This Chicken Francese recipe has golden pan fried chicken in a buttery lemon sauce. You can make this restaurant favorite at home in about half an hour!
Why you'll love it
Making Chicken Francese at home is really straightforward and simple. It's an Italian-American favorite on many restaurant menus that's similar to Chicken Piccata, the difference being that Chicken Francese (also known as Chicken Française) is coated in an egg wash and doesn't have capers.
I highly recommend this one for lemon lovers. The vibrant and bright lemon sauce is the perfect complement to the melt-in-your mouth chicken. It's also one of those recipes that looks way harder to make than it actually is, so it's sure to impress! It just tastes so gourmet.
What is Chicken Francese?
- "Francese" is Italian for "French" (confusing, I know). Originally it was made with veal in Italy, and using chicken is reportedly an Italian-American innovation by Italian immigrants in New York.
Ingredients for it
- Chicken - we're using 2 chicken breasts cut into 4 smaller cutlets
- Garlic powder - along with salt & pepper, this infuses savory flavor by directly seasoning the cutlets
- Flour and egg - for dredging and getting that perfectly crispy crust
- Olive oil and butter - for sautéing and the base of the sauce
- Chicken broth - to give the sauce extra savory flavor
- Lemon juice - the star of the sauce!
- Lemon slices - they enhance the lemony flavor even more, and you can even eat them if you're a big lemon fan since they do mellow when cooked
- You're welcome to use a 50/50 mix of chicken broth and a dry white wine like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc for a touch of elegance! Make sure it's one you actually enjoy drinking, though, and definitely skip using cooking wine altogether.
How to make Chicken Francese
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Slice the chicken lengthwise to make four smaller cutlets. Thinly pound them between two sheets of plastic wrap to tenderize it. Season them with salt & pepper and garlic powder. Dredge each piece with flour, and then dip in the whisked eggs.
Working in two batches, pan fry the chicken in olive oil until golden. Transfer to a plate. In the skillet, add the butter and flour to make a quick roux.
Whisk in the broth and lemon juice, and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add in the lemon slices, and cook until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Add the chicken back in, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired!
Tools for this recipe
- To pound the chicken, it's best to do it with a meat mallet, but if you haven't picked one up yet, a rolling pin works in a pinch.
- These cooking tongs make it effortless to flip the cutlets.
- My favorite skillet is this Le Creuset one.
- Chicken is safe to eat at 165F, and the easiest way to tell when it's cooked is with an inexpensive instant read meat thermometer. It's a must-have for any home cook so you don't under or overcook meat.
What to serve with it
- As with many of my chicken recipes, I can't resist serving them with a big pile of Garlic Mashed Potatoes. These Quick Garlic Butter Noodles are another great option.
- For veggie sides, my Oven Roasted Green Beans pair great.
- I also like a side salad with this Easy Italian Salad Dressing, or you can make a Caesar salad with my homemade Caesar dressing.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers of Chicken Francese are tasty, but it is best served right away. It'll keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in a covered container, but the crust will soften up.
- I don't recommend freezing leftovers of this one.
- Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat until warmed through.
Did you make this easy Chicken Francese, or do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!
- 2 large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup flour + 1 tablespoon flour divided use
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chicken broth or 50/50 chicken broth and dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 lemon sliced into thin rings
- For serving: chopped parsley, freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, to taste
- Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have four thinner cutlets. Place them between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and then pound thin (to about 1/4") using the flat end of a meat mallet. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the salt & pepper and garlic powder.
- Add the 1/4 cup of flour to a bowl or plate (you will dredge the chicken in it), then add the eggs to a second bowl and whisk with a fork.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat (let the pan heat up for a few minutes). You will be frying two pieces of chicken at a time. One by one, coat the first two pieces of chicken with the flour, then the egg, and then add each piece to the skillet after letting the excess drip off. Cook for about 3 minutes/side or until the crust is golden and the chicken is cooked through (165F). Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Repeat for the second batch (add a little more olive oil if the pan is looking dry). The second batch tends to go faster, so keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter to the skillet. Once it melts, stir in the 1 tablespoon of flour and let it cook for about 30 seconds or so.
- Whisk in the broth and lemon juice (scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan), and then add in the lemon slices. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce has reduced/thickened a bit.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet and then serve immediately with some sauce spooned over, or simply plate the chicken and then pour the sauce over. It's best to serve it quite quickly before the chicken's coating softens up too much. Season with extra salt & pepper as needed. Top with some chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired. Yes, you can eat those cooked lemon slices if you like, or discard them if you prefer.
- This recipe has been majorly overhauled from its original version that was published back in 2016. If you loved the original version, here's a PDF of it that you can save.
- Between the lemon juice and lemon slices, this sauce is quite lemony! If you're not as much of a lemon lover, halve the lemon juice quantity.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on September 16, 2016. It's been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!