When life gives you lemons, forget lemonade, make Sweet Lemon Chicken Piccata for dinner tonight!
I have neglected you, and I have to apologize. I have been making this incredibly delicious Sweet Lemon Chicken Piccata for years; and I am just now sharing the recipe with you?! Shame on me, because it’s amazing and a real family favorite!
Chicken Piccata is a classic Italian recipe consisting of thinly sliced (or pounded) cutlets dipped in egg, and then lemony bread crumbs. Then the cutlets are pan-fried and lightly drizzled with an intensely flavored lemon-butter-caper sauce. You get crunchy, flavor-packed juicy chicken served with one of the most delicious pan sauces around!
Sweet Lemon Chicken Piccata Perfected
Hearty white sandwich bread is ground in a food processor along with lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper. But DON’T toast them in your oven! They brown all on their own when pan fried in a skillet.
After prepping your lemony bread crumbs, Place all-purpose flour and beaten egg in separate dishes for dredging.
Create 1/4 inch thick chicken “cutlets” by either pounding chicken breasts flat -OR- slicing them horizontally with a sharp knife. This is the method I prefer and it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds. Start by placing your hand flat on the chicken breast. Hold a knife horizontally against the thick end of the meat and slowly slice the chicken in half underneath your hand using a sawing motion.
Pat chicken dry if needed, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour first. Pat the excess off, then dredge both sides in the egg next.
Finally, place cutlet into the bread crumb mixture, pressing the crumbs on to stick. Place the cutlets on a tray while you finish up with all the rest.
Here is the best hack EVER for pan-frying tasty chicken
Here’s where we deviate from most Chicken Piccata recipes. Instead of just frying these chicken cutlets in plain oil, we will be frying them in caper infused butter! Oh it’s simply the most delicious hack!
Melt butter in a heated skillet over medium-low heat. Add capers to the pan and let them fry in the butter for just 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Here, I chopped my capers, but you can fry them whole just fine!
NOW place your chicken cutlets into the flavored butter and fry on each side until golden and cooked through.
Place cooked cutlets into a warm oven while you cook the second batch.
A touch of sweetness is essential to this recipe.
Once all chicken cutlets are fried, you’ll create a simple pan sauce with melted butter, fresh lemon juice, SUGAR, and the capers you fried up earlier. Drizzle this over the cutlets just before serving for the best Sweet Chicken Piccata you’ve ever had!
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Sweet Lemon Chicken Piccata
This simple Italian recipe for Lemon Chicken Piccata is the perfect balance of lemon and capers, with just the right touch of crunchy sweetness.
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- 4 slices of hearty white bread
- 5 Tablespoons butter, cut into 5 squares
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 4 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 large eggs
- 6 thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (about 1/4–1/2 inch thick)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup capers, drained
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Move an oven rack to the middle position. Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and set the temperature to 200 degrees F.
- Tear bread slices into small pieces and place into a food processor. Add to the bread 1 tablespoon butter, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse in the food processor about 10 times, or until ground. Empty into a container large enough for a chicken cutlet to lay flat. Place flour into another similar dish, and beat eggs in a third similar dish.
- Pat chicken dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Working with one piece at a time, place both sides in flour and shake off the excess. Dip into egg then dredge in the bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs a bit to stick. Place each one on a sheet pan when finished.
- Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-low. Add half the capers and cook for about 1 minute (they will sputter a bit), then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Increase the heat to medium-high for about a minute, then place half the chicken pieces into the skillet. Fry on one side for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Place chicken into your hot oven on the prepared wire rack. Turn the heat on the skillet back to medium-low and wipe out the skillet with a large wad of paper towels. Add in 1/4 cup oil again and the rest of the capers. Cook for 1 minute, remove capers and add to the first batch. Heat remaining oil to medium-high, then add remaining chicken pieces and cook, placing them in the oven when done. Wipe out the skillet again.
- With the skillet on medium heat, add in the lemon juice and sugar. Simmer for about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and stir in the rest of the butter. Stir in capers. Set chicken on a serving platter and spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.
Wiping out the pan after each batch of chicken is essential- if you skip this step the crumbs left in the skillet from the first batch will burn during the second batch and impart a very unpleasant flavor to your chicken.
You may also infuse all the vegetable oil with all the capers at once, instead of doing it before frying each ‘batch’ of chicken. (You will still have to wipe out the skillet after each batch though.) Pour out the oil into a heatproof container once all the capers have been removed with a slotted spoon. Then pour the oil into the skillet as needed to cook the chicken.