Isn’t it a nice thing when a classic dish also turns out to be incredibly easy to make? That’s precisely the case with Chicken Piccata – it’s a dish that looks and tastes much more complicated than it is but, in reality, you can build that buttery, lemony sauce and cook that tender chicken in just about twenty minutes! That means a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen on any given weeknight. What’s not to love about that?
Chicken Piccata has long been one of my favorite things to order when I see it on a restaurant menu, but like so many other things that I’ve discovered at a restaurant, I didn’t really ever think to make it at home. Big mistake! Luckily I came to my senses a while back and thought to try it out on my own and was amazed by how easy it was.
You start with boneless skinless chicken breasts and you cut them in half lengthwise and then pound out to an even thickness – that thinner cutlet gives you a much faster cooking time. Then, you dredge those pieces in flour and pan-sear them very quickly (it literally takes about three minutes). While the chicken sits to the side, you add garlic, capers, butter, white wine, and lemon juice to the pan for a quick sauce that’s both rich and bright.
And don’t even think of skipping those capers! Why, without those it would just be lemon butter chicken… You need those little green orbs to lend their signature briny, tangy flavor or it wouldn’t be Chicken Piccata at all. And there’s definitely no need to mess with success like this.
Classic Chicken Piccata
10m prep time
10m cook time
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for serving (optional)
- Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise and place each piece between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper. Pound out to an even thickness of about 1/2-inch. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add flour to a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Working one at a time, dredge chicken in flour, pressing flour into chicken. Gently shake off excess and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Working in batches if needed, brown cutlets on one side until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes, without disturbing them.
- Flip and cook until the chicken is nearly cooked through, about 30 seconds. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add garlic and remaining olive oil to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes.
- Add wine and capers and cook, scraping up any brown bits from pan, until liquid is almost gone, about 3 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of water, then the butter. Swirl pan while butter melts, about 1 minute.
- Return chicken to skillet and let cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.