For an extremely popular, but new-to-some, take on fried chicken at home, I have one of my favorite ways to prepare this American staple. Fried chicken hasn’t seen a lot of new developments over the years, so when somebody does do something unusual to the crispy, juicy entrée it tends to get noticed. One of the most popular twists on fried chicken comes from maybe the most unassuming of places. You can make your own Malibu Chicken using my recipe below. But first, some tips and a brief explanation of the dish.
What on Earth is Malibu Chicken?
First of all, let me confirm what it is not. It is not coconut batter fried chicken with Malibu rum. Hold that thought, though. Because that sounds good. Malibu Chicken is a popular dish served up at the family steak house The Sizzler, which is mostly found on the west coast with a few outliers across the country. The restaurant chain popularized the dish which is similar to a Chicken Cordon Bleu.
The name Malibu chicken refers to a famous southern California beach city which is known for its 21-mile coastline and Mediterranean climate. The name Malibu is derived from the Chumash Humaliwo, which means “the surf sounds loudly.” You would think, then that a dish named after Malibu would be somehow ocean-related, especially considering the Mediterranean connection. But no. Not unless we’re talking about the chicken of the sea, which is to say chicken of the land, or in other words, just chicken.
As for the dish itself, it is a buttermilk batter-fried chicken prepared with melted swiss cheese and ham on top. It’s popular because it’s delicious and the best thing about it is, it’s easy to make at home. So, even if you don’t have a Sizzler in your town, you can enjoy this winning flavor combination that has loyal fans returning to their favorite family restaurant year-round.
How to Cook Malibu Chicken
Malibu chicken is a fried chicken dish that you cook in a cast iron. If you aren’t familiar with cast irons, they require minimal care, but there are a few maintenance and cleaning tidbits you need to bear in mind. For starters, make sure the whole pan is clean.
If you haven’t yet seasoned the pan, coat it all over in grapeseed oil, or another oil with a high smoke point. Dab up excess oil with a paper towel and place the skillet in an oven set to 500 degrees for one hour. Let the skillet cool completely before use.
Using a Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
Another word of warning about cooking the Malibu chicken. Make sure the skillet is good and hot. A seasoned skillet should have a naturally nonstick surface, but if you move the chicken too much right away, it’s liable to stick. Instead, leave it there for a few minutes and let it get a good sear before turning the chicken over. It’s this cooking on both sides that makes pounding the chicken important.
How to Pound Chicken Breast
When you pan-fry a chicken breast, you have to deal with the rounded shape. It’s thick in the middle and thin on the sides. It’s hard to cook the whole breast evenly. That’s why pounding the chicken is so important. It evens out the surface so that it cooks evenly on all sides. It also makes the chicken thinner, which results in a faster cook time.
When you properly pound the chicken before you bread it in buttermilk batter, you ensure that the chicken will consistently come out the same every time.
Pounding a chicken breast can be an awkward task. You don’t want to get the juices anywhere and slapping the breast with a mallet is not the best way to avoid the spread of salmonella. That’s why it’s important to shield the chicken by placing it inside a plastic bag before pounding it flat.
Keep it Clean
One final pro tip is to make sure you keep a separate wet hand and dry hand for the battering process. Use one hand always for dry materials and the other hand only for wet ones. That way you can keep your workstation as clean as possible and avoid messy application of the breading.
How thick Should Malibu Chicken Ham Be
Malibu Chicken traditionally comes with two slices of swiss cheese and a slice of ham in between. The amount of ham you use is up to your discretion. However, I must advise you that the version of Malibu Chicken made popular by the Sizzler restaurant chain uses only a thin slice of ham between the slices of Swiss. For the best results buy ham at your deli counter and have it sliced to your desired thickness. The thickness of the Swiss cheese should overtake the ham by at least a 2:1 ratio.
Malibu VS Cordon Bleu
Malibu chicken is very similar to an even better-known dish called chicken cordon bleu. Chicken Cordon Bleu also uses sliced ham and swiss cheese. The most notable difference is that the chicken is wrapped around the ham and Swiss cheese before being battered, then fried or pan baked. Chicken cordon bleu is a specific variation on the original cordon bleu dish which is made with veal.
Malibu Chicken achieves more or less the same effect, but it’s an easier cooking method. This recipe requires you first fry up the chicken, then add layers on top of the chicken. First, add a slice of Swiss cheese. Then add a slice of ham. Lastly, add one more slice of Swiss. Then put the whole thing in the oven to finish it off and melt the cheese.
Making Malibu Chicken Sauce
The next biggest thing about getting the Malibu chicken recipe right is nailing the sauce. The most important part of it is that it’s a sauce made up of mayonnaise and mustard. Mixing the two is a good quick and easy version, but you can use both Dijon and yellow mustard to get the sauce closer to the mark.
Ingredients needed to make Malibu Chicken
- Chicken breast
- Ham, sliced
- Swiss cheese, sliced
- All purpose flour
- Garlic salt
- Slap Ya Mama
- Vegetable oil
(Actual measurements in the recipe card below).
How to make Malibu Chicken Recipe
- Pound each piece of chicken until thin.
- Using 3 separate bowls or shallow dishes, add flour mixture to one bowl.
- Add buttermilk and egg mixture to the second bowl.
- Add bread crumbs and seasonings into the third bowl.
- Pat dry each piece of chicken and dip into flour mixture then into egg mixture, and lastly into bread crumb mixture.
- Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet or in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Place coated chicken (3 at a time) to skillet.
- Fry for approximately 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Remove and place on plate lined with paper towels.
- Continue cooking the remaining 3 pieces of chicken.
- Place fried chicken on a baking sheet.
- Top each piece of chicken with a slice of swiss cheese.
- Next, top with a slice of ham and then followed by another slice of swiss cheese.
- Bake at 350° until cheese has melted, approximately 5 minutes.
- Carefully remove from oven.
- In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard dipping sauce together and enjoy!
Try This Delicious Malibu Chicken Recipe Today
Our family loves this recipe and we hope you and your family will as well.
Here are a few more delicious chicken recipes that can be found on the blog:
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Bites
- Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Honey Barbecue Chicken Wings
A delicious copycat Sizzler Malibu Chicken recipe that has been a family favorite for so many years.
- 6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 6 slices ham
- 12 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1-2 cups fine breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Slap Ya Mama® seasoning
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard, (can use half yellow, half Dijon)
Pound each piece of chicken until thin (can place in a large baggie before pounding to keep the workstation clean).
Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet, or in a frying pan, over medium heat.
Using 3 separate bowls, or shallow containers, add flour to one bowl,
Buttermilk and egg mixture to the second bowl.
Bread crumbs and seasonings to the third bowl.
Pat dry each piece of chicken and dip into flour, then into buttermilk mixture and lastly, into the breadcrumb mixture.
Add chicken (3 at a time) into hot skillet.
Fry for approximately 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown.
Remove and place on plate lined with paper towels.
Repeat process and continue cooking the remaining 3 pieces of chicken.
Place cooked chicken on a baking sheet.
Top each piece of chicken with a slice of Swiss
Next, top with a slice of ham and then followed by another slice of Swiss cheese.
Bake at 350° until cheese has melted, approximately 5 minutes.
Carefully remove from oven.
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard together.
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.
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