Make Ahead

Classic Chicken Piccata

May  5, 2021
4.5 Stars
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
Ingredients
  • 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
Directions
  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.
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97 Reviews

ks.grand June 3, 2022
I love this recipe! I omitted the capers (because I don’t really use them in my cooking, it didn’t make sense to buy a whole jar :p) and it was just as good! Although I am curious about how it might add to the dish… next time! I also might add garlic and a small bit of cornstarch to thicken the sauce the next time I prepare this. My sauce came out a little more thinner than I anticipated but perhaps that is what the recipe intended. Overall an amazing recipe I’m adding into my rotation!
 
mywaterdr June 5, 2022
I also dont keep capers on hand either..who does? I replaced them with baby peas.
 
Tom S. May 26, 2022
Agree. Have made several times. An interesting take on piccata is to use the sauce on roasted cauliflower, broccoli, chickpeas all olive oil tossed and roasted 25-30 min at 425 deg on a rimmed baking sheet, then torn kale tossed in olive oil added atop the others to roast for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool a bit and place them all in a large bowl, toss to combine, plate then spoon on the piccata sauce. Pretty spectacular - in my opinion. I believe this is a NYT recipe. Give it a try.
 
Granny S. May 26, 2022
Tom! I love your idea of using the sauce on roasted veggies! Genius idea! We love Chicken Piccata and put the sauce on fettucini (w/garlic oil, halved grape tomatoes and slices of roasted asparagus). When we serve the piccata, we put the sauce on both the chicken and the pasta dish on one plate and eat it together with a side salad.
 
Tom S. June 4, 2022
Hi Granny S: I am Grampy S and the picture is of my grandson. I do wish you and your family well and to enjoy lovely times together, perhaps over a dish of roasted vegetable piccata. Take care.
 
Granny S. June 5, 2022
Thank you Grampy S (Tom S.) !! I love the NYT's recipes. Melissa Clark's Beef Bouruignon' is outstanding! (I do not cook the mush. & onions separately, tho... just add them last hour or so. Hope you have a wonderful week! We are celebrating our 54th anniversary over dinner. PS Your grandson is darling. Our youngest grandson just graduated HS this past week. Cheers Grampy S. !!
 
Tom S. June 6, 2022
Granny S: You made me smile, we celebrated our 55th just two weeks ago. Our only grandchild was born in my 2nd year of Medicare so we had and continue to have plenty of time to be an integral part of his life and love it. Be well. Tom
 
shoepershopper May 26, 2022
My family loves my Chicken Francese recipe, but I wanted something slightly different for dinner last night and it fit the bill perfectly. Was it like I'd get in an Italian restaurant? Probably not since I didn't pound the chicken breasts thinner and instead just sliced them in half (time crunch). But was it good enough that my husband and teenage son got seconds? Yes. Was it easy, delicious and a perfect weeknight meal ready in a short amount of time? Absolutely. Next time I will plan ahead to pound the chicken breasts or even use veal cutlets. Will I make this again and share the recipe with friends? Already have.
 
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.
 
mywaterdr June 5, 2022
It's my way of making piccata, you probably do it differently. To each his own.
 
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!