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National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day

Chicken Cordon Bleu

By Heidi Sutton

Did you know that April 4 is National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day? Chicken Cordon Bleu is a classic dish that many associate with fine French cuisine. It features a chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese, then breaded and pan-fried. 

The name “cordon bleu” literally translates to “blue ribbon” in French. In the 1500s, the Order of the Knights of the Holy Spirit became known as “Les Cordon Bleus.” The knights used a blue ribbon to hang their talisman, and eventually the term became associated with distinction and honor. It was then used in the 16th century to refer to an honor bestowed upon excellent cooks. 

The earliest known recipe for chicken cordon bleu was published in 1950 in a Minneapolis food magazine. It spread across the Midwest over the next decade and was likely rebranded as a French dish due to the fancy name.

Julia Child helped popularize chicken cordon bleu nationwide when she included a recipe in her acclaimed 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her version stuffed chicken with ham and Gruyère cheese, then dipped it in egg and breadcrumbs. This became the standard way of preparing chicken cordon bleu in American homes and restaurants. So while it sounds like an elite French dish, its roots as a breaded, cheese-stuffed chicken cutlet are thoroughly American. 

To celebrate National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day, cook up some delicious chicken cordon bleu for your family to enjoy tonight! 

Bon appétit! 

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu

YIELD: Serves 3

PREPARATION TIME:  10 to 15 minutes


1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 thin slices of salt-cured Virginia-smoked ham or prosciutto ham

3 slices domestic Swiss cheese or Gruyère cheese

1 whole egg

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup flour

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon table ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil


Slice chicken horizontally without cutting all the way through to create butterfly breast. Place chicken on cutting board with sheet of plastic wrap over top. With meat mallet, gently pound chicken to even thickness of breast. Place two slices ham and cheese on one side of breast and fold back over.

In bowl, whip together egg and water to create egg-wash. On two separate plates, put flour and breadcrumbs. Season flour with salt and black pepper. Carefully dredge chicken first into seasoned flour, then into egg-wash, followed by breadcrumbs.

Heat olive oil in ovenproof sauté pan. Place chicken in pan to brown. Cook for 2 minutes on one side, then flip each breast over. Place pan into oven at 350°F and cook until each chicken breast reaches 170°F internal temperature, about 20-25 minutes.