Chicken Francese

March 8, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Lemony, buttery, and quick to come together, this Italian-American classic is easy enough for a weeknight, but special enough for company. Serve with buttered noodles or lots of bread for sopping up the sauce. Emma Laperruque

Serves: 2 to 4
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped into tablespoons, divided
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced into very thin wheels (use the other lemon half for juice)
  • 2 chicken breasts, halved horizontally
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or another high-heat, neutral-flavor oil), divided
  • 2 tablespoons barely chopped parsley
In This Recipe


  1. Stir together the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate.
  2. Toss 3 tablespoons of the butter in the flour; set aside on a plate. Now dredge the lemon slices in the flour and set aside on the same plate. Finally, dredge the chicken breasts in the flour and set aside on a separate plate.
  3. Combine the wine, water, and lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
  4. Now we’re ready to get cooking! Set a very large skillet (preferably *not* nonstick) over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or just enough to create a thin film on the bottom of the pan). When the oil is very hot and shimmery, add the floured lemon slices. (I like to add only one at first—if it doesn’t loudly sizzle, the oil isn’t hot enough.) Fry the lemon slices for 2 to 3 minutes, flipping halfway, until the lemons start to brown and get crispy. Turn off the heat and transfer the lemons to a plate.
  5. Discard any remaining oil in the pan and give it a quick wipe. Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining 2 non-floured tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has totally melted and the pan is very hot, add the dredged chicken breasts. (Like with the lemons, the first contact between chicken and pan should loudly sizzle.) Cook for about 3 minutes per side, until well browned. Turn off the heat and transfer the chicken breasts to a plate.
  6. Discard about 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan (no need to be super exact here), but take care to leave all those browned bits on the bottom right where they are. Return to the skillet to the stove over medium heat and add the wine, water, and lemon juice mixture. Bring to a simmer. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits stuck to the bottom and gently stir to incorporate. Simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to 1 to 1 1/4 cups.
  7. Add the 3 tablespoons of floured butter to the pan. Swirl until completely melted. Return the browned chicken breasts to the pan (along with any juices they left behind) and bring back to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway, until each piece is cooked through. If some pieces are significantly smaller or thinner than others, just remove those from the pan while the others finish up, then return to the pan before garnishing.
  8. When all the chicken is cooked and the sauce is as thick as you’d like, turn off the heat. Taste the pan sauce. It probably needs some salt, but you be the judge. Top the chicken with the fried lemons, parsley, and a generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

More Great Recipes:
Italian|American|Lemon|Lemon Juice|Chicken|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Dinner|Entree

Reviews (2) Questions (0)

2 Reviews

SPark0101 March 17, 2019
I, too, was wary of the amount of butter, so I reduced and substituted where I could. I also made it with chicken thighs rather than breasts, and pounded them to get them to the right thickness. The dish came together really nicely and relatively quickly. Really tasty!
Carissa L. March 16, 2019
Super simple and incredibly tasty! Because there's so much butter, I'd probably only make this once in a while, but I love how easy it came together.