1. Place the chicken breast flat on the cutting board. Locate the halfway point between the cutting board and the top of the chicken breast, and use the open palm of your free hand (the one not holding the knife) to press the chicken breast against the cutting board. 00:01
2. Being very careful, and working in even strokes parallel to the cutting board, begin slowly cutting through the chicken breast. Once a quarter of the way through, pry back one of the flaps that has been created and continue working through the center of the chicken breast, creating two equally thin halves still joined together. It is very important not to cut all the way through the chicken breast. 00:50
3. Just before reaching the point of cutting the breast entirely in half, open the chciken breast like a book and flatten it against the cutting board; the result is a fully butterflied chicken breast. 01:30
What You'll Need
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife*
- Boneless chicken breast*
*See Chef Notes for further information
A sharp knife is crucial to properly and safely cutting raw meat. Chef Pace recommends that you use the knife you are most comfortable with, as butterflying a chicken breast can be dangerous.
A common reason that meats are butterflied is to take a larger, more compact cut and turn into a thinner, wider cut with much more surface area. This preparation is great for breading and cooking quickly over high heat. It is also common to butterfly chicken before pounding it thinner, as in preparation for chicken Milanese, chicken parmesan, or chicken piccata.
The reason that it is called a butterfly cut is because the finished product will look like a butterfly when all laid out - a large, meat butterfly. Veal, lamb, and beef can also be butterflied; don't limit yourself to chicken breasts!