Culinary Arts

Chicken Piccata: Cooking Tips and Easy Lemon Chicken Piccata Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Feb 26, 2019 • 3 min read

A weeknight savior, chicken piccata transforms boring chicken breasts into an Italian-American feast. Also, you get to pound meat with a tiny hammer!

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What Is Chicken Piccata?

Chicken piccata is an Americanized version of the classic Italian veal piccata, featuring chicken breasts pounded thin, dredged in flour, fried, and served with a tangy, lemony butter sauce. In chicken piccata, dredging in 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.)

One of the most famous chicken recipes with roots in Italy, chicken piccata is especially associated with the city of Milan, which is why it’s sometimes called piccata milanese or chicken milanese.

What Is Chicken Piccata Served With?

In the United States, chicken piccata is often served with a starchy base that soaks up extra pan sauce. Due to the dish’s Italian roots, pasta, especially angel-hair pasta, is most common, but other complements include:

Chicken piccata is also delicious served alongside roasted vegetables or blanched green beans. Round out the meal with a fresh green salad to counterbalance the buttery, fried piccata.

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3 Tips to Make Healthy Chicken Piccata

Between the saturated fat of the butter and the calories in the breading and pasta, chicken piccata can become an unhealthy dish fairly quickly. Here are some tips for making a healthy and flavorful chicken piccata.

  1. Skip the breadcrumbs. While many recipes add a coating of bread crumbs to chicken piccata, it’s not really traditional—or necessary. Eliminating the bread crumbs keeps this chicken piccata light and low-carb.
  2. Substitute broth for wine. Deglazing your skillet with chicken broth or chicken stock instead of dry white wine can cut down on sugar in the dish.
  3. Choose a healthy side. 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

Makes
2
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Sea salt or kosher 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 Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  1. 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.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine flour with a generous pinch of black pepper. Dredge each cutlet in the flour mixture one at a time until lightly coated.
  3. In a large skillet or sauté pan, 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.
  4. Cut the lemon in half. Juice one half and slice the other into ¼-inch thick rings. Set aside.
  5. 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 to medium heat, add fresh lemon juice and capers, and stir.
  6. 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 fresh parsley.

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