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Chicken Piccata

Becca Jacobs
Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins

Chef notes

Chicken piccata is a classic Italian-American dish that is easy to make and packed with flavor. To make this dish, you’ll split chicken breasts in half to make four equal cutlets, which are dredged in a mixture of all-purpose flour and grated Parmesan cheese. Parmesan adds extra salty-umami flavor to the breading that contrasts nicely with the lemony piccata sauce.

After the chicken is seared, put it in the oven to finish cooking while you make the piccata sauce . All of the browned bits of chicken fat and flour left in the pan after searing the chicken will create a fantastic base for the sauce. That chicken flavor is incorporated into the shallots and garlic as they are sautéed before the lemon zest, juice and capers are added. The sauce is finished with chicken stock and butter, which is slowly incorporated to create a thick emulsion, leaving you with a rich and creamy piccata sauce. The last step is to fold in minced parsley for a little freshness and bright color in the sauce.

The tangy and bright flavors of the piccata sauce coupled with the crispy chicken, will please everyone at the table. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a novice in the kitchen, chicken piccata is a classic recipe that everyone should have in their repertoire. When serving this dish, I like to pair it with a hearty carb like pasta or polenta, which becomes another vessel for soaking up the creamy sauce. 

Technique Tip: Sear the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Since this recipe calls for both lemon juice and lemon zest, make sure to zest the lemon before you juice it.

Swap Option: Any flaky white fish filet such as cod would work in place of the chicken for a pescetarian-friendly dish. You could also swap the capers with pitted and crushed green olives. 


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts, halved to make 4 cutlets total
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced (about ¼ cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons each)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
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Preheat the oven to 300 F.


In a medium bowl, combine the flour and Parmesan with a fork until evenly incorporated.


Season the chicken cutlets generously with kosher salt. Coat the chicken pieces, one at a time, with the flour and Parmesan mixture, tossing to coat well and shaking off any excess.


Add half of the extra-virgin olive oil to a medium skillet on the stove over medium high heat.


Sear the chicken cutlets, 2 at a time, and cook for about 3 minutes per side until they turn light golden brown. When the first pair of chicken cutlets are cooked, transfer them to a sheet pan lined with a wire rack. Add the remaining extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet to sear the remaining chicken.


Transfer the sheet pan to the oven to finish cooking and keep warm while you make the piccata sauce.


Turn the stove down to medium-low heat and add the shallots to the same skillet, cooking for about 2 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and capers to the skillet, cooking for 2 minutes. Add the stock and scrape up any bits of fond from the bottom of the pan.


Bring the sauce to a low simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon when the current one has almost, or fully, disappeared into the sauce.


Turn the stove off and add the minced parsley to the sauce, stirring to combine. Take the chicken cutlets out of the oven and move them to a platter. Spoon piccata sauce overtop and serve warm.