Everyone Loves Chicken Piccata - even the cook!
Chicken Piccata is one of the easiest and most satisfying Italian-American recipes. Delicate slices of tender chicken simmered in buttery lemon wine sauce with capers. It's hard to imagine anything more tempting, elegant or comforting.
It really doesn't matter what time of year it is or what the occasion is - Chicken Piccata is a fantastic dish for all seasons and all occasions, casual or fancy. I always serve it with capellini, rice or mashed potatoes, something to soak up the delicious sauce, and a green vegetable like Sautéed spinach with garlic or garlicky broccoli. I often serve this beautiful insalata tricolore on the side. My favorite salad to accompany any Italian meal.
If you love to make people happy with food as much as I do, cooking chicken piccata is one sure way to do it. And if you're concerned that such a delicious elegant dish must be difficult or time consuming to make, have no fear. I have been cooking this dish for years, refining and tweaking the recipe to make it as simple as it is delicious.
Follow my recipe below and you can pull off a marvelous chicken piccata dinner in about 35 minutes. And when you're done cooking, there's only one pan to wash.
CHICKEN PICCATA INGREDIENTS
Here are the ingredients you need to make Chicken Piccata. For more details and exact amounts, see the recipe card below.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PICCATA
Basically, this recipe has two prepping steps - pound & dredge, and two cooking steps - sauté & make a pan sauce.
Here's an overview of how to make chicken piccata, broken down into components, so you can get a clear picture of what the process is. For detailed, printable instructions, see the recipe card below.
- POUND (5 minutes)
Pound or slice whole chicken breasts into ¼-inch thick chicken cutlets. Here's a great video from Serious Eats on How To Cut and Pound Chicken breasts into cutlets.
- DREDGE (5 minutes)
Mix flour with salt and pepper, pour the seasoned flour onto a plate, and dredge the chicken in the flour to coat it.
- SAUTE: (12 minutes)
Melt butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and sauté the chicken for about 3 minutes per side until golden brown, working in two batches to avoid crowding the pan. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it on a plate.
- WHIP UP THE PAN SAUCE: (10 minutes)
Sauté chopped garlic for 30 seconds, add wine and cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any tasty bits that are stuck. Add ½ cup of the chicken broth and simmer for 3 minutes. Whisk the remaining ¼ cup of broth with 1 teaspoon of flour and then whisk that mixture into the pan sauce and simmer for 1 minute to thicken it. Whisk in the remaining butter along with the lemon juice and capers. The pan sauce is ready!
- HEAT & SERVE: (3 minutes)
Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer it gently in the sauce for a couple of minutes until it's heated through. Serve the chicken piccata with a garnish of lemon slices and chopped parsley.
I prefer to buy whole boneless skinless chicken breasts and pound them thin myself as opposed to using store-bought thin-sliced cutlets, because pounding the chicken not only makes it evenly thin, it also tenderizes the chicken. Though this step takes a bit of time and effort, it's worthwhile and it can be done a day or two ahead of time.
The sautéed chicken cutlets are delicious on their own and then they're simmered in buttery lemon garlic wine sauce and they are simply amazing.
My trusty Lodge cast iron skillet is the perfect pan for cooking chicken piccata. If I'm cooking this for a crowd, sometimes I have two skillets going at the same time. It's a bit chaotic but it gets the job done fast.
MY FAVORITE WAY TO MAKE CHICKEN PICCATA
If you've tried other chicken piccata recipes, you've probably noticed that most of them direct you to sauté the chicken, keep it warm in the oven while you make the sauce, and then spoon the sauce on top. I've tried that method and have found that the chicken can get dry in the oven, and pouring the sauce on top doesn't fix that.
As you can see, my recipe doesn't use the oven to keep the chicken warm. The chicken is sautéd and is set aside while you make the sauce. Then the chicken is added back to the pan and simmered gently in the sauce, which infuses it with juiciness and flavor as it heats.
3 TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST & EASIEST CHICKEN PICCATA
- Pound the chicken to an even thickness of ¼-inch.
- Use a large heavy cast iron skillet for good heat retention and even cooking.
- Have all of your ingredients prepped and at the ready before you start cooking because this dish cooks fast and you don't want to be scrambling for this or that.
5 Common Questions About This Recipe
- What do I do with the chicken tenders?
Chicken tenders don't need to be sliced or pounded because they are already small and tender. Before you slice or pound the chicken to make cutlets, pull out the tenders. Flour them and cook them up along with bigger cutlets. By the way, the tenders are the perfect size for sneaking tastes in the kitchen before dinner.
- What is the best white wine for this dish?
Look for a dry, crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Avoid wines that are rich, sweet or oaky which can alter the flavor of the dish. When a recipe calls for dry white wine, I often use dry vermouth because it has the dry crisp flavor profile and it's always in my liquor cabinet, a staple for my husband's martinis and Manhattans. Plus vermouth has a good long shelf life, even after it has been opened.
- How do I cook chicken piccata for a crowd?
To make a large batch of chicken piccata, follow the recipe instructions below, using twice or triple the ingredients. After you sauté the chicken and make the pan sauce, pour the sauce into a large deep baking pan or casserole and nestle the chicken into the sauce. If you're not serving it right away, you can put the whole casserole in the fridge, covered, for several hours. When you're ready to finish the dish, cover the pan tightly with a double layer of foil and warm it in a 350ºF oven for 15-20 minutes or until it's heated through. If it's been chilling in the fridge, it will need an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven.
- Can I make this gluten free?
Yes. Dredge the chicken in corn starch instead of flour.
- Can I make this dairy free?
Yes, use your favorite butter substitute. I like Earth Balance.
Here's the chicken piccata recipe. If you cook this, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Tender chicken cutlets in a luscious lemony sauce. A recipe that's easy enough for weeknight dinner, delicious enough for a special occasion. 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, pounded or sliced into thin ⅓-inch to ¼-inch cutlets. (See notes below for how to make chicken cutlets)
- ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ½ tablespoons butter at room temperature, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ½ cup dry white wine (see notes)
- ¾ cup low-salt chicken broth, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup capers, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Lemon slices
- Mix ½ cup flour with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and spread seasoned flour onto a plate. Dredge the chicken cutlets in seasoned flour to coat, shake to remove excess flour, and set chicken on a plate near the stovetop.
- Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When butter is melted, tilt the pan to coat it, add half of the chicken or as much as will fit in a single layer, and sauté the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and just cooked through. Then transfer it to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding a little more oil and butter to the pan if needed.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until much of the liquid in the pan evaporates, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ½ cup of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook 3-4 minutes until reduced by about a third. While the sauce simmers, combine the remaining teaspoon of flour with the remaining ¼ cup of chicken broth in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to the sauce and cook, whisking, for 1 minute, until slightly thickened. Add the remaining 1½ tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and ¼ cup capers, whisking to combine.
- Return chicken to the skillet, turning it in the sauce, and simmer it gently for 2-3 minutes or until it's heated through.
- Plate the chicken. Spoon some sauce on top. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprinkle of parsley.
How to make chicken cutlets from whole chicken breasts:
Place a chicken breast half in a large plastic baggie left unsealed, and pound gently and evenly with a meat mallet, a small heavy skillet, or a rolling pin, to ⅓-inch to ¼-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining chicken. Cut each thin cutlet in half, if you like the idea of 8 small pieces rather than 4 large.
What to do with the chicken tenders: If the chicken has tenders, pull them out before pounding or slicing the chicken. Tenders are small and tender and don't need to be pounded. They can be floured and cooked along with the larger cutlets.
To make this gluten free dredge the chicken in cornstarch instead of flour.
to make this dairy free use your favorite butter substitute in place of butter.
To make this for a crowd Double or triple all the ingredients and follow this recipe through step 3. Put the sautéed chicken into a large deep roasting pan and pour the sauce on top. If you're not serving it right away, you can put the whole casserole in the fridge, covered, for several hours. When you're ready to finish the dish, cover the pan tightly with a double layer of foil and heat it in a 350ºF oven for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. If it's been chilling in the fridge, it will need an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven.
The Best White Wine For Chicken Piccata: 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 on Sept 13, 2019 with added nutritional information, added tips for how to make chicken cutlets and how to choose a good cooking wine. It was updated again March 15, 2022 with new photos and answers to frequently asked questions. ]
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