Lemon Chicken Piccata


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cooking chicken picatta in a cast iron skillet

Lemon Chicken Piccata is a one-pan dish with a fresh twist. Charred sweet and sour lemon slices give seared chicken big lemon flavor and the light, creamy pan sauce is great over pasta.

Lemon Chicken Piccata over pasta in a white bowl

Charred Lemons

If you have ever had or made Chicken Piccata, you know that there is a lot to love about the bright combination of flavors in this dish. In dark, cold winter months, this is the sort of dish that brings a little sunshine to the dinner table.

I recently stumbled across a recipe in Cooking Light that gave me the inspiration to add one quick extra step to my Chicken Piccata, making this absolutely the best version I’ve ever had.

Charred Lemons in a white bowl

The secret is this. Charred lemons.

It takes just a couple minutes to marinate lemon slices with garlic and sugar. And then a couple more to sear them in the same pan used to cook the chicken.

But the result is this intensely bright, slightly sweet lemon and garlic mixture that is folded back in to the finished dish. The flavor is intense and complex and has so much more going on than one-note lemon juice.

Charred Lemons in a cast iron skillet with sugar and garlic

If you have made Lemon Chicken Piccata before or if this is your first introduction to the dish, I can’t recommend this version enough. Beautiful, fragrant and impressive without being stuffy.

Best of all, it’s fast enough to make on a weeknight. Just get a pot of water boiling for pasta before you start the chicken. It should all finish about the same time.

This post is part of our series Dinner Tonight where we share our favorite weeknight-friendly dinners. Just doing our part to help answer the question “what’s for dinner”?


Lemon Chicken Piccata in a cast iron skillet

By the way, since the weather is still cold and the New Year isn’t quite a distant memory, we’ve been eating more whole wheat around here, including in our pasta. So I couldn’t resist a shout-out for the DeLallo Whole Wheat Spaghetti shown in these photos. It’s totally great – tender and light – just in case you’re into that sort of thing! (P.S. I have no affiliation with DeLallo, just wanted to share the whole wheat love.)

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cooking chicken piccata in a cast iron skillet
4.67 from 15 votes

Lemon Chicken Piccata

Lemon Chicken Piccata is a one-pan dish with a fresh twist. Charred sweet and sour lemon slices give seared chicken big lemon flavor and the light, creamy pan sauce is great over pasta.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Shallow Baking Dish
  • Large Skillet


  • 2 Lemons, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves Garlic, cut into very thick slices or halved length-wise
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, halved and pounded thin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup+ 1 Tbsp Flour, divided
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 Shallots, Diced
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine (sub chicken stock)
  • 1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped


  • Toss lemon slices and garlic in sugar. Set aside.
  • Slice chicken breasts in half, place between two pieces of plastic, and pound to about 3/4 inches thick (no need to be precise, just make sure all of the chicken pieces are about even thickness). Season chicken pieces on both sides with salt and black pepper.
  • Place 1/2 cup flour in a shallow baking dish.
  • Heat the largest skillet you have over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Working quickly, dredge each piece of chicken in flour, shake off the excess, and place the chicken in the hot pan (if it won't all fit in a single layer, cook the chicken in batches). Cook on both sides until deep golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes total. Set chicken aside and return pan to heat.
  • Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to heated pan and then lemon slices and garlic. Saute until garlic is fragrant and lemons are starting to turn golden in spots, 1 to 2 minutes (watch it closely and remove it from heat if the garlic starts to turn brown). Pour charred lemons and garlic back into the bowl they were marinating in and return pan to heat.
  • Add shallots and oregano to heated pan. Cook until shallots are tender, ~1 minute. Add 1 Tbsp flour and stir until no dry spots of flour remain. Add white wine and stock to pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to bring sauce to a simmer. Simmer until sauce reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter and capers until butter melts.
  • Return chicken pieces to pan and spoon sauce over top. Pour lemons and garlic over top and sprinkle with parsley.
  • Serve over spaghetti or rice.


Inspiration for the Charred Lemons came from Cooking Light.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 923mg | Potassium: 667mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 465IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00
Calories: 461
Keyword: Chicken Recipe, easy dinner, one pan meal
Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments

How was your Valentine’s Day? Hopefully as full of sugar and glee as Molly and Clara’s. These two came home from school and poured out all the cards they received from their classmates on the kitchen floor. #valentinesdaysuccess

Molly and Clara_Valentines Day

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Lemon Chicken Piccata - A classic one-pan lemon chicken dish topped with capers and sweet and savory charred lemons. Great on its own or served over rice or spaghetti.
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

4.67 from 15 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    LOVED this dish! Any special considerations if I freeze some of the leftovers? Or does this keep relatively well as is?

    I’m inspired by all of your recipes…I think I’ll try your pad see ew next. Sure will help me save money on take out!

    1. Hi Kirsten – we usually don’t bother to freeze this one because we end up using the leftovers within a couple of days and it does hold up really well. If I have some leftovers, I sometimes chop the leftover chicken up into small pieces and reserve the sauce and then mix it into cooked orzo or pasta just for a slightly different take.

      Hope you love the pad see ew as much as we do!!

  2. 5 stars

    Made it last nite. I have made other chicken piccata recipes but this one had many levels of flavor, and the adding of the pasta suggestion – loved this!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for company last evening and it was spectacular! Both guests were unsure about eating the charred lemons but they won a resounding loud approval! It wasn’t difficult, but I took my time knowing full well I’m known for being too hasty the first time around and missing an entire step. Served over what rice cooked in chicken stock and broccoli with a simple white bread!

    It came out so good, I took a picture … I’ve never done that before!

    Again, outstanding! Keep them coming!

    1. I’m SO glad it was a hit! The charred lemons are surprising, but I think they really make the dish – sweet and tart is a good combination in my book.

        1. Oh yes, Lari! Definitely eat them! They taste great and are perfectly fine to eat. (Even with salt + sugar, they might still be too lemon-y for some people, but we love them.)

  4. 5 stars
    This is my go-to order to gauge any new Italian restaurant. Every time I order, I vow to make it at home. Thanks for the recipe.