Easy and delicious, this Chicken Piccata Recipe is made with thinly sliced chicken breasts lightly dredged in flour and pan-fried until crisp, golden, and served with a lemon, butter, and caper piccata sauce.
Basically my all-time favorite chicken recipe, Chicken Piccata is something special. Aside from the fact that Chicken Piccata tastes awesome, it also reminds me of my mom as it is one of her favorites, too. As you may imagine, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of this buttery lemony chicken quite a few times in my life.
A fast and easy weeknight dinner or special weekend treat, Chicken Piccata is loved by all ages – even my 5-year-old even asked for seconds!
The best part? This amazing Chicken Piccata Recipe is made with just a handful of simple, easy-to-find ingredients and tastes just as delicious (probably better) than your favorite restaurant piccata.
What is Chicken Piccata
Chicken Piccata, pronounced pi-kah-tuh, is a fairly simple cooking process in which chicken is thinly sliced, dredged in flour, and browned in butter or oil (or both). A sauce made with fresh lemon juice, butter, white wine, and capers is then prepared and served along with the chicken.
Traditionally, Chicken Piccata, or just Piccata, was prepared in Italy using veal or swordfish, however, in the US chicken has become the favorite and is frequently what you will find in restaurants.
Chicken Piccata Ingredients
- Chicken breasts. This should be fairly obvious, but just in case. You’ll be butterflying each chicken breast along its width to make them thinner and reduce cooking time. If you’re not a fan of chicken, fish, veal, and pork are other favorites.
- All-purpose flour. For dredging. You do not have to dredge your chicken in flour. However, for that beautiful, crispy, mouthwatering coating that you always get from restaurant chicken piccata, you’ll want to dredge the chicken.
- Olive oil and Butter. You can’t have Piccata without olive oil and butter. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible. Especially if you’re a fan of the Piccata sauce.
- Shallots. The addition of 1-2 shallots is an easy way to add a little extra bite and flavor to the sauce. Shallots are optional, so don’t feel like you absolutely have to include them (especially if onions aren’t your thing anyway).
- Garlic. Also optional, but essential (if you ask me). Traditionally, garlic was not always added to Chicken Piccata, but I find that it tastes better with it included.
- Dry white wine. White wine adds the BEST flavor to simple sauces like this one. You want to look for a dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc. If you don’t cook with wine, substitute with good-quality chicken broth.
- Lemons. Fresh lemons only. Please promise me you won’t try to make this recipe with the bottled lemon juice concentrate. Pretty please.
- Capers. Tiny little flower buds that have been pickled (I know, right! Who knew?) to be salty and jam-packed full of flavor! I know, they’re not for everyone, but they do make this chicken piccata recipe pretty much amazing.
- Parsley. There are a lot of really bold and awesome flavors happening in this recipe. A simple garnish of fresh parsley helps prevent the flavors from feeling overwhelming.
How to make Chicken Piccata
The first thing you’re going to do is prepare your chicken. Here’s the thing, you guys – this Chicken Piccata recipe will not turn out properly (translation- good) if you don’t follow these simple steps. Yes? Ok. So here’s what you’re going to do –
- Grab a large cutting board or other clean workspace and lay out your chicken breasts. Place your left-hand flat on top of one of the chicken breasts (assuming you’re right-handed) and, with a large, sharp knife, slice each chicken breast in half horizontally (creating what will look almost like a butterfly). Slice all the way through so that you have two thin slices.
- Place your chicken pieces between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound them with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin, or small skillet until they are approximately 1/2-1/4 inch thick. I have tried using a hammer, not recommended.
- Thinly sliced, tenderized chicken is one of, if not the most, important steps in this recipe. If you hate this step, ask your local supermarket butcher if they’ll do it for you. I know my local market is always happy to help!
With your chicken prepared, season each side with salt and pepper. Do this first before dredging with flour.
Speaking of dredging with flour, we’re going to do that right now. This is super easy- simply add your flour to a medium bowl and coat each piece of chicken until they are completely covered in flour. Be sure to gently shake off any excess flour since, at least in this case, more does not equal better.
Now we cook.
Grab a large skillet – I used my large cast iron skillet that I literally cannot live without- and set it over medium-high heat. Add some olive oil and butter, coat the surface of your skillet and add your chicken. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your skillet. Cook each side for approximately 2-3 minutes.
Remove your chicken from the skillet and set aside on a wire rack to keep warm in the oven set at 200 degrees F.
Tip. I also like to add some lemon slices to the skillet when I’m cooking my chicken. They get nice and charred and taste quite delicious.
Now we make the Piccata Sauce…
Chicken Piccata Sauce
Chicken Piccata Sauce somewhat mystified me for quite some time. When I first started making Chicken Piccata more than 10 years ago I assumed the answer to an awesome piccata sauce was more lemon juice, more white wine, and perhaps, a little more butter.
This was wrong.
You guys, the key to Piccata sauce are these things – pan drippings (the leftover bits and flavor from the cooked chicken), butter, white wine, lemon slices, and more butter. Of course, there are other things (shallots, garlic, capers), but really, it’s these things that make restaurant piccata sauce so good.
It’s also why you’re usually left wanting more.
Yes, you can make a healthier piccata sauce, but I can promise it won’t taste the same. Besides, I’ve found that the richer the sauce, the less I need.
How to Make Piccata Sauce
- Add THE SAME skillet that was used to cook the chicken back to medium heat. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil (no butter…yet) and the shallots, if using. Sauté your shallots for approximately 2-3 minutes, stirring often. If things start to get a little smoky adjust your heat, as needed.
- Add the garlic and stir continuously as you don’t want the garlic to burn. Cook for 30-60 seconds.
- Add the thinly-sliced lemon, wine, and capers. Increase heat to medium-high and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Allow your sauce to come to a simmer, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low.
- Finally, add the butter. I have 5 tablespoons written in the recipe card, but feel free to add 1-2 tablespoons more, or more olive oil, as needed. Allow the butter to melt and stir well to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Can you make extra Piccata Sauce?
Yes. To make additional piccata sauce, I recommend adding additional white wine, butter, a splash of chicken broth (not much!), and perhaps a tablespoon or two of lemon juice. Remember the butter! You may need to allow the sauce to simmer for an additional 1-2 minutes before adding the butter as it will take more time to reduce.
What to serve with chicken Piccata
What you choose to serve with Chicken Piccata will largely depend on personal taste and preference.
In today’s recipe, I decided to serve this recipe with angel hair pasta cooked al dente and tossed with olive oil and steamed asparagus. The charred lemon slices taste great with the simple noodles and the plain asparagus made a nice, healthy, balanced side. This is my go-to when I know I’ll be busy and need to get dinner on the table quickly.
That said, one of my favorite ways to enjoy Chicken Piccata is with a side of rich and creamy fettuccine alfredo or spaghetti with marinara sauce.
If you’re trying to limit the carbs, I highly recommend enjoying with roasted spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles and a simple side of Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Green Beans, or carrots and a salad like this fresh tomato salad or beet salad.
Love Chicken Piccata? Try these other Italian Favorites,
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe
- Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- Drunken Clams with Italian Sausage and Polenta
- One Pot Lasagna Soup Recipe
If you try making this Lemon Chicken Piccata Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
For more chicken recipes check out,
- Bruschetta Chicken Recipe <– reader favorite!
- How to Cook Chicken Breasts
- Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
- Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe <– authentic and comforting!
- Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
- Chicken and Broccoli Stuffed Spaghetti Squash <– low carb and delicious!
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Lemon Chicken Piccata Recipe
For the chicken
For the Lemon Caper Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots (minced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 lemon (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup capers (drained)
- 5 tablespoons butter
- salt + pepper (to taste)
- fresh minced parsley
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare the chicken. Lay the chicken breasts on a large, clean workspace. Place your hand flat on top of one of the chicken breasts and, with a large, sharp knife, slice each chicken breast horizontally in half (creating what will look almost like a butterfly). Slice all the way through so that you have two thin slices. Repeat with the second chicken breast.
- If your chicken is still thick or unevenly sliced, place each half between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin, or small baking dish or skillet, until they are approximately 1/2 inch thick.* Sprinkle each side of the chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Add the flour to a medium mixing bowl. Dredge each chicken breast on each side so that they are completely covered in flour, gently shake off any excess and set aside to a clean baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken breasts have been coated. Discard any remaining flour.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter and swirl to coat the entire surface of the skillet. Add the chicken, two at a time, and cook approximately 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. If your skillet starts to get smoky, simply lower the heat closer to medium. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Set aside to a wire rack and keep warm in a 200-degree oven. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the shallots to the skillet. Cook the shallots, stirring often until the shallots start to soften, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 30-60 seconds, stirring continuously.
- Add the white wine, lemon slices, and capers to the skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Allow mixture to come to a low simmer, stirring frequently, before reducing heat back down to medium or medium-low. After approximately 2-3 minutes add the butter and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Arrange the chicken pieces back in the skillet, if desired, or transfer to a large serving platter and drizzle with the lemon butter caper sauce.
- Serve over al dente angel hair pasta and fresh, blanched asparagus. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
- Thinly sliced, tenderized chicken is one of, if not the most, important steps in this recipe. If you hate this step, ask your local supermarket butcher if they'll do it for you. I know my local market is always happy to help!
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Originally posted on March 4, 2016. Updated on March 5, 2019 with new images, text, and edited recipe.