Salmon Piccata

published Feb 7, 2022
Salmon Piccata Recipe

Salmon fillets are cooked in a butter lemon-caper sauce in this easy-yet-elevated skillet dinner.


Prep7 minutes

Cook12 minutes to 15 minutes

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salmon piccata in the pan
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If chicken piccata is your go-to order at your favorite Italian-American restaurant, you’ll love this simple salmon version. Seared salmon fillets are bathed in a vibrant, buttery lemon-caper sauce for a dish that’s saucy and rich but still wholesome and feel-good. I love it over buttered orzo, although you can’t go wrong with rice or a side of roasted potatoes, either. The best part? It’s ready to dig into in under 30 minutes.

What Is Piccata Sauce Made Of? 

Piccata sauce is made from lemon juice, butter, and capers. White wine and chicken broth are also often added, and sometimes garlic is used. The sauce is occasionally thickened with flour, but this version leaves it out to keep the dish gluten-free.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How Long Should Salmon Be Cooked? 

Cooking salmon in a skillet is one of the fastest ways to prepare it. You’ll start by searing the fillets to brown the tops and par-cook the fish. This takes about 4 minutes. You’ll remove the salmon from the skillet while you make the piccata sauce. Then you’ll return the fillets to the skillet to finish cooking in the sauce, which will take 2 to 5 minutes depending on your desired doneness and how thick the fillets are.

What Are Good Sides for Salmon Piccata?

Since this salmon piccata is all about the sauce, it deserves a side dish that can soak up every last drop. Here are a few great choices.

Salmon Piccata Recipe

Salmon fillets are cooked in a butter lemon-caper sauce in this easy-yet-elevated skillet dinner.

Prep time 7 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes to 15 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    large lemon, preferably organic

  • 1

    small bunch fresh parsely

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 4

    (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 3/4 cup

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1/4 cup

    dry white wine


  1. Cut 1 large lemon in half crosswise. Slice one half into very thin slices and remove the seeds. Reserve the remaining half. Pick the leaves from 1 small bunch fresh parsley until you have 2 tablespoons and coarsely chop. Drain 3 tablespoons capers if water-packed, or rinse them well through a fine-mesh strainer if salt-packed.

  2. Pat 4 salmon fillets dry with paper towels, then season on both sides with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the salmon skin-side up and sear until golden-brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Transfer the salmon skin-side down to a plate (it will not be cooked through).

  4. Add the lemon slices to the skillet in a single layer and cook, flipping halfway through, until fragrant and caramelized in spots, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth and 1/4 cup dry white wine and simmer until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.

  5. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half into the pan, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and capers. Stir to combine and melt the butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  6. Return the salmon skin-side down to the pan. Cook until the sauce is thickened and the salmon is cooked to desired doneness, 2 to 5 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the thickest fillet should register 120 to 130°F for medium-rare, or 135 to 145°F if you prefer it more well-done. Garnish with the parsley before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.