Easy Chicken Piccata

published Mar 18, 2024

The buttery lemon caper sauce makes this chicken totally irresistible.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook25 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Chicken piccata is a classic menu mainstay at Italian American restaurants. The dish features seared golden-brown chicken cutlets with a buttery lemon caper sauce. The sauce is the highlight of this popular dish — no question about it. It’s rich and tangy, with just a hint of brine from the capers and it clings to the chicken perfectly. If you’re a fan of capers and like lemon chicken, this recipe is right up your alley.

The beauty of this chicken piccata is that it’s easy enough to make in the middle of the week, and feels fancy enough for a special occasion. Just be sure to serve it with a side of pasta, steamed rice, crispy potatoes, or crusty bread so you can sop up every last drop of sauce.

Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

Why You’ll Love It

  • The hallmark of really good chicken piccata is the sauce. This version is everything you’d expect: It’s rich and buttery with lots of vibrant lemon flavor and just enough briny capers. And best of all, this recipe doesn’t skimp on the sauce — there’s an ample amount for every plate.
  • This Italian American classic is incredibly easy to make at home. It requires fewer than 10 ingredients (none of which are fancy!) and cooks in under 30 minutes in a single skillet. 

Key Ingredients in Chicken Piccata

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast. I recommend using two large, boneless chicken breasts (about two pounds total). You’ll slice them in half horizontally (this is also known as butterflying) to yield four pieces total.
  • All-purpose flour. Each piece of chicken is dredged in flour before cooking. This gives the chicken the best lightly crisp edges and a great golden-brown color (and it works to thicken the sauce a little).
  • Unsalted butter. This is used for both searing the chicken and it helps give the sauce a richer flavor with a lush consistency.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth. This is the ingredient that makes up the bulk of the sauce.
  • Lemon. The juice from a single large lemon adds punch to the sauce.
  • Nonpareil capers. This is a signature ingredient in any version of piccata. Just a few tablespoons add a briny flavor to the sauce and balance the tang of the lemon.

How to Make Chicken Piccata

  1. Prep the chicken. Butterfly two chicken breasts to yield four pieces total, season all over with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour.
  2. Sear the chicken. Working in batches, sear the chicken on both sides until deep golden-brown.
  3. Deglaze the pan. Add dry white wine to the pan and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then cook until reduced by about half.
  4. Simmer the sauce. Add the broth, lemon juice, butter, and capers, and bring to a simmer. 
  5. Finish the chicken. Return the chicken to the pan and finish cooking in the sauce.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

Helpful Swaps

  • The recipe calls for butterflying two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but if you prefer to skip this prep use 1 1/2 pounds of chicken cutlets. Chicken cutlets tend to be a little thinner, so when finishing the chicken in the sauce for the final step of the recipe, it will only take a minute or two.
  • If you prefer to keep this dish gluten-free you can swap in an equal amount of gluten-free all-purpose flour.
  • Don’t have any wine on hand or prefer not to use it? No problem. You can simply omit it from the recipe; no need to swap in anything else. The result is just as delicious! Trust me — I’ve made it this way plenty of times.

Storage Tips

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They keep well for up to four days.
  • Reheat leftover chicken and sauce on the stovetop over low heat until heated through. If necessary, add a splash of broth to loosen the sauce.

What to Serve with Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata Recipe

The buttery lemon caper sauce makes this chicken totally irresistible.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1

    large lemon

  • 8 to 10 sprigs

    fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2

    large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    dry white wine

  • 3/4 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 3 tablespoons

    drained nonpareil capers

Instructions

  1. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Juice 1 large lemon until you have 3 tablespoons. Pick the leaves from 8 to 10 fresh parsley sprigs and finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons. Place 1/4 cup all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl or large plate.

  2. Cut 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half horizontally (also known as butterflying) to get 4 pieces total. Pat dry with paper towels. Season all over with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Working with one piece at a time, dredge the chicken in flour and shake off any excess. Place on a plate.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and sear until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate (the chicken will not be cooked through).

  4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter to the pan and repeat browning the remaining chicken. Transfer to the same plate.

  5. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup dry white wine and cook until reduced by about half, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

  6. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Add the lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and 3 tablespoons drained nonpareil capers, and stir to combine. Once the butter is melted, return the chicken and any accumulated juice on the plate to the pan. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and registers at least 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer, 4 to 6 minutes. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Garnish with the parsley.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.