Classic Chicken Piccata

February 6, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: An easy dish to prepare, this chicken piccata still makes a presentation elegant enough for company.Linda Johnson

Food52 Review: Featured in: Our 10 Most-Popular Chicken Recipes of All. Time.

The flavor of this recipe was absolutely delicious, with a tart pucker from all the lemon and capers that's balanced by a last-minute addition of butter and the fresh brightness of parsley. The shallots get melty as they cook down, making for a sauce that's perfect on its own with the angel hair and even better when you add the chicken.
The Editors

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min


  • 2 large lemons
  • 6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded until 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 6 servings couscous or angel hair pasta
In This Recipe


  1. Cut one lemon in half lengthwise. Trim the ends from one half and cut across into thin slices about 1/8 inch thick; set aside. Juice the remaining half and whole lemon to obtain about 1/4 cup juice; set aside.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Place flour into a shallow dish or pan. Coat each breast with flour, and shake to remove excess.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Cook half the batch in the skillet without moving them until lightly browned on the first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook until the second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate kept warm in the oven, or cover with aluminum foil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add remaining chicken pieces and repeat. Add cooked chicken to previous batch and keep warm in 200 degree oven.
  4. Using the pan in which you cooked the chicken, sauté the shallots in the oil and browned bits remaining in the pan. Once shallots become translucent, add the chicken broth and lemon slices. Allow to cook until lemon slices are well-softened.
  5. Add the capers and lemon juice, and allow to reduce to concentrate flavors. Remove pan from heat and swirl in the butter until it melts and thickens the sauce. Swirl in the parsley. Spoon over chicken and serve immediately over a bed of couscous or angel hair pasta.

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Italian|Chicken|Parsley|Shallot|Chicken Breast|Capers|Serves a Crowd|Quick and Easy|Make Ahead|Spring|Summer

Reviews (79) Questions (0)

79 Reviews

Savannah February 27, 2019
We love this recipe so much it has become a weekly family meal. I sometimes use tenderloin instead of chicken breast just because it’s faster than having to cut down some of these huge chicken breasts we usually get. Both of my kids adore this at 1 and 3 years old so extra points just for that!
emilykrukowski November 6, 2018
Delicious recipe and super simple. I would definitely double the broth recipe for the next time.
NapaCook March 13, 2018
I disliked the bitterness that the lemon rind lent to this dish. I'd try it again but without the lemon slices.
TERRYE H. March 13, 2018
You might try a Meyer lemon. They are far less bitter.
Teri October 16, 2018
I always zest lemons before juicing or slicing. Using just the outer yellow eliminates bitterness but makes everything more lemony!
boymeetsgirlmeetsfood December 12, 2017
Absolutely LOVE this sauce! We've served it with fish before as well with great success.
Korena V. May 22, 2017
This was delicious. I scaled it down for 2, using one large chicken breast sliced horizontally in half to give two servings (rather than pounding it) and I cooked the chicken over medium heat to avoid scorching the flour left behind in the pan. The sauce was amazing - tart, tangy, rich and amazingly buttery for such a small amount of butter (only 1 tbsp for the 2 servings I made). Definitely a keeper!
Bridget J. May 8, 2017
This is an excellent recipe. Adjust the lemon or caper to your desired taste. I use ground white pepper instead of black pepper and of course, a little more.
Erlinda P. April 16, 2017
Yummies food so i shared to fb for others to learn
Nancy January 27, 2017
So good and so easy! Would be great for company.
zoemetro U. June 22, 2016
We made this last night and it was so good that everyone was silent for the first five minutes! Then, the next five minutes they talked about "the sauce." Thank you Linda for this speedy and scrumptious crowd pleaser.
Jasmin R. June 19, 2016
Excellent recipe! Made this the other night for the first time when we were in a bit of a rush to go to something. Had a friend join us last minute, and the 3 of us really enjoyed it. Really easy for a mid-week meal, healthy, and so delicious.
Sandy February 11, 2016
Great recipe! Double the sauce recipe for this amount of chicken. It was simple and quick!
samanthaalison January 6, 2016
This would definitely not be enough sauce for 6 portions - we doubled it and it still didn't quite seem like enough. If you double it, you may want to wait until the sauce has reduced some to add the lemon slices - they made our sauce too bitter, and I think that's because we had to cook it down longer.
Annie November 7, 2015
This recipe was delicious, and it was very quick to prepare. I didn't use capers and it was still delicious. I'd recommend shaving some parmesan cheese on top too!
Kelly M. October 16, 2015
I loved this recipe! It was so easy and delicious. I added two tomatoes and some garlic, which I cooked in with the shallots before adding the chicken broth. So good! If you're cooking a whole box of pasta, you might want to double up on the sauce.
Mike I. August 18, 2018
So, you didn’t make the recipe. Got it
Carol F. October 11, 2015
I want the recipe for Classic chicken Piccata and tried to print it where it
said print this recipe and all I got was the picture and no recipe.
[email protected] is my email address. Please send it to me. Thanks.
Mel P. May 13, 2015
Made this 2 nights ago and it was delicious! I think my lemon was extra juicy so it came out a little tart but excellent overall.
Rebecca C. May 12, 2015
My husband and I have made this dish so many times and we love it. A new family favourite in the UK
Mary R. May 8, 2015
frog May 9, 2015
I see the problem, you +spent+too+much+time+on+it.
Starr O. March 18, 2015
Agree, Tom. Some comments seemed more personal than useful imputs of lessons learned. Thank you, Tom. And, thank you Linda Johnson for your recipe post.
Tom S. March 8, 2015
Ouch. Let's not start to sound like Congress. Civility should, no must rule.