This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This easy chicken piccata recipe is a classic Italian American dish with a lemon butter caper sauce that’s fast to make at home! A few simple ingredients, 25 minutes, and you’re set.

Craving more restaurant-quality chicken dinners? Try my Easy Chicken Madeira!

close-up of chicken piccata in a cast iron skillet

What is chicken piccata?

It’s pan-fried chicken in a piccata sauce, which is a combination of butter, oil, fresh lemon juice, and capers. Simple, right? The secret to making the best chicken piccata is having the perfect amount of lemon, and I’ve got you covered with this really easy chicken recipe.

You can make this dreamy dish two different ways, and we’ve got instructions for both! One is a creamy chicken piccata, and the other is not. They’re both extremely tasty. The cream takes it to the next level, but depending on your mood or dietary restrictions, you may want to try it without!

What you’ll need

  • Chicken – we’re slicing chicken breasts in half lengthwise and not pounding them so it’s even faster
  • Garlic powder – along with salt & pepper, seasoning the cutlets with it gives a fabulous savory foundation
  • Flour – for dredging
  • Olive oil and butter – for pan-frying the chicken until golden brown
  • Chicken broth – to infuse the sauce with flavor. Sub for a dry white wine like pinot grigio to make it even more luxurious
  • Lemon juice – always use freshly squeezed lemon juice vs concentrate
  • Lemon zest – for that extra brightness and zing
  • Capers – the briny flavor balances the lemon
  • Heavy cream – to make the sauce rich
  • Parsley – adds a pop of freshness
ingredients in small bowls on a marble surface for chicken piccata

Can I make it without cream?

  • You can definitely make chicken piccata without cream! If you do so, increase the chicken broth to 3/4 cup. You could even do a half chicken broth/half white wine mix.
  • I don’t recommend subbing the cream for something like milk or half-and-half for a couple of reasons. The acidity of the lemon will likely curdle the sauce, and the sauce won’t thicken as well. Either omit it completely or use heavy cream. 

How to make chicken piccata

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

pan frying chicken and then sauteing aromatics for the chicken piccata sauce in a skillet

Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise to make thinner cutlets. Sprinkle them with salt & pepper and garlic powder, then dredge them in the flour. Brown on both sides. Remove them from the pan and add the chicken broth, lemon juice, butter, and capers, scraping up the brown bits.

adding cream to the sauce in a skillet and then putting the chicken back in

Stir in the cream. Return the chicken to the pan, and simmer until the sauce has reduced and the chicken is cooked through. Easy peasy!

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • I zest the lemon with my Microplane zester/grater.
  • Be careful to not overcook the chicken since we’re using thin cutlets! It’s cooked when the internal temperature is 165F. Use an instant read thermometer.
  • I love using my splatter guard in recipes like this one since it saves a lot of clean-up hassle. 

Substitutions and variations

  • If using small chicken breasts, you can keep them intact, but they may take a few more minutes to cook through.
  • You can try using chicken thighs if you prefer. They may take a little longer to cook as well. 
  • I find the recipe is perfectly salted with regular chicken broth, but if you’re at all sensitive to salt, use a low-sodium one.

What to serve with chicken piccata

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. Reheat in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, especially if you’re making the creamy version.
close-up of a plate with chicken piccata, green beans, and mashed potatoes with sauce

Have you made this lemon chicken piccata? Got questions? Let me know in the comments below! As always, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram so I can see your creations.

close-up of chicken piccata in a cast iron skillet
4.92 from 305 votes

Easy Chicken Piccata

This easy chicken piccata recipe is a classic Italian American dish with a lemon butter caper sauce that's fast to make at home!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Flour (for dredging)
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon brined capers drained
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Garnish (optional) chopped parsley and/or freshly grated parmesan cheese


  • Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise (I butterfly then cut in half) to make 4 thinner cutlets. Trim off any fat. Season the chicken generously with salt & pepper and sprinkle with garlic powder. Coat the chicken in flour.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the butter plus the olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. 
  • Once the pan is hot, cook the chicken pieces for about 4-5 minutes per side until golden. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and capers to the skillet. Scrape up any browned bits.
  • Stir in the cream and return the pan to the heat. Once it's bubbling again, add the chicken back into the pan. If you want to make this recipe without cream, increase the chicken broth to 3/4 cup.
  • Cook for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced to your liking (you may need to turn down the heat a bit if it's bubbling furiously). If the sauce thickens too much, add more broth.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and/or parmesan cheese if desired.


  • If using smaller chicken breasts, leave them intact (but you will likely need to cook them for a bit longer).
  • If you don’t want the cream in it, I recommend omitting it entirely vs. using something like half-and-half because the sauce is likely to curdle and not thicken as well.
  • Use low-sodium chicken broth if sensitive to salt.
  • I highly recommend this lemon zester.


Calories: 393kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 352mg, Potassium: 452mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 821IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on September 4, 2015. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!

Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

The Salt & Lavender cookbook is here! Order Now

4.92 from 305 votes (54 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Please leave a recipe rating!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. The Italian says:

    Cream is not an ingredient in Chicken Piccata. You use the pasta water to thicken the sauce. Mashed potatoes never always pasta.

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      The thousands of people who make and love this version would disagree with you. Italian American cooking has seen many changes and delicious improvements to Italian cooking. Cuisines evolve. Mashed potatoes are tasty. But thank you for that very useful unsolicited feedback.

  2. Jordyn says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe!! The only thing i did differently is add 1/2 a shallot and about 4 cloves of minced garlic to the base of my sauce!

    1. Natasha says:

      So happy you enjoyed it, Jordyn!

  3. DK says:

    Hi Natasha –
    I plan on making this tonight! Can you please confirm when omitting heavy cream and adding chicken broth instead, do I add the additional 1/2 cup at the same time I would have added heavy cream? Or 3/4 cup at once? Thank you in advance!

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! At once.

    2. Gloria Morrison says:

      I omitted the cream and broth. Just wine! So good!

  4. Sally says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. I make it with wine and broth no cream.

    1. Natasha says:


  5. Denise Luttrell says:

    Easy to follow. DELUCIOUS. I would add lemon pepper to the flour dredge to enhance the lemon flavor in the chicken.
    I also cooked my chicken too much.

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you!

  6. Kim says:

    5 stars
    Best chicken piccata I’ve ever eaten. Hands down.

    1. Natasha says:

      I love that!! 😀 Thanks, Kim!

  7. Rebecca Griner says:

    5 stars
    This was a hit. bright and lively flavors, I used chicken tenders (it was what i had) and no pounding or filleting. came out perfectly, served it with mushroom risotto. it gives it a bright contrast to the risotto. I think i could have used even more capers.

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you so much!

  8. Bryan R. says:

    5 stars
    Made a big batch for lunch this week and they tasted amazing! The recipe reheats well. I couldn’t pick one, so I used a dry white riesling with a little chicken broth concentrate mixed in to get the best of both worlds 🙂

    1. Natasha says:


  9. Linda Clarkson says:

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit. Super easy! My only modifications: I used all the juice and zest from one large lemon and I used the entire jar of capers.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy it was a hit!!

  10. Ioana says:

    5 stars
    Turned out delicious!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you!!