Healthy Chicken Cordon Bleu

Healthy chicken cordon bleu is perfect whether you’re looking for a date night in or a new family favorite dinner. Chicken is stuffed with ham and cheese, then rolled, breaded, and baked or air fried for a crispy, delicious, flavorful meal. It can also easily be made gluten-free!

slices of chicken cordon bleu, crispy golden brown spirals of chicken, ham, and cheese, on a plate next to green beans and baby potatoes.

Why This Healthy Chicken Cordon Bleu is SO Good

It’s SO delicious and flavorful! Crispy seasoned breading, tender chicken, creamy cheese, salty ham – it’s perfection in every bite. Because we’re skipping the traditional frying, this air fried or oven baked chicken cordon bleu is lighter than other recipes, with less fat and calories.

Worried it looks too difficult to execute? Never fear! It looks more complicated than it actually is. It totally works for an impressive, romantic date night or Valentine’s dinner in, but also for a family dinner (my kids love this!).

P.S. If you do need an even faster, simpler air fryer recipe that’s very kid-friendly, I highly recommend my air fryer turkey meatballs!

What You Need to Make This Recipe

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper
  • Swiss cheese
  • Sliced ham
  • Bread crumbs (gluten-free if necessary)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Egg
  • Seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, dried parsley

Equipment

P.S. If you’re wondering why anything like twine or toothpicks aren’t listed here, it’s because I don’t use them! I find that as long as I place the prepared chicken seam-side down on the baking sheet or air fryer, I don’t have any issues with the chicken unrolling. Plus, this way I save time and I don’t need to purchase toothpicks or twine to make this recipe.

How to Make This Recipe

collage depicting steps to make chicken cordon bleu - pound chicken, season chicken, layer cheese, layer ham, roll up, egg wash, bread crumbs, bake or air fry, done!
  1. Preheat the oven or the air fryer to the temperature required for your cooking method (see below). Prepare the egg wash by beating the egg and water in a shallow bowl. Prepare the breading station by mixing the bread crumbs, parmesan, and seasonings together. Set aside.
  2. Using a mallet, pound each piece of chicken breast into thin slices, about 1/4-1/2″ thick. To keep your work station cleaner, you can place it in a gallon-sized plastic bag while you’re pounding it, then carefully remove. Very lightly season chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Place cheese on top of the chicken breasts – feel free to cut cheese in half or tear into pieces to evenly cover the cheese.
  4. Layer a thin slice of ham on top of the cheese.
  5. Carefully roll the chicken. Once rolled, place seam-side down while rolling the remaining pieces. As long as the chicken stays seam/ open-side down, it will remain rolled without the need of twine or toothpicks.
  6. Carefully coat each rolled chicken piece in the egg wash, then transfer to the seasoned bread crumbs and coat evenly.
  7. Cook according to your preferred method as indicated below, using the air fryer or oven.

Air Fryer Chicken Cordon Bleu

Preheat air fryer to 400°F (if your air fryer preheats). Lightly spray the rack/ air fryer basket and the tops of the chicken with nonstick spray to promote better browning. Once chicken is placed inside the frying basket (pieces should not be touching), “fry” for 12-15 minutes. When done, chicken should be crisp, golden brown, and the internal temperature should reach 165°F. Remove, let rest a couple minutes, then serve.

I have the Instant Pot Vortex 6 quart Air Fryer and I love it. It’s insanely easy and intuitive to use and I’ve been so impressed with everything I’ve made!

Oven Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place chicken on a sheet pan (I like to line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for easier clean up). Lightly spray the tops of the chicken with nonstick spray to promote better browning. Bake in a 450°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is crisp and golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from oven, let rest a couple minutes, then serve.

Steps to Make it Gluten-Free

The primary consideration when making gluten-free chicken cordon bleu is to ensure that the bread crumbs you’re using are gluten-free. You can find various brands of gluten-free bread crumbs at many stores these days (including the Walmart in my small town!), but you can also order online if you’re having a hard time finding them.

Try Michelle Farms, Ian’s, and 4C Crumbs. For non-grain options, try the legume-based Watusee Foods chickpea crumbs or you can use a food processor to turn the always delicious Simple Mills almond or seed-based crackers into bread crumbs (try their sea salt or rosemary almond crackers or original seed crackers).

The only other ingredient that you may need to consider when making this recipe gluten-free is ensuring that the deli ham you choose is gluten-free/ has no gluten-containing additives. Most available in stores are gluten-free, but it’s always good to double-check!

Top Tips to Make This Recipe

  • For the ultimate crispy breading, the air fryer reigns supreme. The oven still gives a crisp exterior, but air frying takes it to the next level!
  • Let the chicken rest a few minutes before slicing so that it will retain all its juices (as opposed to if you cut into it right away, you’ll lose more of the juice and thus some of the moisture in the chicken).
  • Cut or tear the cheese and ham slices to fit your chicken (sometimes one end may be wider than another).
  • When you’re pounding your chicken, place the chicken in a large zip lock bag – it’ll keep the mallet, you, your work surface far cleaner!

Serving Suggestions

Always serve warm! Slicing the chicken ahead of time can make for a lovely presentation, but know your guests – some may prefer to cut into it themselves!

Side dishes that pair well with this dinner include:

crispy golden brown chicken cordon bleu on a white platter, one sliced in half show the swirl of chicken, ham, and melting cheese.

Nutrition Highlights

Nutrition is for one quarter of the recipe, or one whole piece of chicken. Per serving, it contains:

  • 292 calories
  • 11.4 grams fat
  • 43.6 grams protein
  • 4.5 grams carbohydrates
  • 0.3 grams fiber
  • 13% daily value of potassium
  • 19% daily value of calcium
  • 4% daily value of iron
  • 3% daily value of vitamin A

Note that percent daily value is based off 2000 calories a day.

Is it healthy?

Spoiler alert! Given that I called this recipe, “healthy chicken cordon bleu,” I’m sure you can guess my thoughts. 😉

While there may be more calories in this dish compared to plain grilled chicken breast, this oven baked or air fryer chicken cordon bleu is much lighter and healthier than many traditional (read: fried) chicken cordon bleu recipes (or those you would get at a restaurant). It can easily be made gluten-free to fit your needs, and can also easily fit in many dietary eating patterns (yes, including those losing weight!).

Know, too, that “healthy” is subjective. The foods that help one maintain their health may or may not work for you – and that’s okay! Honor the body you have. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I suggest eating a variety of nourishing foods that help you feel good and achieve or maintain your health, balanced with the foods you love. Remember – an election isn’t won with every vote, but the majority. Your health is the same way – the overall dietary pattern is what matters most.

Related Recipes

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slices of chicken cordon bleu, crispy golden brown spirals of chicken, ham, and cheese, on a plate next to green beans and baby potatoes.

Healthy Chicken Cordon Bleu

Healthy chicken cordon bleu is perfect whether you're looking for a date night in or a new family favorite dinner. Chicken is stuffed with ham and cheese, then rolled, breaded, and baked or air fried for a crispy, delicious, flavorful meal. It can also easily be made gluten-free!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, French
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 292kcal
Author: Lindsey Janeiro, RDN
Cost: $4.20 recipe/ $1.05 serving

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese (thinly sliced)
  • 2 ounces deli ham (thinly sliced)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs (gluten-free if needed)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

To Assemble:

  • Preheat the oven or the air fryer to the temperature required for your cooking method (see below). Prepare the egg wash by beating the egg and water in a shallow bowl. Prepare the breading station by mixing the bread crumbs, parmesan, and seasonings together. Set aside.
  • Using a mallet, pound each piece of chicken breast into thin slices, about 1/4-1/2" thick. To keep your work station cleaner, you can place the chicken in a gallon-sized plastic bag while you're pounding it, then carefully remove. Very lightly season chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Place cheese on top of the chicken breasts – feel free to cut cheese in half or tear into pieces to evenly cover the cheese.
  • Layer a thin slice of ham on top of the cheese.
  • Carefully roll the chicken. Once rolled, place seam-side down while rolling the remaining pieces of chicken. As long as the chicken stays seam/ open-side down, the chicken will remain rolled without the need of twine or toothpicks.
  • Carefully coat each rolled chicken piece in the egg wash, then transfer to the seasoned bread crumbs and coat chicken evenly.

To Oven Bake:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Place chicken on a sheet pan (I like to line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for easier clean up). Lightly spray the tops of the chicken with nonstick spray to promote better browning. Bake in a 450°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is crisp and golden brown and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. Remove from oven, let rest a couple minutes, then serve.

To Air Fry:

  • Preheat air fryer to 400°F (if your air fryer preheats). Lightly spray the rack/ air fryer basket and the tops of the chicken with nonstick spray to promote better browning. Once chicken is placed inside the frying basket (chicken pieces should not be touching), "fry" for 12-15 minutes. When done, chicken should be crisp, golden brown, and the internal temperature should reach 165°F. Remove, let rest a couple minutes, then serve.

Notes

There will be excess egg wash and breading remaining after preparing the chicken. This amount has been weighed and deducted and only the amount of egg wash and breading used is calculated in the nutrition information.

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.5g | Protein: 43.6g | Fat: 11.4g | Saturated Fat: 5.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.8g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 331.8mg | Potassium: 459.6mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 164.4IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 192.7mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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