Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment

By Sally Cameron on May 06, 2013

Chicken & Turkey, the daniel plan

Trying to figure out what to cook for Mother’s Day dinner? Look no further. Here is a terrific make-ahead technique for chicken breasts baked in parchment. It’s so easy and healthy, yet looks impressive. Make the chicken packets hours ahead and bake them when you are ready. Spend your time enjoying mom on Mother’s Day, not in the kitchen.

Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment|

Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment

My first encounter with cooking “en papillote”, the French term for “in parchment” was while working in a fine dining restaurant. The restaurant baked fish in parchment. It was so moist and flavorful. Now I used this same technique to bake chicken breasts in parchment.

Baking chicken in parchment is easy. Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts atop a pile of thinly sliced vegetables spread with a mixture of whole grain mustard (like Maille Old Style Dijon), herbs and olive oil, then seal the packet and bake. The chicken and vegetables steam inside the parchment in about 15 minutes in a hot  425° oven. Best of all, you can make the packets ahead of time and refrigerate for several hours, then bake when you are ready for dinner.

Assemble Ahead for Busy Weeknights

Baking chicken in parchment is great time-saving step for not only Mother’s Day dinner but for family dinner during a busy week. Just assemble the packets the night before. When you walk in the door, take them out of the refrigerator to warm up, about 30-45 minutes, then bake. Serve with a salad and you are good to go.

Making Parchment Packets

Parchment paper is widely available. Find rolls of baking parchment (made by Reynolds or others) along side of foil and plastic film in most grocery store aisles. Note – parchment is not wax paper. Parchment will come either white or unbleached and may say either non-stick or silicone on the box.

To make packets, cut a piece of parchment 18″ long. Standard rolls are 15″ wide. Fold and crease the sheet in half to make a 9″ x 15″ piece. From here, cut a wide, fat half-heart shape with scissors. This will become your packet.

Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment|

Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment|

Choosing Chicken Breasts

When I made these for the post, the chicken breasts at the market were huge, so I split them in half to make two portions of the right size. To slice larger chicken breasts into cutlets, see photos. .

Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment|

If you have smaller chicken breasts, say 5-6 ounces each, you can simply use them as is or pound them a little flatter at the thick end. That helps them to cook evenly.

Next, cut carrots into thin matchsticks. You can use a knife, a julienne peeler or a julienne slicer. Clean the leek and slice crosswise into thin rings or half moons.

With the parchment heart open like a book, layer the vegetables, then chicken into the middle, season, and spread with a thin paste of olive oil, mustard and fresh thyme leaves.

Chicken in Parchment Prep - Carrots and Leeks

Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment|

Seal the packets by folding and tightly creasing the edges around the heart every few inches until completely enclosed and sealed.

Chicken in Parchment Preparation -2

Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment|

Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment|

You can place the chicken packets in the refrigerator several hours ahead of time or bake right away. If you refrigerate the packets, allow then to stand at room temperature for approximately 30-45 minutes to get the chill off for better baking.

Bake Your Chicken Packets

To bake the chicken packets, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the packets on a metal baking sheets. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Packets will be browning at the edges. Remove from the oven. To serve, place packets on plates and slit open the parchment packets, being careful of the hot steam. Slide chicken and vegetables out onto the plate and enjoy.


Chicken Breasts Baked in Parchment

Baking chicken in parchment is easy, healthy and fun if you have never tried the technique. The chicken and vegetables steam to perfection inside the parchment. Make the packets a few hours ahead and refrigerate, then bake when you are ready. Double or triples easily!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Baked beans, chicken, papillote, parchment
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 100kcal


  • Parchment paper


  • 2 18"x15" pieces parchment paper such as Reynolds non-stick
  • 1 10 ounce boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 half lemon


  • Make your parchment hearts. Fold pieces of parchment in half along the long side (18″) and crease like a book. Next, cut a large, fat half heart shape from each piece. See photos in the post for example.
  • Trim the chicken. With a large sharp knife, slice your chicken breast horizontally into long thin cutlets. See photos in the post for example. If baking right away pre-heat oven to 425°F.
  • Prep your vegetables. Peel carrots and cut in half across the center for more manageable pieces. Cut carrots into long, thin strips (julienne) with a knife. You can also use a julienne peeler  (a fun little tool!) or a julienne slicer. For leek, cut off the dark green top and the root end, using only the white and light green part. Slice the leek lengthwise and run under cold water to clean out any dirt or sand. Slice the leek crosswise into thin half moons.
  • Build your packets.
    Place half of the carrots and leek on half of the parchment heart. Top with a piece of chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Mix olive oil and mustard together and spread half on each chicken breast. Sprinkle each with fresh thyme leaves. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top of each.
  • Seal your packets. Starting at the top of the heart, seal packets by creasing and folding every few inches around the heart until you get to the tail end. You want to create a tight seal so the packets will steam.
  • Bake
    Place prepared packets on a metal baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. If baking later, refrigerated the packets for several hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before baking to get the chill off, then bake.
  • Serve
    Place packet on a plate and slit packet open with a knife or scissors, being careful of the hot steam. Slide contents onto the plate and enjoy.


Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 8.2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 435mg | Potassium: 339mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 12872IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 2mg
  1. Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon - May 6th, 2013

    This looks so easy. I have only had fish cooked this way. I will have to try chicken.

    btw, I think your julienne slicer link is broken.

    Oh, and the photos look straight out of a magazine. Just wonderful.

  2. Sally - May 6th, 2013

    Fixed, thanks!

  3. DessertForTwo - May 12th, 2013

    Wow! These look great! Pinning!

  4. Jack - February 10th, 2014

    This was amazing. I’d never baked chicken before and this came out PERFECT. I added turmeric and cayenne to this as well. I actually think it was the best chicken I’ver ever had (and I’ve eaten lots of chicken in my life—just never baked it myself). Making it again tomorrow!!

    Thanks for the great recipe.

  5. Sally - February 11th, 2014

    Love to hear that Jack! Thanks for reporting back. Good idea on the spices!

  6. Kay - June 16th, 2014

    Would this work with Bone in Chicken Breast? If so please can you tell me how long to cook it?
    Thank You, Love your receipies.


  7. Sally - June 16th, 2014

    Hi Kay. Good question. No, not with bone-in chicken breasts as they would take too long. The beauty of these is that they cook quickly because of no bone and the breasts are thin. For fast bone-in chicken breasts, sear and roast in a 375 oven. Takes about a total of 30-35 minutes. Longer than the parchment packets, but still not too bad. See my recipe and instructions under the basics category or under chicken. Any questions please let me know.

  8. Kay - June 19th, 2014

    Thank You! I have been using parchment pouches for my last couple of meals and love it. Appreciate the help you have given me.

  9. Stacy - August 20th, 2017

    Any idea as to time and temp for fish such as flounder or salmon?

  10. Sally Cameron - August 20th, 2017

    Hi Stacy. It is hard to say, as the fish filets you mention can very in thickness. With a high heat of 425°, if the fish filets are not too thick, they may take about the same time. if thicker, maybe 2-3 minutes longer. You will only know by testing and keeping notes. Do you have a recipe or cooking journal? I always keep a notebook in the kitchen and take notes on recipes to perfect them.

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