Chicken Piccata (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Serves: 4-6 people
Hands-on time: 35 min
Total time: 45 min

This is one of those recipes that looks complicated because of the number of steps involved, but once you get started it goes pretty quick. Even so, it is a tad longer than 30 minutes but totally worth the extra time!


2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (about four halves)
2 lemons
1/2 C millet flour or brown rice flour
3 T grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (can substitute 1/4 C with white wine)
2 T unsalted grass fed butter (soften at room temperature)
1 T drained capers


    • 1 medium sharp knife
    • 1 med + 1 small cutting boards
    • 12″ skillet
    • spatula or tongs
    • whisk or fork
    • 1 gallon-size food-grade plastic bag
    • 1-2 tiny bowls or cups (or use pieces of paper towel)
    • citrus juicer
    • 1-cup liquid measuring cup
    • 1/2-cup solid measuring cup
    • 1 set of measuring spoons
    • medium sized oven proof serving dish
    • large serving spoon


  1. Trim fat off chicken if needed. [If breasts are intact, separate by cutting down the middle of the tendon, and then slicing that tendon off of each piece.]
  2. Cut each breast  in half crosswise. Then take the thicker portion and cut that in half to make two equal cutlets. You will end up with three cutlets per breast. Place in gallon size bag and add 1.5 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Close bag with as much air in it as possible and shake the bag to toss the chicken around inside. Open the bag and let it sit while doing the next 2 steps.
  3. Cut both lemons in half crosswise. Take one half and trim off the end.  Cut into 1/4″ thick slices and set aside.  Juice the other three lemon halves.
  4. Mince shallots and set aside (that tiny bowl is useful here). Mince garlic and set aside (tiny bowl #2).
  5. Spread the flour out in a shallow dish.  Dredge each chicken cutlet piece in the flour, shake off excess, and set on a wire rack.
  6. Add 1 T of oil to the skillet, and heat on medium-high.  Place half of the cutlets in the skillet and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook until golden on one side, flip and cook until golden on second side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to rack, then add 2 more tsp of oil, turn up the heat, and do it again with the remaining cutlets. (See tips below on how to make this step shorter.)
  7. Add remaining oil and shallot to skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add broth, lemon juice, and lemon slices to pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Add cutlets to sauce and simmer for 2 minutes.  Flip and simmer 2 more minutes.  Remove pan from heat and transfer cutlets  to a shallow serving platter, leaving the juice in the pan.
  9. Add butter to pan and whisk lightly to infuse the butter into the sauce.
  10. Add capers to sauce, stir in gently and pour sauce over chicken.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve with brown rice, crusty whole grain bread, or steamed potatoes.

Tips and Timesavers

  • If your butter is hard from the frig, cut it up into small-ish pieces and put it into the sauce cold.
  • In step 6, add oil to pan at the beginning of step 5.  When you have half of your cutlets floured you can put them into the pan and let cook while you process the rest of the cutlets.  This shaves a couple of minutes off the time!
  • Purchase pre-minced garlic and shallots to save time.
  • Purchase chicken cutlets instead of whole chicken breasts.  Then you can eliminate step 1 completely, and half of step 2!
  • Use as many dishwasher safe tools as possible.  Plastic cutting boards or sheets, ceramic knives, and a metal juicer can all go in the dishwasher right when you’re done using them.  It keeps the sinks and countertops clear and reduces the post-dinner cleanup time.
  • After the chicken is done, place the platter into in a 200 degree oven while you use the same skillet to saute up some light greens (spinach, chard, etc) in olive oil and garlic.
  • You can stretch this to serve 6 people if you have enough sides. Try adding a tossed green salad.
  • You can reduce the butter even more than I have but the sauce will become thinner.  If you just want to reduce calories, it would be better to use a non-stick pan and reduce the cooking oil instead.

Nutrition (g)

  • Serving Size: 1/4th of recipe
  • Calories: 462
  • Protein: 53
  • Fat: 26
  • Carbs: 3
  • Fiber: 0
  • Sugar: 1

One thought on “Chicken Piccata (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.