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Food & Recipes

Why You Should Add Chicken Paillard to Your Weeknight Rotation: It’s Fast, Easy + Delicious

This chef's shortcut for prepping the chicken guarantees the meat cooks quickly and evenly

For nights when you want a dinner that’s speedy yet feels a little fancy, look no further than chicken paillard. This dish showcases boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are pounded thin so they cook in half the time. From there, the chicken is often covered in a breading mixture, pan-fried and then served with fresh salad — all within 30 minutes. The combination of savory, tangy and pungent flavors makes this a perfect recipe to add to your weeknight favorites. Plus, it comfortably feeds four people with little effort thanks to a couple of chef’s shortcuts. Here’s how to make a mouthwatering chicken paillard dish that’s sure to wow your dinner crowd!

What is chicken paillard?

Chicken paillard isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of dish. In fact, the word “paillard” refers to a thinly pounded piece of meat that’s cooked in any way. Traditionally, paillard dishes were made with veal — but nowadays chicken is the go-to meat for a variety of preparation methods.

A common way to make chicken paillard

Recipes for chicken paillard can include sautéeing the cutlets and/or serving them with a pan sauce. However, one popular method involves breading the chicken before frying it and topping it with a salad. This creates a dish that boasts savory and fresh flavors and a crunchy yet soft texture. Since chicken is the star of the dish, prepping it correctly ensures a flavorful dish that cooks fast.

Chef’s secret to quick-cooking chicken paillard

Getting the chicken breasts under 1 inch thick is key for reducing the cooking time. Store-bought chicken cutlets offer convenience as they’re already thin. However, pounding regular chicken breasts flat takes 30 seconds and is a fun activity to take the stress off after a long day.

“My favorite way to get the chicken thin is by laying a chicken breast on a cutting board, covering it with a piece of plastic wrap, then using a meat pounder to flatten the chicken out to about ¾ of an inch thick,” Caitlin Charlton, founder and CEO at CC’s Table, explains. If you don’t have a meat pounder, a rolling pin is fine to use instead. Watch the video below from wikiHow to see how to flatten chicken breasts to the thickness listed in your preferred recipe.

How to keep breading from falling off the chicken

To give the breading ample time to stick to the chicken and crisp up, avoid frying the cutlets at too high or too low of a flame. “I opt for medium-high heat on the stovetop and keep a close eye to make sure the chicken is cooking evenly and not too quickly,” Charlton says. That bit of temperature control goes a long way for crunchy and golden chicken paillard.

A delicious crispy chicken paillard recipe

This Chicken Paillard recipe from our test kitchen puts a spin on the classic dish as the cutlets are breaded in store-bought potato flakes for an ultra-crunchy crust. But, panko breadcrumbs work well in a pinch and provide a similar crispy texture on the meat. So easy and appetizing!

Chicken Paillard

A serving of chicken paillard
Chris Schneider / 500px/Getty


  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ⅛ tsp. + ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. + ¼ tsp. pepper 
  • ½ cup potato flakes
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 (10 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves, halved horizontally
  • 6 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan shavings


  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. In bowl, whisk 2 Tbs. oil, lemon juice, ⅛ tsp. salt and ⅛ tsp. pepper. In bowl, mix potato flakes and flour. Place eggs in separate bowl.
  2. Between 2 sheets plastic wrap, pound chicken to ⅓-inch thick; sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dip in eggs then flour mix.
  3. In nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbs. oil over medium-hight. Add 2 cutlets; cook, flipping once, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat.
  4. In bowl, mix arugula, tomatoes and onion. Add dressing and Parmesan and gently toss to combine.
  5. Place cutlets on large serving platter or individual plates and top with equal portions of salad. Enjoy!

3 ways to upgrade your chicken paillard

For easy tricks to make your chicken paillard more flavorful, try these three tips.

1. Season the cutlets with your favorite herbs and spices.

In addition to salt and pepper, sprinkle other dried herbs or spices like paprika or oregano onto the chicken for added smoky or earthy flavors. (Or infuse the meat with a combination of flavors using this Tuscan heat spice recipe — which is zesty with a spicy kick!)

2. Squeeze fresh lemon over the crispy cutlets.

To give the fried cutlets extra zing, squeeze a lemon wedge over each piece of meat. This simple trick enhances the meat’s taste while maintaining its crunchy texture.

3. Serve the dish with rice or pasta.

Turn your chicken paillard into a heartier meal by serving it with a rice or pasta dish that can absorb the salad’s vinaigrette. (Click through for delicious orzo rice recipes worth enjoying with chicken paillard.)

For more tasty chicken recipes, browse the stories below:

Thin-Sliced Chicken Can Cut Prep Time In Half: 7 Fast & Delicious Recipes Using It

11 Ground Chicken Recipes That Are Healthy, Delicious and Easy — Perfect for Weeknights

Why Chefs Love Airline Chicken Breast: The Unique Cut Delivers Extra Juicy Goodness

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