You can't beat a good classic chicken piccata recipe for the perfect combination of zesty citrus and briny capers.

I'll just preface this recipe by saying we don't eat much chicken in our home.

Ever since raising our own hens for the eggs, chicken just doesn't appeal to me as a food anymore. But my husband is still a big fan.

His favorite is beer can chicken, but I had to draw the line there. Opening the oven to see a whole chicken roasting, perched on top of a beer can,  was just too much for me to handle.  

But in the interest of maintaining marital bliss, I agreed to compromise and do occasionally make him a chicken dish. My one stipulation however is that the meal has to be worthy of that chicken giving up its life, in order for us to eat it.

This Classic Chicken Piccata recipe fits the bill and has become my go-to, easy-to-cook weeknight way to prepare chicken. It's adapted from a recipe originally created by Giada DeLaurentiis from the Food Network. 

"Piccata" is an Italian word meaning "pounded flat" and has come to mean meat, usually either veal or chicken, sliced, sautéed in oil and butter, and served in a lemon sauce.

I make it a point to keep capers on hand and frozen lemon halves in the freezer (they defrost and juice wonderfully), so I can make this on a moment's notice. 

I like to serve this dish with a side of rice so every last bit of sauce can be enjoyed.  It's certainly an indulgent meal, but worth every calorie, and definitely one any chicken would be proud to be part of.

Scroll down for the printable recipe.

Classic Chicken Piccata

Makes 2 servings. 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded to 1/4" thick
1/4 cup flour
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
5 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice from one large lemon, about 3 Tablespoons
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup capers, drained
Fresh parsley
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

Whisk the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and dredge chicken breasts.  Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the flour mixture and set aside. Discard the rest.

Melt 4 Tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  When the butter starts to sizzle, add the chicken and cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown. 

Turn cutlets and cook the other side for several more minutes until golden brown on the flip side and cooked through.  

Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm.

Add the lemon juice, water and capers to the pan and deglaze with a wooden spoon, scraping up the browned bits. 

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat a bit and sprinkle the reserved flour mixture into the saucepan. 

Whisk until the sauce is smooth and has thickened slightly, then whisk in with the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter and whisk the sauce for a minute or two more.

Plate the chicken over rice and pour the sauce over the top. Garnish with parsley.

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