chicken piccatta

$7.16 recipe / $1.19 serving

Need a main dish that’s full of flavor but only requires a few ingredients? I’ve got you covered. This dish is simple, flavorful, yet elegant enough to impress a date or your in-laws. When garlic and lemon come together with a little butter and fresh parsley, you just can’t lose.

Chicken piccatta is traditionally made with white wine in the sauce, but I didn’t have any around (I know, I was shocked too) so I subbed it with chicken broth. The sauce was still finger-lickin’ good so I didn’t feel like I was missing out. But, if you have wine around, by all means, use some of it for this dish!

The serving size might seem small (each piece is about the size of a deck of cards), but you can bulk it out by serving the chicken over pasta, or if you want something fancier, try this lemon parsley pasta. Or, just serve it with a green side salad and some garlic bread for a classic meal.

And, as always, I get great prices on my chicken breasts by buying a large pack (5 lbs.) and freezing them in recipe sized portions (2-3 breasts per freezer bag). When purchased this way, the price is often at least $1 less per pound. You can double up on the savings buy keeping an eye out for sales as well.

Chicken Piccatta

Chicken Piccatta

5.0 from 2 reviews

chicken piccatta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $7.16
Cost Per Serving: $1.19
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 medium chicken breasts $4.99
  • 1 medium lemon $0.69
  • ¼ bunch Italian parsley $0.20
  • 3 cloves garlic $0.20
  • ½ tsp chicken base $0.07
  • a pinch salt & pepper $0.05
  • ½ cup flour $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.24
  • 1 Tbsp capers $0.40
Instructions
  1. Prepare the ingredients so they’re ready to go when you need them: Roughly chop the parsley leaves, juice the lemon, mince the garlic, and combine the chicken base with ½ cup of hot water to dissolve. Set these ingredients aside.
  2. Trim the chicken breasts of excess fat. Cover them with plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet or rolling pin until they are an even thickness (about ¾ inch). Cut each chicken breast in half so that you have six pieces about the size of the palm of your hand. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet, over medium heat. While the oil is heating, place the flour in a bowl and lightly coat each piece of chicken on both sides. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add three pieces of chicken to the skillet and cook until brown on each side (about 3-5 minutes on each side). Place the cooked chicken on a clean plate and cook the second batch of chicken.
  4. After the chicken is cooked, turn the heat down slightly (medium-low) and add the butter and minced garlic. Stir and cook for about one minute. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice and whisk to dissolve (or “deglaze”) the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the capers and chopped parsley to the pan. Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken back to the skillet. Spoon the sauce over top of the chicken and allow to simmer in the sauce for 3-5 minutes. The flour on the chicken will help thicken the sauce as it simmers. Serve hot and garnish with any leftover parsley.

 

Chicken Piccatta

Step By Step Photos

parsleyStart by preparing the sauce ingredients. Pull the leaves from about 1/4 bunch of parsley and then give them a rough chop (this is before I chopped them).

Lemon juiceSqueeze the juice from the lemon and make sure to remove the seeds.

mince garlicMince the garlic.

chicken baseDissolve the chicken base in hot water. I like this type of chicken base instead of bouillon cubes because you can use exactly the amount you need. The directions say to use one teaspoon per cup of water and I only needed a half cup of broth, so I only used 1/2 tsp of base. Use 1/2 cup of white wine instead, if you have it!

chicken breastsTrim any excess fat from the chicken breasts.

pound chickenCover the chicken with plastic wrap (make sure you have plenty excess on the edges) and pound out the chicken until it is a uniform thickness. You can use a mallet or a rolling pin. This helps the chicken cook quickly and uniformly, as well as making the pieces larger. The piece on the left has not been pounded, while the two on the right have.

cut chickenCut each piece of chicken in two and season both sides with salt and pepper.

dredge chickenPut the flour in a bowl and lightly coat both sides of each piece of chicken. Throw the flour away afterwards because it is now contaminated with raw chicken.

cook chickenHeat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it is very hot, but not smoking. You can test the heat of the oil by throwing a pinch of flour into the skillet. It should sizzle heavily in the oil. Add the chicken once the oil is hot (3 pieces at a time) and cook on both sides until golden brown.

browned chickenIt should take about 3-5 minutes per side to brown. Place the cooked chicken on a clean plate and cook the second batch in the same manner.

browned bitsNow you’ve got all of these nice brown bits on the bottom of the pan. This is the flavor. It’s a good thing.

butter garlicTurn the heat down to medium-low to prevent burning the butter. Add the butter and minced garlic. Cook for about one minute or until the garlic is fragrant.

broth and lemon juiceAdd the chicken broth (or wine) and lemon juice. Whisk to dissolve those brown bits off of the bottom of the pan.

capers and parsleyIncrease the heat to medium again so that the sauce begins to simmer. Stir in the parsley and capers.

add chicken backAdd the chicken back to the skillet to re-warm it.

simmerSpoon the sauce over top and allow it to simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly (a few minutes)

close upI thought I’d give you a close up so that you can be jealous…

chicken piccattaYou could probably coat the chicken in the sauce, remove it from the skillet, add some cooked pasta to the skillet and toss it in the sauce. That would be super simple and make this meal complete.

chicken piccatta

40 Comments

  1. This looks so easy and yummy!! I’ll have to try this one soon :)
    It looks so versatile too, many sides could go with this!

    Makes things easy, for sure!

    Thanks, Beth!

  2. This looks delicious! My only question is… 6 servings out of 3 chicken breasts? That seems like.. not really a main dish

  3. Yeah, I try to keep my meat servings at about the size of my palm or a deck of cards… definitely not the American norm, but I think it’s reasonable. But, no matter what, everyone will have a different interpretation of “a serving,” so what are ya gonna do ;P

  4. I seriously wish I could find chicken for less than a dollar a pound. I’ve looked everywhere locally for weeks and $1.99/lb was the best I could get. :(

    It looks yummy, though!

    • Jillian says:

      Have you tried buying chicken thighs instead of breasts? They are cheaper and more flavorful because they are dark meat. :)

  5. Oh, mine isn’t less than a $1 per pound… it’s $1 less per pound than if I bought smaller packs :)

  6. Rosie says:

    Just finished eating this and rave reviews all around! I omitted the capers since 1) I didn’t have any lol and 2) after some research on the Googles I found that the closest substitute is green olives (yucko!) which I didn’t have and didn’t want XP. Still turned out AMAZING! I took your pasta suggestion to heart and tossed in some cooked rotini and served up to 1/2 breasts apiece. Really great dinner and I LOVE that I finally found a use for all that lovely fresh italian parsley I have in my “garden” :)Will def be making again!

  7. I made this last night with no variations on your recipe. It turned out perfect and delicious! Thank you for your great recipes and instructions!

  8. I made this tonight and it turned out great!

  9. Hoping to make this soon!

    Just want to say I really appreciate that you have the step by step photos. It helps me to remember all the steps when I get that mental image in my head, and then I don’t have to keep running back and forth between the computer and the kitchen. thanks!

  10. If I leave the capers out will it still pass muster? I really can’t abide by their taste…

  11. I don’t suggest leaving out the capers because they add a salty element that balances the lemon… but others have left them out and still really enjoyed the recipe. So, it’s your call :)

  12. Thanks so much for posting this! My husband and I just made it, and it was fabulous. We did leave out the capers as we didn’t have any, and used basil instead of parsley because that’s all I have in the garden right now, but it was still SO amazing. We’ve just discussed making it when his parents come visit– that’s how good it is!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I just discovered your blog and I know I’ll be coming back to it. I made this tonight, and even though I had no fresh garlic, parsley, salt, or capers, it was still delicious with powdered garlic and dried parsley. I served it with sauteed mushrooms and spinach over soba noodles. Mu husband liked it, I liked it, and my two-year-old was unimpressed. Oh, well. Two out of three ain’t bad.

    -Maia

  14. Anonymous says:

    Stop what you are doing and go make this!!! It is excellent. I also omitted the capers since I didn’t have any on hand and served over egg noodles tossed with steamed broccoli. Delicious!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Made this just earlier for dinner. It was delicious and my housemates loved it also. I didn’t have fresh parsley so I subbed dry parsley flakes but still turned out great.

  16. Anonymous says:

    made it, shared it, we both agreed: delicious! thank you for your website!

  17. Megan says:

    I made this tonight and it’s a keeper! I used almond meal instead of flour and I didn’t have capers, so left them out. Wish I’d thought of green olives, because I do have those on hand. I served this with steamed broccoli and the lemon sauce was excellent on top of the broccoli as well. My 8 yr. old asked for seconds, yeah! Thanks for this recipe!

  18. Looks great, will have to try this recipe. Wish there was a pdf format so I could print it out and refer to it easily as I cook. Thanks for sharing.

  19. newsprout – There is a green button just below the first picture at the top of the post that allows you to print or download as a pdf :)

  20. So I make a dish very similar to this that my boyfriend calls “lemon chicken”. the only differences are that i make breaded chicken cutlets with italian breadcrumbs and parm.. and for the sauce i just used butter, garlic, dried parsley and cream… he always loved that. i made your version tonight exactly as the recipe stated and he will not stop raving about it. this is definitely a keeper and feels a little lighter than my breaded version. i love having the capers in there- never wouldve thought about them before.

    thanks!

  21. also- the sauce. omg so good. i made a side of garlic mashed potatoes and spooned the extra sauce on and it was delicious.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This was so delicious! Admittedly, I burned the butter a little bit :-$ but it was still fantastic. Worth every minute of prep work.

  23. Rebecca Bates says:

    If thighs were used in place of breasts would it work as well?

  24. Rebecca – They tend to have a stronger flavor, but it should work okay. Just make sure to get boneless, skinless thighs so that you can pound it thin like I did with the breasts.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I made this for my son’s 21st birthday dinner. Everyone loved it! I made 2 slight adjustments. I added a can of drained diced tomatoes and also about 1/3 cup of white wine to the sauce. And next time I will add some artichoke. Thanks for another great recipe! I based my entire weekly menu off of your blog…and I’m never disappointed!
    Tina

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thankyou so much! i’m 14 years old and I made this for my family for dinner last night and served it with spinach, potatoes & carrots and they all loved it. the sauce was amazing and the capers gave it extra flavour, definatley going to make it again!

  27. Made this tonight sans capers (gross!) and it was delish! Thanks!

  28. I just made this with my boyfriend. I never had capers before so we took a risk on those but I LOVE them and they are so nice with their vinegar taste and the lemon juice. We made it with pasta and if we made it again, we’d probably have a vegetable and garlic bread to go with it. This is a great recipe though!

  29. I love to make this dish, I add a little paprika and it’s so good! Love it!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Where can I find your blog. I am about to faint because I am so hungry and cannot decide which receipe to use. Appreciate very much. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.
    shirleyanntillery@yahoo.com

  31. Anonymous says:

    Made this tonight and enjoyed it a lot! I paired it with white rice and your marinated mushrooms recipe. My liquid was a bit more than in your pictures, not sure what I did wrong there, but it still turned out pretty flavorful. I love love love your website, thank you!

  32. Thanks for a tasty recipe : )

    A suggestion, though–rather than pounding the chicken, it’s eleventy times easier and faster to slice chicken breast halves into cutlets. I’m sure the blog author knows how to do this, but for any novices out there: trim off the fat and other yucky stuff, then, holding the breast steady on a cutting board with the palm of your non-cutting hand, slice sideways through it with a sharp, non-serrated knife until you have two thin, roughly equal pieces. I do this with chicken breasts a lot because it solves the problem of the narrow end cooking faster than the thick end, and it’s a more reasonable serving size than a large 7-8 ounce breast half.

  33. Excellent tip, Erika! Thanks! :D (and I loved the “eleventy time easier”, made me laugh)

  34. Ermuhgaw, this is such an easy and delish recipe and I make it all the time. It also has the added appearance of looking fancy while not being expensive. Thanks so much for sharing! My boyfriend loves the sauce so I try and add some extra broth or wine to the pan.

  35. I omitted capers in this recipe, it was really great!
    I enjoy the subtle heat from the garlic and pepper. The lemon was a nice change from regular meals I make.

  36. Wonderful recipe. It is one of my families favorites. Day 1 is great but leftovers are even better, always make a double batch just for this purpose.

  37. Sarah says:

    Just made this tonight and O. M. G. it was amazing!!! It tasted like something you would get at Olive Garden, only cheaper :). I just want to say thank you so much for this website. I’ve been living on my own now for a year and a half paying an absurd amount for rent. Every penny is pinched to the full extent and your recipes have spared me from a ramen noodle/spaghettios diet. You’re seriously the best and I look forward to new recipes! :)

  38. @twsherpa says:

    We used to have a restaurant that delivered Chicken Piccatta.. it went out of business.. it was a favorite of mine. Now with this recipe I have it back!!!!

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