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28 Apr

Butter-Stuffed Chicken Kiev

Cutting into Chicken Kiev is one of life’s little pleasures. As the knife pierces the crispy chicken breast, a golden stream of herb-flecked butter flows out, flavoring the meat and everything else on the plate.

Chicken Kiev is a classic dish, one that’s usually rolled in a heavy coating of breadcrumbs. Leave this step out and you have a perfectly Primal meal that’s every bit as flavorful.

Assembling Chicken Kiev isn’t too hard, although it can take a few tries to perfect the process. Even when it doesn’t look perfect, however, Chicken Kiev always tastes good – how can it not when so much butter is involved? To make Primal Chicken Kiev, a chicken breast is pounded thin and rolled around a generous pat of herb-flavored butter then fried in olive oil or animal fat until brown and crispy. The hidden nugget of melted butter is sealed inside, soaking into the meat and turning a bland chicken breast into something rather decadent.

Since this version already changes the classic recipe by eliminating breadcrumbs, there’s no harm in making other alterations, too. For example, leaving the skin on the chicken breast is a possibility and will give the chicken a richer flavor. Adding minced garlic, or red pepper flakes or an entirely different combination of herbs to the butter is up to you. However you choose to re-invent Chicken Kiev, it’s a meal the whole family will love.

Servings: 4


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus an optional 1-2 tablespoons for frying
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, with or without skin (each breast around 6 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or animal fat


Mix together the stick of butter, herbs, and salt and pepper until well combined. This can be done by softening the butter and mashing the ingredients together with a fork, or by blending everything in a food processor or stand mixer.

Scrape the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and shape/roll it into a log that is about the same size as a stick of butter. Place in the freezer 25 minutes to harden.

Place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and use a mallet or rolling pin to pound each breast to 1/4-inch thickness. Don’t pound it too thin, or the meat will tear when you try to roll it up.

Take the butter out of the freezer and slice it into 4 rectangular pieces that are the same size. Place a slab of butter in the middle of each chicken breast. Fold in the short sides of the chicken breast just a little bit, and then fold over one long side so it covers the butter. Roll the breast long ways into a tight roll. Refrigerate 1-2 hours, which makes the butter firm and helps the chicken hold together better.

Season the outside of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil/animal fat in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken breasts with the seam down. Cook until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, approximately 20 minutes.

A few minutes before the chicken comes out of the pan, you can add remaining tablespoons of butter, for extra flavor and browning.

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. As I recently learned in a Primal Chef Culinary Academy class (, dried mushrooms (pulverized in a blender or food processor) make an excellent “breading” for dishes like this. In the class, Chef Tomas used the mushrooms to coat pork medallions. My wife Kasia & I have since used the same technique on chicken breasts, livers, etc. I think it would be fantastic with this chicken Kiev recipe.

    Keith wrote on April 28th, 2012
  2. Kiev, represent! W00t! ;D

    NoSaladWithoutMeat wrote on April 28th, 2012
  3. This is awesome. I’m picturing about a gazillion different variations on the basics here, too. It’s going to be fun doing some experiments with this one!

    L.S. Engler wrote on April 28th, 2012
  4. Primal recipe pictures make me ravenous. I can’t wait to enact my plan of leaving the present shitty city I live in to go live on the edge of the woods and catch my own shellfish and whatnot all summer. It’s gonna be good.

    Animanarchy wrote on April 28th, 2012
  5. Whenever a traditional recipe calls for something to be coated in bread crumbs, I substitute crushed pork rinds. It sticks easily to chicken in particular (you can dredge is whole creme first)…then fry up in a combo of bacon drippings, coconut oil and a little butter.

    Best EVER.

    MOWL wrote on April 28th, 2012
    • Where does one get pork rinds that are not cooked in some nasty vegetable oil?

      rkd wrote on April 28th, 2012
      • Pork rinds are usually cooked in lard. Most of the time, good pork rinds will only have pork skin and salt as ingredients. That should tell you they were cooked in its own fat.

        chocolatechip69 wrote on April 30th, 2012
        • I buy pork rinds “pellets” that you microwave to plump up. They have a superior “pork” flavor to them, so much better than what you can buy in a bag at the grocery store.

          Marlene wrote on April 30th, 2012
      • Fry in your own rendered lard or tallow.

        Deborah Krueger wrote on July 25th, 2014
  6. Looks great!!!!!!

    Jeffrey wrote on April 28th, 2012
  7. that’s awesome.. I JUST sat down to plan out a few meals for the days ahead and on my list for Monday night was chicken kiev’s.. with the intention of making them myself so they would be primal. thanks!

    Nelly wrote on April 28th, 2012
  8. Skin on. Butter in. Sounds like a great way to make chicken breasts, which can get kind of dry, healthy-fat-centric!

    Debra wrote on April 28th, 2012
  9. How about almond flour as a coating?

    Leah wrote on April 28th, 2012
  10. Yeah! Chicken Kiev has been my favorite for YEARS! Best ever was at the Eliabethan Grill at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. I added a lovely appetizer of smoked salmon garnished with cucumber and caviar. I believe they rolled the chicken in freshly grated parmesan cheese. Definitely a meal to remember.

    TruckerLady wrote on April 28th, 2012
  11. Delicious! I’ll add this to my partner-convincing primal recipe repertoire! Get ’em with self-saucing buttery chicken.

    Catie wrote on April 29th, 2012
  12. We mix almond meal and grated Parmesan for an amazing breadcrumb substitute. I’d use it even if I wasn’t cutting grains!

    Jen wrote on April 29th, 2012
    • That sounds amazing. Thanks for the idea!

      TruckerLady wrote on April 29th, 2012
    • Thanks for the almond meal and parmesan tip..I just made this with my fiance and we both thought it was absolutely delicious! 😀

      Bee wrote on May 11th, 2012
  13. A whole stick of butter sounds like a lot for only 4 breasts. Is that right?

    Colin wrote on April 30th, 2012
    • Sounds perfect to me!

      chocolatechip69 wrote on April 30th, 2012
    • Decided to try it anyway and pretty sure it’s a disaster (not quite cooked yet). Still learning to cook and the “1 stick” of butter confused me. I used a whole stick (450g/1.9cups) so you can see why I thought it was too much :(

      Couldn’t fold them properly. Butter melted out into pan. Let’s see how it turns out….

      Colin wrote on April 30th, 2012
      • The recipe calls for 8 tablespoons.

        15mL per Tbsp, 15mL is about 15g…

        so about 120g total butter, or little less than 1/2 a cup.

        Ryan wrote on May 7th, 2012
  14. The pictures of the final product looks like there’s a lot more than a tablespoon of chopped parsley inside.

    Marlene wrote on April 30th, 2012
  15. Oh sure – right when I’m fasting!

    Brian Clasby wrote on April 30th, 2012
  16. Yet another tasty recipe I can’t wait to try. Thanks for this. I love Kievs and now I can enjoy them guilt free :).


    Tom Parker wrote on April 30th, 2012
  17. This looks absolutely amazing. I thinks i’m going to try it wrapped in prosciutto. Does anyone think a bit of arugula would go well mixed in with the butter?

    Jason wrote on May 2nd, 2012
    • I think arugula with its peppery bite would be fabulous. Thanks for the idea, loads of arugula coming up now!

      Judy wrote on May 7th, 2012
  18. Needs garlic in the butter!

    I’ll have to try that. I’d also consider an almond or hazelnut flour coating too.

    Hugh Mannity wrote on May 2nd, 2012
  19. I’m not very big on chicken breast meat — too dry, and not enough flavor for my liking. So I decided I’d try this with thighs instead. However, even after pounding the thighs were too small to roll very well, so I place the thigs in a baking dish, topped with chunks of the compound butter and popped it in the oven. Once or twice I flipped the thighs over to coat both sides with the butter. Then, when they were done cooking, there was this beautiful liquid left in the bottom of the baking dish that I couldn’t bring myself to just toss out, so I poured it into a pan and made a pan gravy. Just had some leftover for lunch, and it was even better today!

    Cathy wrote on May 3rd, 2012
  20. I use this same recipe & I also stuff as much organic baby spinach in the breast as I can get in. Then I roll it in macadamia nuts chopped very fine. It is so unbelievably delicious.

    Judy wrote on May 7th, 2012
  21. DOn’t you need to fry it in the breadcrumb? Because the way it’s shown in the picture it doesn’t look like regular chickenKiev..

    Alex wrote on May 11th, 2012
  22. I tried it with the almond meal/parm/ egg wash trick and it turned out great!

    I did freeze the butter mixture for a few days before I stuffed the chicken so it wouldn’t run out of the chicken immediately. I also secured the chicken with toothpicks.

    Rachel wrote on May 13th, 2012
  23. I tried this once with and once without almond meal/parm/egg wash. Firstly I’ll say, maybe my heat was too high but 20 minutes was way too long. Not even all that butter could save that bone dry chicken. I was pretty disappointed with it. With the parm/almond coating and an 8-10 minute cooking time though…it is over the top good. MMM. I eat leftovers all week and I was so excited to realize I get to eat it again tomorrow and the next day! Thanks!

    Megan wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  24. Would a parm/ground flax seed meal work as a coating? I’m afraid I don’t have any almond meal to try.. Would appreciate any suggestions as I am making this for the first time today. Thanks!

    Fiona Alford wrote on October 27th, 2012
  25. Just made this tonight. Followed the directions almost to a “t”, except that I didn’t measure anything and I used fresh rosemary from my herb garden in place of the dill. Never had “chicken kiev” before, so I’m not sure how close this recipe is to it’s traditional flavors BUT this turned out DELICIOUS. Heated up a little evoo in my cast iron skillet and used more butter (didn’t have any lard or animal fat on hand) and cooked the chicken on each side for about 10min. Had a nice flavor, seared up into a nice brown color. Just a really, really easy and really really yummy dinner. Next time will try with some spinach mixed into the butter. Not sure I’d bother with crumbs, this was almost like eating a rotisserie chicken. Outstanding.

    Ashley wrote on June 24th, 2013
  26. Gotta say, if you’re buying regular-sized/regular-thickness chicken breasts, you’re going to need toothpicks to hold this bad boys together in the frying pan. Rolled them nice and tight and refrigerated for two hours, but after two minutes in the pan, they all unfurled and spilled their contents everywhere throughout the pan… Next time, I will use toothpicks.

    Nora Nix wrote on January 6th, 2014
  27. How do i fold the chicken after putting in the butter???

    Someone help please

    Mark London wrote on January 21st, 2014

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