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Chicken Piccata

This easy homemade Chicken Piccata – thin boneless chicken breasts served in a sauce of lemon juice, butter, capers, white wine, shallots, and garlic – is incredibly delicious and ready in just 30 minutes!

Want to make a restaurant-quality chicken dinner that’ll impress your family, friends and guests but won’t have you slaving in the kitchen all day? Give this super simple Italian-American classic a try!

So, a few weekends ago, my little brother got married (another big congrats to the newlyweds, James and Karisty…love you guys!). It was the most beautiful wedding!

For dinner, we had chicken piccata, green beans amandine and mashed potatoes. And I enjoyed it so much that I was inspired to recreate it for dinner this week.

Piccata (which means “to be pounded flat” in Italian cooking) is thinly sliced or pounded meat that has been seasoned, dredged lightly in flour, browned in oil and/or butter, and then simmered in a sauce of lemon juice, butter and capers.

Traditionally, piccata was made with veal. You could even make it with pork. But chicken seems to be the most popular version here in America, and it’s my favorite as well.

The want-to-lick-your-plate-clean sauce is most definitely the star of the show…and there’s plenty of it to go around!

Buttery and silky with the distinct sharpness of fresh lemon juice and briny capers, I also add shallots, garlic and white wine to kick up the flavor even more.

And don’t be afraid of those capers! They’re the un-ripened green flower buds of the caper bush that have been dried and preserved in a salty brine.

You’ll get a burst of tangy, lemony, olive-y, salty flavor from each one of these little jewels. Piccata just isn’t piccata without them!

chicken piccata in a skillet with a serving spoon on the side

Ingredients You Need:

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • All-purpose flour
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Shallot
  • Garlic
  • Dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Chicken broth or stock (I use water mixed with a roasted chicken base)
  • Freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Capers (look for them near the Italian foods or pickles in your grocery store)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Note: The above video is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full printable recipe with detailed instructions.

Recipe Tips & Tidbits:

  • If you don’t want to deal with cutting the breasts in half, just get chicken breast cutlets instead.
  • Love chicken thighs? You could absolutely use boneless skinless thighs instead of breasts (you might need to cook them just a little longer).
  • Be very careful not to overcook the chicken; those thin cutlets will cook quickly, and you don’t want them to end up tough and dry. Since all stoves perform differently, the cooking times given are just guidelines.
  • Don’t have any shallots? Finely dice some onion instead.
  • Use a dry white wine that you would enjoy drinking…and it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of delicious inexpensive wines out there.
    • My favorites are Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc (I don’t recommend Chardonnay, as I don’t think the oakiness works in this dish, and I would definitely avoid cooking wines which can be overly salty and not have very good flavor).
  • You could use bottled lemon juice in a pinch, but nothing beats the flavor of freshly-squeezed lemon juice in this dish!
  • Yes, I said that piccata isn’t picatta without capers…but if you don’t like them or can’t get them, you could leave them out and still have a delicious chicken in lemon sauce.
  • If you have extra lemon, you could slice it and use it for a pretty garnish.
close-up of chicken piccata in a pan

Make-Ahead, Storing and Freezing:

  • Make Ahead: Although you could make Chicken Piccata ahead of time and reheat it, I don’t recommend it.
    • Not only do you risk being disappointed by the chicken becoming overcooked when reheating it; this dish is all about those bold, fresh flavors and is best made right before serving.
  • Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 to 4 days.
    • To reheat in the oven: Place the chicken, sauce and a little chicken broth in a baking dish (the broth will help keep the sauce (and the chicken) from drying up. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 300°F just until heated through.
    • To reheat on the stove: Place the chicken, sauce and a little chicken broth into a pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium-low heat just until heated through.
  • Freezing: For the same reasons that I don’t recommend making it ahead, I don’t recommend freezing it either. It’s just best made fresh!
chicken piccata on a white plate with green beans amandine and mashed potatoes

And there it is…my recreation of the fabulous dinner from my brother’s wedding. It was SO GOOD!

I made my Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes and added a little garlic powder (Yum!). You could also serve it with pasta or rice (my Rice and Pasta Pilaf would be perfect).

And stay tuned, because next up are those yummy green beans amandine!

I hope you try this Chicken Piccata recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Easy Chicken Dinner Recipes You Might Like…

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

chicken piccata on a white plate with a serving fork

Chicken Piccata

This easy homemade Chicken Piccata – thin boneless chicken breasts served in a sauce of lemon juice, butter, capers, white wine, shallots, and garlic – is incredibly delicious and ready in just 30 minutes!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Estimated Calories: 390

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 to 10 ounces each) boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 to 1¼ pounds total
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock, I use a mixture of water and a roasted chicken base
  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Cut each chicken breast in half horizontally, making 4 thinner cutlets total.
  • One at a time, place each cutlet between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently pound them to an even thickness of about ½ inch.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Place the flour in a shallow bowl or on a plate; lightly dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, coating both sides and shaking off any excess.
    You probably won't use all of the flour; discard whatever is left.
  • In a large skillet (I use a 12-inch skillet), heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet; cook until are nicely golden-brown (about 2 to 3 minutes per side).
    The chicken will not be cooked through at this point; we are just looking to get some color in this step. It will finish cooking in the sauce later.
  • Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate; set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the shallots and garlic; cook, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes just until the shallots begin to soften and the garlic is fragrant.
    Be very careful not to burn the garlic, as it will become bitter. Watch the heat and adjust it as needed. You could even remove the pan from the heat for a minute or two to cool it down if you need to.
  • Add the wine and deglaze the skillet by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Increase the heat and bring to a simmer; simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until the wine has reduced by about half.
  • Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and capers; bring back up to a simmer.
  • Return the chicken to the pan; gently simmer just until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature of 165°F), about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and stir until it has melted into the sauce. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if needed.
  • To serve: spoon some of the sauce over each piece of chicken and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you don’t want to deal with cutting the breasts in half, just get chicken breast cutlets instead.
  • Love chicken thighs? You could absolutely use boneless skinless thighs instead of breasts (you might need to cook them just a little longer).
  • Be very careful not to overcook the chicken; those thin cutlets will cook quickly, and you don’t want them to end up tough and dry. Since all stoves perform differently, the cooking times given are just guidelines.
  • Use wine that you would enjoy drinking (I don’t use cooking wine because it can be overly salty and not have the best flavor).
  • Don’t have any shallots? Finely dice some onion instead.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 to 4 days.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
Recipe Rating




Eugene

Monday 26th of September 2022

Sounds awesome can't wait to try it, and I love to cook.

Michelle

Monday 26th of September 2022

Hi, Eugene! Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy it!