Make Ahead

Classic Chicken Piccata

May  5, 2021
29 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

Watch This Recipe
Classic Chicken Piccata
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6
  • 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.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Patti
  • mywaterdr
  • FrugalCat
  • boymeetsgirlmeetsfood
  • Bridget Jacobson
    Bridget Jacobson

88 Reviews

Patti November 2, 2020
This was lovely. Based on comments I pulled the lemon slices after a minute or two and added zest and it was plenty lemony. Also added a splash of white wine. The angel hair pasta is perfect with this as well. Very elegant with little effort.
mywaterdr September 10, 2020
I also added (Marsala) wine to the recipe and swapped out the capers for Le Sueur peas. Used chicken thighs instead, much juicier and moister than breasts. Skipped the pasta too, it's fine just by itself!
frog September 10, 2020
If you don't use capers, it isn't Piccata. Adding canned peas and Marsala makes for a delicious dish, I am sure.
Granny S. July 25, 2020
This recipe is outstanding. However, I add 1/4 cup of dry white wine to the sauce. I also serve it with pasta mixed with garlic, evoo, sliced grape tomatoes (fresh) and steamed asparagus (cut in 1" slices). Top with the chicken and sauce and the capers shine in this recipe. So yummy. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us. I love Food 52 !
simonandrew89 March 5, 2020
Its lovely recipe of Classic Chicken Piccata thanks for sharing with us
FrugalCat January 8, 2020
Worked great with chicken thighs and shell pasta.
Collette April 9, 2019
I had a lot of fun with this simple meal. My kids love the salty, lemony meal. My son insisted on seconds! I have always made piccata with dark meat, so boneless, skinless chicken breast was my choice for this one too! Less cutting and pounding. I'm a huge fan of the meyer lemon and I insist on it for this recipe for sure! The kids love their pasta so a light orzo with butter on the side and a big side of green beans! So delish! For me this was a solid 30 minute meal because you have to let the reduction REDUCE happily. Thanks Food52!
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!
cherylslr February 9, 2020
I love lemon and capers and the bitterness ruined it for me, too. Aside from the bitterness I didn’t think there was much flavor. Disappointing as the dish looked beautiful.
Twila K. June 14, 2020
I would use a little garlic too in this recipe
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