Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kiev, crispy golden fried chicken cutlets filled with herby, lemony butter, should be part of your weeknight dinner rotation.

Chicken Kiev on a white platter.

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Chicken Kiev is a crispy breaded chicken stuffed with butter, which oozes when cut. My only memories are of the frozen versions I microwaved as an afterschool pick me up. There was nothing better than cutting into the golden, crunchy breading, and watching it give way to a lake of parsley-flecked butter.

This weeknight-friendly recipe gives the chicken Kiev I grew up reheating a much-needed upgrade. The chicken breasts are filled with a compound butter made with parsley, dill, and chives, and are coated in panko breadcrumbs for the crunchiest crust. What’s not to love? Plus, you can make them in under an hour because unlike most chicken Kiev recipes you find online, there is no pounding, rolling, or freezing involved! The butter is simply stuffed into a slit you cut into the side of the chicken breast.

Butter oozing out of Chicken Kiev.

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

The Origins of Chicken Kiev 

The origins of chicken Kiev are murky, but the dish is beloved in Russia, Ukraine, and Poland, and most attribute its origins to Russia or Ukraine. The version we know today takes its name from Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and was likely inspired or invented by French chefs.

Traditionally, chicken Kiev is prepared by thinly pounding out chicken breasts, spreading butter—with herbs or unseasoned—over the chicken, and rolling it together. The rolled chicken is often placed in the freezer for about 30 minutes to help keep its shape and prevent the butter from softening too much that it leaks out when cooked. The chicken is then breaded and fried until golden brown.

The Key Ingredients

These simple ingredients give this classic dish its characteristic comforting flavors and textures—crunchy and juicy, bright and rich, sharp and herbaceous. To make chicken Kiev you’ll need: 

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: I recommend 1-pound chicken breasts, which are easier to portion in half and create a pocket in for the herb butter. You can buy 4 smaller chicken breasts and leave them whole.
  • Herby compound butter: Combine room temperature unsalted butter, herbs (parsley, dill, and chives), garlic, and lemon juice. The lemon juice helps cut through the richness. Traditionally only parsley or no herbs are used, but I added dill and chives for a hint of onion flavor. Use any combination of soft herbs like parsley, dill, basil, mint, chives, or tarragon in the herb butter. Avoid cilantro and hard herbs like sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and rosemary—they can be overpowering.
  • Panko yields a crispier crust: The crust is your classic combo of flour, eggs, and panko breadcrumbs, which yields a crunchier crust than regular breadcrumbs. You could use finer store-bought or homemade breadcrumbs, crushed Ritz crackers, saltine crackers, or pretzels. Use less salt if the breading you pick is salty.
Chicken Kiev with tartar sauce and white wine.

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Frying Tips and Tricks

Get hands-on! Use your hands to tightly press the opening that holds the herb butter in the cutlets to prevent it from seeping out as they fry. Then, handle the cutlets gently while breading them. The flour, egg, and breadcrumbs will also help seal the herb butter pocket shut so that it doesn't open while frying.

The best oil for frying: I recommend using vegetable, peanut, or canola oil for frying. More on the reasons why here. The amount of oil you’ll need depends on the size of your frying pan. It should be filled about 1 inch deep, but keep in mind that the oil should never come more than halfway up the sides. Otherwise, it may overflow while you fry the chicken.

The best temperature for frying: The oil should set to about 350°F, which can be measured with a thermometer. You can also test the temperature by adding a sprinkle of panko breadcrumbs. If they sink to the bottom, it’s not hot enough. If they bubble up, the oil is ready for frying. If they burn right away, turn the heat off to help the oil cool down.

What I'd Serve with Chicken Kiev

Simple sides for sopping up all that delicious herby butter are best—mashedroasted, or baked potatoes are great choices, as are white rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice. Another side of simply prepared vegetables like green beansasparaguscorn, or peas could round out the meal. A simply dressed green salad with peppery arugula or earthy baby chard would be great too. 

Chicken Kiev

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

3 Ways to Plan Ahead

Prepping, filling, breading, and frying anything is overwhelming on the busiest weeknights. Split up the steps and plan ahead. Here's how:

Option 1: Make the herb butter up to 2 months in advance. Roll it into a log in with plastic wrap and freeze it until ready to use.

Option 2: Cut the chicken and fill them with the herb butter, but don’t bread them. Wrap them individually with plastic wrap and store them in a freezer-safe container or zip top bag. Freeze them for up to 2 months, and place the frozen cutlets in the fridge to thaw the night before you plan to serve them. When it’s time for dinner, bread and fry!

Option 3: Want an almost hands-off dinner? Cut, fill, and bread the chicken cutlets. Wrap them individually with plastic wrap and pop them into a zip top bag. Freeze them for up to 2 months. Place the frozen chicken in the fridge to thaw the night before you plan to serve them. When it’s time for dinner, fry them up!

Chicken Recipes for Busy Weeknights

Chicken Kiev

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • For the butter
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the chicken
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds total)
  • About 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Prepare the herb butter: 

    In a small bowl, add the butter. Set aside 1/2 tablespoon each of the parsley, dill, and chives for garnish and add the rest to the butter, along with the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Use a rubber spatula to mix the herb butter until combined. Set it aside.

  2. Prepare the breading station:

    Set 4 large, shallow bowls or quarter sheet trays side by side.

    Add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in the leftmost bowl. Mix well to combine.

    Add the eggs into the second bowl. Whisk with a fork until combined.

    Add the panko breadcrumbs into the third bowl.

    Leave the last one empty. You’ll place your breaded chicken cutlets in it. 

    Chicken breading station.

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  3. Cut the chicken breasts: 

    Place the chicken breasts flat on a cutting board and pat them dry with paper towels. Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim off excess fat. Cut each chicken breast horizontally in half lengthwise with the knife parallel to the cutting board, so you have 4 even-ish chicken cutlets. 

    Use the tip of the knife to cut a horizontal slit along one side of each cutlet, about 2 inches deep and 3 inches long. Make sure not to slice through to the other side. This will be the pocket to fill with herb butter.

    Simple Tip!

    Did you accidentally slice the chicken in half while cutting the pockets? It’s okay! Bread the cutlets as is—without filling them with the herb butter—and instead top the warm fried cutlets with the herb butter right before serving. You won’t get the same effect of a filled chicken Kiev, but the flavors will still win you over!

    Slice pocket into chicken thigh.

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  4. Fill the cutlets with butter:

    Set aside about 4 tablespoons of the herb butter so that it does not get contaminated with the raw chicken. It can be used to serve on top of the chicken Kiev or you can freeze them for these herby green beans.

    Use a spoon to fill each cutlet with about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of herb butter. Gently press the cutlets to flatten and evenly disperse the butter inside the pocket.

    Fill pocket with herb butter.

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  5. Bread the cutlets:

    Work with one chicken cutlet at a time and handle them gently to make sure the herb butter stays inside the pocket. Dredge it in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip it in the egg, letting the excess drip off. Finally, place the cutlet in the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top and use your hands to gently press them onto the cutlet. Transfer the breaded cutlet into the last bowl. 

    Repeat with the remaining cutlets.

    Dredge flour on chicken.

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Dip chicken in egg mixture.

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Dredge breadcrumbs on chicken.

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  6. Fry the cutlets:

    Set a large frying pan over medium heat and add enough vegetable oil until it’s about 1 inch deep. Make sure the oil does not come up more than halfway up the sides. Heat it to 350°F. Don’t have a deep fry thermometer? Sprinkle a pinch of breadcrumbs into the oil. They will bubble up right away if it’s hot enough.

    Carefully add the breaded cutlets in a single layer. You may need to cook them in 2 batches. Fry them for about 4 minutes. When the bottoms are golden brown and crisp, use tongs to flip the cutlets and fry the other side for about 4 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

    Fry Chicken Kiev in frying pan.

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  7. Serve:

    Transfer the chicken Kiev onto a serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and garnish with the reserved herbs. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and the reserved herb butter, if you’d like.

    Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat leftovers on a baking sheet in a 425°F oven until warmed through.

    Did you love the recipe? Leave us a review in the comments! 

    How to make chicken Kiev.

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel