Chicken Piccata is a simple Italian-American dish that can be on your table in under 30 minutes.  Most of its ingredients are staples in many households.  The magic of this dish is the flavor combination of the tart lemon juice, the salty capers, and the butter which helps create a velvety sauce that’s brimming with lemony flavored goodness.  

Chicken Piccata in white serving plate on blue board.

In Italy, this dish is most often served with veal, but here in America, chicken is far more popular. 

Piccata sauce is very versatile and can be served over chicken, veal, or seafood.  Take your pick! 

But for now, I will show you how to make the classic chicken Piccata dish that so many love.

Before I go over the ingredients I just want to point out how important it is to start with thin cutlets.  You can buy them pre-sliced or fillet and pound them out flat yourself. 

Either way, it’s the key to so many great Italian dishes.  Whether you’re making the very similar and equally delicious chicken Francese recipe or the beloved chicken milanese, thin cutlets are essential.

 

Besides thin cutlets, you will need capers, lemons, garlic, parsley, flour, dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay), butter, olive oil, and salt/pepper. 

Ingredients shown on cutting board: parsley, lemons, capers, butter, wine, garlic, and chicken cutlets.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Slice around 6 lemon slices and remove any seeds. Cut wedges from the remaining lemon.
  2. Mix 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper into 1 cup of flour on a flat plate.  Dredge the thinly-sliced chicken cutlets in the flour and shake off the excess.  Place the dredged cutlets on wax or parchment paper and set aside.  Save the flour for use in step 7.

Chicken Piccata recipe process shot collage number one.

  1. Heat a large pan to medium heat for 3 minutes then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan.  Pan-sear the cutlets until just cooked through – about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the second side.
  2. Work in batches so the chicken will acquire a nice brown color as shown in Step 4’s pic above.  Keep the chicken warm in a plate tented with foil.
  3. Turn heat to low and add in the garlic.  Saute for 1 minute until lightly golden.  If the pan is dry add a touch more olive oil.
  4. Add the lemons and capers to the pan and cook for 1 minute.

Recipe process shot collage number two.

  1. Add the wine and low sodium chicken stock to the pan.  Turn heat to high and boil for 2-3 minutes to slightly reduce.    Turn the heat back to medium and toss all the remaining butter cubes into the flour and place in the sauce.  Use a whisk or move the pan around while stirring as shown in step 7 to emulsify the sauce. 
  2. Taste test the piccata sauce and if required adjust salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice levels.  When satisfied add the chicken to the pan to warm through for 2-3 minutes.  Gently coat all the pieces with the sauce and add the parsley.  Turn off the heat and serve with the remaining lemon wedges.

What to serve with piccata

Green sides like sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic and oilItalian broccoli, or green beans with garlic and oil all pair perfectly with this recipe. 

A big green salad or this grilled fennel salad with shaved parmesan would also be excellent choices.

Chicken Piccata in pan with big piece of parsley.

Substitutions and additions

  • veal or fish – Piccata sauce is terrific on either of these ingredients.  For veal use thinly sliced scaloppine pieces just like the chicken in this recipe.  Swordfish and cod piccata are both delicious!
  • shallots – instead of, or in addition to the garlic, add 1-2 diced shallots.
  • artichoke hearts – Add thawed, previously frozen artichoke hearts 1 minute after adding the garlic.
  • mushrooms – To effectively add mushrooms to this recipe saute them in a separate pan and add them in 1 minute after adding the garlic.

Top tips

  • Thin cutlets are recommended.
  • Use an adequate amount of oil and butter for each batch of chicken and do not crowd the pieces in the pan.
  • If a thicker sauce is desired, a slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 ounces of water can be used, but the sauce shouldn’t be overly thick.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to three days and can be reheated in the oven on 325f covered until warm or on the stovetop at low heat.

More chicken recipes you’ll love

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Chicken Piccata

5 from 26 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Chicken cutlets are pan-seared and tossed in a delicious and fragrant lemon, butter, and white wine sauce then finished with capers and parsley.

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 pounds chicken cutlets thin sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers rinsed
  • 2 large lemons 6 slices and rest cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley minced
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 5 tablespoons butter unsalted, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • On a flat plate mix salt and pepper into flour. Dredge chicken cutlets in the flour and set aside on wax or parchment paper. Save the flour for use later in the recipe.
  • Heat a large pan to medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add a touch of olive oil and butter to pan. Sear cutlets in pan until just done (approximately 2-3 minutes total) then set aside in a plate lightly tented with foil. Do not crowd chicken in the pan Work in batches, using a bit more olive oil and butter as required for each batch.
  • After all the chicken pieces are cooked turn heat to low and add the garlic into pan. Saute for 1 minute then add the capers and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add the wine, chicken stock, and lemon slices to the pan and turn heat to high. With a wooden spoon dislodge all the brown bits from the bottom of pan. Boil for 2 minutes.
  • Next, turn the heat down to medium. Roll butter cubes in remaining flour and add to pan. Using a whisk or wooden spoon, stir the sauce to emulsify. Taste test and adjust salt, pepper, and lemon juice levels if required.
  • When satisfied with the taste of the sauce, add the chicken in and gently coat all pieces. Cook for 2-3 minutes to warm through. Turn off heat and add the parsley, mix one more time and serve immediately. Serve with remaining lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Thin cutlets are recommended.
  • Use an adequate amount of oil and butter for each batch of chicken and do not crowd the pieces in the pan.
  • If a thicker sauce is desired, a slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 ounces of water can be used, though the sauce should not be overly thick.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to three days and can be reheated in the oven on 325f covered until warm or on the stovetop at low heat.

Nutrition

Calories: 603kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.9g | Protein: 50.7g | Fat: 39.7g | Saturated Fat: 14.4g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 898mg | Potassium: 442mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 3mg

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

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49 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have been cooking since I was tall enough to see the stovetop and I have done some complex recipes in my time. Your presentation demystifies some of these classic dishes and has gotten me to try and learn these essential Italian-American dishes. Since 1533 when Catherine de Medici moved to France and refused to eat the slop they were serving at court and introduced the French to many foods and the use of forks at the dining table; it has always fascinated me trace french food back to it’s origin in Italy. The presentation here shows the basics and techniques of preparation that is the base of many other dishes but stand on their own as classics.

  2. 5 stars
    My confidence in cooking was zero …. was brought up on frozen, or nothing at all!
    But now I’ll have a go at anything and tastes so good! Thank you for sharing and for the encouragement ✨️

    1. Hi Holly, I’m so happy you’re enjoying and feeling more confident with cooking! Thank you for the comment and keep cooking! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Made for dinner this evening. It was delicious just like all of the other recipes I have tried from you. Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    This is the absolute Best Chicken Piccata recipe ever! Everyone went back for seconds! I can’t wait to make this again! When ever I attempt a new dish, Sip and Feast is my go to! Jim’s recipe’s always result in success! Thanks again for another delicious dinner!

    1. Hey Kristan, Nothing makes me happier than hearing a success story like that. Really glad I’m up on your list of go-to recipe sites. Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    I enjoy making all of your dishes. My family loves them all. You make it very simple to follow. Thanks again! Jeanette Lombardo

  6. James, Can I make this with thighs? I really prefer thighs over breast. More flavor. Love your videos.

    Thanks
    Barry Ray

    1. Hi Barry. You can definitely use chicken thighs. I would use boneless-skinless flattened out. They will probably take a bit longer than the chicken breasts. Enjoy!

  7. 5 stars
    I lucked out and originally found Jim on YouTube. I’ve watched many of his videos and they’re all fantastic and easy to follow. I made the chicken piccata and it was a crowd pleaser. It has been requested by my family that I make this dish again. Chicken piccata is on the rotation for sure but I’m going to make his chicken parm recipe next.

    1. Hi Bobby. Glad you’re enjoying the videos. It seems most people are finding me on YouTube first. I’m happy to hear that the piccata was a hit and I hope you like the chicken parm just as much.