KP 011| How To Make A Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade

There's an old joke that goes something like this:

Healthy Person: How do you cook a boneless, skinless chicken breast but actually make it taste good; you know, like not dry?

Chef: Well, first you start with about two pounds of butter...

While I make no claims that this is a "healthy recipe," it is no doubt one of the best ways to prep and cook a boneless, skinless chicken breast. This is due in large part to brining the breast and then pounding it out, which inherently will make it more tender.

To make the brine mixture, weigh out enough cold water to completely cover the amount of chicken breasts you plan on turning into roulades. Multiply the weight of the water by .05 (5%) and add that amount in salt, whisking to dissolve. For example, if the water weight is 1000g, your equation would look like this: 1,000g X .05 = 50g Salt.

Brine chicken breasts overnight in refrigerator; 12 hours is good, 24 is better. Remove chicken breast from brine, rinse under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Using a sharp knife, slit the sides of a gallon zip top bag as shown in the photos below. Lightly moisten the chicken breast with cold water to keep it from sticking to the bag and place breast inside the bag, skin side down.

How to Make a Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade - Step One

Using glancing blows, pound the thickest portion of the chicken breast with the textured side of a meat mallet until it starts to break down and flatten. As the breast becomes thinner, flip the meat mallet over and use the non-textured side to "fine tune" the breast, pounding it as thin and wide as possible without actually tearing the flesh.

How to Make a Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade - Step One

Place the pounded chicken breast skin side down on top of a long sheet of plastic wrap and inlay your filling of choice; here we're using provolone, prosciutto di parma and caramelized onions.

How to Make a Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade - Step One

Roll pounded chicken breast around your roulade filling, and then tightly wrap in plastic wrap.

How to Make a Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade - Step Four

Grab ends of plastic wrap as shown in photos below, and use a counter twisting motion to form the roulade into a tight cylinder. Once the cylinder forms, roll the roulade on your work surface, pushing it away from you in rapid motions, while still holding the plastic wrap ends. Repeat this motion a few times until the plastic wrap builds tension and the roulade is noticeably tight.

How to Make a Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade - Step Five

Tie off both ends while taking care to not release any tension created in the previous step.

How to Make a Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade - Step Six

Poach in water that is just below a simmer (180ºF/82ºC) for 18-20 minutes. Remove from poaching liquid and chill in an ice bath.

How to Make a Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade - Step Seven

These roulades can be served either hot or cold, but are best if first chilled and then reheated with a secondary cooking process. Currently at Stella we will prep, poach and chill the roulades before service and then tempura fry to give a crisp outer coating while bringing back the core temperature. The tempura batter also has the added benefit of keeping the cheese and other fillings from melting out during the reheating process.

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There are 11 Comments

haptalon's picture

I was doing a chicken roulade yesterday so checked on your recipe.


You say to do a 5% brine for 12 or 24 hours for the breasts. Surely this is more like the time for an equilibrium brine and would be far too salty? On your Gradient Brine chart you show 4-6 hours for a 5% brine. 

I played safe as they were small breasts and did 3 hours at 5% and 3 hour rest.

jacob burton's picture

For this particular application, I prefer to extend the brine time which effects the texture and makes it more dense. The chicken meat itself will be at the higher end of "seasoned" with the salt being somewhat perceptible, but I find it pleasant, especially when properly balanced with the other ingredients in the end dish. This is also why in the Completed Dish of this roulade, I used a very light hand when seasoning the other components.


You can brine for less time with great results; in this application, it just comes down to personal preferance.

Marco099's picture

Hi Chef Burton,


I was able to successfully pull off this technique. I see many uses for this. By the way, I stuffed mine with fresh basil, fresh cumin, some feta cheese, thinly sliced radish and caramelized onion. I then simply roasted it with a lemon, butter, oil and served the rounds with a dollop of Toum (garlic sauce) and drizzled some aged balsamic.


Thanks again for sharing these techniques.

jacob burton's picture

Awesome! I always love when people can see the technique for what it is and make it their own. Your preparation sounds delicious. This also works good for a butterflied pork tenderloin and other, similar cuts.

tfpratt's picture


Is the link to the finished chicken roulade broken?  I can't find it on the site.



primalcupcakes's picture

Hello! Thank you for this video. I have done stuffed chicken breasts many times in the oven and have always found the result to be a little on the dry side. This seems like a great way to keep the meat moist without adding a ton of fat.

Found this video this afternoon and using it to make dinner tonight, so I am marinating the breasts instead of brining 12+ hours. Also will be pounding meat flat with my fist and the back of a heavy wooden spoon, because I have a teensy little apartment kitchen and just the bare minimum of kitchen tools. Not sure what I will stuff them with, but goat cheese will definitely be involved. Thanks again for the video!

jacob burton's picture

Hey there primalcupcakes, welcome to Stella Culinary!

Did you cook the roulade yet? How'd it turn out?

primalcupcakes's picture

Thank you, Jacob. This is a cool site. Lots of great info.
The chicken turned out okay, but I had a difficult time rolling it up completely, so the resulting roulade was a little messy and much of the filling didn't stay put. I think I should have pounded it even thinner than I did. I may have to buy a meat mallet. I was also thinking I could butterfly the breast before pounding it out to make it easier to roll and secure, and might try it that way this week. The meat itself was flavorful and delicious, and even though my first roulade attempt was a bit messy, it still looked quite pretty sliced on a plate. Made the corn and shallot sautee with wilted spinach you suggested in the other video and served it with an easy tomato sauce. Thank you for the video!

ljenis's picture


what are other options instead of the batter to complete the roulade after simmering and cold bath?

jacob burton's picture

Hi ljenis,

You can serve the roulade unbreaded. You will need to add some sort of textural component to the dish however, but that shouldn't be an issue.

Did you have something specific in mind?