Veal Scallopini With Lemon and Capers

Veal scallopini with lemon and capers on bed of arugula a plate set against a dusky blue tablecloth

The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

Prep: 7 mins
Cook: 13 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 to 8 cutlets
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
367 Calories
26g Fat
15g Carbs
15g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 367
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 94mg 31%
Sodium 632mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 7mg 33%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 327mg 7%
*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 cutlets are one of the quickest and tastiest meals you can pull together for a last-minute dinner. And veal scallopini is a classic (some may say "old-school") recipe. A few moments in the pan, a couple of ingredients to create a sauce, and dinner is done. This recipe is simple, delicious, and ready in 15 minutes.

These veal cutlets are cooked with butter, lemon, and capers and served over arugula; the heat from the veal and sauce gently wilt the leaves. All you need is some crusty bread or a side of roasted potatoes and you've got dinner.


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"I used thin veal cutlets (8 cutlets in 1 pound) and cooked them in two batches. Thicker cutlets might cook in one batch but will take a bit longer to cook through. The veal was delicious with the buttery, lemony sauce, and the arugula balanced the flavors perfectly." —Diana Rattray

Veal Scallopini with lemon and capers over a bed of arugula
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 pound veal scallopini or cutlets

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained

  • 1/4 cup white wine

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 to 8 pieces

  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for veal scallopini with lemon and capers gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  2. Pat the veal dry with paper towels and sprinkle it lightly with the salt.

    Raw veal scallopini sprinkled with salt on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu 

  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (preferably large enough to hold all the veal in a single layer) over medium-high heat.

    Oil in a frying pan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  4. Put as much of the veal as fits in a single layer in the pan (it is important you don't crowd the pan) and cook until it has started to brown and releases from the surface of the pan—about 2 minutes.

    Veal scallopini cooking in oil with lots of space between cutlets in a hot pan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu 

  5. Turn the cutlets and cook them until they're cooked through and browned on the second side—about 2 more minutes. Transfer the veal to a plate. Repeat with any remaining veal, as necessary.

    Veal cutlets cooking in a pan with oil

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  6. Return the frying pan to the heat. Add the capers to the pan and let them sizzle for about 30 seconds.

    Capers frying in oil in a hot pan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  7. Add the white wine and use a spatula to help scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

    Scraping up brown bits in the pan with capers and white wine

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  8. Whisk together and cook until the wine is reduced by at least half, about 2 minutes.

    Veal scallopini sauce in a pan cooking down to reduce

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  9. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.

    Lemon juice added to sauce in the hot pan, with a wooden spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  10. Swirl in the pieces of butter, whisking if you like, to make a sauce. Taste and add salt if needed.

    Butter melting into the veal scallopini sauce in a skillet with a wooden spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  11. Return all of the veal to the pan to coat it in the sauce.

    Cooked veal in the pan with the lemon white wine sauce and capers

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  12. Divide the arugula among 4 plates. Drizzle a bit of the sauce over each serving of arugula before placing the veal on top of the salad. Drizzle any remaining sauce evenly over the veal.

    Veal scallopini plated and sauced on top of arugula

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu 

  13. Serve immediately.

    Veal scallopini with sauce on arugula on beige plates

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu


  • If your veal cutlets are thick, pound them to a 1/8-inch thickness.
  • If you don't eat veal for animal welfare reasons, know that there is an alternative kind of veal on the market. The difference is that the veal comes from the calves culled from the herd, not calves raised virtually motionless in pens. You may find it labeled as "red veal," or with the Italian word "vitello." The meat isn't milky white but instead is a pale red color.

Recipe Variations

  • With Mushrooms: Sauté about 4 to 6 ounces of mushrooms in oil or butter before preparing the veal. Cook the veal as directed; add the sautéed veal to the skillet just before serving.
  • Omit the arugula and serve the veal with garlic spaghetti or buttered herb pasta.
  • For alcohol-free veal scallopini, replace the white wine with unsalted chicken stock.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate leftover cutlets and sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat the veal scallopini, place it in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in a preheated 300 F oven for about 15 minutes, or until hot.

What's the Difference Between Scallopini and Piccata?

Scallopini is the name for a thin slice of meat, usually chicken or veal. When dredged in flour and pan-fried, it is called scaloppine. One type of scallopini dish is piccata, which includes a pan sauce of lemon, capers, white wine or sherry, and butter. The dish is often referred to as piccata and scallopini interchangeably.

Does Veal Need to Be Fully Cooked?

Veal can be cooked much like beef, from rare to well-done, and can actually become tough when overcooked. Rare is about 145 F, medium 160 F, and 170 F is well-done. The USDA recommends cooking veal to an internal temperature of 160 F for safe consumption. Veal cutlets are cut so thin that they cook through in just a few minutes.

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