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Classic chicken saltimbocca in less than 30 minutes! This recipe pairs quickly-seared chicken breasts, crisp slices of prosciutto and sage with a buttery white wine pan sauce.
Classic chicken saltimbocca is a tasty Italian chicken recipe that’s so easy to make at home. One of our absolute favorite chicken recipes, the dish features tender chicken breast cutlets topped with thin-sliced prosciutto and fresh sage leaves.
With white wine and butter, the light pan sauce has a bright, acidic edge with just the right amount of nutty, buttery flavor. It’s an unbeatable combination!
This dish is an easy weeknight or date-night dinner that looks and feels like a restaurant dish.
Fun fact: Saltimbocca is so good it literally means to leap or “jump into the mouth” in Italian. The dish originates from Rome and is traditionally prepared with veal and sage leaves wrapped in prosciutto.
About the ingredients
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Traditional saltimbocca is cooked with thinly sliced (scaloppine) veal or pork, but chicken is a wonderful, mild-tasting meat that pairs well with the tangy sauce and salty taste of the ham. To cut down on prep time, buy prepared chicken cutlets at the grocery store, or try butterflying whole chicken breasts yourself (see directions below).
- Prosciutto: A type of fresh Italian ham that’s cured with salt and allowed to air-dry. It has a sweet, mildly salty flavor. In the oven, the thin slices of prosciutto crisp up into delectable chips.
- Sage: Fresh sage leaves have a pronounced piney flavor and aroma — a little goes a long way. In saltimbocca, sage tempers the richness of the sauce and the prosciutto.
- White wine: Use a good-quality white wine that you don’t mind sipping while you cook 🙂 — I recommend a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. The wine cooks down, leaving the sauce with a bright note of acidity.
- Chicken broth: Use a lower-sodium broth if possible because the prosciutto is already salted.
- Butter: When combined with olive oil, the butter adds a nutty flavor to the sauce without burning over high heat.
- Olive oil: Use a good everyday extra-virgin olive oil.
- Shallot: You can use an equal amount of very finely chopped yellow onion if you don’t have shallots.
Simplifying chicken saltimbocca
When I’m rushed to get dinner on the table (I know you can relate), the thought of making a traditional saltimbocca — which means pounding meat with a mallet and fussing with toothpicks — is a big turn-off.
I still crave the flavors and textures of a good saltimbocca, so I simplified the method for faster prep time.
- The first step is to sear the floured chicken breasts on top of the stove, then cover each breast with a piece of prosciutto and a few sage leaves.
- Pour in wine and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Pop the whole pan in the oven to finish cooking, which reduces the sauce slightly while crisping the prosciutto and sage to perfection. So good!
How to cut chicken cutlets
- You can substitute veal or pork (loin or tenderloin) sliced 1/2-inch thick. Cooking time will be about the same.
- Serve chicken saltimbocca alongside a risotto, mashed potatoes, buttered rice or pasta noodles to soak up the tasty pan sauce.
- Add a side of wilted spinach or broccoli sauteed with garlic.
- If you love melted cheese on baked Italian chicken, top each chicken breast with a thin slice of provolone, fontina or mozzarella cheese as soon as it comes out of the oven.
30-Minute Chicken Saltimbocca
- 2 large (675 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds total), butterflied into 4 fillets; or 4 chicken cutlets
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour, or substitute with a gluten-free blend
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) finely chopped shallot
- ¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
- ¼ cup (60 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 8 fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees 220 C °F
- Generously sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts.
- Spread the flour in a rimmed tray or pie dish. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour to lightly coat, then give them a gentle slap to remove excess flour.
- Place a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter and oil, swirling to coat the pan. When the butter begins to foam, add the chicken breasts.
- Cook 3-5 minutes, until the chicken is golden. Flip the breasts over with a spatula and cook on the other side for one minute. Add the shallots, white wine and broth to the pan around the chicken and let it boil for another minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Arrange a slice of prosciutto over each breast. Dip the sage leaves in some of the fat in the pan, then put two leaves on top of each breast, pressing them down to adhere.
- Put the pan in the oven and bake 5-6 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the prosciutto is crisp.
- To serve, transfer the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce over. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of coarsely chopped sage to garnish the plate.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Use thin slices (scaloppine) of veal or pork instead of the chicken. The cooking time will be about the same.
- For a cheesy dish, top each chicken breast with a thin slice of provolone, fontina or mozzarella cheese as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.