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What Is Chicken Piccata?
Chicken piccata is an Americanization of the classic Italian veal piccata, featuring chicken breasts pounded thin, dredged in flour, fried, and served with a tangy lemon-caper-butter sauce. In chicken piccata, the flour—and sometimes bread crumbs—gives the chicken an irresistible brown crust, while the acidity of the lemon and capers cuts through the fat of the butter and olive oil. (Learn all about capers here.)
Piccata is especially associated with the city of Milan, which is why it’s sometimes called piccata Milanese.
What Is Chicken Piccata Served With?
In the US, chicken piccata is often served with a starchy base that soaks up extra pan sauce. Common complements include:
Chicken piccata is also delicious served alongside roasted vegetables or blanched green beans. A fresh green salad is a nice, light counterbalance to buttery, fried piccata.
Classic Chicken Piccata Ingredients
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Lemon juice
- Fresh parsley
How to Make Healthy Chicken Piccata
Many recipes add a coating of bread crumbs to chicken piccata, but it’s not really traditional—or necessary. Eliminating the bread crumbs keeps this chicken piccata light and low-carb, and deglazing the pan with chicken broth instead of dry white wine cuts down on the sugar. Piccata is typically served with pasta to soak up the extra sauce, but try serving with brown rice, zoodles, or a big arugula salad for a more nutritionally complete meal.
Easy Lemon Chicken Piccata Recipe
Prep Time15 min
Total Time30 min
- 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
- 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise, then halve the thicker portion horizontally to make three similar-size cutlets. Pound chicken cutlets between two sheets of parchment paper, a clean kitchen towel, or plastic bag, to ¼-inch thickness. Season chicken with salt and set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, combine flour with a generous pinch of black pepper. Lightly coat each cutlet in the flour mixture one at a time.
- In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup olive oil, or enough to coat the pan, over medium-high heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Set chicken aside.
- Cut the lemon in half. Juice one half and slice the other into ¼-inch thick rings. Set aside.
- Make the sauce: Deglaze the pan with chicken broth, scraping up any brown bits and incorporating into the sauce. Add lemon slices and simmer until soft, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, add lemon juice and capers, and stir.
- Return cutlets to pan to finish cooking. When the cutlets are warm and fully cooked through, about 2 minutes, transfer chicken to plates. Remove pan from heat and add butter. Stir until butter has melted and sauce has thickened. Taste the sauce and season with salt if needed. Spoon sauce and lemon slices over chicken and garnish with chopped parsley.