Making chicken piccata is one of the best things to do with boneless chicken breasts. Because the chicken cutlets are super thin, they cook quickly and soak up all the wonderful flavors of lemon, garlic and wine. Super tasty and easy – a magic combination!
I tried to photograph this without grabbing a bite, and failed. It was those little chicken tenders that were just too irresistible.
In fact, before you cut or pound the chicken, I suggest that you pull out the tenders and cook them up with the rest of the dish. Then you’ll be able to sneak some tastes in the kitchen without having to cut into the larger pieces.
Chicken piccata is a dish for every season. Whether it’s a beautiful summer evening or a frigid winter night, who can resist a skillet of bright lemony chicken piccata for dinner?!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PICCATA
The first step is to make thin chicken cutlets. Learning how to cut or pound a chicken breast into thin cutlets is a great skill to have. Delicate chicken cutlets cook faster than whole chicken breasts and they are ideal for dishes like chicken schnitzel , chicken paillard, chicken parmesan and chicken piccata.
Place the chicken breast half in a large plastic ziploc bag. Do NOT seal the bag or it will pop. Pound the chicken gently and evenly, using a meat mallet, a small heavy skillet or a rolling pin, until it’s about ¼-inch thick. For a little more detail, here’s a great video from Serious Eats on How To Cut and Pound Chicken breast into cutlets.
- Once your chicken is pounded thin, make a seasoned flour with all-purpose flour, salt and pepper and dredge the chicken cutlets in it.
- Sauté the lightly-floured cutlets for a few minutes in a mixture of butter and olive oil, until they’re golden brown and just cooked through. Remove them from the skillet.
- Whip up a quick pan sauce with butter, garlic, white wine, lemon juice, chicken broth, capers and a little flour to thicken it.
- Return the chicken to the pan and simmer it gently in the sauce, for a minute or two, to heat it through.
- Dinner is ready!
WHAT’S THE BEST DRY WHITE WINE FOR COOKING?
- Many recipes call for dry white wine, often to deglaze the browned bits from the pan and to add a bit of acidity to a dish.
- The best white wines for cooking are dry and crisp. Avoid wines that are rich, sweet or oaky which can alter the flavor of your dish.
- When a recipe calls for dry white wine, I generally use dry vermouth because it’s got the perfect dry crisp flavor profile and it’s always in my liquor cabinet, a staple for my husband’s martinis and Manhattans. Also, as white wines goes, vermouth has a good long shelf life, even after it’s opened.
- Other great choices for dry white cooking wines are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.
WONDERING WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN PICCATA?
- The absolute best side dish with chicken piccata is sautéed spinach with garlic. A perfect harmony of colors, textures and flavors!
- If you’re looking for something to soak up the delicious lemony sauce, chicken piccata is always great with pasta. I have a strong preference for angel hair. My favorite is Giada’s Lemony spaghetti recipe, made with angel hair instead of spaghetti.
- If you’re avoiding gluten (or even if you’re not) mashed potatoes is a great side with chicken piccata!
Chicken piccata is one of those dishes that’s easy enough for weeknights and delicious enough for a special occasion. Everyone needs a great chicken piccata recipe in their recipe collection.
Tender chicken cutlets in a luscious lemony sauce. A perfect weeknight dinner! Adapted from Cooking Light
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: One Pan
- Cuisine: Italian
- 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves*
- ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2½ tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ cup dry white wine**
- ¾ cup low-salt chicken broth, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup capers, drained and rinsed
- Optional Garnish:
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Lemon slices
- Pound or Slice Chicken into Thin Cutlets: If chicken has tenders, pull them out before pounding or slicing the breasts. Tenders are small and tender and don’t need to be pounded. To pound chicken, place each breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap or inside a large plastic baggie; pound with a meat mallet, small heavy skillet, or rolling pin, to ¼-inch thickness. Cut each thin cutlet in half, if you like the idea of 8 small pieces rather than 4 large. Alternatively, you slice the chicken into cutlets instead of pounding it: set each breast half on a flat surface and use a very sharp knife to slice it horizontally through the middle* (see link below for tutorial on slicing and pounding chicken into cutlets)
- Flour the Chicken: Mix 1/2 cup flour with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and spread seasoned flour onto a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Shake off excess. Set pieces on a plate as you go.
- Brown the Chicken: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan and sauté 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and just cooked through. If cooking more than 4 cutlets, cook the chicken in two batches, adding a more oil and butter between batches. Transfer chicken to a plate as you go.
- Make the Pan Sauce and Finish the Dish: Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid almost evaporates, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until reduced by about a third. While the sauce is simmering combine the remaining teaspoon of flour with the remaining 1/4 cup of chicken broth in a small cup and stir until smooth. Whisk the flour mixture to the sauce and cook for 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Lower the heat to a simmer; whisk in remaining 1½ tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and ¼ cup capers. Return chicken to the pan. Simmer gently in the sauce for two minutes or until heated through.
- To Serve: Plate chicken. Spoon sauce on top. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprinkle of parsley.
* Here’s a good tutorial on How to pound and cut chicken into cutlets
**The Best White Wine For Cooking: Use a wine that’s dry and crisp such as Dry Vermouth, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. Avoid wines that are rich, sweet or oaky which can alter the flavor of your dish.
[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in Feb 2016. It was updated in Sept 2019 with added nutritional information, more clarifying details in the written post, added tips for how to make chicken cutlets and how to choose a good cooking wine.]
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for a the advice of a professional nutritionist.
Keywords: One pan chicken piccata, Chicken with lemon and caper sauce