Chicken Piccata – Light, Lemony, Delicious!

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Years, ago I saw Giada de Laurentiss making Chicken Piccata 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?

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, by 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.

Tips for Searing Chicken

chicken piccata

There are a few tricks about getting perfectly seared 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. And, when they are flat on both sides, they sear better. Plus, they will cook evenly.

For a good sear, avoid sliding the chicken around in the skillet. Ley the fillets in the skillet and don’t move them, until it’s time to turn them. Initially, the breasts will stick to the pan, but the browning of the chicken releases that. 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 drying it make it more crispy. 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.

lemon chicken

All About Lemon

Another tip 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 an intense lemon flavor.

Chicken Piccata

This is a easy weeknight recipe, fridge to table in less than 30 minutes. If your breasts are large, cut them in half lengthwise.

Course Main Course
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 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)


  1. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, heat olive oil until skimmering. 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.

  2. 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. 

  3. 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). 

chicken piccata

You will love this quick and easy, weeknight dinner of Chicken Piccata. Make it once and you’ll find yourself making it regularly. It is just good!

Have a wonderful day and make something special today

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Looking for more weeknight meals? Here’s some of my favorites:


  1. Tracie Leggett

    Every year before Christmas my husbands side of the family has a big catered meal together. Chicken piccata has always been on the menu, a true family favorite!

  2. The chicken piccata had me nervous i need to make for an special night

  3. Looks amazing as always! 😊😊

  4. Thanks to your excellent tutorial, I can bake bread! Can’t wait to try this chicken recipe next! Love you and your blog!!

    • Isn’t it crazy how just one little thing – like a step-by-step tutorial – can make a difference? No wonder You Tube is so popular! Take on the chicken. You’ll crush it. And, thank you!

  5. Renae,
    The chicken piccata is something I need to try soon! I have seen recipes for it and it always sounds so good! When we go out for Italian I look for this dish and it’s never on the menu :/ I guess It’s time to make it myself! Thanks for another delicious looking recipe!

    • Yesssssss, make this easy Italian dish! My husband loves it with mashed potatoes, but it’s so good with angel hair pasta, too.

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