Classic Veal Piccata in Less Than 30 Minutes

Classic veal piccata on a white rimmed plate

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 16 mins
Total: 26 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 8 cutlets
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
599 Calories
25g Fat
70g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 599
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Sodium 817mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 70g 26%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 103mg 517%
Calcium 136mg 10%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 642mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Veal piccata is such a simple dish, which might be why it's such a classic comfort food—because where's the comfort in toiling away in the kitchen all night?

But its simplicity belies a complex and wonderful blend of flavors and textures: the tangy lemon, briny capers, and a rich, buttery pan sauce that lovingly envelops the golden brown veal cutlets like a warm blanket. A favorite way to serve veal piccata is with fluffy mashed potatoes, so it's like a blanket and a featherbed. Veal goes well with rice and pasta, too, and vegetables such as green beans, mushrooms, and carrots.

Veal cutlets usually come from the rump, and they're sliced about 1/4 inch thick. They're more like 1/8 inch after pounding, which means they cook quickly in a very hot pan. By the time the outside is perfectly golden brown, they're fully cooked.

Veal piccata derives its name from Italian, and the culinary term means "to be pounded flat." You can ask your butcher to flatten the cutlets for you, but you'll be missing all the fun. Just place them between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and pound gently with the flat side of a meat mallet, like the Oxo Good Grips meat tenderizer from Amazon, or some other flat, heavy object. The bottom of a skillet is perfect.

"A quick yet very satisfying recipe. I am a big fan of capers and I love how tangy the sauce tasted at the end. It's an easy recipe with almost no chance of anything going wrong with it. I tried it with some mashed potatoes, and it tasted amazing." —Tara Omidvar

Veal Piccata Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons high-heat vegetable oil, such as safflower, sunflower, peanut, grapeseed oil

  • 8 (2-ounce) veal cutlets, pounded flat

  • 1 cup veal stock, or chicken stock

  • 1/2 cup dry sherry

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, from 1/2 lemon, more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic veal piccata ingredients
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  2. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a plate or in a shallow baking dish.

    Combine the flour, salt, and pepper

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  3. Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes and let your pan get nice and hot. Once it is, add the oil and heat for another 30 seconds or so. 

    Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan with oil over medium-high heat

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  4. Now dredge both sides of the veal cutlets in the flour mixture.

    Both sides of veal cutlet dredged in flour

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  5. Shake off any excess flour and cook them in batches, rather than overcrowding the pan.

    Shake off excess flour and put the veal in pan
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  6. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until the cutlets are nicely browned.

    Cook the veal cutlets 2 to 3 minutes per side

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  7. Remove them from the pan and set aside on a plate, covered with foil, while you make the sauce. (You can hold them in a very low-temperature oven if you like.)

    Remove from pan and cover with foil

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  8. Add the stock, sherry, lemon juice, and capers to the pan and scrape off any flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan. 

    Cook veal piccata sauce and scrape the bottom of the pan

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  9. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower it to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by about a third.

    Bring the sauce to a boil then simmer and reduce

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  10. Swirl in the butter and chopped parsley just at the end of the cooking. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt and more lemon juice if needed. 

    Swirl in the butter and chopped parsley into the sauce

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  11. Plate the cutlets, 2 per person, and garnish with lemon slices. Sauce generously and serve immediately. Enjoy.

    Classic veal piccata served with lemon slices

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  • Dredging the cutlets in flour before cooking aids with browning and also helps thicken the sauce. 

How to Store and Freeze

Leftover veal piccata will keep in the refrigerator for three or four days, if well wrapped. To reheat, place it in a low oven (300 F) with the sauce on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Add some more stock to cover, and cover with foil. Reheat for about 15 to 20 minutes until completely hot.

To freeze leftover veal piccata, separate the veal from the sauce if at all possible. Store the sauce in a zip-close bag or a freezer-safe jar, and the veal, well-wrapped, in a zip-close freezer bag.

Why Is Veal So Expensive?

It's a simple issue of supply and demand. Veal comes from calves, and there are fewer of them that are generally grown for their meat versus adult cows.

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