Learn how to butterfly a chicken breast with a step-by-step guide and simple tips to ensure you have success every time! 

A raw butterflied chicken breast on a wooden cutting board.

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When it comes to dinner, you probably need to get things moving as quickly as possible. Next time you’re in a time crunch and faced with a large chicken breast, try butterflying it to speed up cooking time!

What Is Butterflying? 

Butterflying is a term that means to split a food almost completely through. Although commonly associated with chicken, butterflying is a cooking technique that can be applied to nearly any protein from chicken to shrimp and turkey. 

It gets its name because when sliced down the center and spread apart, touching in the center protein resembles the shape of an outstretched butterfly. 

Why Butterfly Chicken Breast? 

Butterflying chicken helps create thin, even pieces that cook quicker and more evenly. This makes it easy to create tender chicken breasts and allows for easy stuffing or rolling when making recipes like broccoli-stuffed chicken or chicken roulade. 

How to How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast

  1. Prepare: Place the chicken breast on a clean cutting board, and hold a sharp knife along the long side of the chicken. 
  2. Butterfly: Keeping one hand flat on top of the chicken to hold it steady, use a sawing motion to make a long, smooth cut horizontally through the middle of the breast. Stop about ½ inch short of cutting all the way through. 
  3. Spread: Fold out both sides of the chicken, pressing down to flatten them like a book. Now, you’re ready to proceed with your recipe! 

Quick Tip

You can cut all the way through to create chicken cutlets. Then, use a meat mallet to pound them out into equal-sized pieces. 

pounded butterflied chicken breast wrapped in cling wrap sitting on a wood cutting board.

Ways to Use Butterflied Chicken

You can easily cook butterflied chicken as it is, adding your favorite seasonings. Or, put it to use in your favorite recipes like my Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches or Chicken Piccata

How to Store Butterflied Chicken Breast

If you’re not planning on using it right away, store butterflied chicken breast in an airtight container in the fridge for one to two days. 


How long does it take to cook a butterflied chicken breast? 

This will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken. However, in general, it shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit! 

How long does it take to grill butterflied chicken? 

Again, this will depend on the size of your chicken and the temperature of your grill. However, three to four minutes per side is typically all you need to cook the chicken completely. 

More Kitchen Guides

Butterflied chicken breast on a cutting board.

How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast

Learn how to butterfly a chicken breast with a step-by-step guide and simple tips to ensure you have success every time! 
No ratings yet
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • cutting board
  • Paring Knife


  • 1 Boneless skinless chicken breast


  • Place the chicken breast flat on the cutting board.
    1 Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Place one hand on top of the chicken, holding it still.
  • Run a sharp knife lengthwise down the center of the chicken, stopping roughly ½ inch before cutting through.
  • Spread the chicken out, pressing down both sides like a book.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 269kcal | Protein: 50g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 274mg | Potassium: 873mg | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on Today.com, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.

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