Classic Chicken Piccata Recipe

Pan sauces are wonderful and complex because the get flavor from the browned meat that sticks to the bottom of the pan. Learning to make pan sauces is a basic skill all cooks should learn. They have multiple applications. Use a 12" stainless steel frying pan. Stainless is better than non-stick because you want the pan to cause the meat juices to brown and stick to the pan, but not burn. These brown bits, called fond (which means roughly "base") by French chefs, will dissolve when we make the sauce and add to the flavor.

Average: 3.5 (25 votes)

Average Rating - Votes are tabulated end of day

Please rate this recipe ONLY after you cook it: 

Share This Recipe:

Print Recipe


Pan sauces like the classic chicken piccata are wonderful and complex because the get flavor from the browned meat that sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Entree.

Cuisine. Italian.

Makes. 2 servings

Prep time. 30 minutes

Cooking time. 15 minutes


1 pound grilled chicken, pork, or veal

2 tablespoons flour

1 pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup cream sherry

3/4 cup white wine

3 tablespoons lemon juice (about the juice of 1 medium lemon)

2 tablespoons brined capers, drained and rinsed

Make the meat even in thickness. One of the problems with chicken breasts is that they are thick at one end and thin at the other, so you usually overcook the thin end or undercook the thick end. We solve this problem by flattening the meat by pounding it. Another problem is that the skin is impervious and acts like a rubber boot to prevent flavor from getting to the meat. Here's how. Remove the chicken skin and trim off excess fat (I know, it hurts to do this, but it really pays off). Rinse the meat and dry with paper towels. There is often a flap of meat, sometimes called the tenderloin, on the underside of each breast. Remove it and set it aside. Pull out about 12" of plastic wrap or wax paper. Lay the meat slightly off center on the plastic wrap, fold the rest over the top, and pound it with a frying pan bottom until it is about 1/2" thick all over. Think of your boss while doing this. But don't get carried away. Pound the meat too flat, and it will be overcooked by the time it gets crispy, so get this right. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

Other meats. You can use veal, pork, or even turkey if you wish. Just slice it or pound it so it is about 1/2" thick.


1) Put the flour on a dinner plate, add the salt and pepper, mix, and spread it out on the surface. Lay each breast on the plate one at a time and coat it lightly with the flour on all sides by rolling it around in the white stuff.

2) Heat the pan a medium-high heat and then add the oil. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add the meat and let it cook for about 3 minutes until the bottoms start to turn GBD (Golden Brown and Delicious). Turn the meat over and cook about another 3 minutes until GBD. Remove the meat and put it in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate so it stays warm.

3) Add to the pan about 1 tablespoon of the flour left from when you coated the meat. Cook the flour about three minutes until the whiteness is gone. Add the wine and lemon juice. Cook the sauce, stirring and scraping the bits from the pan for 2 to 3 minutes until it starts to thicken and doesn't look cloudy. Add the capers and stir. Add the meat and cook another minute or two on each side just to warm it.

4) Move the meat to the serving plates, add the side dishes, and pour or spoon the sauce and capers over the meat. Garnish with fresh parsley and a lemon slice. If there's extra sauce, put it on the rice.

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.



Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon



Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad free experience and much more!

Millions come to every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us. 

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.

Post comments and questions below


1) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

2) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer.

3) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different than your membership login.



Click to ask questions and make comments