One-Pot Wonders

Chicken Kiev (Chicken Kyiv)

May  7, 2021
21 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 8
Author Notes

Many years ago I attempted to expand my recipe base using Alice's Restaurant Cookbook as my guide. Alice was so casual with her approach, and I was attracted to some little line drawings she made showing how to wrap up a Chicken Kiev.

I have deviated from her recipe–I don't dip the Kievs in egg, and I make a little sauce to pour over them. Two Kievs per person is really a very ample portion.

NB - As I edit this we are watching the events in Ukraine unfold. Thoughts are with the brave country that is fighting for its sovereignty and unique culture. —Bevi

Test Kitchen Notes

"If all you'd ever really like for dinner is garlic-y, wine-y, herby butter sauce by the spoonful, keep reading. If you're also desperate for a way to work boneless, skinless chicken breasts into a weeknight dinner that isn't bone-dry and lifeless, keep reading quickly!

Popular in Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish cuisines, Chicken Kiev is made by wrapping a flattened chicken breast around a lump of cold butter and garlic, and then frying the whole happy pouch in a breadcrumb coating. When you cut into one, the melted garlic butter spills out onto your spoon or whatever starch or steamed vegetable you've got on standby. It's ridiculously good—and weeknight doable!

What's more, you probably have 90% of the ingredients lurking in your crisper.

A Few Notes:
- If the idea of prepping and rolling up Chicken Kievs before a weeknight dinner sounds nutso, you can do all that the night before. Just leave them to set overnight rather than the allotted 30 minutes; all you'll need to do is sear them off before dinner the next day.

- Don't worry too much about making them perfectly seep-tight. Some of the butter will escape during cooking, which will just add to the flavor of the pan sauce.

- Feel free to swap in other herbs you have, or use just one (like parsley) rather than a medley.

- It would be a shame to let any of the butter sauce go to waste, so serve your Kievs with some sort of starch: hot white rice, crusty bread, even mashed potatoes would be nice. Or in bowls, with spoons.

Pick These Groceries Up On The Way Home:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 handful Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- A bottle of white wine (you'll only need a cup for the recipe)

We're assuming you already have salt and pepper, 3 garlic cloves, a stick of butter, 1/2 cup flour, 4 tablespoons olive oil, and a lemon—but if not, pick those up too!

And Get To Making It:

About an hour before you'd like to eat, prep your Kievs. Finely mince the garlic, chop the thyme and parsley, and chiffonade the basil; then stir these ingredients together in a bowl. Using a rolling pin or mallet, flatten each chicken breast to 1/4-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap, then discard the plastic wrap and slice each beast in half lengthwise—you'll now have a total of 8 long, flat chicken strips. Season them, then sprinkle each with 1/8th of the garlic-herb mixture, and place a tablespoon of cold butter that you've formed into a cylinder shape with your fingers on top of that. Now, wrap the chicken around the butter as tightly as possible (the idea is that no butter can escape during cooking!). Secure with a toothpick if you need some added security, roll them in flour, then leave uncovered in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

About 15 minutes before dinner, sear them off. Heat the oven to 300º F. Add the olive oil to a heavy skillet over medium heat, then brown each Kiev on all sides (some will have 3 sides, others 4, plus a top and bottom). Set them on a sheetpan in the oven to keep warm. Add the wine to the pan, scraping up the brown bits, followed by a small pat of butter if you're feeling it; reduce until shimmering, and add lemon juice if it needs some brightness. Spoon over each Kiev to serve, accompanied by a slice of that lemon." –Amanda Sims

"WHO: Bevi is a mother and avid home cook, who grew up working at her family's hotel. She lives in Vermont.
WHAT: Chicken breasts, classed up.
HOW: Pound your chicken breasts until they're thin, roll a generous amount of herby butter inside–then sear, bake, and make a pan sauce.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Bevi's Chicken Kievs have all of our favorite things going on: herbs, garlic, lemon, white wine, and, of course, lots of butter. The chicken breasts stay moist when they're cooked this way–and the sauce lightens it all up. We can't wait to make this for our next dinner party." —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 handful Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, finely chiffonaded
  • 8 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Extra lemon juice for sauce
  • 8 lemon wedges
  1. Use a mallet or rolling pin to pound and flatten the chicken breasts. I place each breast between pieces of plastic wrap. Make the breasts as thin as possible, but try not to tear the breasts - 1/4-inch is a good thickness to aim for. You are going to slice each flattened breast in half.
  2. With the "smooth" side of the breasts down, lightly season the breasts with salt and pepper. Then, divide the garlic and herbs into eighths, and sprinkle each breast half with an eighth of the garlic and herbs.
  3. Shape each tablespoon of butter into a cylinder, and place in the center of the breasts The butter should be placed like this: ( - ). The goal is to wrap up the breasts so the Kievs are as airtight as possible to keep the butter from leaking out during cooking. I fold over the breasts on the sides first, and then top and bottom.
  4. Dust the Kievs in flour, very lightly, and then place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so they can firm up. You may want to use toothpicks to keep the Kievs intact. Take them out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you are ready to brown them.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using tongs, place the Kievs in the skillet and brown nicely on all sides, including the tops and bottoms of the Kievs. I find that some of my Kievs have 3 sides; others - 4 sides - in addition to a "top" and "bottom". The browning may take about 15 minutes.
  6. Place the Kievs in a 300°F oven while you make the sauce.
  7. If you find that some of the Kievs have released their butter, that is fine - it happens all the time. To the skillet, add the wine and scrape all the good bits into the wine. If you need to add butter to the sauce, just a small pat will do. Reduce the sauce until it is nicely brown and shimmering. Taste -- and for a little brightness, you may want to add a tiny bit of lemon juice.
  8. Plate the Kievs and pour the sauce over them. Serve with lemon wedges.
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Recipe by: Bevi

Cooking is an important part of my past. I grew up and worked on our family resort. These days, I cook good food to please my friends and family.

49 Reviews

lmpriester January 1, 2021
Made this for Christmas Eve and we loved it (including my 15 and 10yo)! The herb mixture was delicious! One question: can you make the rolls in advance and freeze them?
Bevi March 1, 2022
Hi - I am sorry that I did not see this sooner. I do not have experience with freezing these, but I have seen prepared and frozen Chicken Kiev sold in supermarkets so would guess that it would be worth trying.
Emmaline S. January 9, 2019
This is a quick, flavorful, savoy weeknight meal. The butter, in fact, did all melt out of the center and I wish I would’ve added a block of mozzarella or havarti in the center in addition to a smaller amount of butter. Otherwise, great recipe.
Bevi April 12, 2019
Thanks for your review. The butter can get tricky, but then there is more silkiness for the sauce.
Nancy S. October 21, 2019
Authentic chicken Kiev doesn't have cheese in it.
Bevi October 21, 2019
There is no cheese is this recipe.
Bette March 13, 2016
The folding and rolling is still unclear. Each whole flattened breast or each 1/2 flattened breast? This recipe needs rewriting for example, "You are going to cut each breast in 1/2" when? now? or after it is filled? Bette
Bevi September 28, 2016
You slice the chicken breast after you flatten it and before you fill it.
Parisa March 11, 2016
Do you cut the breasts in half or butterfly them? confused with how to fill/roll half a chicken breast. Plan to make these tomorrow :)
Bevi September 28, 2016
After you flatten the breast and slice in half there will be enough surface to fill and roll the breast. It might be torn and messy so use spare, broken off pieces of chicken to fill holes and then use toothpicks to secure the rolled up, filled breasts.
Marianne February 12, 2015
Made this last night and it was wonderful. I compounded the butter the night before. Drizzled a little half and half into the pan sauce just at the end. yum! Served with julienned squash and zucchini (and a carrot for color) sautéed with garlic and olive oil and then topped with freshly grated Parmesan . Great recipe!
Bevi February 12, 2015
Wow - sounds delicious. that's a great idea to add a little half and half. Thanks for your feedback!
AntoniaJames February 9, 2015
Bevi, these are just gorgeous. What sides would you recommend for a special dinner for two such as Valentine's Day? Dessert will be dark chocolate mousse . . . . ;o)
Bevi February 9, 2015
Thank you Antonia! I recommend a grain that will pair well with the sauce - but something on the lighter side such as couscous. I have often mixed in toasted pine nuts and currants to the couscous, which I prepare in chicken stock. A green salad with citrus supremes goes well with this during this time of year. I love to use blood oranges and tangerines. For a vegetable, I like something mild, like haricot vert, buttered and lightly salted. I hope this helps.
Robin November 12, 2014
44years ago chicken kiev was the first fancy dinner I made my boyfriend, now husband. We had no kitchen table, so we ate on a picnic blanket. Between the rum cake dessert, champagne and that rich, buttery chicken course, we never got vertical that night. Thanks for bringing back great memories.
Bevi November 12, 2014
Robin this is too sweet. Maybe you will recreate that scenario and I would be honored if my recipe were to be included in that tableau.
Robin November 13, 2014
Dear Bevi, We would have to figure out the no cholesterol version since his arteries now have stints and the no alcohol rum cake since the meds that go along with the arteries require grape juice, instead of wine or spirits. If you want to give me a new menu....March is the anniversary of our first meeting. Recreating a dinner is something I would love to do!
Kathy C. January 30, 2014
@Bevi: I will try those other recipes too when time permits. I just can't thank you and the other wonderful cooks here for these great recipes. I started out 3 years ago as a newlywed with not a lot of cooking under my belt but right from the start my husband and his children were amazed at the food I cooked. They just thought I was modest. hee hee.
Bevi January 30, 2014
I am glad you have come into your own as a cook!
Ali January 30, 2014
How do I make this recipe Kosher?
Bevi January 30, 2014
Hi Ali, I really don't know the answer, because the butter is integral to the flavor and the sauce. I did, however, find this link that mentions a pareve butter substitute that is sold in Whole Foods. I have never used it, so I can't vouch for it.
Mark P. January 30, 2014
Replace the butter with shmaltz?
Ali January 30, 2014
Bevi, thank you.
Bevi January 30, 2014
Schmaltz might be interesting. You also might want to send a message to ChefJune,
or Kukla, both whom may have a suggestion for you.
Kathy C. January 30, 2014
I meant to say, "What" a delicious dinner. :)
Bevi January 30, 2014
I am so glad you enjoyed it! I have two other kiev recipes here on food52. If you would like to try them, please let me know what you think. The recipe isn't hard at all, and toothpicks make it much easier!
Kathy C. January 30, 2014
I made this last night and watch a delicious dinner! This is definitely a keeper recipe. It sounds hard but it's really not. I put the chicken together with toothpicks. It is easy to sauté them with the toothpicks and when they are cooked, just take the toothpicks out and the chicken is sealed. Browning the chicken seals the butter and herbs inside so all is deliciousness after you pour some sauce on it. My husband raved about this recipe. loved it! Me too!
J C. January 26, 2014
What is Amanda's favorite pounder?
Bevi January 26, 2014
Attached is a link that Amanda provided for a smashed potato recipe...
Babette's S. January 26, 2014
Suggestions: specify oven-proof skillet or saute pan...why not save time dividing the herbs & garlic,simply make a compound butter with the herbs and garlic, shape into cylinders or logs and freeze. One could also use wide variety of seasonings, such as shallots, lemon zest and minced capers. The great thing about compound butters is they can be frozen to have on hand for this and other such recipes.
Bevi January 26, 2014
You can use saute pan for the top of the stove searing. Yes, you can make compound butter. And herb combinations can be endless and what you have on hand.
Mark P. January 22, 2014
Amazing and delicious. My only suggestion is that you probably should 1.5x-2x the amount of basil+Thyme+Garlic+Parsley as more of that filling in each Kiev is even better.
Bevi January 22, 2014
Thanks for your suggestion. Also, other herbs are good, such as majoram.
drbabs January 21, 2014
Yum, Bevi; congratulations on the Wildcard!
Bevi January 22, 2014
Thank you drbabs!
EmilyC January 21, 2014
Congrats Bevi! What a great take on a classic!
Bevi January 21, 2014
Thank you!
Kukla January 20, 2014
I am so happy for you, Bevi! Congratulations! This is one of my favorite recipes on food52!
Bevi January 20, 2014
Thanks Kukla! Keep on enjoying them.
aargersi January 20, 2014
Hurrah! Congratulations! This looks delicious!!
Bevi January 20, 2014
I bet you could add a nice Texan twist to them!
hardlikearmour January 20, 2014
Congratulations, Bevi! I've never made Chicken Kiev, but this recipe needs to change that :-)
Bevi January 20, 2014
You are very kind, HLA. I hope you enjoy them.
lapadia January 20, 2014
Yay! Love your "Boozy Cider Sauce" version, too. Have made these a few times...
Bevi January 20, 2014
Thanks lapadia! Maybe for your Superbowl Party?