Lemon Chicken Piccata - pan-fried parmesan-coated chicken in a tangy lemon sauce with garlic, butter and capers. It's one of those moreish lip-smackingly tasty dinners. Perfect with linguine!
Lemon chicken piccata is an American-Italian dish in its origin, so it's not something you see on UK-Italian menus quite as much.
It is something I like to order when we're in the US though, and I was inspired to make this after eating it last summer in Florida.
It was one of those stormy days and we were all soaking wet after a day at Universal studios. We managed to get a table at a restaurant called Vivo. I wasn't hoping for much (with it being a chain restaurant in a theme park), but served with a lovely glass of white wine, it totally hit the spot.
Despite the fact I looked completely bedraggled and I could have fallen asleep at a moments notice, this dish put a happy, satisfied smile on my face.
I use four small chicken breasts to feed four people. They're bashed/tenderised to make them larger and flatter. If you prefer you can use 2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally to make 4 large pieces.
📺 Watch how to make it
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- We start off by flattening the chicken with rolling pin. This tenderises and flattens the chicken, so it will cook quickly and more evenly.
- The chicken is then dredged in a coating of flour, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Traditionally it's only coated in seasoned flour, but the added parmesan and garlic gives it extra flavour and a darker crust.
- Fry the chicken until golden, then place in a low oven while you make the sauce.
- The sauce is make from sautéing shallots in butter, then adding garlic, wine, stock, lemon juice, capers and parsley.
- The chicken is added back in right at the end before serving topped with slices of lemon.
👩🍳PRO TIP Be sure to measure out the lemon juice and don't get any pith in the sauce - as this can make it taste bitter. Cooking on too high a heat can also make the sauce taste bitter (due to overcooked lemon and garlic).
If you find the sauce is too bitter for you, try adding a teaspoon of sugar to mellow it out a little.
🍽️ What to serve it with
I usually like to serve this over linguine, as that's how i've eaten it in restaurants, but you could serve with:
I like to go in with a few more capers and an extra sprinkling of parmesan and black pepper before serving.
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Lemon Chicken Piccata
- 4 chicken breasts - about 600g/1.3lbs
- 60 g (½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 tbsp finely grated parmesan
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp neutral oil - I use avocado, but rapeseed or sunflower are also good
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 banana shallot - peeled and finely diced (or us two regular small shallots)
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled and minced
- 120 ml (½ cup) white wine
- 360 ml (1 ½ cups) chicken stock
- 45 ml (3 tbsp) fresh lemon juice - (this is approx the juice of 1 ½ lemons)
- 2 tbsp capers in brine - drained
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Optional - if you want a thicker sauce:
- 1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch in USA) mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
- 1 lemon - sliced into thin rounds
- black pepper
- freshly grated parmesan
- Preheat the oven to a very low temperature (to keep the chicken warm in) and put a baking tray to one side.
- Place a chicken breast in between pieces of parchment paper or clingfilm, and pound with a rolling pin to flatter. We want it about 1cm (a little under half an inch) thick.4 chicken breasts
- Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
- Place the flour, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a shallow bowl and mix together.60 g (½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, 3 tbsp finely grated parmesan, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, ¼ tsp garlic powder
- Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture to fully coat.
- Heat up the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat.2 tbsp neutral oil
- Add the chicken breasts, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
- Remove from the pan and place on the tray in a very low oven.
- Turn the heat of the pan down to medium and add the butter.2 tbsp unsalted butter
- When the butter has melted, add the diced shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until softened.1 banana shallot
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.2 cloves garlic
- Add the wine, turn up the heat to high and bubble for 1-2 minutes, until the wine is reduced by half.120 ml (½ cup) white wine
- Add the stock, and allow to bubble for 3-4 minutes, until slightly reduced. Then turn the heat back down to medium and stir in the lemon juice, capers and parsley.360 ml (1 ½ cups) chicken stock, 45 ml (3 tbsp) fresh lemon juice, 2 tbsp capers in brine, 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- If you would like to thicken the sauce (optional) you can stir in the cornflour mixture at this point.1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch in USA) mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
- Add the chicken breasts back to the pan and give them a baste in the sauce before serving. If you like, you can slice up the chicken breasts before serving it up.
- Serve topped with lemon slices, black pepper and a sprinkling of Parmesan. It tastes great with linguine, mashed potato, saute potatoes or fluffy herbed rice.1 lemon, black pepper, freshly grated parmesan
Dredge the chicken in the flour-parmesan mixture, then leave the chicken for 10 minutes while you prep the rest of the recipe, and you'll find the coating starts to go a little sticky (if it doesn't you can sprinkle on a little bit of water. Dredge again again and you'll have a thicker coating. Additions/swaps:
- Make it creamy - replace 120ml (½ cup) of the chicken stock with double (heavy) cream
- Don't want to use wine? Replace with non-alcoholic wine or more chicken stock
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