This Chicken Wellington makes a fantastic holiday meal that is also really affordable. With flaky puff pastry, a simple duxelle combination of mushrooms and shallots, and a creamy dijon sauce, it is the perfect dinner for company or a date night at home. It's a delicious and flavorful main course.
While we all love the classic beef wellington, with grocery prices soaring, it's not always practical to buy a chateaubriand, even for a special occasion. Plus if you're a new cook, you might be nervous to test out a recipe using such an expensive cut of beef. Enter the best chicken Wellington you will ever try!
Although it may look intimidating at first glance, chicken wellington is so much easier to try if it's your first time creating this classic dish. Serve it with creamy mashed cauliflower, cheese stuffed zucchini, or vegetable tian.
Why This Recipe is The Best
Affordable - Chicken wellington is one of the most affordable ways you can make a "Wellington". Plus it allows you to take a chance on what is normally a very advanced recipe, making it practical for the home cook.
Delicious - The flaky puff pastry contains a shallot and mushroom mixture that's called a "duxelle" and it packs a ton of flavor with a hint of thyme. Because chicken can dry out much faster and doesn't have the same richness that an expensive cut of beef would, I love to pair it with a dijon cream sauce for dipping. The chicken Wellington sauce really elevates the meal, but you can also skip it if you don't want it.
Simple - This recipe is so easy any home cook can do it. With store-bought puff pastry, it saves you a lot of time and effort. And I give you so many foolproof tips that anyone can cook this delicious meal!
Puff Pastry Chicken
Chicken and puff pastry go together so well. The crispiness of the puff pastry pairs really well with anything savory, and with chicken there are not a lot of juices released so the pastry stays light and crispy.
Typically a wellington is made with a longer cut of meat, but with chicken, I like to sliced these into individual portions. So you have little individual chicken wellingtons! This makes it a great option for serving at dinner parties or for holidays.
How to Choose Puff Pastry
This is essentially a puff pastry chicken and because the puff pastry is such an integral component, it is necessary to get a good brand.
This recipe was tested with Trader Joe's puff pastry, but there are so many good ones out there, and they can even accommodate dairy free and gluten free diets. Here are a few tips.
- Start with a frozen puff pastry and defrost for at least 6 hours in the fridge. I find if I move mine to the fridge in the morning, it is fully defrosted by dinner time.
- Look for puff pastry with real butter. This makes a huge difference in the overall flavor and richness of the chicken wellington.
- For gluten free, try Schar puff pastry.
We covered the puff pastry above, let's get into the other ingredients to make this chicken Wellington with creamy dijon sauce.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts - I prefer to use air-chilled chicken, especially for this recipe. It will give a better caramelized exterior to the chicken and also provide a better flavor.
- Mushrooms - Button mushrooms work great for the duxelle, just wipe them with a damp paper towel to clean.
- Shallot - Shallot provides a really delicious onion flavor without being overpowering. I don't recommend substituting it.
- Dijon mustard- A good dijon is essential. Do not substitute this with another type of mustard. I recommend one without wine or sulfites, like Annies.
- Thyme - You can use fresh or dried, but I've tested this with 1 teaspoon of dried. If you use fresh, use 2 teaspoons. Rosemary would also be a wonderful substitution.
- Egg - An egg wash gets that beautiful golden brown color on the top of the puff pastry.
- Butter - I recommend using Kerrygold unsalted. You can also use ghee.
For the sauce, all you need is a good quality vegetable stock (I like to use Trader Joe's Hearty Vegetable), heavy cream (get one without carrageenan like Organic Valley or Horizon), and more of the dijon mustard.
Step 1: Sear the chicken - Add olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to a large sauté or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Slice chicken breasts in half so they are about 3-4 inches large. Then sear them for about 2 minutes on each side, just till golden brown. The chicken does not need to be cooked through. Remove them and set aside.
Step 2: Make the duxelle - In a food processor, add the mushrooms and pulse till chopped very small, but not quite blended into a paste. Add olive oil and another tablespoon of butter to the same pan you seared the chicken in and heat over medium high. Add in the mushrooms, chopped shallot, and minced garlic, stirring often till the mushrooms have softened and everything becomes fragrant - about 5-6 minutes.
Step 3: Prepare the puff pastry - Using a very large cutting board or flat, clean surface, sprinkle flour lightly on top and rub around the surface with your hand to spread out. Place the defrosted puff pastry on top and sprinkle flour on top, rubbing around to lightly coat all over. This helps to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Use a rolling pin to roll puff pastry to about an 11 inch square. Cut pastry into 4 equal squares and set on a baking sheet covered with parchment, about 2 inches apart.
Step 4: Assemble the pastry - Spread ¼ cup of the mushroom mixture in the center of each square to about the diameter of the chicken, leaving at least a 1 inch border around the edges. Place a chicken breast on top, then spread the top of it with dijon mustard. Set the remaining two pastry squares over the top, pressing down on the pastry to seal the edges, forming a tight pastry pocket. Trim any excess dough and then use a fork to crimp the edges around all sides, sealing it tightly.
Step 5: Refrigerate - Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the puff pastry chicken sheet pan to the fridge, leaving it uncovered. Chill for 15-30 minutes, but no longer than 45 minutes. When the packets have cooled, remove them and brush the tops and sides with the beaten egg.
Step 6: Bake the chicken Wellington - Bake at 400 degrees F for 17-19 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown and chicken registers at least 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. Remove from oven and plate promptly (chicken continues to cook in the pocket).
Step 7: Make the dijon sauce - While the chicken is baking, add butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add in shallot and stir till softened, about 1 minute. Add in broth and turn up the heat, bringing to a simmer. Simmer till the broth has reduced by about half, then stir in the heavy cream. Continue to simmer till the sauce has thickened - sliding a wood spoon down the middle should leave a line. Stir in the dijon and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve alongside the chicken wellington or on top!
What to Serve with Chicken Wellington
This easy chicken wellington is best with simple sides. My favorite way to serve it is with roasted or sautéed green beans, asparagus, or a simple green salad. For a very elevated meal, try it with roasted mashed cauliflower or potatoes. Some other delicious side dishes:
Storage and Reheating
Store after the pastries have cooled, in an air-tight container. They will keep in the fridge up to 3 days.
To re-heat, warm the oven back to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place the puff pastry chicken on a baking sheet. Bake for about 7-10 minutes until just heated through and crispy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chicken wellington is the same as a traditional beef wellington, only it replaces the beef with boneless chicken breasts. It's not only less expensive, but a little bit easier for the average cook. You can even switch this out with salmon and make a salmon wellington.
Do not leave the chicken puff pastries to chill more than 45 minutes and make sure the mushrooms are thoroughly cooked. If there's a lot of moisture after you've cooked the mushrooms, drain it. Air-chilled chicken also releases less moisture!
These can be stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrosting in the oven will take a little more time and you do risk the chicken drying out more. I would definitely recommend re-making the sauce if heating from frozen.
Yes, just replace the butter with Earth Balance pressed oils or olive oil and use a puff pastry without butter. It won't have the same depth of flavor, but it will still taste good. For the sauce, I recommend using a thicker milk like oat milk, and adding a teaspoon or two of flour to the shallots to help the sauce thicken.
Tips for Success
- Use air-chilled chicken. This will give you the best flavor and also create a nice caramelization when searing.
- Ensure the pastry is well-sealed around the edges. This will prevent any leaks! Press down tightly with your fingers first, then use a fork to crimp the edges.
- Follow the timing and invest in a meat thermometer. Using thicker chicken breasts can help, but chicken can dry out if overcooked. The mushroom mixture and dijon, as well as the sauce, helps a lot, but you can avoid this by using a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked through with the times given.
- 8 oz button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
- 1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thick (not thin-sliced) and air-chilled recommended
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small shallots, minced (about ¼ cup)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound 9x9 puff pastry sheets, thawed (2 sheets per box)
- 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Dijon Cream Sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- Process mushrooms in a food processor until minced very small, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pat chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and slice them in half, creating two separate (roughly) 4 inch breasts. Season both sides lightly with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large non-stick or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Sear chicken breasts about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown but not cooked through. Remove and set aside on a plate.
- Add another teaspoon of olive oil and tablespoon of butter to the pan, then add minced mushrooms, shallot, garlic, thyme, and about ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring often until browned and no liquid remains - about 6-8 minutes total. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool completely.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface or cutting board and roll out the puff pastry inch an 11 inch, even square. Cut the pastry into 4 squares. Place two of the squares onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart.
- Spread about ¼ cup of the mushroom mixture on the top of the puff pastry, spreading out but leaving about an inch around the edges. Place the chicken breast on top, then add about 1 teaspoon of dijon to the top of the chicken, spreading it to coat the whole top. Place the extra puff pastry square on top of the chicken, sealing the edges tightly with your fingers. Trim any excess puff pastry and crimp the edges with a fork. This should form a tight pastry/pocket shape with no holes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sheet pan, uncovered, in the fridge for at least 15-30 minutes, but not more. Just enough for the puff pastry to cool. When they have cooled, brush the tops and sides of the pastry with egg wash.
- Bake at 400F for 17-20 minutes, or until the puff pastry has become golden brown and crispy, and the chicken has cooked through to 165 degrees F. Cooking times will vary depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. Mine were about ¾ inch thick and took 17 minutes.
- While the chicken wellington is baking, make the dijon cream sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add shallot, stirring for 1 minute. Add in vegetable broth and turn up the heat, simmer till it's reduced by about ½ (so ½ cup of broth remaining) then stir in the heavy cream. Continue to simmer till thickened - a wood spoon should leave behind a line when run through the sauce. Stir in dijon and season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Use air-chilled chicken for the best flavor and cooking results.
- Make sure you fully seal all sides of the puff pastry.
- The dijon sauce is not necessary, but a nice addition for an elevated meal.
- Follow thawing instructions on the box of the puff pastry.
- See the post for tips on gluten and dairy-free