With a name meaning to “jump in the mouth” with flavor, Chicken Saltimbocca is a classic Italian restaurant dish of chicken cutlets wrapped in prosciutto, then pan-fried with sage in an easy pan sauce. Serve it over a bed of garlicky sautéed greens and dinner’s ready in less time than it takes to order takeout!
Why You’ll Love This Chicken Saltimbocca Recipe
- Big Flavors Ahead! Transform ho-hum chicken breasts into something special, courtesy of prosciutto di Parma and a delectable white wine butter sauce. If you love other Italian-American staples like Chicken Piccata, Chicken Marsala, and Chicken Francaise, you’ll flip for this chicken saltimbocca recipe!
- It’s Easier Than You Think (Really). This is a dish that looks like quite the feat to pull off, but I promise it’s a cinch to make it at home. You only need 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cooking for chicken saltimbocca, which means dinner’s on the table in just 30 minutes.
- Well Plated Tweaks. Obviously, I did not invent chicken saltimbocca! My goal when I share recipes like this one is to find a way to put my own spin on it. Instead of using only whole sage leaves, I added chopped sage to evenly flavor the chicken. I also dredge the chicken before adding the prosciutto instead of after, which helps it stick without toothpicks and gives you crispier ham.
- You’ll Feel Like You’re Eating at Your Favorite Retro Italian Restaurant. Break out the white tablecloth! Light some candles! (Make an Italian Margarita? Yes, definitely do that too.) It’s date night at home when you make this chicken saltimbocca recipe.
- It’s Called Saltimbocca. I mean, say the word out loud. It’s a fun word, right? Saltimbocca is Italian for “jump in the mouth,” which might just be the best description I’ve ever heard for a recipe. It’s also an apt description, because chicken saltimbocca practically leaps off the plate with flavor!
How to Make Chicken Saltimbocca
- Chicken Breast Cutlets. Or use chicken breasts.
- Kosher Salt. Always my go-to for cooking.
- Ground Black Pepper. Freshly ground pepper gives chicken saltimbocca a bit of a kick.
- All-Purpose Flour. Just a little, for lightly dredging the chicken.
- Fresh Sage Leaves. Mince some; set aside some whole leaves for garnish too if you like.
- Prosciutto. For the absolute best, look for prosciutto di Parma. (Also, try this recipe’s American cousin, Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast.)
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. No need to use your fanciest bottle since it’s being used for cooking.
- Unsalted Butter. If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use that, but cut back on the kosher salt.
- Dry White Wine, Vermouth, or Additional Chicken Broth. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are good choices for the wine. Some saltimbocca recipes use marsala wine instead of white wine, so that’s also an option.
- Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth. Chicken stock absolutely works too; just note that if the stock is unsalted, you may want to add salt to taste once you’re done cooking.
- Red Pepper Flakes. Make it as spicy (or not spicy) as you want it.
- Prepare. Position a rack in the center of your oven, then preheat to 200 degrees F. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet.
- Season and Dredge. Pat the chicken dry first. Sprinkle with chopped sage.
- Add Prosciutto. Press a slice of prosciutto onto each chicken cutlet.
- Fry the Sage. This is optional but easy and DELISH.
- Cook the Chicken. Start the chicken prosciutto-side-down for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side. Keep it warm in the oven.
- Make the Sauce. Wine, broth, and then add the remaining butter and red pepper flakes.
- Finish. Plate the chicken and spoon the sauce over the top. Add the fried sage leaves, season to taste, and ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate chicken saltimbocca in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Warm up leftover chicken saltimbocca in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
What to Serve with Chicken Saltimbocca
- Vegetables. Sautéed Spinach is a classic side dish for pairing with chicken saltimbocca, but fiber-rich Roasted Broccoli would also be excellent—especially with some of the buttery white wine sauce drizzled over the top.
- Grains. Mushroom Risotto would make a nice pairing here, or try farro, couscous, or polenta.
- Potatoes. Serve chicken saltimbocca alongside Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Roasted Fingerling Potatoes.
- Salad. Keep it light and pair this dish with a simple Arugula Salad or go more decadent with Burrata Salad.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Chef’s Knife. If you’re using whole chicken breasts, a good knife is a must for splitting them.
- Instant Read Thermometer. This is the best way to know when your chicken is done cooking.
- Tongs. Tongs make it easy to flip the chicken.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Freeze the Chicken Before Slicing. If you’re using whole chicken breasts, you’ll need to slice them in half horizontally. To make this easier, I like to place the chicken in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, then as I cut, I place my hand on top of the chicken so I can feel if I’m making an even slice.
- Make Sure the Cutlets Are Uniformly Thick. Look for cutlets that are 5 to 6 inches long and trim off any thin tips so the entire cutlet is roughly the same thickness and cooks evenly.
- Heat Your Pan for Real. Yeah, we’ve all been impatient and added food to the pan after approximately 30 seconds of heating, but you really don’t want to do that here! A hot pan will make the prosciutto crisp and delicious; if it’s not heated enough, it will be flabby and sad.
- Don’t Walk Away from the Sage. If you’re making the crispy whole sage leaves for garnish, don’t leave the stovetop after you add them to the oil. They’ll go from crisp to burnt super fast, so you have to keep a close eye on them.
- Use an Instant-Read Thermometer. This is the only guaranteed way to know when your chicken is perfectly cooked. Once the chicken reaches 160 degrees F, it’s done cooking; as it rests, the temperature will rise to 165 degrees F, which is safe to eat.
- 8 chicken breast cutlets or 4 medium chicken breasts, about 2 pounds (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves plus 8 (optional) fresh leaves for garnish
- 8 thin slices prosciutto about 3 ounces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth or additional chicken broth
- 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 200°F. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and set aside.
- With paper towel, pat the chicken dry. Sprinkle both sides with salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- In a shallow dish, such as a pie plate, combine the flour and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper.
- With tongs, lightly dredge each chicken cutlet on both sides with flour. Place on a flat work surface (I use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage over the top.
- Lay a piece of prosciutto on each chicken cutlet, trimming as needed so that it fits. Lightly press the prosciutto to help it adhere.
- In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. If you’d like to fry the 8 sage leaves for garnish (it’s easy and makes this dish next-level!), once the oil is hot and shimmering, drop in the leaves and let sizzle for 20 seconds, until the leaves crisp, change color, and smell fragrant. With a slotted spoon, remove the leaves to a paper-towel lined plate and reserve for serving.
- Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to the skillet with the oil and let melt. Carefully lower half of the chicken cutlets into the pan, prosciutto-side down (the flour will help the ham adhere). Let cook on the first side until the chicken is light golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the otherside until the chicken is cooked through and registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 to 3 minutes more (the FDA directs to cook chicken to 165°F but its temperature will rise as it rests. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack on the baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Once all of the chicken has been cooked and is in the oven staying warm, carefully pour the wine into the skillet, scraping up any bits that are stuck to the pan. Let simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth. Let simmer until it is reduced by nearlyhalf, about 4 minutes more. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and red pepper flakes. Let simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- To serve, transfer the chicken to a plate and spoon the sauce generously over the top. Top each piece with a fried sage leaf. Enjoy immediately, with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken saltimbocca in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm up leftover chicken saltimbocca in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
- To split 4 chicken breasts into 8 cutlets: With a sharp chef’s knife, cut the chicken in half horizontally through its center so that you have 2 thinner pieces of chicken. I like to place my hand on top as I slice so I can feel whether or not I am slicing the chicken evenly. To make the chicken easier to slice, you can place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes prior to cutting.
- Nutritional information is calculated per cutlet.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Saltimbocca originated in Italy, where it’s usually made with veal. Although it’s often regarded as a classic Roman dish, many food historians point to the city of Brescia as the dish’s actual birthplace.
The name comes from the Italian “saltare in bocca,” which means jump in the mouth. It means the chicken is so delicious, it will jump into your mouth!
Chicken saltimbocca is a dish best eaten fresh; although leftovers are fantastic, the prosciutto isn’t as crisp when reheated, so I don’t recommend intentionally making chicken saltimbocca to serve for later.