Chicken Timbale

chicken timbale in a ramekin

Chicken Timbale: An old fashioned favorite

I originally found this chicken timbale recipe in a cookbook called Lunch & Brunch, by Barbara Grunes, published in 1985. The recipe consists of chopped chicken and a mixture of milk and eggs that is steamed in the oven to a delightfully soft texture. I have updated the dish to enhance the savory flavors and to make 4 larger timbales instead of 6 smaller ones. If you enjoy steamed egg dishes, especially savory ones, give this recipe a try.

Chicken timbale on green plates and a reed mat

What exactly is a timbale?

The answer sounds simple, but in practice it seems to vary. In cooking, a timbale can refer to one of 2 things:

  1. A kind of pan used for baking.
  2. The food that is cooked inside such a pan.

Traditionally, a timbale is a “deep dish” with a filling completely enclosed in a crust. The crust can be made from sheet pastry, slices of bread, rice, or even slices of vegetables. 

Initially, that doesn’t sound very much like what I’ve made in the recipe. However, the chicken timbales were cooked in relatively deep ramekins. And while they didn’t have a specific crust, the egg mixture acts a bit like a crust. It encases all of the ingredients and holds them together.

cheese chicken and mushrooms

Ingredient preparation

One of my favorite things about making older recipes is finding different ways to improve them, either in terms of ingredients or flavors that have fallen out of style. Here are a few tips I found in the process of making this recipe.

  • Mince the chicken: Chop your chicken as small as you can while still recognizing it as chicken. You want the egg mixture to penetrate the ingredients to fully encase them, and the smaller your pieces of meat are, the easier it will be for that to happen.
  • Make it spicy: While the egg and milk mixture is spiced, I think it could have used a little more zing. I recommend adding some freshly cracked pepper into each timbale cup, and if you enjoy it, add some hot sauce into the egg mixture.
  • Make it cheesy: I have already increased the quantity of parmesan cheese from the original recipe, but you could also add more shredded cheddar cheese.
four timbales before baking

Alternate Chicken Timbale Suggestions

While I enjoyed this chicken timbale recipe, there are many different varieties that you could make. For each of these suggestions, keep the egg, milk, and spice mix the same.

  • Spinach and feta: Steam and chop spinach and combine with ½ – ¾ cups of feta cheese in a bowl. Fill each ramekin or custard cup with about ⅓ cup of the spinach and feta mix, then pour the cheese over top and bake as directed.
  • Bacon, kale, and parmesan: Fry the bacon, and fry or steam the kale. Divide evenly among the cups (you want about ⅓ cup of this filling per cup) and then cover with the egg mix. Top with parmesan cheese and bake.
  • Sausage and cheddar: Brown some ground breakfast sausage and add about ⅓ cup of that to each cup. Top with 2-4 tablespoons of cheddar cheese, then add the egg mixture and bake.

Looking for more breakfast options?

Can you ever have too much breakfast?   I love making breakfast almost as much as I love eating it.

  1. Breakfast Hot Pockets: Make your own hot pocket filled with eggs, bacon, and cheese.
  2. Cranberry Bread with Yogurt: This sugary sweet bread is breakfast and desert
  3.  Greek Yogurt Protein Smoothie:  High protein smoothie without protein powder

How to make Chicken Timbale

chicken timbale in a ramekin

Chicken Timbale

Chicken and Egg Custard for Breakfast
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 311 kcal


  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken (pan fry with oil after chopping)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1.5 cup milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Place 4 custard cups in a baking pan with sides nearly as tall as the cups.
  • In each cup, add ¼ cup chicken and 2 tbsp cheddar cheese.
  • Heat milk until just below simmering, approximately 180F. Set aside when heated.
  • Fill a kettle with water and set it on high heat. Heat until just steaming and turn off the heat.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, onion, salt, and paprika until smooth.
  • Pour the milk into the egg mixture and stir well to combine fully.
  • Pour the egg mixture evenly into each cup and top with parmesan cheese.
  • Pour the water from the kettle into the pan, leaving at least ½ inch between the top of the water and the top of the custard cups. Make sure you also leave enough space below the top of the pan to safely put it into the oven. Be careful not to get any water in the custard cups.
  • Bake the timbales for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 311kcalCarbohydrates: 7.5gProtein: 39.7gFat: 12.5gSaturated Fat: 3.8gCholesterol: 360mgSodium: 301mgPotassium: 698mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 6gCalcium: 258mgIron: 2mg
Keyword cheese, chicken, Eggplant
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Timbale
Serving Size
1 cup
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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