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This easy Chicken Piccata recipe serves up complex flavors with just a few simple ingredients. Chicken cutlets dredged in flour are fried until crispy on the outside and juicy within then finished with a tangy rich lemon butter caper sauce. It’s a dish that’s beautiful to serve and ready in just over 30 minutes. Ideal for your next dinner party and simple enough for a midweek meal. 

Chicken Piccata in a cast iron skillet.

Transforming the humble chicken breast into this elegant and palate-pleasing dish is easier than you might think. Once you’ve measured the ingredients and prepared the cutlets, you’ll dredge them in flour and sear in a skillet until evenly crisped and just cooked through. In the same skillet, you’ll make the quick and luscious sauce to drizzle over the cutlets and dinner is served.

Ingredients You Need to Make Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata Ingredients on a white marble board.
  • Chicken: Use fresh, boneless skinless chicken breasts. Look for meat that’s firm to touch, pinkish-white, and has no off or foul odor.
  • Flour: plain all-purpose flour.
  • Olive Oil: Ideally good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter.
  • Chicken Broth: If not using homemade chicken broth, opt for a low-sodium variety to control saltiness and check the ingredient list to be sure that chicken is a primary ingredient for richer flavor.
  • White Wine: A dry white wine like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc is ideal. It should be a wine you’d enjoy drinking, as cooking will intensify its flavors. If you opt for chicken stock or broth as an alternative, ensure it’s low-sodium to control salt levels.
  • Lemon: Go for fresh, plump lemons with smooth, bright yellow skins. They should be firm but give slightly when squeezed. These are the juiciest!
  • Capers: Ideally, choose non-pareil capers as they are smaller and often considered to be of superior quality.
  • Fresh Parsley: Fresh flat leaf or Italian parsley is best. Leaves should be vibrant green with no signs of wilting. It’s also good to wash and dry it thoroughly before use to avoid any grittiness.
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

What is piccata?

“Piccata” is an Italian word that refers to meat that has been sliced and cooked in butter, lemon juice, and parsley or other spices. Veal piccata is most common in Italy, while the American-Italian version, Chicken Piccata, is most common in the United States. But pork, fish and seafood are also popular choices for this dish.

Chicken Piccata served on a white plate.

A Better Way to Make Chicken Cutlets

There is a better way to make chicken cutlets than most recipes call for. With it 1 Chicken Breast = 3 Even Chicken Cutlets.

I wish I had come up with this clever method, but the credit belongs to America’s Test Kitchen. This technique is safer, easier, and more precise than the standard single-slice method. Instead of trying to carefully cut a whole chicken breast in half horizontally, you’ll need to make two quick cuts to create three perfectly-proportioned chicken cutlets (see diagram below).

Raw boneless skinless chicken breast with black dotted lines showing where to slice it to make three even cutlets.
How To Make 3 Even Chicken Cutlets from One Chicken Breast

First, separate the thickest part of the breast from the thinner, tapered end by cutting through the breast crosswise, at or around the halfway point. Then slice the thick part of the breast in half horizontally, as you would typically do for cutlets.

From there, place your three cutlets between layers of plastic wrap or inside a plastic, zip-top bag (to minimize mess) and pound to an even thickness (typically between 1/4-inch and 1/2 inch thick) with a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Recipe Options

  • Swap chopped green olives for some or all of the capers.
  • Finish with a hard grated cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, or Asiago.
  • Top with Garlic Butter Mushrooms for an extra decadent dish.
  • Swirl 1/4 cup or more of heavy cream into the sauce to make a creamy chicken piccata.

What to Serve With Chicken Piccata

Try These Piccata Variations

How to Make Chicken Piccata

Cut boneless skinless chicken breasts in half crosswise, then cut the thickest side in half lengthwise to make 3 even chicken cutlets. Pound each cutlet to an even thickness.

Coat each pounded chicken cutlet in flour, then brown in a mixture of hot oil and butter in a cast iron skillet; transfer browned cutlets to a plate.

Deglaze skillet with white wine and chicken broth; stir in capers and simmer until reduced. Add butter and stir until melted; spoon sauce over browned chicken cutlets. Serve hot, garnished with parsley and lemon slices if desired.

Recipe Video

Chicken Piccata

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Calories: 328
Servings: 6 people
Delectably crispy chicken cutlets bathed in a lemon butter caper sauce are an easy and elegant meal to serve any time!

Ingredients  

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 large lemon juiced, ~3 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup capers drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • thin slices of fresh lemon for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • To make 3 even chicken cutlets from each boneless skinless chicken breast: first use a sharp knife to cut the thickest part of the breast crosswise, separating it from the thinner, tapered end near the halfway point. Then carefully slice the thick part of the breast in half horizontally.
  • Place cutlets between layers of plastic wrap or inside a plastic, zip-top bag and pound to an even 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Season both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper. 
  • Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge one chicken cutlet in flour, shaking off any excess flour and transfer to clean plate. Repeat with remaining cutlets. (Discard remaining flour.)
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 6 chicken cutlets in a single layer; cook until crisp and golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Gently flip and cook 3-4 minutes more, or until golden brown and just cooked through. Transfer to serving platter and tent with foil. Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets.
  • Add chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, and capers to same skillet and bring to boil. Cook and stir, scraping up any browned bits, until sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir to melt; spoon sauce over chicken cutlets. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices if using and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 425mg | Potassium: 356mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 481IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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10 Comments

  1. Ben | Havocinthekitchen says:

    5 stars
    Ooo this chicken piccata looks impeccable – so wonderfully browned and crisp yet tender and juicy. I haven’t made it for a long time so thanks for a delicious reminder!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      My pleasure, Ben! Thanks so much for your kind comment.

  2. Balvinder says:

    Chicken Piccata is one of my favorites. It feels fancy but simple to make. Yours look too tempting with those lemon slices on top.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thank you, Balvinder! I love how you describe it – exactly how I feel.

  3. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    This has always been one of my favorites! Lemon + butter go so well together, and then you toss in the capers, too? Yum! No need for boring weeknight meals when you’ve got this for inspiration!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      aww…thanks so much, David!

  4. Mimi Rippee says:

    This is lovely. You know, I’ve never made this, but it’s probably because my husband won’t eat capers. I’ll make it when a girlfriend visits!

    1. Kathy says:

      Use green olives. My husband has never had capers so he is absolutely certain he doesn’t like them. But he likes green olives!

  5. angiesrecipes says:

    I am not really into skinless boneless chicken breast…but this looks so inviting with that perfectly seared chicken!

    1. Kathy says:

      Use thighs.