What is a Chicken Cutlet and Is It the Same as Chicken Breast? 

by | Aug 29, 2023 | Grilling, Smoker | 0 comments

What is a Cutlet of Chicken? 

There are so many cuts and parts even in chicken that you may feel lost while watching a recipe. In fact, there were times when I came across the term “chicken cutlet” and didn’t know what it was. 

Finally, I decided to read more about it and discovered what it actually was!

A chicken cutlet is a sliced piece obtained from the chicken breast after cutting the breast in half. One chicken breast can be divided into two or three chicken cutlets. 

If you’re also curious and want to know more about a cutlet of chicken, read on. There’s a lot to know!

What Do You Consider a Cutlet of Chicken? 

A cutlet of chicken is nothing but a cut chicken breast with a few modifications. 

A chicken breast is typically one inch thick. Now, it is cut into two halves horizontally (along the thickness) to get two thin breast pieces with even thickness. 

This thin piece of the breast is known as a cutlet of chicken and its thickness is almost half that of chicken breasts. 

Chicken Breast Vs. Chicken Cutlet

Now, let’s take a look at all the differences between chicken breasts and chicken cutlets in the table below. 

CategoryChicken BreastChicken Cutlet
MeaningPart of the white meat from the front area or the chest of the chickenA chicken breast divided in half horizontally.
ThicknessGenerally around 1 inchGenerally around ½ inch
Cooking TimeTakes more time to cookTakes less time to cook
Even/Uneven CookingSlightly uneven cooking due to varying thicknessCooks evenly due to less thickness
UsesBest for pan-frying or searingBest for baking, poaching, and grilling

Despite the differences, you can use chicken breasts and chicken cutlets interchangeably. They’re pretty much the same minus the difference in their thickness. 

How to Make Chicken Cutlets? 

Making cutlets of chicken from a chicken breast is not as simple as it seems. It took me some time to master the art of turning a chicken breast into cutlets too!

Step 1: Remove the Tenderloins

The first thing that you need to do is remove the tenderloins from the chicken breast. 

A chicken tenderloin (or chicken tenders) is a tiny piece of chicken present right beneath the chicken breast. They’re not dangerous but I recommend removing them as they may harden more than the rest of the meat while cooking. 

You can use the tenders to make delicious Texas-style tenders with hot sauce!

In this step, you can also refrigerate the chicken breasts for 15-20 minutes to make them a little firm. 

Step 2: Slice It Horizontally

This is the part that you need to get right if you want well-cut chicken cutlets. 

First of all, ensure that you have a sharp knife, as it will make things a lot easier. Also, you’ll require a cutting board. 

Just place the chicken breast on the cutting board. 

Then, apply a little pressure using your palm, and cut a chicken breast in half horizontally (parallel to the board). Since you’re doing it for the first time, just go a little slow to ensure uniformity. 

I recommend starting from the thick side and moving toward the tapered ends. 

If you feel like the knife is stuck in between, open the chicken breast like a book, and continue cutting through it.

Step 3: Pound the Chicken

Once you have two equal halves of chicken cutlet, you need to pound them. 

Chefs prefer pounding the chicken cutlets to make them thinner, more even, and easier to cook.  

You just need to keep the chicken cutlets between two plastic wrap sheets or opt for sealable plastic bags. Then, even out the surface by removing any air bubbles from the bag or sheet using the palm of your hand. 

This is my favorite part! Just use a rolling pin or meat mallet and gently hit the chicken cutlets till they’re around ¼-inch thick. You can also use your palm but it’ll take more time and effort. 

How Many Cutlets from a Chicken Breast?

You may think that one chicken breast may only give you two cutlets. 

However, there are thicker pieces of chicken breasts, which can even give three cutlets. The difficult part is to cut the breasts in a way that you get three even slices.

Instead of cutting the chicken breast from thick to tapered, you can go from tapered to thick if you want to cut three cutlets.  

How to Store Chicken Cutlets? 

Chicken cutlets have ample uses. 

So, if you have many of them, just store them properly. Later on, you can use them for various purposes, like making fried chicken or even popcorn chicken!

Option 1: Storing Cutlets in the Refrigerator 

You can keep raw chicken cutlets fresh in the refrigerator for one to two days, whereas cooked cutlets can last for three to four days. 

If you want to store chicken cutlets in the fridge, just pile them onto one another and keep them in a sealable plastic bag. 

You should also keep them on the lowest shelf to prevent any form of contamination from the dripping fat. 

For extra protection, I keep the sealable plastic bags inside another plastic bag. It takes more space but it prevents my fridge from stinking or getting messy!

Option 2: Storing Cutlets in the Freezer

If you want to store your chicken cutlets for more than six to seven months, freeze them instead. 

You need to transfer the cutlets to a freezer bag and remove the air bubbles from it. Then, keep it in the freezer for as long as you like!

Similarly, you can also keep breaded cooked chicken cutlets, packed in freezer bags, in the freezer. However, chicken cutlets with breading will remain fresh for only a month or two. 

Signs of a Bad Chicken Cutlet

Before you use the chicken cutlets, it’s necessary to check if they are safe to consume or not. It’s even more important if you had stored your chicken for a long time or forgot to store it in the fridge or freezer. 

Listed below are some of the main signs of a bad chicken cutlet. 

  1. Grey or Green Appearance

The color and appearance of raw chicken can easily tell you if the chicken has gone stale. 

Raw chicken is pale-pinkish in color and also has certain white fatty spots. However, if you notice that the cutlet seems green or grey, you should discard it immediately. 

Keep in mind that when you freeze the chicken, there is always a slight color change (darkening or lightening of pink color). This isn’t an issue. 

You should also look out for mold and discard the chicken if there’s any growth. 

  1. Texture

If you’ve ever touched chicken, you might’ve noticed that it’s soft and plump. 

Yet, you won’t get the same texture in a stale chicken. It often feels slimy or sticky. So, when you feel any stickiness after touching the chicken, it’s best to throw it away. 

You might see the same changes in cooked chicken cutlet too if it goes stale.  

  1. Smell 

Unlike other meat-based items, fresh chicken cutlets don’t have an overpowering smell. 

However, when you open the plastic or freezer bag, and get a whiff of a sour or stale smell, the cutlet has gone stale. 

I don’t recommend solely relying on this sign as some people might not be able to smell the staleness. Therefore, it’s always better to check for other signs mentioned above too, along with this. 

  1. Expiration Date

If you’re purchasing chicken cutlets from the supermarket directly, always check the expiration date. 

Most packets have two dates, the manufacturing date and the “best by” date. The “best by” date often indicates by when the cutlets are safe to eat. 

Ensure that you consume the cutlet before this date. Also, once the date has passed, just throw away the chicken. 

Final Thoughts 

Chicken cutlets, just like chicken breasts, are perfect for almost every chicken item! You can turn them into famous dishes like chicken parmesan, popcorn chicken, or even crispy chicken cutlets just by adding a few ingredients. 

So, I hope this article helped you know more about chicken cutlets!

Related Questions

Why is it called chicken cutlet?

The term “cutlet” is derived from the French word ‘côtelette’ or ‘côte’. It means a thin slice of meat. Hence, as a chicken cutlet is a thin slice of chicken breast, it is named a cutlet. 

Are cutlets boneless?

Chicken breasts are boneless. As cutlets are cut from chicken breasts, they’re also boneless.




Colin has been grilling, smoking, and barbecuing in his yard for as long as he remembers.  His favorite dish is pork belly smoked on his favorite offset smoker. Read more about Colin here.


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