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Chicken Kyiv

4 Servings

2½ hours 1½ hours active

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During a visit to Ukraine, we learned that the chicken Kyiv familiar to most of us—a butter-filled roll of dry, tasteless chicken cutlet encased in an equally bland breadcrumb shell—is not how the iconic dish began. Historically, the meat used to make it was ground chicken, a way of using up bits and scraps. We tasted several versions of this, all of them great. Unlike whole chicken breast, ground meat toughens less during cooking, and it can be seasoned throughout. Moreover, it absorbs some of the butter as the filling melts. Based on the recipes taught to us by chefs Ievgen Klopotenko and Igor Bragin, we developed an oven-baked, old-school chicken Kyiv that’s light yet rich and remarkably delicious. Dill, lemon, paprika, Parmesan cheese and fresh ginger—an ingredient once common in Ukrainian cooking—flavor the dish. To crush the dill seeds, if using, use a mortar and pestle, or the bottom of a skillet. For make-ahead convenience, the filled and shaped chicken can be frozen up to 24 hours before breading (to prevent drying, cover with plastic wrap once the exteriors are firm); the fully frozen chicken can be breaded and cooked straight from the freezer, but requires an extra five minutes in the oven. Mashed potatoes are an excellent accompaniment.




Don’t attempt to fill the chicken if the butter mixture is not firmly frozen. If the butter is at all malleable, it may simply blend into the chicken mixture, which itself is soft and sticky.

2½ hours

1½ hours active


  • 10

    tablespoons salted butter, room temperature

  • cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, divided


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Judith F.
September 5, 2023
Best Chicken Kiev Ever!
One of my favorite dishes to eat, but hard as I've tried, I could never keep the butter in the chicken, the breast itself was tough and without flavor and those stinking toothpicks! Made this recipe last night and everyone went crazy over it. I had my doubts about so much lemon zest and so much ginger, but it was perfect! The result was a really flavorful, buttery dish with a really nice crunch. Make this recipe- you will not be disappointed! Thank you Milk Street!
Nicole B.
August 27, 2023
Everyone loved this dish and the leftovers held up surprisingly well. The recipe is fairly easy though it is a time commitment. Using ground chicken is brilliant and is much easier to deal with than whole breasts. I served it with rice, which soaked up the sauce nicely. I'll definitely make it again, likely in a larger batch with a couple different compound butters since they can bake straight from the freezer.
Patricia K.
August 15, 2023
Courtney does it again - Excellent!
Loved this recipe - classic Milk Street reinvention! What you do best, and I do seem to find that Courtney Hill’s recipes are right in synch with my tastes and abilities. Thank you!
Brendan D.
September 24, 2023
Tasty despite the butter leaking out.
This came out really well. The meat was moist and flavorful, the filling rich and savory and the crust was nice and crispy. While all 8 came out of the oven whole, none of them looked like the glamor shots with the butter spilling out when you cut them in half. That being said I lined the baking sheet with foil and was able to recover the butter and pour it over just before serving. This was a big hit with guests especially when combined with some horseradish mashed potatoes.
David B.
September 11, 2023
Revolutionary Chicken Kyiv
This is a brilliant technique using minced chicken. Typical Chicken Kyiv is frankly quite bland. Including multiple spices in the minced chicken and in the butter lifts the taste profile - at the least I would recommend increasing the amount of spices to give the flavors more of a boost. Consider more garlic, some onion powder, use ground ginger and white pepper. What are other spices one could add to the butter? Pinch of mild curry (Vadouvan) or tiny pinch of allspice to give the panko or butter complexity. In any event, an excellent recipe worth making again. Thank you for presenting it! Cheers! David