This Chicken Piccata is a delicious, tender chicken dish with lemon, capers, and paprika that will awaken your senses! You’ll be asked to make this classic Italian dish again and again.
This easy Chicken Piccata recipe comes from my absolutely favorite cookbook, Bon Appétit Favorites! Classic Recipes Volume One. I received this book as part of my Bon Appétit subscription years ago, and as it is over 20 years old, it has been very well-loved.
You can make this for a quick dinner on busy weeknights, or for special occasions like an anniversary meal. No one has to know you didn’t spend all day in the kitchen!
SAVE THIS CHICKEN PICCATA TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!
What makes something a “piccata”?
Piccata comes from the Italian word for cooked or sauced. Chicken Piccata is traditionally served in a lemon butter sauce, with capers, and with or without heavy cream.
This dish isn’t usually served in Italy, but it is very common in American Italian cuisine. Save yourself money when eating out and make this easy dish at home instead!
Chicken Piccata Ingredients
This is an overview of what you need to make this dish. See the recipe card below for exact amounts and instructions.
- Chicken: I used four boneless chicken breasts in this recipe. You can also use chicken breast cutlets or even chicken thighs.
- Dry ingredients: You’ll need flour to coat the chicken and paprika, salt, and ground black pepper for seasoning.
- Butter and olive oil: You’ll use these to pan-fry the chicken and help it get that nice golden-brown color.
- Water– you’ll need a bit of water to help mix the lemon-butter sauce in the pan after frying.
- Fresh lemon juice– this provides a tangy flavor to the sauce.
- Drained capers– these provide a nice garnish to the top of the chicken piccata, and I like to include a splash of the caper liquid as well for some extra flavor.
- Lemon slices and fresh parsley– these are optional and used as a garnish.
How to make Chicken Piccata
These simple ingredients come together quickly to make a delicious chicken dinner!
First, preheat the oven to 170 degrees F, or use a “keep warm” setting.
Prepare the chicken. If needed, slice chicken breasts in half horizontally with a sharp knife. Place chicken pieces in between two sheets of waxed paper and pound them with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until each is about ¼ inch thick.
In a large Ziploc bag, combine the flour, paprika, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken breasts into the bag, one at a time, and shake to coat with the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour when you remove the pieces. You can also use a shallow bowl and dredge chicken in the flour that way instead.
Now we’ll pan-fry the chicken. In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Saute the chicken a few pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the skillet. Don’t overcook the chicken or it will be tough and rubbery.
If you find your chicken browning too quickly before the inside is fully cooked, turn down the heat to medium-low.
Place cooked chicken in an oven-safe serving dish and place it in the oven to stay warm while cooking the rest of the chicken. After you’ve cooked all the chicken, add water to the skillet, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula.
Add the lemon juice. Stir all together, and pour the lemony sauce over the cooked chicken. Sprinkle capers over the top of the chicken and add lemon slices and parsley if desired. Enjoy!
- You can use dry white wine or chicken broth instead of water to deglaze the pan.
- Try green olives if you don’t have any or don’t like capers.
Can you cook Chicken Piccata ahead of time and reheat it?
You can certainly make this ahead of time, but it cooks so quickly you really don’t need to. It’ll be ready in less than 30 minutes from prep to finish, and the cooking time itself is less than 10 minutes!
How to store leftover Chicken Piccata
Store any remaining chicken pieces in an airtight container. Pour the leftover sauce into the container, then cover and refrigerate. It will keep for 1-2 days.
To reheat, place it in an oven-safe pan, pour some extra chicken broth over the top to keep it from drying out, and warm in a 250-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
What should you serve with this tangy chicken dish?
Chicken piccata goes well with a side of angel hair pasta, some roasted vegetables like these Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts, or roasted potatoes. Whip up some of Grandma’s Easy Italian Bread to serve on the side and you’ve got a full, delicious meal!
More quick weeknight meals:
If you’re looking for things you can throw together quickly, check out these recipes:
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- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons drained capers
- lemon slices and chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish if desired.
- In a large Ziploc bag, combine the flour, paprika, salt, and pepper and toss to combine.
- Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper and pound until each is about 1/4-inch in thickness.
- Place the chicken breasts into the bag, one at a time and shake to coat. Shake of excess when removed.
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium until it starts to bubble.
- Sauté the chicken breasts in groups of two for 2 – 3 minutes on each side. be careful not to overcook – no one likes rubbery chicken.
- It may be necessary to lower the heat a touch if butter and chicken should start to darken too quickly.
- Place on an oven-safe serving dish and place in oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining chicken and until serving.
- After all of the chicken has been cooked, add water to the skillet, scraping the bottom with a rubber spatula.
- Add the lemon juice.
- Remove from heat and pour over plated chicken.
- Sprinkle capers and add lemon slices and chopped parsley, if desired.
This post was originally published February, 2015. It has been updated in format and with pictures on January 3, 2024.