Chicken Piccata Recipe

Pan-fried chicken piccata is tender and flavorful, coated in a thick sauce and served over fluffy mashed potatoes or pasta. The rich yet simple pan sauce is fitfully seasoned with a generous helping of lemon juice, white wine, and chicken stock — not to mention plenty of capers and fresh parsley!

overhead: a plate of chicken piccata with lemon slices and capers on top

This chicken piccata recipe takes just 30 minutes to make! Even so, we’re not cutting any corners when it comes to flavor, texture, or presentation.

My menu of Italian recipes varies from authentic (zuppa toscana, tagliatelle bolognese) to inventive (stuffed lasagna roll-ups). Chicken piccata is authentic, for sure, but is at its roots an Italian-American meal. It sprung up around the 1930s and contains many of the bright, fragrant ingredients associated with Southern Italy, including salty capers and just the right amount of lemon juice! 

closeup: my chicken piccata recipe on a plate with lemon and caper sauce on top

It’s a very easy and forgiving recipe, much like the similar chicken marsala. Everything is made in one pan, from the fried cutlets to the sauce, and is easy to season and adjust if it’s too salty, acidic, or bland. 

A more Italian version of this recipe can be made with veal, but it’s usually made with tender chicken breasts.

seasoning and breading chicken breasts for chicken piccata

Tip From Kevin

Chicken Breasts

With the enormous size of chicken breasts these days, some weighing as much as one pound alone, I tend to slice each one horizontally and make cutlets. This ensures each one is cooked evenly and you can stretch your dollar to feed more!

overhead: breaded chicken piccata recipe on a plate with lemon and caper sauce on top

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken Breasts – The protein in traditional piccata is cut into thin cutlets and further tenderized. I don’t go that far in my chicken piccata recipe, but feel free to take that extra step before seasoning lightly with salt and pepper — or lemon pepper seasoning for even more flavor!
  • Flour – The cutlets are dredged in flour to get a beautiful, golden-brown crust. Possible substitutes include cornstarch and almond meal. 
  • Piccata Sauce The delicious pan sauce begins with a roux made from flour, olive oil, and butter, and is flavored with:
    • White Wine I discuss the best wine to use for this chicken piccata recipe in the FAQ section below. If you’d prefer to use a non-alcoholic substitute, use more stock, plus a bit of white vinegar to get a similarly “sour” note.
    • Lemons – Descriptive text with substitutions 
    • Chicken Stock You can substitute with broth if needed, or a vegetable broth/stock. 
    • Brined Capers This is a very Italian, very polarizing ingredient! They can be omitted if not to your tastes or substituted with green olives, some more fresh herbs, or chives.
overhead: a plate with chicken piccata over mashed potatoes with lemon and capers on top

How to Make Chicken Piccata

  1. Prepare the Chicken Breasts. Slicing horizontally, cut each breast into 2 cutlets. Season with salt and pepper before dredging in the flour, shaking off any excess. 
  2. Cook the Cutlets. Add the butter and oil to a skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Once the butter and oil start to foam, add two of the dredged cutlets and cook for 3 minutes. Turn each cutlet and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes until browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining cutlets. 
  3. Make the Pan Sauce. Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Pour in the white wine, lemon juice, and stock and whisk. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the capers, stir, and season to taste.
  4. Thicken. Return the cutlets to the pan, spooning the sauce over the cutlets. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve. Plate with mashed potatoes or pasta as desired. Spoon more sauce over each plate and garnish with parsley and lemon.
  • Citrus Juicer – Using the right tool will help you get every last drop of juice out of your lemons and limes. 
  • Skillet – As a one-pan recipe, your pan of choice should be something that you can use to sear the meat, make the sauce, and simmer all within 30 minutes.

Storing and Reheating

Leftover chicken piccata can be refrigerated and reheated within 4 days. 

To reheat, return the meat and sauce to the pan. Warm over medium heat — don’t let the temperature get too high and dry out the chicken! Stir, spooning the warming sauce over the cutlets and flipping them over to help them warm through.

extreme closeup: my chicken piccata recipe with caper and lemon sauce on top

Frequently Asked Questions

What is usually served with chicken piccata?


Chicken piccata is served with a starch, usually mashed potatoes or pasta. Mashed potatoes are a fabulous choice, as the pan sauce turns into a kind of zesty gravy. 

The best type of pasta is a long, thin noodle such as angel hair or spaghetti — something you can really drench in the pan sauce and easily twirl into a bite with the meat.

How is chicken piccata different from chicken Francaise?


As you can see from the chicken piccata recipe here, it’s a very lemony and salty dish. The cutlets are dredged in flour for a lightly crispy, golden crust.

For chicken Francaise, the cutlets are dredged in both flour and eggs for a thicker and heavier coating. Additionally, no capers are used, though the sauce also has plenty of lemons.

What white wine is best for chicken piccata?


The sauce should be made with a dry wine. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are very common choices. I also like to use a Vermentino for its very crisp, citrusy notes that blend naturally with the lemons and capers.

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chicken piccata over mashed potatoes with caper and lemon sauce on top

Chicken Piccata Recipe

This chicken piccata is quickly pan-fried and served in a thick white wine and lemon pan sauce full of capers. It’s an easy one-pan meal!
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Piccata Sauce

Instructions 

  • Cut chicken breasts horizontally into 2 cutlets. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start foam and turn golden add chicken and saute for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, turn and cook other side for 2-3 minutes. Do not over crowd pan, work in two batches if needed. Remove and transfer to plate and keep warm, covered.
  • Melt remaining butter in pan. When butter is melted add the flour (See Note 3) and whisk to cook flour for 1 minute. Then add the white wine, lemon juice and chicken stock. With a whisk, stir and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor and breaking up any lumps. Add the capers to the sauce and taste for seasoning.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan, spooning sauce to coat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Option: Make mashed potatoes or pasta. Divide mashed potatoes or pasta on plates and top with the chicken. Spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

Video

Notes

  1. If large, cut chicken breasts horizontally into 2 cutlets. If uneven in thickness, pound between sheets of plastic wrap.
  2. For an added flavor boost, I omit the salt and pepper and use my Lemon Pepper Seasoning blend.
  3. By adding the flour to the butter and olive oil this will make what is called a roux, which will thicken the pan sauce when liquids like chicken stock and/or wine is added and whisked together.
  4. I used 1 large lemon and the fresh juice came to 1/4 cup as needed for sauce. I sliced the other lemon for garnish.
  5. Either make the mashed potatoes from scratch or make per your favorite boxed brand or pasta of choice.

Nutrition

Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 572mg | Potassium: 573mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 728IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: main dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): chicken piccata recipe

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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