Years, ago I saw Giada de Laurentiss making her famous Chicken Piccata recipe on her cooking show on the Food Network. Those perfectly golden chicken breasts and slices of lemon had me hooked! So, I went and bought stainless steel skillets just to make those perfectly browned chicken breasts. Can you blame me?Jump to Recipe
Often I wonder how it is that some of the simplest of dishes are so memorable. Especially with chicken breasts. There are so many ways to pan sear and sauté chicken breasts, though Chicken Piccata is at the top of my list.
While this is one my favorite chicken meals, my husband isn’t a fan of capers. Who doesn’t like capers? Well, he is not a fan. I think it’s the briny taste. So, sometimes I leave them off. For me it is all about the lemon anyway.
What Ingredients are in this Recipe
The key ingredient for making an amazing Chicken Piccata is to add a little lemon zest. Using a small zester or grater, gently take off the yellow zest (the outermost layer of the lemon rind). Just the yellow part, not the white rind which is bitter.
The yellow outer skin of the lemon is flavorful and contains a high level of lemon oil. This gives the dish a more intense lemon flavor.
Here is everything you need to make deliciously bright and buttery lemon Chicken Piccata:
- Thinly sliced chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Diced onion
- Minced garlic
- Lemon juice and lemon zest, plus thinly sliced lemon for garnish
- Chicken broth – I recommend low sodium
- Unsalted Butter
How to Make Easy Chicken Piccata
Start to finish this easy and flavorful lemon Chicken Piccata recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make. It is perfect for enjoying as a hearty, comforting homemade meal even on a busy weeknight.
- In a large skillet on medium-high heat, heat olive oil until simmering. Add the chicken breasts and sauté for 4 minutes on each side. For the the best sear, do not flip the chicken more than once.
- Remove chicken breasts to a plate or platter, tenting loosely with foil. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and chicken broth, stirring until smooth. Simmer until bubbly.
- Remove skillet from heat and add butter and capers. Using tongs, dip each chicken breast into the sauce, coating both sides. Serve with slices of lemon as garnish (optional).
Tips for Perfectly Seared Chicken
Here are a few tricks about getting perfectly seared, golden brown chicken breasts:
- The chicken needs to be completely dry. I pat lay a layer of paper towels under the chicken, and fold over the top. Press down, blotting out all the moisture.
- The other trick is to pound the chicken breasts until they have a more uniform thickness. Or, slice them thinly. This gives the chicken breasts a better sear. Plus, they will cook more evenly.
- For a great sear, avoid moving the chicken around in the skillet. Lay the fillets in the skillet and don’t move them, until it’s time to turn the chicken. Initially, they might stick to the pan, but the browning of the chicken releases them.
- To check the color of the chicken, gently lift the edge of the chicken. If it sticks, try again after a minute or two.
- Some, including Giada, like dredging their chicken in flour before searing, but I’ve found that just drying the breasts well before searing makes them crispy. And it’s gluten-free and less carbs.
- Also, if you have to cover the pan the trapped moisture can cause the crust to come off. So, I think it comes down to what works best for you.
Now you know all the tips for making this dish light and lemony. Serve this with mashed potatoes and green beans for an amazing dinner.
See Below for the Complete Chicken Piccata Recipe with Video!
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Chicken Piccata Recipe
This is a easy weeknight recipe, fridge to table in less than 30 minutes. If your chicken breasts are large, cut them in half lengthwise.
- 4 boneless thinly sliced chicken breasts
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. diced onion
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 lemon, juiced
- grated lemon zest (from the rind of the lemon)
- 1/3 cup chicken broth, low sodium
- 1 Tbsp. capers, rinsed well and dried
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, very thinly sliced (optional, for garnish)
In a large skillet on medium-high heat, heat olive oil until simmering. Add the chicken breasts and sauté for 4 minutes on each side. For the the best sear, do not flip the chicken more than once.
Remove chicken breasts to a plate or platter, tenting loosely with foil. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and chicken broth, stirring until smooth. Simmer until bubbly.
Remove skillet from heat and add butter and capers. Using tongs, dip each chicken breast into the sauce, coating both sides. Serve with slices of lemon as garnish (optional).
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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