Featuring pounded chicken pieces in a luscious, tangy lemon butter sauce, chicken piccata is the next best chicken breast recipe to try.
You can never have too many chicken recipes. Learning more ways to elevate this lean protein is always a good idea.
Our favorite ways to cook the humble chicken breast are chicken cordon bleu, Florentine, and marsala. If you love the latter, you’ll no doubt love its cousin, piccata.
Chicken piccata is an Italian-American classic that is easy to make but outstandingly delicious with all the tangy, buttery, and briny notes it has in it.
What is piccata chicken?
The word piccata refers to meat dredged in flour, sautéed, and then cooked in a flavorful piccata sauce, typically made of freshly squeezed lemon juice, capers, and butter.
Chicken piccata recipes are made with chicken breast fillets. This dish may also be made with veal or fish.
Along with chicken parmigiana, It’s a popular dinner recipe in our household because:
- Easy and elegant. Pounded chicken cutlets served in a buttery sauce with lemons and capers look exceptionally presentable. And yet, they are very easy to make.
- Rich flavor. White wine, garlic, lemon, and butter are simple ingredients that work to create the most flavorful, tangy, buttery sauce.
- Ready in less than 15 minutes. This chicken recipe is a quick dinner option. While the sauce cooks, you have all the time in the world to cook pasta or rice to go with it.
Just like our marry me chicken, you can enjoy this dish as a quick weeknight meal, but it’s also fancy enough to serve for special occasions!
You don’t need many ingredients to make this piccata recipe. Here is everything that is calls for.
- Chicken breasts. Boneless and skinless.
- Flour. All-purpose flour to dredge the chicken breasts before browning them.
- Butter. To brown the chicken as well as add it to the sauce to make it rich and glossy.
- Olive oil. To sauté the vegetables.
- White wine. Another key ingredient of the piccata sauce. The white wine cooks off, leaving behind a complex flavor. Always opt for dry white wine.
- Garlic. Crushed.
- Lemon. You will need both the juice and the zest for this recipe.
- Capers. They add a tangy and briny flavor to the sauce and enhance its savoriness.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Parsley. Fresh chopped parsley to serve.
How to make chicken piccata
This recipe is very straightforward, and it follows a simple three-step process.
Step 1 – Prep the chicken cutlets
Cut the chicken breasts in half so that you get four even-sized cutlets. Pound them lightly to get them evenly thick. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour.
Heat oil and some butter in a pan over medium heat. Cook the cutlets in batches until they are nicely brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Step 2 – Cook the sauce
For the sauce, start cooking the garlic in the same pan. Once it’s fragrant, add the white wine and simmer it until it reduces by half.
Add the capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the remaining butter and stir until melted.
Step 3 – Combine the chicken with the sauce
Once the sauce is ready, bring back the browned chicken and let everything cook for a couple more minutes.
Remove piccata from the heat, garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Add shallots. Starting the sauce with shallots and garlic is a great way to create a rich flavor base. Due to their mild flavor, shallots do not overpower the light lemony sauce.
- Deglaze the pan. Don’t just add the white wine to the pan. Use it to deglaze it, i.e. scrape up all the flavorful bits that are stuck to the pan (we do this with Tuscan chicken, too).
- Choose your wine wisely. Never use sweet white wine for cooking piccata or any other savory dish. Dry white wines with high acidity work best. As for the flavor, go with a citrusy wine rather than something with a bold oaky flavor.
- Use chicken broth instead of white wine. If you don’t have white wine or don’t want to use it to make piccata, use chicken broth instead. It adds great flavor to the dish and helps deglaze the pan. When using chicken stock, add a dash of white wine vinegar for acidity.
- Add lemon slices. Adding lemon slices to the piccata sauce is a great way to enhance its tangy lemony flavor. Remove the lemon slices from the sauce halfway through the cooking time and reserve them for plating.
What is chicken piccata served with?
Pasta and rice pair best with this recipe as they soak up the delicious piccata sauce. You can also toast up some garlic bread or have some buns on hand.
Vegetables are also a great pairing, especially if they cook quickly (we like using our air fryer for this). Try a baked potato, broccoli, asparagus, or green beans.
If salads are your thing, aim for ones that are a little more hearty, like a rice, orzo, or Green goddess salad.
To store. Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate them for up 4 days.
To freeze. Chicken piccata also freezes well. Divide the leftovers into portions and freeze them in airtight containers for up to 3 months.
More chicken breast recipes to try
- Cast iron chicken breast
- Lemon pepper chicken
- Instant pot chicken breast
- Honey mustard chicken
- Chicken schnitzel
Frequently asked questions
The important thing to remember when choosing white wine for cooking is that you shouldn’t use sweet wines unless you are cooking something sweet. Choose a bottle of dry white wine with an alcohol content lower than 12.5% ABV. Additionally, white wine for cooking should have high acidity to provide the best results.
This chicken dish can be reheated in the oven preheated to 350F degrees, in a covered pan over medium heat, or in the microwave.
Chicken stock, chicken, or vegetable broth can all be used instead of wine for the piccata sauce. Another thing you can do is dissolve bouillon powder in boiling water and use it to make the sauce.
The piccata sauce may turn out bitter if you add the piths of lemon. Additionally, if you are adding lemon zest, make sure you are getting only the thin yellow layer and not the white part.
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2/3 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Slice chicken breasts in half to leave you with four cutlets. Pound them lightly to get them even thickness.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place flour on a plate and dredge the chicken in it, shaking off any excess.
- Heat oil and 2 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Working in batches, cook the chicken until deeply browned on both sides. Once the chicken is cooked, set it aside.
- Add garlic to the pan and sauté for 10 seconds, then add white wine and simmer until it reduces by half. Add capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the rest of the butter and swirl well, until the butter melts, return the chicken inside and simmer together for two minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with some fresh parsley.
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Hi! This looks delicious! I do have a question- what size chicken breast did you use? It just says “large”. So I want to make sure I don’t get something too small or two big.
Hi Brooke! Around 8-10 ounces each.
This is very good. I’ve made it several times.
Delicious and so quick and easy. I used 4 x chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. I find chicken breast to dry for me generally, but I havent made this recipe with breasts, so it may be okay.
Love this recipe!