Chicken Piccata


Chicken Piccata is a classic Italian-American dish that features tender chicken breasts cooked in a flavorful lemon-caper sauce. This dish is known for its bright, tangy flavors and is a favorite for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. The simplicity of the ingredients and the quick preparation make it a go-to recipe for many home cooks. Whether you’re new to cooking or an experienced chef, Chicken Piccata is a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire.

Overview of the Recipe

Chicken Piccata involves lightly breaded chicken breasts that are pan-fried until golden brown, then simmered in a sauce made from chicken broth, fresh lemon juice, and capers. The dish is garnished with fresh parsley, adding a burst of color and flavor. It’s typically served with pasta, rice, or vegetables, making it a versatile main course that pairs well with a variety of sides.

History and Origin

The term “piccata” is derived from the Italian word “piccare,” meaning “to prick.” While Chicken Piccata is an Italian-American creation, the traditional Italian version often uses veal. The adaptation to chicken became popular in the United States, where chicken is more readily available and often preferred. This dish highlights the Italian culinary tradition of simple, high-quality ingredients prepared in a way that enhances their natural flavors.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

  1. Pound the Chicken: Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch thick. This ensures even cooking.
  2. Season the Chicken: Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 2: Dredge the Chicken

  1. Flour Coating: Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge each chicken breast in the flour, coating both sides. Shake off any excess flour. This helps create a light crust when the chicken is cooked.

Step 3: Cook the Chicken

  1. Heat the Pan: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat until the butter melts and the foam subsides.
  2. Cook the Chicken: Add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. The internal temperature should reach 165°F. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

Step 4: Make the Sauce

  1. Deglaze the Pan: In the same skillet, add the chicken broth and fresh lemon juice. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. These bits add depth to the sauce.
  2. Add Capers and Butter: Stir in the capers and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce slightly thickens.

Step 5: Finish the Dish

  1. Combine and Heat Through: Return the cooked chicken breasts to the skillet. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and well-coated with the sauce.
  2. Garnish and Serve: Remove the skillet from heat. Garnish the chicken with chopped fresh parsley. Serve immediately.


Chicken Piccata is best served hot, immediately after cooking. This dish pairs wonderfully with pasta, such as linguine or angel hair, which can soak up the delicious sauce. It also goes well with rice, mashed potatoes, or a side of steamed vegetables like asparagus or green beans.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions

Side Dishes

  • Pasta: Serve with a simple pasta tossed in olive oil and garlic.
  • Rice: A side of steamed white or brown rice.
  • Vegetables: Steamed or roasted asparagus, green beans, or a mixed vegetable medley.


  • Non-Alcoholic: A refreshing lemon iced tea or sparkling water with a twist of lemon complements the citrusy notes of the dish.
  • Tea and Coffee: For a more refined pairing, consider serving with a delicate herbal tea or a light, roasted coffee to balance the flavors.

Variations of the Recipe

Gluten-Free Chicken Piccata

  • Substitute Flour: Use a gluten-free flour blend or almond flour for dredging the chicken.
  • Ensure Broth is Gluten-Free: Verify that the chicken broth is gluten-free.

Dairy-Free Chicken Piccata

  • Butter Substitute: Replace the butter with a dairy-free alternative such as margarine or coconut oil.

Vegetarian Piccata

  • Substitute Chicken: Use firm tofu or seitan as a chicken substitute. Prepare them in the same manner, adjusting cooking times as needed.

Health Benefits

Lean Protein

Chicken breasts are a great source of lean protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Lemon Juice: Rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system.
  • Capers: Contain antioxidants and are low in calories.

Healthy Fats

Olive oil and butter, when used in moderation, provide healthy fats that are beneficial for heart health.


  • Pounding the Chicken: Ensures even cooking and tenderness.
  • Browning Bits: Scraping up the browned bits from the pan enhances the flavor of the sauce.
  • Adjust Seasoning: Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed before serving.


Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?

Yes, chicken thighs can be used, but they may require a longer cooking time to ensure they are cooked through.

What can I use instead of capers?

If you don’t have capers, you can use green olives, though the flavor will be slightly different.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a skillet over low heat.

Can I freeze Chicken Piccata?

While it’s possible to freeze Chicken Piccata, the texture of the sauce may change upon thawing. For best results, consume fresh or refrigerate leftovers.


Chicken Piccata is a delicious, easy-to-make dish that brings a touch of Italian flair to your dining table. With its bright lemon-caper sauce and tender chicken, it’s sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re preparing it for a quick weeknight meal or a special occasion, this recipe is versatile and adaptable to various dietary needs. Enjoy the delightful flavors and the simplicity of this classic dish!

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