Chicken Francese is an iconic Italian-American dish of lightly egg battered chicken breasts gently fried in olive oil and simmered in a buttery white wine and lemon sauce until tender. This classic dish is easy to make but sure to impress!

Chicken Francese in black pan with lemon slices.


Editor’s Note: Originally published on December 18, 2019. Updated with new information, photos, and improved recipe on May 7, 2024.

Growing up on Long Island, Chicken Francese was as common a dish as any; in fact, it was one of the first dishes I learned how to cook!

Sometimes called Chicken Francaise, or Chicken French, it’s available in nearly every Italian-American restaurant in the New York metro area and I believe that’s because its buttery lemon flavor appeals to the masses.

Chicken Francese is great alongside rice pilaf and a green vegetable, such as sauteed broccoli rabe, or a bed of garlicky spinach; a chunk of crusty bread is great too!

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: eggs, butter, shallot, parsley, white wine, chicken stock, lemons, olive oil, flour, and chicken cutlets.
  • Chicken. Chicken breasts are preferred for Chicken Francese. You can save time and buy them thinly sliced from the grocery store, or fillet them yourself.
  • Chicken stock. If possible, use homemade chicken stock as it will make a difference in the final outcome and affords you better control of sodium levels. You can also make a stock from a low-sodium chicken base such as Better Than Bouillion brand.
  • White wine. Use a dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc. If you can’t have alcohol, omit the wine.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Cube 4 tablespoons of butter, mince 1 large shallot, and juice enough lemon for 2 tablespoons of juice. Slice 1 large lemon and mince 1/4 cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley and set aside. Place 1 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced chicken cutlets onto a flat surface and season with salt and pepper on both sides. (Photo #1)
  2. In a large bowl beat together 4 large eggs along with half of the minced parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper. In another large bowl mix together 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick pan to medium heat along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Quickly dredge the chicken into the flour and shake gently to remove the excess. Save the flour for use later in step 7. (Photo #2)
Chicken Francese recipe collage group one showing seasoning of chicken cutlets, dredging in flour, dipping in eggwash, and pan frying.
  1. Dip the dredged cutlet into the egg mixture. (Photo #3)
  2. Place the cutlet into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden. (Photo #4)
  3. Repeat the process for the remaining cutlets and work in batches to prevent crowding. Use more butter or oil as needed for the remaining batches. (Photo #5)
  4. Once the cutlets are done, move them to a plate and tent with foil to stay warm. To the same pan, add the shallot and a pinch of salt and saute until soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. (Photo #6)
Recipe collage group two showing pan frying of chicken, sauteing shallot, dipping butter cubes in flour, and bringing sauce to a boil.
  1. Roll the cubed butter in the remaining flour and save for use in step 9. (Photo #7)
  2. Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine and 1 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock to the pan and turn the heat to high. Bring the sauce to a boil while scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits. Boil for about 5 minutes or until the sauce reduces by half and starts to thicken. (Photo #8)
  3. Turn the heat to slightly less than medium and add the lemon slices along with the floured cubes of butter and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens further. (Photo #9)
  4. Add the lemon juice and taste-test the sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and add more lemon juice if needed. (Photo #10)
Recipe collage three showing adding lemons slices and butter cubes to the sauce, adding chicken back to the sauce, and finishing with parsley.
  1. When satisfied with the taste of the sauce, return the chicken to the pan and gently coat with the sauce and heat through for 2-3 minutes. (Photo #11)
  2. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining parsley and remove the pan from the heat. Serve immediately and enjoy! (Photo #12)

Top tips

  • Chicken. Thinly sliced chicken breasts will yield better results and are the universal cut of choice for Chicken Francese.
  • The pan. I highly recommend using a nonstick pan for this recipe for best possible results.
  • Oil and butter. I use a combination of oil and butter to prevent the butter from burning. The ratio should be 2:1 oil to butter. If you find that after the first batch of chicken the butter and oil is a dark brown, wipe down the pan and start the second batch with new oil and butter to prevent overly browned chicken.
  • Thickening the sauce. It’s important that the sauce be reduced by half after adding the wine and stock. While it took my about 5 minutes, it may take you longer. If after adding the cubes of floured butter you want your sauce to be thicker, simply add more cubes of floured butter to thicken. Conversely, if the sauce is too thin, add a touch of chicken stock to loosen it back up.
Chicken Francese in white platter with lemon slices.

More recipes you’ll love

Here are a few more iconic Italian-American chicken recipes I know you’ll love!

If you’ve enjoyed this Chicken Francese with Easy Lemon Butter Sauce Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

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Note: The recipe in the video differs slightly from the recipe here with the main difference being that this recipe calls for shallots while the video does not.

Chicken Francese with Easy Lemon Butter Sauce

4.80 from 24 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
This classic Italian-American dish combines thinly sliced chicken cutlets with a butter lemon white wine sauce. It's easy enough for weeknights but impressive enough for dinner guests!

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt for seasoning the chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper for seasoning the chicken
  • 1/2 cup flour will not need all of it
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley minced, divided
  • 4 large eggs beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter cubed, divided
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 large lemon sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • First, setup a frying station. In a large bowl, beat the eggs together and mix in half of the minced parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the flour with a pinch of salt and pepper and place it onto a large bowl or plate for easy dredging.
  • Heat a large pan (nonstick is recommended) to medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  • Quickly season the chicken cutlets with the salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge the chicken into the flour then shake off the excess and dip into the egg and parsley mixture. Gently place the cutlet into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Do not crowd the pan. Work in batches. Use more oil/butter as required for the next batch. Tent the chicken with foil to keep warm.
  • Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and saute until soft and translucent (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Add in the white wine and chicken stock. Turn the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits. Boil for ~5 minutes or until it reduces by half and starts to thicken.
  • Turn the heat to slightly less than medium and add the lemon slices. Roll the remaining cubes of butter into the leftover flour mixture and add them into the sauce and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  • Mix in the lemon juice and taste the sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Also, if needed add more lemon juice to taste.
  • When satisfied with the taste, return the chicken to the pan and gently coat with the sauce and heat through for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the minced parsley on top and remove the pan from the heat. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use thin-sliced chicken cutlets for best results.
  • You will most likely have leftover egg wash and flour.  These should be used right away for a dish like Italian chicken cutlets or discarded.
  • A nonstick pan is recommended to avoid the egg sticking.
  • Leftovers can be stored for up to 3 days in fridge and can be reheated in the oven at 325f covered until warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 583kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.7g | Protein: 41.4g | Fat: 37.7g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 317mg | Sodium: 850mg | Potassium: 399mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 0.7g | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg

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

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This recipe was originally published on December 18, 2019. It was completely updated on May 7, 2024.

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78 Comments

  1. Alean says:

    5 stars
    I am going to make this! It is one of my favorites and I had no idea how to make it!
    Thank you for giving such detailed instructions with all of your recipes. Monjad!

  2. Rose Marie D'Alessandro says:

    I absolutely love this site! I’m Italian and had learned many variations of recipes I’ve been making for years. Love to cook!

  3. Gail says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Excellent. Followed the recipe as written. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you liked the recipe, Gail! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Andrew Glasheen says:

    5 stars
    This made me so happy, took me back 30 years. I will be making again for the neighbors in 2 weeks. I am going to open with anti-pasta, followed by a Caesar (real with anchovies). Dessert may be tiramisu.

  5. Judy Rodriguez says:

    Sounds delicious. I want to make it but can I leave out the wine and add a bit more chicken stock?

    1. Tara says:

      Yes, absolutely.

  6. Wendoyle says:

    5 stars
    Just perfect and couldn’t be easier!

  7. Shemeka Browne-Pohlman says:

    Hello… I hope this message finds you well. I have a quick question – can I use chicken cutlets instead of full chicken breasts to make this recipe? I don’t trust that I will be able to slice the breasts in half evenly and I’m trying to save some prep time.

    By the way, this is my favorite dish and I only ever order it out so I’m excited to have this recipe available so that I can make it at home. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Shemeka, yes, you can definitely use cutlets that are already sliced . Hope you enjoy!