Every time that you go to an authentic Italian restaurant, you can be sure to find Chicken Piccata on the menu. Although it is not as well known as spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna, this is one of my absolute favorite meals to order.
Lightly breaded chicken breast filets cooked in a lemon butter sauce that is not only delicious, but refreshing as well. Capers are then added in at the end of the cooking process to give the sauce a tangy and salty twist.
However, it is important to note that this dish did not actually originate in Italy. Instead, it is thought that it was a creation of the Italian-American culture.
What Does Piccata Mean?
Although the term piccata is an Italian culinary term that means ‘to pound flat’, it is most often known as a process to make a breaded veal cutlet. However, in more recent years, chicken has become the primary protein of choice of what is now referred to as Chicken Milanese.
This term originated in Milan and refers to a protein that has been sliced thin and has been coated in an egg and/or flour mixture and fried until golden brown. It is most often served as the main dish with a side salad, but can also have a tomato sauce drizzled on top.
However, over the years this process evolved by the Italian immigrants that settled in America. With the wide availability of a variety of ingredients, the most recent version of this recipe involves the cutlets to be cooked in a lemon, butter, and white wine sauce that is over the top delicious!
It is most commonly served over a bed of pasta, but can also be served alongside mashed potatoes, polenta, couscous or a green salad. Although it looks quite impressive, the recipe is actually very easy to make.
With just a few ingredients, this recipe can be made from start to finish in just about 30 minutes!
Chicken Piccata Recipe
*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.
- Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Butter, divided
- Dry white wine*
- Garlic, minced
- Fresh lemon juice
- Chicken broth
- Capers, drained**
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
*Dry White Wine – Be sure to use a dry white wine for this recipe. Some great wine choices are Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
Although the wine provides the best flavor, even when the alcohol cooks off, I understand that some people prefer not to use any alcohol in their recipes. If that is the case for you, simply replace the white wine with white wine vinegar.
**Capers can be found in the condiment aisle at the grocery store. They most likely will be located by the olives and/or pickled jalapeños.
Capers are the unripened green flower buds of a prickly plant most often found in the Mediterranean. After they are picked the flower buds are dried and then preserved, most often in a pickling brine. This in turn is what gives capers their trademark flavor.
The first step in making Chicken Piccata is to prepare the chicken. It is best to use thin chicken breasts for this recipe.
If you have large, thick cuts of chicken slice the chicken in half, horizontal to your cutting board. Now you will have two thin chicken breasts which are the perfect size.
If one side of the breast is thicker then the other, pound the meat with a meat mallet until they have a uniform thickness. Then trim any excess fat from the breasts and pat them dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
Set the chicken aside while you prepare the breading. In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan.
Working one at a time, dredge the chicken breasts in the mixture. Coat one side, flip and lightly tap the coating so that it sticks to the surface.
Do the same thing on the other side. Set the chicken aside while you prepare the skillet.
Brown The Chicken
Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter in a large skillet placed over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot and the butter is melted, place the chicken pieces down in the skillet.
Let the chicken sit in the skillet, undisturbed for approximately 3 minutes. You want the coating to brown and stick to the chicken surface and not to the skillet.
If you try to turn the chicken over too early the coating may stick to the pan instead of the chicken. When you are ready to flip, slowly use a spatula or tongs to gently lift the end of the chicken. If it releases easily, it is time to flip.
Then brown the other side, for approximately another 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place it on a plate to rest while you make the Chicken Piccata sauce.
Make The Sauce
Start by adding the wine, garlic, lemon juice, broth and capers to the skillet. Use a wooden spatula to deglaze the pan and scrape up the browned bits that may be stuck on the surface.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook until the sauce is reduced by half. Once the sauce is reduced, whisk in the remaining butter and then add the chicken breasts back to the skillet.
Cover the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F when checked by a digital read instant food thermometer. While the chicken is cooking, pour some of the liquid on the top surface for maximum flavor.
Serve immediately with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley if desired. Chicken Piccata can be served as a stand alone main dish, but is most commonly served with a bed of pasta, polenta or mashed potatoes.
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- 2-3 chicken breasts, thin cut, boneless, skinless
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
- Trim the excess fat from the chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Working one at a time, dredge the chicken in the mixture, being sure to coat both sides. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place the chicken pieces in the oil and brown well on each side, approximately 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.
- Add the wine, garlic, lemon juice, broth and capers to the skillet. Use a wooden spatula to deglaze the pan and scrape up the browned bits. Bring to a simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Reduce the sauce by half.
- Whisk in the remaining butter and the chicken thighs back to the skillet. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Serve immediately with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley if desired.
You can use skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts if you prefer.
Recipe provided by Make Your Meals
Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 548Total Fat 36gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 176mgSodium 1306mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 33g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.