This easy chicken piccata recipe with a lemon-caper sauce is a classic you’ll find on the menu of nearly every Italian restaurant, and because it can be made in just 20 minutes, it’s one of my favorite at-home recipes too.
Chicken Piccata Recipe
“I have too many easy chicken dinner recipes,” said nobody ever. And you guys agree, the more healthy the flavor, the more better. Not grammatically correct, but dang it tastes good.
When it seems there’s nothing to cook for dinner, this easy chicken piccata recipe is one I can always pull out of my magic hat and wow my family with dinner on the table in under 20 minutes.
Because nobody ever said they didn’t want more fast dinners, too.
What’s in This Chicken Piccata Recipe?
This chicken piccata recipe is made up of a few super simple ingredients that when put together make a dish that’s light, bright, and totally addicting. The key here is that one word: Simple. There’s really no need to add extra ingredients to fancy this dish up—garlic, shallots, tomatoes, mushrooms. I save those for my Chicken Piccata Pasta.
Here’s what all goes into the chicken piccata sauce:
- Chicken breasts
- Kosher salt and pepper
- All-purpose flour
- Canola oil
- Chicken broth or white wine
How to Make Chicken Piccata
Boneless chicken breasts are the star of this show, and we all know that too often those breasts can be a bit boring on their own, but that’s not in the cards here. I use organic, boneless and skinless chicken breasts, and trim any excess pieces.
Seasoning both sides of the chicken breast adds flavor so don’t be too shy. All it takes is a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to get the job done.
Then, give the chicken a quick dredge in all-purpose flour to create a light crust when the chicken is cooked.
TIP: Use only one hand to dredge the flour so the other stays clean, avoiding two gummed up hands instead of just one.
Use a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet for a quick fry of the chicken breasts. Avoid using a non-stick pan. You want the chicken to leave the built-up flavor bits in the bottom of the pan to add flavor to the piccata sauce and a non-stick pan won’t create those bits.
When frying, I use a combination of butter and oil. The oil tempers the butter so it doesn’t burn, and the butter adds that golden color and flavor to the chicken. If you’re worried about the added fat, start by adding less of both and add more as needed. But don’t leave one or the other out for the best results.
This lush, lemony sauce wins the award for easiest you’ll cook all week that doesn’t taste like it takes less than 5 minutes to make. Again, we are making this super simple, and nearly impossible to mess up.
Put the pucker in your piccata with lemon and capers. Not familiar with capers? They’re pickled flower buds imported from Italy and found in the olive section of your grocery store. They’re delicious little flavor explosions and pair amazingly with lemon.
I use a combination of both lemon juice and sliced lemons in my sauce, both for flavor and presentation. The sauce will taste pretty lemony by itself, making it just right when it’s paired with the chicken.
To make the sauce saucy, use chicken broth or wine, or a combination of both and to deglaze those flavor bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the sauce for a minute or two but don’t go too long or it will reduce away.
To thicken the sauce, add an extra tablespoon of butter to give the sauce body.
What to Serve With Chicken Piccata
This dish is perfect for quick weeknight eats and plate straight from the pan, or put it on a platter and serve it up for Sunday dinner. Here’s what I server alongside:
- The Best Creamy Mashed Potatoes (spoon a little sauce over when plating)
- Mashed Cauliflower with Parmesan and Chives (for those of you watching the carbs but still want the flavor)
- Easy Parmesan and Butter Noodles
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- Easy Green Beans with Browned Butter Almondine
- Arugula Salad Three Ways
And when there’s leftovers, I reheat the chicken piccata to serve for dinner the next night or make an easy lunch sandwich or slice it to top my favorite salads.
What Type of Wine Should I Use?
Any dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, will do. Choose a wine you’d actually drink, not a cooking wine.
Can I Use Chicken Thighs?
You likely can, but Italian chicken piccata is traditionally made with breasts. If using chicken thighs, they may require more or less time to cook — it depends on how thick they are.
Tips for Making the Best Chicken Piccata
To speed up the cooking process, slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise to make a thinner tenderloin or cutlet. This is a super easy trick that works every time to make the cooking quicker while keeping the chicken juicy. Use a thin, sharp knife to make this work easiest—this is my favorite knife for the job. Some recipes suggest pounding out the chicken, but I find this an extra step that isn’t needed if the breasts are cut in half instead.
Be sure to cook the chicken in two batches to avoid crowding, otherwise the chicken will steam instead of brown. To keep the chicken warm as the next batch cooks, loosely tent with aluminum foil or place in a 200°F oven.
And if your lemons seem hard or under-ripe, microwave them on HIGH for 15-30 seconds to get the most juice out of it.
More Classic Italian Recipes to Master
- Ina Garten’s Easy Cioppino Recipe
- Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
- The Cheesiest Spinach and Cheese Lasagna
- Mom’s Homemade Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Homemade Chicken Parmesan
- Baked Sausage and Cheese Rigatoni
This easy chicken piccata recipe's lemon-caper sauce is an Italian classic that can be made in just 20 minutes, making it everyone's favorite dinner.
- 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup chicken broth or white wine, or a combination of both
- 2 tablespoons capers drained and rinsed
Slice the lemon in half, juice one half, then cut the other half into 1/8" slices and set aside.
Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts and slice in half lengthwise. Season both sides of the chicken breasts evenly with the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper then dredge each breast in the flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter with the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 pieces of the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter or sheet pan and cover with foil. Continue with the remaining chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken broth or wine (or 1/2 cup of both) the lemon juice, sliced lemons, and the capers, scraping up the browned bits on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter until melted. Taste for seasoning and spoon the sauce over the chicken breasts. Serve with mashed potatoes or cauliflower, polenta, or noodles.
Keep the cooked chicken breasts warm while the sauce cooks by plating on a platter and covering with aluminum foil, or place in a 200°F oven.
More Easy Chicken Recipes You’ll Want to Make Too
- 30-Minute Caprese Chicken Recipe
- 5 Tips for Juicy Roast Chicken
- Easy Chicken Breasts with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- 30-Minute Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts
- The Best Greek Chicken Marinade
What’s your favorite chicken dinner or trick to get dinner on fast? Tell us all in the comments below.
Craving more life balance, less stress, and better health? Check out my Nourished Planner, the daily planner to help create simplicity and under-schedule your life.
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