Prep Time  10minutes
Cook Time  10minutes
Total Time  10mins

How to Pound out a Chicken Breast

Now you may ask yourself (quite legitimately), why should I pound out a chicken breast?  Well, in addition to the therapeutic benefits of taking out your frustration, several chicken dishes are actually improved by having a uniformly thick (or thin), flat piece of breast meat…which is not the natural shape of a chicken breast.  This technique is your chance to mold nature into the form you need it…perhaps that’s a bit dramatic.

How To pound out a chicken breast

  • I like to place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap that I’ve moistened with a bit of water
  • You can use a meat mallet, but I generally find them to be a bit on the light side.  As you see in the video, I fill an old wine bottle with water and use that as my pounder
  • Starting with the thickest part of the chicken, start to pound on the chicken gently (if you go too hard you may just pulverize rather than flatten the chicken)
  • Move each strike slightly; working from the center, out towards the edges of the breast.  When you get to the outside, start over at the center and move in another direction
  • Repeat that process until you’ve gotten the chicken to the desired thickness – generally about a ½ inch thick
  • Generally, I find more pounding, with lighter hits, works better than trying to get everything done in just a few whacks – but if you’re not making progress, gradually add more pressure with each stroke


Most common is meat mallet, but a lot of people don't have one, and frankly, I don't even think it's the best tool to use use.  While I have a meat mallet, I actually prefer a wine bottle (screw top that I've already drank, and re-filled with water), as it has better weight and more surface area.  You can also use any of the following:

  1. Wine bottle
  2. Pan or pot
  3. Canned food
  4. Rolling pin
  5. Heavy pint glass (be careful not to break it)

Recipes that use pounded out/flattened chicken breasts

Many times, I'll pound out the chicken breast any time, I want simple grilled or sauteed chicken.  It cooks faster and it's easier to make sure you don't over cook it.  But in addition to just plain chicken breasts, there's a ton of recipes that call for pounded out chicken.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Once you’ve gotten the breast flattened out, you’re good to go.  Enjoy!!

Comments (5 )

Ellen Ellis
October 25th, 2013 - 6:29pm
This was quite clear and helpful and I now feel like I can do this for a recipe tonight. I've been cooking for 30 years and have never tried to pound a chicken breast before. Hope it works! Thanks so much!
Mark Stallings
August 6th, 2015 - 10:46pm
Worked like a charm. Immediately implemented it for a garlic chicken recipe where I wanted to marinade the chicken in minced garlic.
December 6th, 2019 - 9:53pm
Also, pounding chicken breast is called for when making Chicken Katsu (and the sauce is heaven - Tonkatsu).
January 2nd, 2021 - 3:12am
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