Chicken Picatta: Light, Quick, Delicious

Chicken Piccata - chicken with lemon and capers.
Quick, simple and delicious date night meal -- Chicken Piccata. Credit: Robert Linton
Ratings (13)
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2

Piccata is typically a dish made with veal scaloppini, but in our opinion, it's equally as tasty when made with chicken breasts, something we almost always have in the freezer. This is one of my favorite recipes and it's perfect when you come home tired and hungry and want to get dinner on the table with minimal effort. Simply serve with a salad, maybe Caesar or Italian Bread Salad, and you have a complete and delicious light meal. 


  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3
  • tablespoons vermouth (dry, or white wine)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest (from half a lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from half a lemon)
  • 4 to 6 slices lemon (thin)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon capers

Steps to Make It

  1. Prepare and measure everything out.

  2. Moisten chicken breasts, place each breast on one end of a long piece of plastic wrap, fold the wrap over so it's sandwiched or simply put them in a gallon Ziplock baggie. Then using a meat mallet, wine bottle, or heavy sauce pan or skillet, pound to 1/2" thickness. Love that part!

  3. Sprinkle each side of the breasts with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese and pat to adhere it to the chicken.

  4. Dredge breasts in flour and shake off any excess.

  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and, when hot, add butter and swirl to melt and coat the bottom of the pan.

  6. When butter just begins to brown, add chicken breasts (Note: You may have to cook the breasts separately if your skillet won't hold both, in that case, don't make the sauce until after you've cooked the second breast.)

  7. Cook on one side until golden brown; 2 to 3 minutes. Turn breasts over and cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Place breasts on a plate and cover with foil.

  8. Add vermouth or white wine and lemon juice to skillet. Reduce, scraping up browned bits, until you only have about a tablespoon of sauce. Add capers, zest, and chicken broth and reduce by half. Near the end of cooking add the lemon slices. Season with salt to taste and pour over breasts.

  • Note 1: Although it's generally unsafe to thaw food under hot water, an individual chicken breast will usually thaw in 10 - 15 minutes in a zippered bag in warm water. As long as you immediately cook the breasts, this isn't a risky operation.

  • Note 2: Here's a tutorial on making pan sauces.