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Chicken Piccata

Lemony, caper-topped, and just buttery enough, chicken piccata is an easy weeknight supper that’s easy to love, and so very fast—just ten minutes from sauté pan to table.


Chicken Piccata with lemon and capers in a cast iron skillet

The TMP Food Philosophy in a Nutshell: When in Doubt, Turn to Italy.

Or at least, Italian-American cuisine. Lemony, caper-topped, and just buttery enough, our chicken piccata recipe makes for an easy weeknight supper that’s easy to love, and so very fast—just ten minutes from sauté pan to table after all, it’s basically thin scaloppine—or “thin pieces”—of chicken, fried in butter and drizzled a tangy lemon-butter pan sauce that’s studded with briny capers. What’s not to love!?

Chicken Piccatta in a skillet with lemon sauce and capers

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What Is Chicken Piccata?

If you grew up with parents that cooked often—like we did—or grew up eating out at Italian restaurants basically anywhere in America (hello, Olive Garden) you’re probably kind of familiar with “chicken piccata” as we mean it—a pan-fried chicken cutlet, topped with a lemon-butter piccata sauce. BUT! Chicken piccata as we know it doesn’t actually seem to have origins in Italy. It’s likely an Italian-American invention, a derivative of a couple of different classic Italian cooking techniques, like scaloppine which means “thin slices of meat (such as veal) sautéed or coated with flour and fried”. A lemon and butter pan sauce is a classic way of dressing pan-fried meat, and is common throughout Italy, but the (brilliant) addition of capers can’t be attributed to any one place or time. However and whenever it came into being, chicken piccata is—as far as we’re concerned—a very welcome addition to any home cook’s repertoire.

ingredients laid out for Chicken Piccata thinly cut chicken breast, flour, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, shallots

Capers and Lemons and Chicken Cutlets Fried in Butter: The Chicken Piccata Trifecta of Awesome.

Sure, chicken breast isn’t the most exciting thing ever. But, it doesn’t take much to perk it WAY up. Just a few, easy-to-find ingredients—ones that you might even have around already—and you’ll be amazed how delicious that humble chicken breast can be. Here’s what you’ll need to make chicken piccata:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt & pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken stock
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Lemons, they brighten everything, including our Lemon Butter Chicken.
  • Capers
chicken breast cutlet dredged in flour and placed on a baking sheet
chicken breast dredged in flour and cooked in butter and olive oil in a cast iron skillet
shallot, garlic and chicken stock simmering in chicken pan drippings in a cast iron skillet
Chicken Piccata sauce in a cast iron skillet with capers, butter and lemon

How to Make Chicken Piccata Part 1: The Pan-Fry

  1. Slice the chicken breasts horizontally—you’ll need a sharp knife for this, obviously! The reason you cut the chicken breast into thin pieces is so that they can cook evenly during the pan-frying process. Thin pieces of chicken mean that when the outside is crispy and perfectly brown, the chicken will be cooked through. Magic!
  2. Dredge! Season the chicken breast pieces, and then give them a nice coating of flour. For whatever reason, kids really love to help out with this step. If they’re old enough to know to be careful with raw poultry, go ahead and outsource this step to them!
  3. Fry! Fry the chicken cutlets in a combination of olive oil and butter. The oil helps prevent the butter from burning, plus, we love the flavor of both!
lemon Chicken Picatta recipe finished in a cast iron skillet

How to Make Chicken Piccata Part 2: The Piccata Sauce

Our piccata sauce is simply a pan sauce, which means that we use the good crispy, chicken-tinged buttery bits that are left in the skillet after frying the chicken cutlets to make a sauce. Here’s how to make this lemony piccata sauce:

  1. Sauté shallots and garlic in the pan drippings—i.e. the leftover oil and butter.
  2. Add stock! Simmer for a few minutes to reduce it.
  3. Stir in more butter, plus the requisite capers and lemon juice.
  4. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. That's it! You made a pan sauce!

Tools You’ll Need:

Five Easy Chicken Recipes To Perk Up Your Weeknight Dinners:

Chicken doesn’t have to be bland. Healthy and quick, think of it as the ultimate blank slate. Here are five of our favorite fast chicken recipes to add some flavor to your weeknight routine:

easy chicken piccata recipe with lemon and capers

Piccata is the Difference Between “Chicken Again??” and “Chicken Again, YAY!”

We’re crazy about this simple chicken piccata recipe, and hope you love it, too! Snap a photo of your gorgeous finished dish, and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Chicken Piccata

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  30 min
  • Calories: 457



  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cutlets or breasts, butterflied to create thinner pieces
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1¾ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 4-6 cloves)
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon), plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, optional


  1. Season the chicken all over with the pepper and 1½ teaspoons of the salt. Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Dip each piece of the chicken in the flour, turning to coat and shake off any excess. Discard the flour when finished dredging.

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet set over medium-high until the butter has melted. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more butter and oil to the skillet as needed. Transfer the chicken to a seerving platter.

  3. Add the shallot to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in the stock and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, then stir in 4 tablespoons of the butter, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.

  4. Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with parsley before serving.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories457
  • Protein27 g
  • Carbohydrates19 g
  • Total Fat30 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol109 mg
  • sodium536 mg
  • Total Sugars2 g

Chicken Piccata

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Antoinette Sarubbi

    Can onion be used instead of shallots

    Sure! Just make sure you don't use a whole onion as it's much larger than a shallot and has more intense flavor. Probably just a 1/4 of an onion will be plenty.

  • Mireille Havlik

    I want to prepare most of this before guests arrive. Do I reheat after the sauce is added or is it better to reheat just the chicken ( if so how?) and prepare the sauce while the chicken reheats.

    Many thanks

    You can just reheat it all gently on the stove top.

  • Cc Cole

    Gluten issues- panko bread crumbs or fake flour- haha

    We haven't tested this with gluten free flour but we'd probably say that over panko if you're wanting to try.

  • Mary

    I would like to make the piccata ahead of time and warm in oven - what oven temperature and for how long?

    Also, would brown rice risotto with mushrooms be a good side dish?

    We'd recommend covering with foil and heating in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes. Make sure internal temp is 165F before you take it out. The risotto sounds great. Hope you enjoy Mary!

  • Tommaso

    It looks like it's served with sliced lemon. Do you just add them fresh? I've had it in restaurants where the lemon seemed like it was cooked ahead of time, soft and warm. Is there a step somewhere I can do this easily before serving?

    Sure, you can rinse a lemon, slice it up and add it in step 3 to the sauce.

  • Greg M

    I have made this dish around 20 times and absolutely love it. The only thing I add is an entire bag of spinach leaves. It looks like a mountain of spinach at first, but then the spinach reduces and soaks up all that delicious sauce. I highly recommend!

    Thanks Greg so happy you love it!

  • Rob Myers

    Fabulous recipe .

    Thanks Rob, so happy you loved it!

  • Sarah S

    Just made this tonight. A big success! Will definitely add this one to our meal rotation. Great recipe, very flavorful, gives lots of yummy sauce. Chicken was very tender. Served it over orzo. Can’t wait to eat the left overs!

    Thanks Sarah, so happy you loved it!

  • Maria Freeman

    Amazing flavor! Easy and perfect for the whole family! Thanks! Looking forward to trying other recipes!

    Thanks Maria, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Dave

    Loved it. Had to thicken sauce w flour and I burnt the shallots was using cast iron pan. Thank you.

    Glad you enjoyed it Dave, sorry to hear you burnt your shallots.