Chicken Piccata

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Chicken Piccata

When it’s 5:30 PM and I’m staring blankly into the fridge at a package of boneless chicken breasts — wondering what the heck am I going to make for dinner? — it’s often chicken piccata to the rescue. Crispy chicken cutlets in a lemony butter and caper sauce, this is one of those fast and easy suppers that makes everyone at the table happy, especially you. The chicken is delicious on its own (in fact, that’s how my kids prefer it) but the pan sauce is simple, lovely, and just the right amount of lemony. The capers add a sharp, briny note that contrasts nicely with the chicken, but feel free to leave them out if you’re not a fan. Chicken piccata pairs well with many easy sides, such as angel hair pasta, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or couscous, so you can go from “what’s for dinner?”  to “dinner’s on the table” in less than 30 minutes.

how to make chicken piccata

The key with chicken piccata is to pound the chicken breasts thin so they cook quickly and evenly. The best way is to first slice each chicken breast in half horizontally.

how to make chicken piccata

Then place the chicken breasts in a large sealable plastic bag and, using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound them to an even 1/4-inch thickness. (I use a sealable plastic bag to pound the chicken because it can also be used in the next step to easily coat the chicken with flour.)

how to make chicken piccata

To the bag, add the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; seal and shake to combine.

how to make chicken piccata

Add the chicken to the bag.

how to make chicken piccata

Then seal and shake to coat the chicken evenly.

how to make chicken piccata

Beat the eggs in a large, shallow bowl. In another large, shallow bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

how to make chicken piccata

Using tongs (or your hands), dip each chicken breast first in the egg mixture, turning to coat evenly and letting any excess egg drip off, and then into the breadcrumbs, turning to coat evenly. This 3-step breading method (flour + eggs + breadcrumbs) ensures that the coating adheres.

how to make chicken piccata

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the chicken to the pan and cook for until the first side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

how to make chicken piccata

Flip the chicken and cook until the second side is golden, about 2 minutes more.

how to make chicken piccata

Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven while you make the sauce. (Note: the chicken should be almost fully cooked at this point. Don’t leave it in the oven for more than 5 minutes or it will overcook.)

how to make chicken piccata

Discard any excess oil from the pan. Add the stock, lemon juice, and capers and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Gently boil for about two minutes, until slightly reduced.

how to make chicken piccata

Off the heat, swirl in the butter.

how to make chicken piccata

Add the parsley.

how to make chicken piccata

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.

how to make chicken piccata

Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to plates. Spoon the sauce over top and enjoy!

how to make chicken piccata

My Recipe Videos

Chicken Picatta

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons brined capers, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Using a very sharp knife, slice each chicken breast in half horizontally. One at a time, place the chicken breasts in a large sealable plastic bag and, using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound them to an even 1/4-inch thickness. (If your chicken breasts are very small, you can skip the step of cutting them in half horizontally. I use two 3/4-lb breasts to make 4 portions.) Save the bag.
  3. To the bag, add the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken to the bag; seal and shake to coat the chicken evenly. Beat the eggs in a large, shallow bowl. In another large, shallow bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using tongs (or your hands), dip each chicken breast first in the egg mixture, turning to coat evenly and letting any excess egg drip off, and then into the breadcrumbs, turning to coat evenly.
  4. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the chicken to the pan and cook for until the first side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until the second side is golden, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven while you make the sauce. (Note: the chicken should be almost fully cooked at this point. Don't leave it in the oven for more than 5 minutes or it will overcook.)   
  5. Discard any excess oil from the pan. Add the stock, lemon juice, and capers and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Gently boil for about two minutes, until slightly reduced. Off the heat, swirl in the butter, followed by the parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to plates. Spoon the sauce over top.
  6. Make Ahead: The chicken can be breaded and refrigerated up to four hours ahead of time.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 585
  • Fat: 31 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 47 g
  • Sodium: 758 mg
  • Cholesterol: 229 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • I made this today and it was absolutely delicious. I’m a beginner and felt that this was so well explained. Seriously, the recipies from this site never disappoint.

    • — Diana on December 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made this for supper tonight. All my family loved it. I didn’t have the Italian parsley, but I don’t think it was missed. I added a couple of tsp. of dried parsley. I will certainly make it again.

    • — Joy on October 3, 2018
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  • I made this and it was amazing! My only suggestion is don’t spoon the sauce over all the chicken if you think you may have leftovers as they were soggy the next day. Next time I will keep the sauce separate to heat it up!!

    • — Steph on July 11, 2018
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  • Made this recipe last night for dinner and I was surprised at how delicious it was! So simple to make and the sauce is so so tasty on the chicken cutlets. My boyfriend doesn’t like capers so he just drizzled the sauce minus capers and he was still impressed at how great it was. This is a restaurant quality meal. Thank you for the recipe!

    • — Alison G on July 10, 2018
    • Reply
  • This recipe has become an intercontinental favorite My Italian grandson is a finicky eater, and when he and my daughter and son-in-law visit each summer, I make Chicken Piccata for our first meal together. Franceaco eats his portion sans the piccata, and loves the crunchiness of the breading. We all enjoy every bite of this tasty chicken. This year I served it it with summer sweet corn, and a romaine strawberry and almond salad dressed with a chmapagne vinagrette. It was a wonderful welcome home feast. Thank you for this quick and delicious recipe.

    • — Linda Heile on June 29, 2018
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  • can you freeze, defrost and reheat?

    • — Barbara Donatelli on June 27, 2018
    • Reply
    • This is probably best right after being cooked, but yes, I think it could be frozen and reheated.

      • — Jenn on June 29, 2018
      • Reply
  • Great recipe! Light yet filling. Thank you

    • — Rocio Pelayo on May 31, 2018
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  • As delicious as it was easy. Sides of Orzo with pesto and a small salad, it hit the spot!!!

    • — Thomas Cummins on April 8, 2018
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  • Hi Jenn,
    Thank you for this delicious recipe, it’s another triumph! Your cookbook arrived yesterday and it’s Brilliant! The illustrations and recipes are set out so well and are very clear to understand like all your recipes! I Opened it up and cooked the first recipe I came to, Curried roasted carrots and you’re right they’re just like vegetable candy Yum! I’m buying all my friends a copy for birthdays this year! It has pride of place on my kitchen shelf in front of Delia & Nigella 😉
    Please come to the UK when the book is a bestseller, which it will be.We’ll put the kettle on! Thanks so much! x

    • — Maddi Cryer on April 4, 2018
    • Reply
    • Maddi, thanks so much for the nice words about the cookbook – so glad you like what you see so far! (And I’m incredibly flattered that I’m on your bookshelf next to Nigella!) I appreciate you taking the time to let me know! 💕

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2018
      • Reply
  • I’ve tried many of your recipes and they are easy to follow and turn out delicious. Looking forward to getting your cookbook when it comes out. Can this chicken picatta recipe work in a nonstick pan? Thanks!

    • — D.Cook on March 28, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yep, a nonstick pan will work. And so glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • This was delicious. Served with spaghetti and French green beans because that is all we had. It took me longer than the stated time and fortunately I had my husband to sous chef but we had our wine and made a date of it. Agree with the reviewer that said that this was another restaurant quality meal at home. In fact these recipes are better than restaurants. Thanks again!

    • — Janet on March 19, 2018
    • Reply
  • This Chicken Picaata is delicious. The chicken breast were so tender and moist. I was holding my breath on that because my husband prefers the dark meat. He loved it too. It’s a keeper with or without the sauce! I served it with the thyme carrots which is also a keeper and the Mac and cheese! I look forward to my cookbooks coming. I ordered one for my daughter and my daughter in law. I do hope you have a book signing close enough to me! Hope to see you there! Congrats…Beth

    • — Beth Estes on March 8, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight and followed everything except I didn’t need to stick in the oven. I just lined my pan with foil and then covered them with more foil. They stayed warm and nice and juicy! Sauce was delicious as well. I made roasted carrots with honey and a little soy sauce as well as mashed potatoes. Husband loved it!!! Thank you for sharing your talents…please keep them coming!!

    • — Chrissy on March 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • This recipe is delicious. The only added ingredient I used was I dipped the chicken breast into a bowl of grated Parmesan cheese after I dipped it into breadcrumbs. The Parmesan cheese just adds a little extra flavor.
    Give it a try. I served the chicken over rice. Delicious!
    Thank you for all these wonderful dinner ideas!
    Nancy

    • — Nancy on March 2, 2018
    • Reply
    • Ditto Nancy. Parmesan really adds something to it! I just mix parm right in with my flour spice mixture.

      • — Alison A Spinney on September 23, 2018
      • Reply
  • Easy and delicious! A fast weeknight dinner. Served with angel hair pasta and a green salad.
    Thanks!

    • — Naz Sicherman on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made this for my family and everyone, including my little ones, loved it. It was very easy to make and I loved how the chicken finishes cooking in the oven because my chicken usually burns before it’s done on the stove. Thanks again for another keeper!

    • — Pam on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe as written and the only thing I’d do differently is to thicken up the sauce. I used lemon slices as garnish and made the suggested pairings of parmesan mashed potatoes and roasted carrots with thyme. Made for a great presentation.

    • — Cheryl Arnold on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • This was downright delicious. While friends of ours have discovered the thing where you put chicken in a ziplock in hot water and over the course of hours to days cook it to perfect tenderness, this is just as tender in just a few minutes. We did make lots of extra sauce (double everything) to pour over the rice we served the chicken with.

    • — Eleanor Wilson on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • This was a simple, quick and fantastic tasting recipe. My son had requested chicken piccata for dinner and the next morning you had this in my email box! It was meant to be. The chicken was flavorful and moist. I wouldn’t change anything about the recipe. I accompanied it with roasted vegetables and a garden salad. My family loved it.

    • — Malia on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed with this recipe, and I usually never am from this site. The chicken was good on its own. Sauce was ok. I served it with angel hair pasta. I thought it was a bit time consuming and messy for a weeknight meal.

    • — Myria Kniffen on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • I became a chef with this recipe! Easy and so delicious! Another fav to add to my Once Upon a Chef list!!!

    • — Trish on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Quick & easy, a definite must do again. I served with Parmesan Potatoes and steamed asparagus.

    • — Margie Burr on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Loved this recipe! Found prepared chicken cutlets at my grocery store, so no need for slicing (even faster!). I will say, I tried to double it but my second set of chicken cutlets burned on the outside despite adding more cooking oil. First set was perfect though.

    • — Karen S. on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made this for my son and myself the other night and it was super. Just a few items I did differently was I had the butcher hand slice the breasts for me when I picked them up and I used panko instead of bread crumbs.
    Served with steamed broccoli and Rosemary blend Quinoa and Rice. The ice cream came later 🙂 Will be making again soon.

    • — Robert on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Not a huge fan of chicken breast but the photo got me. Made this dish without any changes. The chicken came out moist and tender and we served with mushroom risotto and a Cesar salad. This Chicken Piccata is Absolutely Delicious!!!

    • — Carl Schena on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made this for my family this week and everyone loved it! I doubled the batch for leftovers but no luck ;). We are gluten and dairy free so I decided to skip the dredging and frying. I put the chicken on a sheet pan, sprinkled with lemon pepper and roasted it while I made the sauce. I subbed olive oil for the butter and added a little honey to the sauce. I also roasted brussel sprouts on the rack below the chicken. It was easy, fast and healthy. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Mel Nelson on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • We made this last night for dinner. I love when I can make one dish that pleases the whole family – and this Chicken Piccata did not disappoint. We served this with angel hair pasta. The sauce, angel hair pasta and chicken together were delicious. This recipe is a keeper.

    • — Carrie on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Another restaurant quality dish, made at home. We made this dish and paired it as recommended with the Parmesan mashed potatoes and roasted romanesco from our garden (instead of the carrots) and wish that we had made enough for leftovers. Even my picky eater (an almost 7-year old) loved it. It will be on the standard menu rotation for sure!

    • — David on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight and like all your recipes, it was a big hit! Simple to make and very tasty. I reduced my sauce but it didn’t seem to thicken up. How thick should it get? Mine was basically the same consistency as chicken broth. Thanks!

    • — Karla on February 27, 2018
    • Reply
    • The sauce really doesn’t thicken up for this, so sounds like you did everything right – glad you enjoyed it!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • Love your recipes and your recommendations for kitchen tools. Can you give me a recommendation for a good set of knives, like the ones you use? I plan to try this recipe!

    • — Sharon on February 24, 2018
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the recipes, Sharon! I really like Wüsthof knives. With a set like this, you’re getting everything you need. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 24, 2018
      • Reply
  • Thank you so much for developing this recipe! Chicken Piccata is one of my favorite meals to order at an Italian restaurant, but my attempts to find a comparable recipe have not been as good. This is amazing, and so simple to prepare. I served with some mushroom risotto. The earthiness of the mushrooms worked well with the lemony chicken.

    • — PaulainVA on February 23, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made tonight, came out perfectly. chicken was moist and delicious! I did double the sauce as we made pasta for a side. Thanks!

    • — Jen on February 22, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hey Jenn, I love your site & recipes. My family is gluten free & I struggle with recipes that call for flour. Is there another flour I can use or is it okay to skip it here. I’m not sure what the purpose of the flour is in this recipe. Could you give GF options for flour ingredients? Tks.

    • — Debbie on February 22, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, The 3-step breading method (flour+eggs+breadcrumbs) ensures that the coating adheres. I think you could definitely use gluten free flour and gluten free breadcrumbs here. Hope that helps and so happy you’re enjoying the recipes!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2018
      • Reply
  • Would this recipe work substituting veal for chicken? If so, what, if any, adjustments would need to be made? Eagerly awaiting your cookbook!

    • — Harriet on February 22, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Harriet, You can definitely use veal here – no changes necessary. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2018
      • Reply
  • Legitimate comfort food! Pounded the chicken breasts with a little splash of water in the bag (because my mother does). Served with roasted broccoli. Absolutely delicious. Jenn, I’m such a fan of your recipes. I can’t wait for the cookbook!

    • — Julie on February 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • 😊 Thanks, Julie! Hope you find lots of new favorites in the book, too!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2018
      • Reply
  • I always buy thighs rather than breasts, both because they’re cheaper but also because they’re more moist. Any strong reason why this recipe wouldn’t work with boneless-skinless chicken thighs?

    • — Brian C Mustain on February 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Brian, Since the breasts are pounded, breaded, and fried, there’s very little risk of them drying out — and I think a leaner cut is best given the coating and butter sauce. That said, thighs will work too. I’d love to know how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen! I was so happy to see that you posted this recipe. Chicken piccata is my son’s favorite restaurant dish and I have not been able to find a really good recipe until today…. this recipe is amazing! Just made it, followed your directions as written, and both my son (he is a tough critic) and I give it an A++. Thank you. Can’t wait for your cookbook : )
    Megan

    • — Megan Marchlinski on February 21, 2018
    • Reply
  • Yes, you finally added this recipe! I’m so glad you did! I had this for lunch at one of the culinary schools in my area and it was so good I’ve been looking for a recipe. I have tried many of your other recipes and they do not disappoint. I can’t wait to try this out!

    • — Sunshine on February 21, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi there! Love your website and recipes! Have you tried making this dish with dry white wine _ broth, plus lemon juice?

    • — Anastasia on February 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Anastasia, I haven’t tried this dish with wine but it should work. I just wouldn’t add too much since it could make the sauce a bit too acidic.

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi, this looks amazing but we don’t have Italian breadcrumbs here …

    Should I use soft ones or Panko ones?

    Thanks!

    • — KatP on February 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Kat, I’d use panko but you’ll need to add some dried herbs and a bit more salt to mimic Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs.

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Jenn, can I use skinless, boneless thighs and how would this affect the cooking time/temperature?

    • — Carol Winkelman on February 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I definitely prefer this dish with chicken breasts but the thighs should work. I’d just keep them in the oven a bit longer – maybe 15 minutes to be safe. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2018
      • Reply

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