When you want to enjoy a gourmet meal, but just don’t have the time or energy, this Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata is just what you need! Family friendly flavors like butter, cream, and lemon make it perfect to serve to all ages, but it can make mealtime feel a little fancier and indulgent too. Plus it’s EASY! With one pan and less than 30 minutes you can make an Italian classic right at home. Everyone will love the creamy, lemony sauce and tender chicken!
Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata – The EASY Way!
I am so excited to share this easy, creamy lemon chicken piccata with you, because it happens to be one of my personal favorites! It has enormous flavor and it’s really family friendly, because even kids love a good creamy sauce. It’s a meal I love to make when I want to feel a little fancy, but it’s actually SO EASY.
The original piccata comes from Italy, and the word actually refers to the cooking technique, not the dish. It means to cook meat in a sauce that contains lemon, butter, and capers. Which is exactly what we do in this recipe! My version of it is quick, easy, and uses one pan to get HUGE flavor on the table. In my opinion, that makes it the BEST chicken piccata recipe, and I think you’ll agree!
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- Great for Guests – Serving an Italian original at home always feels a little fancy and like you’re indulging in something special when you eat it.
- Quick & Easy – Did I mention one pan yet? Really! One large skillet and LESS than 25 minutes makes this incredibly tasty meal. Plus clean up is a breeze!
- Classic Flavors – The combination of the chicken seasonings with cream, lemon, butter, and capers is super yummy!
- Family Friendly – I make this chicken piccata recipe with no wine, so it’s awesome for even the littlest ones in the family.
- Easy Ingredients – You might already have everything to make this! But you can definitely find them super easily at any grocery store too.
What to Serve with Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata
Since this easy chicken piccata has the classic flavors of lemon, capers, and cream, it will pair well with many of your favorite traditional side dishes. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
- Green salad – top with cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, croutons, and a creamy Italian dressing or lemon vinaigrette.
- Oven Roasted Green Beans – A healthy green veggie that is super easy to make and customize!
- Garlic Parmesan Broccoli – Cheese and garlic are perfect compliments to the flavors in piccata.
- Perfect Oven Roasted Veggies – These are easy and tasty, and we love my garlic and pesto versions too!
- Extra Creamy Mashed Potatoes, pasta, or rice – great for soaking up the sauce!
- Garlic Bread – A simple, family pleaser every time.
- Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad – It’s the perfect caprese style salad for serving a family!
- Italian Tortellini Salad – A cold salad with Italian flavors that can be made ahead.
- Classic Tomato Cucumber Salad – Light, refreshing, and easy to make!
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This creamy chicken piccata recipe is as simple as promised! Just one pan and 25 minutes for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Chicken breasts – We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which are traditional for classic chicken piccata recipes. You could also use tenderloins or chicken strips if you prefer them, or if they’re already in your fridge!
- All Purpose Flour – Basic white flour creates the starch that thickens our sauce and makes it extra creamy.
- Seasonings – A combination of salt, pepper, and garlic are mixed in with the flour, which will season the sauce and the chicken.
- Oil – I used olive oil, but canola, vegetable, or any other neutral flavored oil will also work just fine.
- Butter – You can use either salted or unsalted. But be sure to taste the sauce if you choose salted butter that way you don’t end up adding too much.
- Lemon juice – You’ll need about 3 lemons to get the right amount of juice, although it may vary based on the size of the lomons. I much prefer the flavor from fresh lemons, but a bottled juice will work if you have it on hand.
- Chicken broth – Chicken stock or bone broth are also great options. Even a vegetable stock can be used in a pinch!
- Capers – These are usually found near the pickles and olives in supermarkets. Most are sold in jars in a vinegar salt brine that you’ll want to drain off before adding them to the recipe.
- Heavy cream – We used a full fat heavy cream which helps to prevent curdling and makes a thick, decadent creamy chicken piccata sauce. Half and half can work, but will leave you with a thinner sauce. Keep your heat low and stir frequently as you add it to keep it from breaking.
- Use Thin Chicken Breasts – In order to keep this recipe quick, and have juicy, evenly cooked chicken, it’s important to start with thinner breasts. You can purchase thin filets, or just slice larger ones in half. Butterfly them open lengthwise, then slice them apart to create two thinner breasts from each larger one.
- A Big Pan – Use a large, quality skillet to let you brown all the chicken at once. It also will help the sauce simmer and reduce faster than a smaller pan would. If the chicken will be crowded in your pan, cook it in batches so they can still get that yummy browning on the outside.
- Get All the Brown Bits – Everything left in the pan after you cook the floured chicken is HUGE for flavor. Don’t get rid of it! Instead, as you add in the broth and lemon juice, scrape all the brown bits into the liquid to help season the final sauce.
- Lower the Heat – Gentle simmering is key for the perfect creamy lemon chicken piccata sauce, so make sure you turn the heat down after you remove the chicken from the pan. It will stop the flour and butter from burning, and stop the sauce from breaking. That way we end up with a perfectly creamy sauce every single time.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Prep Ahead– Get the ingredients as prepared as possible either the night or morning before. Season the flour with the salt, pepper, and garlic, then store it in a bowl that’s the right size for breading your chicken. Slice the chicken, juice the lemons, drain the capers, and even pre-measure the liquids so everything is ready to go when you are.
- Use Smaller Chicken– Tenderloins or small chicken chunks cook much faster than thin breasts which can save you cooking time.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Chicken Piccata with Artichokes– Drain and cut jarred, unseasoned artichoke hearts in half. Cook the recipe as directed, but add the artichokes in with the cream to simmer with the chicken.
- Chicken Thigh Piccata– Swap in boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the breasts. Cook the recipe as directed, adding more cooking time as needed to ensure the chicken is cooked to 165°F.
- Chicken Piccata with Spinach– Cook the recipe as directed, adding fresh chopped or baby spinach into the sauce with the cream and capers. Stir it together until it’s tender and wilted before adding the chicken. To use frozen spinach, sauté in a separate pan until tender and stir it into the sauce before serving.
Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making chicken piccata, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
Here are a few ways to repurpose those leftovers and give them a delicious makeover!
- Chicken Piccata Pizza– Spread leftover piccata sauce on top of a prepared pizza dough. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and chopped leftover chicken. Bake according to the pizza dough’s package instructions, then sprinkle with parsley and serve.
- Chicken Piccata Orzo Salad– Mix warmed leftover sauce and chopped chicken with 1-2 cups of cooked and drained orzo, fresh chopped spinach, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Season to taste and serve.
- Chicken Piccata Stuffed Peppers– Remove the tops, ribs, and seeds from bell peppers and arrange in a baking dish so they stand upright. Mix leftover chopped chicken and sauce with 1-2 cups of cooked rice and scoop it into the empty pepper shells. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes, or until peppers are tender and the filling is hot throughout. Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese over the top and return to the oven for 10 minutes to melt it, then serve.
More Skillet Chicken Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my easy chicken recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Blackened Chicken Tenders
- Saucy Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- Chicken Taco Tortellini Skillet
- Easy Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
For the chicken
- 2 pounds chicken breast, cut or pounded into thin cutlets
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, about 3 lemons worth
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup brined capers, drained
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Combine the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge each chicken cutlet in the flour mixture to coat each side lightly.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet.
- Once hot, lay each cutlet flat in the pan being careful not to over crowd the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side without flipping, then flip and cook 3 minutes on the other side. Remove from pan and repeat with any remaining chicken. Remove chicken and set aside. Reduce heat to low.Chicken should be close to done, but may not be fully done. It will finish cooking as it simmers with the sauce in the last step.
- Add the butter to the pan, with any remaining flour and stir for about 1 minute or until it is golden brown. Add the broth and lemon juice to the pan and continue stirring and scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and stirring until smooth.Bring sauce to a simmer, then slowly stir in the cream and add the capers.
- Add the chicken back into the sauce and and simmer for about 4-8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (165˚ internal temp.)