Chicken Piccata Recipe

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This Italian Chicken Piccata Recipe has both the typical flour dredge and a coating of crunchy bread crumbs. This extra crispy version tastes so delicious with the buttery lemon sauce and capers. Serve it with pasta, lemon rice pilaf, or even mashed potatoes.

Plates of Chicken Piccata with Lemon Rice Pilaf.


 

Chicken Piccata needs only a light dusting of flour on the chicken, but I love the extra crunch that comes from full crust of panko bread crumbs.

Serve the breaded chicken piccata with a buttery, briny lemon-caper sauce and your favorite side dish. Choose something that can play a supporting role well such as buttered pasta, angel hair pasta, mashed potatoes, or lemon rice pilaf, and don’t forget extra lemon wedges for even more fresh flavor.

This easy weeknight dinner is ready in 30 minutes or less, or faster if you have time to bread the chicken earlier in the day. With meals like these, who needs takeout?

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for chicken piccata.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken breast cutlets: Most grocery stores stock chicken cutlets, but if you can’t find them, set the chicken breasts flat on a cutting board. Working with one breast at a time, place your palm on top of the breast and slice it in half horizontally, cutting all the way through. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Bread crumbs: Panko bread crumbs, also known as Japanese bread crumbs, keep breaded and fried foods extra crispy. You can also substitute fresh bread crumbs you grind yourself.
  • Lemons: Zest your lemon before you cut it in half for juice. On average, one lemon has 2 tablespoons of juice in it, so plan on using 2 to 3 lemons for this recipe.
  • White wine: Dry white wine, like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, works best. You can use chicken broth, too.
  • Capers: Pickled capers add briny character to this recipe that’s hard to replicate with anything else.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Top with a wire rack coated with nonstick spray or olive oil. Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap. Arrange chicken cutlets in a single layer on the plastic wrap-covered cutting board. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness using a meat tenderizer or rolling pin, about 1/4-inch. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and season breasts with salt and pepper.
Chicken breasts butterflied and on a cutting board to pound out.
  1. In a shallow dish, add flour. In a second shallow dish, add eggs and beat lightly. In a third shallow dish, combine panko, grated Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine. Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour and shake off excess. Dip in eggs and tap gently on side of dish to remove excess. Add to panko mixture and press gently until crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining cutlets.
Breading stations to bread chicken.
  1. Line rimmed baking sheet or large plate with 3 layers of paper towels. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil until just smoking, about 400 degrees (this can take a few minutes). Add 2 cutlets and fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain cutlets well on a paper towel-lined plate and transfer them to a prepared wire rack in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 cutlets.
A skillet with chicken piccata frying.
  1. To make the sauce, wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel. On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter until foaming. Add lemon juice, white wine, and reserved lemon slices. Simmer over high heat until reduced by half, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Lemon butter sauce for Chicken Piccata in a saucepan.
  1. Off heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and capers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl and spoon over the sauce, serving with lemon slices and fresh parsley.
Plates of Chicken Piccata with Lemon Rice Pilaf.
Chicken Piccata with Lemon Rice Pilaf.

What is the best meat tenderizer?

To get your chicken super flat and tender for cooking, I love using the Oxo Steel Meat Tenderizer! It’s my top choice in my roundup of the best meat tenderizers and the one I personally use for cooking and in my test kitchen. You can get it for $16.80 at Amazon.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 4 cutlets, 4 ounces each, and enough lemon-caper sauce for all.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave, on the stove, or in a toaster oven.
  • Make ahead: The cutlets can be pounded out, breaded, and stored covered in the refrigerator one day in advance. Unfortunately, they cannot easily be frozen and then reheated in a pan or oven.
  • Chicken thighs: You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breast. Just pound them out in a similar fashion.
  • Chicken Milanese: Breaded chicken cutlets (the same as Piccata) but served with a fresh arugula salad instead of the lemon butter sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does piccata mean in Italy?

Piccata translates as “larded,” but it seems to be translated from the French word “pique” which means “sharp.” In this way, piccata is used to describe food that is prepared with lemons and capers which have a sharp flavor.

What is traditionally served with chicken piccata?

At most restaurants, chicken piccata is served with long, thin pasta such as Angel hair pasta, Fettuccine, or Linguini. You can serve it with any pasta you want including butter noodles, or try lemon rice pilaf or plain cooked rice. It’s also so good with mashed potatoes!

What is chicken piccata sauce made of?

Piccata sauce is made with butter, fresh lemon juice, white wine (or chicken broth), and capers.

More side dishes for chicken piccata

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Plates of Chicken Piccata with Lemon Rice Pilaf.

Chicken Piccata Recipe

This Italian Chicken Piccata Recipe has both the typical flour dredge and a coating of crunchy bread crumbs. This extra crispy version tastes so delicious with the buttery lemon sauce and capers.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 616
5 from 15 votes

Ingredients 

For the chicken:

For the sauce:

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Top with a wire rack coated with nonstick spray or olive oil.
  • Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap. Arrange chicken cutlets in a single layer on the plastic wrap-covered cutting board. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness, about 1/4-inch. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and season breasts with salt and pepper.
  • In a shallow dish, add flour. In a second shallow dish, add eggs and beat lightly. In a third shallow dish, combine panko, grated Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour and shake off excess. Dip in eggs and tap gently on side of dish to remove excess. Add to panko mixture and press gently until crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining cutlets (cutlets can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours).
  • Line rimmed baking sheet or large plate with 3 layers of paper towels. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil until just smoking, about 400 degrees (this can take a few minutes). Add 2 cutlets and fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  • Drain cutlets well on paper towel-lined plate and transfer to prepared wire rack in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 cutlets.

To make the sauce:

  • Wipe out pan with dry paper towel. On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter until foaming. Add lemon juice, white wine, and reserved lemon slices. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Off heat, swirl in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and capers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with sauce, lemon slices, and fresh parsley.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Chicken breast cutletsMost grocery stores stock chicken cutlets, but if you can’t find them, set the chicken breasts flat on a cutting board. Working with one breast at a time, place your palm on top of the breast and slice it in half horizontally, cutting all the way through. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  2. Bread crumbs: Panko bread crumbs, also known as Japanese bread crumbs, keep breaded and fried foods extra crispy. You can also substitute fresh bread crumbs you grind yourself.
  3. Lemons: Zest your lemon before you cut it in half for juice. On average, one lemon has 2 tablespoons of juice in it, so plan on using 2-3 lemons for this recipe. 
  4. White wine: Dry white wine, like a pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, works best. You can use chicken broth, too.
  5. Capers: Pickled capers adds briny character to this recipe that’s hard to replicate with anything else.
  6. Yield: This recipe makes 4 cutlets, 4 ounces each, and enough lemon-caper sauce for all.
  7. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cutlet with sauceCalories: 616kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 30gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 494mgPotassium: 508mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 464IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 108mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Enjoying all your recipes. Due to have gallstones none of your recipes have called for frying.
    Thank you for making my meals enjoyable again.
    Diana

  2. This was to die for my 14 year old daughter and I really enjoyed this. And another is only 10 comments in here but there will be many more 5 star reviews. It’s so good.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Thomas! I’m so happy you both loved it! – Meggan

  3. I made these for dinner tonight. This is the first time I made them.
    The chicken was juicy and had a lot of flavor.
    I had jasmine rice along with the cutlets and the sauce was delicious over top.

  4. Hi Meggan! So excited to make this tonight; wondering why I need to preheat the oven though? Am I missing something?! Thank you so much :)

    1. Hi Sarah! I hope you love it! After cooking the first batch of cutlets, place them on the paper-lined plate or baking sheet and place them in the oven to keep them warm while the other 2 cutlets are cooking. Take care! – Meggan

  5. My guests cleaned their plates and declared this restaurant quality. The crust on the chicken is the best piccata preparation I’ve ever tried. I used mostly chicken broth in the sauce and next time I’ll go half and half broth/wine and up the lemon juice a bit, as I didn’t have quite what the recipe called for. Served over angel hair with steamed asparagus.5 stars