Chicken Piccata is a classic chicken breast dinner that features lemon butter sauce and lots of capers. It’s simple and takes only about 30 minutes to make. A wonderful weeknight dinner when you want something fancy and easy at the same time.
I love making a good restaurant staple in the comfort of my own kitchen! After all, why should you have to spend $20 on Chicken Piccata at a restaurant when you can make it taste even better at home for a fraction of the price? If you’re intimidated by this entrée, don’t be. There’s really nothing to it!
Chicken Piccata is a great dish not only for easy weeknight dinners with your family, but also for serving at dinner parties. The presentation is beautiful! What’s not to love about a lightly dredged chicken cutlets that are seared until golden and topped with a rich lemon butter sauce. And of course, the capers!
Wondering what does “dredge” mean? To dredge the meat, simply means to lightly coat it in seasoned flour.
Chicken Piccata sauce is a classic in itself. It’s a dreamy combination of garlic, white wine, chicken stock, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, capers, and just a few shakes of salt and pepper. This tangy, buttery, and rich sauce pairs perfectly with the seasoned chicken!
What is Chicken Piccata?
This is an easy chicken breast recipe that features chicken scaloppine, which is thinly sliced chicken cutlets. These chicken cutlets are dredged in seasoned flour mixture and quickly seared in butter and olive oil.
The sauce features an easy but flavorful combination of butter, lemon juice, white wine, and capers. There are a few more ingredients to enhance the flavor like garlic, parsley, and lemon zest.
How to Make Chicken Piccata
Ingredients You’ll Need:
For the chicken:
- Butter – Unsalted butter is best. The capers add plenty of salty flavor to this recipe, so avoid salted butter.
- Olive Oil – Use a good quality olive oil for the best flavor.
- Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are what you need. You’ll need to slice them in half and trim the fat as needed.
- Flour – All purpose flour is what you’ll need to dredge the chicken in. Use gluten free all purpose flour if needed.
- Parmesan Cheese – For the best flavor and consistency, use freshly grated parmesan cheese. Check your local deli, as they sometimes have containers of pre-grated fresh parmesan available for purchase.
- Salt and Black Pepper – Don’t be too heavy handed with salt since there is salt in capers.
For the sauce:
- Olive Oil
- Garlic – You can mince or press your garlic. Either way, make sure it’s fresh and not pre-minced. The aroma and flavor of the fresh garlic is key to making good Chicken Piccata!
- White Wine – Use a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc of Chardonnay. Do not use a sweet white wine like Riesling, or your sauce will taste sweet.
- Chicken Stock – when available, use Homemade Chicken Stock.
- Lemon – You’ll need the juice and zest of fresh lemons. For best results, do not use bottled lemon juice!
- Capers – This might just be everyone’s favorite Chicken Piccata ingredient! Drain your capers, and feel free to add an extra spoonful or so if desired.
- Salt and Black Pepper
- Parsley – For the best aromatic quality, use fresh parsley for garnish.
Start off by preparing your chicken.
The best way to slice your chicken is by placing on hand on top of the breast. Lift your fingers up, that way they’re out of the way of your knife. Use a sharp knife to slice each breast in half, width-wise. Try to split it evenly down the middle to get matching halves.
Combine the parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Dip each cutlet in the flour mixture to fully dredge them all over.
Cook the chicken.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium to medium high heat. Once it’s warmed up, add the butter. Sauté the dredged chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Once the chicken is sautéed on both sides, remove it from the pan.
Make the sauce.
Lower the heat to medium and add a little more olive oil and garlic to the pan. Once the garlic turns golden brown, deglaze the pan with white wine. This adds so much flavor to the sauce!
Stir in the chicken stock and allow it to simmer for a few minutes until the mixture it about half way cooked out.
Add the remaining sauce ingredients to the pan. Bring to a simmer.
Return the cutlets to the pan and continue cooking for a few minutes. Finish the chicken with fresh parsley and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Origins of Chicken Piccata:
This delicious lemon chicken dish originated in Italy. Much like Chicken Marsala, it originally used veal and the original protein of choice. The meaning of “Piccata” is more closely translated as a method of preparations, which means to slice the meat thin, dredge it in flour, and sauté it in butter sauce with lemon.
The chicken versions of both Chicken Piccata and Chicken Marsala were actually created in United States by the Italian immigrants. Chicken was a cheaper cut of meat and much more convenient to use.
What sides go well with Chicken Piccata?
Pasta is the most classic side dish for Chicken Piccata, but many people at restaurants also tend to request mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes. If you want to keep it lighter, serve it with roasted cauliflower or asparagus. Italian roasted asparagus would be great here!
How to make Gluten Free Chicken Piccata?
This recipe is actually very easy to make gluten free without compromising any taste or texture. The only substitution you need to make is using gluten free all purpose flour to dredge the chicken. Remaining ingredients should already be gluten free but, as always, double check the packaging just in case.
More similar chicken breast dinners:
Here are a few more easy Italian chicken dinners you can make on a week nights:
Easy Chicken Marsala
Always the classic Chicken Parmesan
Simple and crispy Chicken Milanese
Rich and creamy Chicken Alfredo
For the Chicken:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour* for dredging
- 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- black pepper
For the Sauce:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced or pressed
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup capers drained
- black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh minced parsley
Prepare the chicken:
- Place chicken on the cutting board and place your hand on top of the chicken breast. Make sure to lift your fingers up and not curve them down when cutting the chicken.
- Using a sharp knife, slice each chicken breast in half, width-wise. Try to split it right in the middle to get the halves that are as even as possible. This will ensure similar cook time. Repeat with all the chicken breasts.
- Combine parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Dip each cutlet into the flour mixture to coat it all over.
Cooking the Chicken:
- Heat up the oil in a large pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add butter and let it melt. Sauté the chicken in two batches to avoid overcrowding the chicken in the pan.
- Sauté on both sides until chicken is just about done. Take the sautéed cutlets out and set aside.
Prepare the Sauce:
- Lower the heat to medium. Add a little more oil and add garlic. Stir and sauté until garlic starts to turn golden brown.
- Deglaze the pan with wine (use your spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan, it will add more flavor). Stir in the chicken stock and let it simmer a few minutes until the mixture is about half way cooked out.
- Add lemon juice, lemon zest, capers and some salt and pepper. Bring to simmer.
- Return cutlets to the pan and cook just a few more minutes.
- Finish the chicken with fresh minced parsley and serve.