fork or whisk until the eggs are evenly mixed. 

Heat 1 – 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet or cast iron skillet on medium high heat. 

Dredge the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, tapping off excess flour, then dip in the eggs and place the chicken right into the hot oil. 

Cook the chicken on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, until the chicken is golden brown on both sides. 

Cook the chicken in batches until all the chicken cutlets are cooked. They are NOT cooked though all the way at this point. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a rimmed baking dish, pour in a bit of barbecue sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Place one layer of chicken cutlets in the baking dish and brush with a generous amount of barbecue sauce. Place another layer of chicken on top of the first, brush with more barbecue sauce and continue until all the chicken is in the baking dish. Pour in 2 Tablespoons of water into the bottom of the baking dish (or you can use apple cider, orange juice, pineapple juice, bourbon etc instead of the water).

Cover the baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked all the way though. 

Serve the chicken hot, with additional barbecue sauce on the side, if you want. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 


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