Chicken Piccata is a classic, Italian-inspired recipe brimming with tangy, rich flavor from lemon and capers. Easy enough to whip up for weeknight dinners as well as an elegant dish to serve to guests. Video.

Chicken piccata in a pan.

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Chicken Piccata’s roots are a little hazy but are thought to have been created in America by Italian immigrants. It implements a classic Italian cooking technique, scaloppine, which refers to a particular way of preparing meat and fish to cook quickly and evenly by being pounded flat. The chicken cutlets are then sautéed and topped with a quick sauce made in the same pan from all the flavorful drippings.

Chicken Piccata is layered with simple ingredients. White wine, savory shallots, tangy lemon, briny capers, and creamy butter create the luscious sauce that tops the tender seared chicken, creating a perfect balance of flavors making it clear why this dish is a loved classic.

Chicken Piccata | 60-Second Video

Ingredients In Chicken Piccata

All ingredients for making chicken piccata.  Chicken, butter, capers, garlic, shallot, lemon, parsley.

Ingredient Notes

We leave out the heavy cream in this simple authentic recipe! Light clean flavors.

  • Chicken breasts—try to get the best quality you can afford—organic, pasture-raised. Boneless chicken thighs are fine, too, though richer. Quality truly makes a difference here.
  • Shallots– add more savory depth.
  • Capers– essential briney element for this dish, can substitute olives.
  • Dry White wine– we like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
  • Fresh Lemon- fresh lemon juice makes all the difference.

*See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.     

How To Make Chicken Piccata

Slicing the chicken breast in half lengthwise on a wooden cutting board.  Bowls of capers, shallots and garlic.

STEP ONE– Slice chicken breasts in half length-wise. Use a sharp knife and try to cut in one smooth motion rather than sawing, which will leave jagged, torn meat.

Pounding the chicken on a wooden cutting board, covered in plastic, with a small cast iron skillet.

STEP TWO– Place the chicken in a plastic bag (or use 2 slices of parchment) and lightly pound until even thickness, 1/2 inch or less.  Generously season chicken on both sides of the cutlets with salt.

Chef’s Tip: If you do not have a meat mallet for pounding the chicken, try a small cast iron or heavy pan, or use a rolling pin or wine bottle.

A bowl of flour, lightly dredging chicken cutlet in the flour.

STEP THREE– Place flour in a shallow bowl, lightly dredge chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Using flour helps the chicken brown quickly without overcooking it.

STEP FOUR: Cook the cutlets in two or three batches. Add olive oil and a teaspoon or two of butter to a large skillet. Fry the cutlets over medium-high heat. Add more oil and butter if needed for each batch. Set the chicken aside.

Shallots and capers sautéing in pan.

STEP FIVE– In the same pan, sauté the shallots and capers for 3 minutes.  Add garlic, sautéing another minute.  Add wine and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, simmer for 3 minutes.

Whisking butter in the caper wine sauce.

STEP SIX– Add chicken broth and black pepper, heat to a simmer and whisk in butter until emulsified.  Add chicken and heat 2-3 minutes until chicken is warm and registers 165 on a thermometer.  Add lemon juice and parsley. Spoon the sauce over the top of the chicken.

Serve with extra lemon wedges. We often add more fresh herbs like basil and thyme when available.

Serving Suggestions

Serve chicken piccata over pasta, butter noodles, creamy polenta, rice, risotto, or mashed potatoes with a side of veggies (asparagus, green beans, sauteed greens).

Storage

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze up to 3 months. Reheat in a pan or in the oven.

Chicken Piccata in a pan with lemon, capers, herbs, and no cream.

faqs

What does piccata mean?

The Italian word piccata translates to be pounded flat, referring to a particular way of preparing meat and fish to cook quickly and evenly, which is then sautéed and topped with a lemon, caper, butter sauce.

What is chicken piccata called in Italy?

Scaloppine, which basically means thinly slice meat sautéed or fried and then a quick sauce made in the same pan from all the flavorful drippings.

What is chicken piccata sauce made of?

White wine, chicken broth, capers, garlic, shallots, lemon juice and butter.

More Favorite Chicken Recipes

A simple, classic Italian dish brimming with flavor- Chicken Piccata is easy enough for weeknight dinners or elegant enough for entertaining.

Enjoy!

~Tonia

Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.

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A simple, classic Italian dish brimming with flavor- Chicken Piccata is easy enough for weeknight dinners or elegant enough for entertaining.

Chicken Piccata

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 21 reviews
  • Author: Tonia | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 68 cutlets 1x
  • Category: chicken
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

A simple, classic Italian dish brimming with flavor- Chicken Piccata is easy enough for weeknight dinners or elegant enough for entertaining.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts (or pre sliced cutlets)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup all- purpose flour ( or sub GF flour blend)
  • 23 tablespoons olive oil (lite olive oil, not extra virgin)
  • 4 tablespoons, 2 oz, butter, plus more for cooking chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large shallot, 1/2 cup, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped small
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Slice chicken breasts in half length-wise ( if extra large).  Lightly pound to an even thickness, about a 1/2 inch.  Generously season both sides of the cutlets with salt.
  2. Place flour in a shallow bowl, lightly dredge chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess.
  3. Cook the cutlets in two or three batches.  Add olive oil and a teaspoon or two of butter to a skillet. Sear the cutlets over med-high heat for about 3 minutes, turn them over for another 30 seconds to a minute.  The chicken will get heated and finish cooking in the sauce, so we are just going for a light sear.  Add more oil and butter if needed for each batch. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, without cleaning it, sauté the shallots and capers for 3 minutes.  Add garlic, sautéing another minute.  Add wine and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Add chicken broth and black pepper, heat to a simmer and whisk in butter until emulsified.  Add chicken and heat 2-3 minutes until chicken is warm and cooked through. 
  6. Add lemon juice, parsley and adjust salt and pepper to taste. 

Notes

For a special touch you can sear lemon slices by placing then on a hot skillet for about 30 seconds each side or until they get lightly charred on the edges.  Add a slice or two to each serving.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cutlet
  • Calories: 265
  • Sugar: 0.3 g
  • Sodium: 253.8 mg
  • Fat: 12.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.6 g
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 26.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 98 mg

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Comments

  1. Loved this! I skipped sliced lemons and added zest to the sauce instead. I also didn’t feel like pounding chicken, so I sliced into chicken tenders and cooked 3 minutes on each side. My husband said it was “restaurant quality”. LOL. Thanks!






  2. So I was out of white wine and capers and I read online that I could substitute apple cider vinegar for the wine, and lemons for the capers? It came out great!! Lol! I can’t wait to try this again with the correct ingredients!

    Thank you Sylvia!






  3. Thank you for the recipe and great photos. I understand it is best made right before eating. If making it for a crowd, how did you prepare this while catering? Is it possible to make ahead, chill and then add the sauce when it’s reheating or will the flour start falling off? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Silvia, I actually didn’t do this one for catering- because I think it could be tricky. I would suggest doing a tester, with one pice, then decide?

      1. We did it the day before and it worked out fine, not as great as fresh, but the flour didn’t fall off. Thank you for your reply. I’m now also Silvia the retired wedding caterer!!! 😉

  4. This is a great recipe. The touch of lemon is essential. Easy and quick enough for a weeknight dinner but nice enough for company. Just brown the chicken in advance and then make the sauce before serving. Good over linguine (if a starch is desired ) and served alongside roasted asparagus.

  5. I’ve been winging chicken piccata for years. But no more. This will be my go to recipe. It is a perfect flavor profile, and slicing (rather than tenderizing) the breasts is brilliant.






  6. This was absolutely fantastic! I didn’t bother to pound my chicken, just sliced the breasts in half carefully and they were pretty close to even and cooked very well. In used a Pinot Grigio for the wine and it was fantastic in this dish. Overall, a very quick dinner to make that feels fancy. We served with roasted potatoes seasoned with herbs de Provence and a salad.






  7. I love this recipe and want to make for entertaining. Some guests are vegan. What could I make with this sauce instead using chicken for the vegans?

    1. Hi Fi- you could use Tofu filets or if you are not opposed to vegan “chicken”- there are some plant-based products you can purchase that mimic chicken but are vegan.

  8. OMG, this was sooo good. I cant wait to make it with the original ingredients. Didn’t have capers so used spanish green olives. Didn’t have parsley so used some cilantro. And… used thighs instead of breasts. Put it all on GF pasta and WOW! Thank you for the ideas <3






  9. Bang easy to make and supremely flavourful. As ever, thanks for adding another dish to our notebook of fave recipes. M&M






    1. I don’t know? If you can prepare the meat the same way (thinly pounded breast) it would probably be good!

  10. What kind of pan is this? It kind of looks like a Le Creuset dutch oven but more shallow. Have been looking for something like this for a while!

  11. This was delicious! Added a little extra lemon juice. I baked some potato fries on the side that I dipped into this juicy, lemony, caper sauce and everybody was licking fingers. Thanks!






  12. I really liked this one. Would make it again! I like the tangy-ness. It reminds me of a recipe from home – Chicken French (a popular upstate NY recipe). Thanks Sylvia!






    1. It is really best served right away. You could get everything chopped and prepped ahead, then cook quick before serving.

  13. When do I add the lemon wedges to get the nice sear on them that’s shown in the photo? That’s missing from the recipe.

  14. I followed this recipe, without modifications, and the chicken was so tender, and flavorful! I was super impressed! I’ve made this using different recipes – and it came out okay – but the results from this were truly perfect. I didn’t make enough for leftovers, but I will next time! Thank you.






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