Lemon Chicken Piccata

5 from 113 votes

This Lemon Chicken Piccata is a quick and easy healthy version of the original recipe, that's grain-free, Whole30 and Paleo, but with the same great taste!

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Chicken piccata is one of those comforting delicious Italian recipes that’s usually breaded, fried, then smothered in a rich lemon buttery sauce. There’s a way to make the recipe still as decadent and comforting but with Whole30-compliant ingredients. It’s also easy to modify it to make it dairy-free. It’s not your grandma’s chicken piccata, but it’s a darn good one that you’ll love!

Lemon chicken piccata served with capers
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This recipe was excerpted from the new cookbook The Defined Dish (Amazon affiliate link) by Alex Snodgrass, the founder of The Defined Dish. The book is full of similar easy, quick Whole30 recipes and a New York Times Best Seller (for good reason!).

Chicken piccata is usually thin pieces of chicken breast that are dredged in a flour mixture, fried lightly and cooked in a lemon butter sauce. It’s signature to also include capers with the chicken piccata. This piccata concept can also be applied to veal, which is very popular in Italy, where the recipe originated from.


  • Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken cutlets for this recipe. If you can, buy organic and air chilled chicken for the best quality and flavor.
  • Black pepper: To season the chicken.
  • Arrowroot starch: We use arrowroot starch to keep this recipe gluten-free. You can use an all purpose flour or corn starch if that’s what you have.
  • Oil and butter: For cooking. I like to use olive oil, but vegetable or canola will work just fine.
  • Garlic: Use freshly minced garlic for the best flavor.
  • Capers: Capers add a great briny and salty flavor to this dish. I love them, but if you don’t like them, you can leave them out.
  • Chicken broth: Use low sodium chicken broth for this recipe, you don’t need the salt as the capers do the job.
  • Lemon juice: For the brightest and zingiest flavor, use fresh lemon juice for this chicken piccata recipe.


How to make lemon chicken piccata

Start by cutting the chicken breast into thinner slices. This is iconic of chicken piccata recipes, so it’s important to make sure you’re working with thin pieces. Then dry the chicken with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Thin cutlets of chicken breast dried and seasoned with salt and pepper

Next dredge the chicken in the arrowroot starch on both sides. And then, it’s time to cook the chicken piccata in 4 easy steps.

  1. Pan sear the chicken on both sides just long enough to get some color. It should not be fully cooked at this point; just seared and lightly browned.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the vegan butter and garlic and cook them together until they’re fragrant. Be careful not to brown the garlic here.
  3. Deglaze the pan using capers, chicken broth and lemon juice. This is where all the flavor comes in, so scrape the bits from the pan to help thicken and flavor the sauce.
  4. Nestle the chicken into the sauce and let it cook for 10-15 minutes. You can spoon some sauce over the chicken while it’s cooking to keep it juicy and tender.
Process shots to show the steps in preparing the chicken recipe

And the result is a rich and flavorful lemon chicken piccata made without using all-purpose flour, without using any breadcrumbs or cream and with only a tablespoon of butter (which you can easily swap for more olive oil). The flavor is light and lemony without it tasting too heavy. And the whole recipe is made in a skillet for easy weeknight prep and clean up.

Tips for making this recipe

  1. Avoid pounding the chicken to make it thinner. It works best to butterfly the chicken and use a large knife to slice thin cuts of the chicken breast. It’s then easier to work with and won’t tear the flesh.
  2. Allow the chicken to rest with the salt and pepper for 10 minutes before pan-searing. This is not necessary, but it will help the chicken retain more moisture and absorb the seasoning better.
  3. Make sure to dust off excess flour after dredging. It’s all about the light dusting because otherwise you’ll get a thick layer of flour. And that won’t brown quickly enough when you first pan sear the chicken with olive oil.
  4. Leave out the lemon slices if you don’t like it as lemony. The lemon slices simmering in the sauce for 15 minutes will definitely add depth to the citrus flavor, which is a big part of the lemon chicken piccata. But you can tone it down with smaller slices or stick to just the lemon juice.
  5. Check out my How to cut garlic post for tips on the easiest way to cut garlic for this recipe.
Lemon chicken piccata in the pan after cooking

Frequently asked questions

What is a chicken cutlet?

Alex explains that a chicken cutlet is a chicken breast that has been butterflied so it opens like a book. You can either do this yourself, or purchase it already done. Once you have opened your chicken into “cutlets,” finish the cut through the center so that they are divided in half lengthwise and no longer attached to each other.
You should be left with two separate, thin pieces of chicken to use for the lemon chicken piccata recipe.

What to serve with chicken piccata?

Think of serving chicken piccata with a starchy main dish that will soak up all the lemony buttery sauce goodness. Pasta is a very popular accompaniment especially since the recipe has Italian roots. But these other dishes would be perfect too:
Riced Cauliflower
Butternut Squash Risotto
Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Vermicelli Rice

Can you freeze chicken piccata?

I would only recommend freezing chicken piccata if you cooked chicken that wasn’t previously frozen. You can freeze chicken piccata though for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave or on a skillet.

I love how quick and easy it is to make this restaurant quality lemon piccata chicken. It’s so bright and vibrant in flavor and it’s quick enough to make to enjoy after a long day.

More healthy chicken recipes:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Lemon Chicken Piccata recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

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Lemon Chicken Piccata

This Lemon Chicken Piccata is a quick and easy healthy version of the original recipe, that's grain-free, Whole30 and Paleo, but with the same great taste!
5 from 113 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 255
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
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  • 1 pound chicken cutlets skinless, boneless
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained and rinsed, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup chicken broth low-sodium
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 lemon, plus lemon sliced for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for serving


  • Season the chicken cutlets on both sides with the salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Pour the arrowroot onto a wide bowl. Lightly dredge each cutlet in the arrowroot until evenly coated, then shake off any excess. Set the dredged cutlets aside on a clean plate.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Working in batches so as to not overcrowd the skillet, carefully add the cutlets and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. The chicken does not need to be completely cooked through, just golden brown. Transfer to a parchment-lined plate.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the butter to the skillet. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the capers, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Increase the heat to a simmer. Nestle the chicken into the sauce and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with the parsley and fresh lemon slices, if desired, and serve.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or skillet.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However you can use other grain-free flours for breading instead of arrowroot starch. And feel free to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Skillet Chicken Piccata is excerpted from The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes© 2019 by Alex Snodgrass. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


Calories: 255kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 483mg, Potassium: 476mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 121IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American, Italian
5 from 113 votes (100 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Jen says:

    I used almond flour for the cutlets and only olive oil in place of the butter, but otherwise followed directions exactly and it was delicious. This will be a new addition to my dinner rotation (even when not doing Whole30).

    1. Yumna says:

      So glad to hear!

  2. Salma says:

    This Lemon Chicken Piccata recipe is an easy one to follow and delicious too. I want to eat it everyday, so good!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      You’re so kind, Salma! I love seeing your name pop up!

  3. Vielka says:

    This is so far the best recipe I have tried from your blog. Thank you so much. The chicken was very flavorful. I paired with a lemon dressing arugula salad and whole wheat pasta.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! Sounds perfect.

  4. Nina says:

    Hello, thanks for this recipe and for making it gluten-free. Is it ok to use bone broth (chicken) instead?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      You’re welcome! Yes, you should be able to use bone broth instead of the chicken broth!

  5. Anna says:

    Yum!!!! Just made this for dinner tonight and it turned out amazing. Easy to make and great flavor. This recipe will now be on repeat it was that good.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      That makes me so happy to hear! I love that!

  6. Maureen says:

    I dredged the chicken in tapioca flour.
    I browned wonderfully and the flavors really stuck to the chicken .
    Loved it and will make it again.
    Served with Asian yams and rice.
    Minced parsley and chopped scallions.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      That’s perfect! Sounds like such a balanced and delicious meal!

  7. Ava says:

    Made this last night and it was soooo good!! Will definitely be adding this to my rotation 🙂

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I love that! Yay!!

  8. Voula says:

    Just made it for dinner…. Taste is light and flavorful. I didn’t have fresh parsley so substituted it for dried. Still came out delicious! Definitely a keeper! Pairing it with your lemon pasta and garlic potatoes. I need to have options for the little ones 😀

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! Love the sound of all of those recipes together.

  9. Amanda says:

    So good! While family loved it and super easy to make- will definitely be added to our rotation!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you! I love that!

  10. Lolita says:

    Do you think I could use veal instead of the chicken? And follow the recipe as is still?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yes, that’s a great idea! Same steps apply!

  11. Suzy says:

    Extremely easy to make and absolutely delish! Will make again!! Highly recommend!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you, Suzy! It makes me so happy to hear that you thoroughly enjoyed it!

  12. Luna @ Healthy Kitchen 101 says:

    One of my favourite chicken breast recipes indeed <3

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear it!

  13. Sarah M says:

    Great lemon chicken piccata recipe! You cannot screw this up! Thinly sliced chicken breasts or cutlets are key for tenderness & flavor. I decided to serve with polenta & a Dijon slaw instead of noodles.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad you liked it! Love the polenta side dish with it!

  14. Nicole says:

    Do we use dairy free butter?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yes you can to make it dairy-free or you can use olive oil 🙂

  15. dania jawad says:

    amazing recipe! super easy and tastes delicious

  16. Dania says:

    Amazing receipe ! Super easy and tastes amazing !!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much!

  17. Patty says:

    I followed the recipe just how it says and it turned out delicious! Hubby and kids loved it and the little ones kept asking for more. I can’t wait to make it again! Thank you 🙂

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear it! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave feedback!! 🙂

  18. ReneeW says:

    Oh my stars I can’t wait to try this. Every dish of yours I’ve tried has been wonderful Yumna! 🙂