Easy Malibu Chicken Recipe with Low Carb Option

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This easy Malibu chicken recipe is sure to become a family favorite. Breaded chicken topped with ham and Swiss with a delectable honey mustard dipping sauce, this recipe makes a great weekday meal!

cooked Malibu chicken topped with chives in a glass casserole dish

If you have never heard of Malibu chicken, you obviously weren’t around in the 1980s. In the 1980s, Sizzler was a super popular steakhouse restaurant chain with locations worldwide. Today, you can find Sizzler restaurants in only a handful of locations, mostly in California. But to this day, Sizzler’s Malibu Chicken is still served in their remaining restaurants. I’m unsure if it’s the original recipe from back in the 80s, but it is still on their menu.

Malibu chicken, in short, is a breaded piece of chicken topped with ham and Swiss cheese and served with a delicious honey mustard sauce. Somehow it’s a magical combination of flavors that just works, and the good news is that it’s easy to make at home.

This recipe is a Dined and Dashed Level 2 recipe, which means it takes 30 minutes or less to prepare and isn’t a challenge for an average weekday.

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When I was in college, we made a cheap version of Malibu chicken using frozen, breaded chicken patties – in the microwave. At the time, being a broke college student, it was a great option, but certainly not as delicious as making it from scratch. This recipe requires a bit more effort than microwaving a frozen chicken patty, but it’s totally worth it. And still a good fit for a weeknight.

Ingredients needed to make this Malibu chicken copycat recipe

You may have many of the ingredients you need for this recipe already at home.

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • slices of ham (deli ham)
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • panko bread crumbs or pork rind crumbs (for gluten-free/low-carb version)
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard
  • honey 

How to make Malibu chicken

The prep time for this recipe isn’t too bad because I have taken a shortcut for breading the chicken with the panko or pork rinds. Instead of breading the sides of each breast, I only put the breading on top of the chicken. This is a huge time saver and doesn’t impact the flavor one bit.

Brine the chicken

The secret to any chicken recipe is to brine the chicken first. Chicken brine ensures moist and juicy chicken. The ratio for chicken brine partially depends on how long you will brine it for but a general rule of thumb is to use a quart of water, 4 tbsp of kosher salt, and 4 tbsp of sugar. However, the sugar content is a personal choice (I used less) and if you plan to brine the chicken overnight, you will want to reduce the salt to 3 tbsp.

You will want to brine the chicken for a minimum of 2-4 hours, but I often brine it overnight with the reduced salt content and it works great.

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Make the dipping sauce

Part of the magic of Malibu chicken is the tangy mustard sauce that is served alongside it for dipping. It’s almost the best thing about this yummy chicken recipe, and it’s so simple to make. You simply combine the mayo, mustard, and honey and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Make the breading

Combine the breading ingredients (bread crumbs or pork rind crumbs, parmesan cheese, onion powder, and garlic powder) in a small bowl and set aside.

Pro Tips

1. Don’t skip the brine step
2. Dry the chicken off before baking
3. You don’t need to take the time to fully bread the chicken, putting the breading on top works great

Make the Malibu chicken

​When you are ready to make the chicken, there is another step that you shouldn’t skip – dry the chicken off with paper towels before baking it.

  • preheat the oven
  • put the chicken in a casserole dish
  • add salt and pepper to taste to each chicken breast
  • top the chicken with the bread crumb mixture
  • bake until a meat thermometer reaches the correct internal temperature for chicken
  • remove from the oven and top each breast with ham and cheese
  • bake until cheese is melted
  • serve with dipping sauce and enjoy
malibu chicken

This dish is pretty versatile and can be served with any number of side dishes, vegetables, or a side salad.

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Malibu Chicken

This easy Malibu chicken recipe is sure to become a family favorite. Breaded chicken topped with ham and Swiss with a delectable honey mustard dipping sauce, this recipe makes a great weekday meal!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 48 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 375 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the brine

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts thawed, approx. 2 1/4 lbs
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt if brining for more than 4-6 hours, reduce salt to 3 tbsp
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder

For the chicken

  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pork rind "bread" crumbs or panko
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 8 slices deli ham
  • 8 slices baby swiss cheese

For the sauce

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 6 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp honey

Instructions
 

For the brine

  • Add the water to a large bowl
  • Add the kosher salt, pepper, onion powder and black pepper to the water and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved
  • Add the chicken to the water (if the water doesn't fully cover the chicken, add more until it's fully covered
  • Cover and place the bowl in the fridge for 4 hours up to overnight.

For the sauce

  • In a medium bowl, combine mayo, mustard and honey and stir until fully blended
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to use

For the chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels
  • Flatten the chicken to an even thickness between two pieces of wax paper
  • Add the chicken to a casserole dish
  • Add salt and pepper to taste to the top of each chicken breast
  • In a small bowl, combine the breading (panko or pork rind crumbs), parmesan cheese, onion powder and garlic powder and stir until fully blended
  • Spoon the breading mixture evenly over each of the breasts
  • Bake for around 40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F (if using smaller chicken breasts, reduce the cook time as necessary)
  • Top each piece of chicken with two folded pieces of ham and two slices of cheese
  • If you want to add some color to the tops of the chicken, you can add some chives or dried parsley
  • Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted
  • Serve with a side of sauce and enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition disclaimer:
The nutritional data provided here is only an estimate and provided for information only. Verification using your own nutritional calculator is required to ensure accuracy. 
Also note that the serving size adjustment only changes the ingredient amount values, it does not change the nutrition information.

Nutrition

Serving: 5ozCalories: 375kcalCarbohydrates: 13.5gProtein: 18.75gFat: 27.5gSugar: 6.5g
Keyword Asiago cheese, chicken, copycat, ham
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