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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 1/41/2 inch thick)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar


  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.