Make dinner night exciting again, and surprise your family with this Ina Garten chicken piccata! With a few simple ingredients, you can transform chicken breast into a five star meal.
It’s the perfect easy, creamy dish that is bound to be a hit with kids and adults alike.
Chicken piccata is an Italian dish made of browned chicken breast in a buttery, tangy sauce. Ina Garten’s classic take on chicken piccata uses uncomplicated ingredients like butter, lemon and white wine.
This sauce compliments any starchy side, though my favorite is pasta.
In just 30 minutes, you can make this restaurant-worthy dish yourself at home. The best part is you probably have everything you need already in your fridge. Just don’t forget the crusty bread to soak up the extra sauce.
What is Chicken Piccata?
Chicken piccata is derived from the traditional Italian dish veal piccata. When this recipe came over to America, it became popular to swap out veal for chicken instead. So, chicken piccata is actually a product of Italian-American cuisine.
In both recipes, the meat is pounded flat before it is fried in flour to form a crispy crust. It is then soaked in a lemon butter sauce.
The addition of capers helps cut through the richness of the sauce with a pop of salt and acidity.
Chicken piccata is sometimes associated with Milan, due to its similarity to the cutlet dish Costoletta alla Milanese. That’s why sometimes you’ll find “Piccata milanese” or “chicken milanese” on restaurant menus.
Customizing Ina Garten’s Chicken Piccata
If you’re an Italian food lover, you’re probably no stranger to Ina Garten’s recipes. Her cookbooks and television shows under the name “Barefoot Contessa” helped popularize Italian-American food.
Her recipes are absolutely delicious, and suitable to make for the whole family.
Ina Garten’s original recipe includes capers, white wine and butter. In this iteration, I’ve added cream to make the sauce even more rich. Instead of regular butter, I used herb butter as a way to include more savory Italian flavors.
To mellow out the sauce a bit, I also added chicken stock. And of course, a good Italian dish isn’t complete without garlic, so I’ve added several minced cloves.
If you want to follow Ina Garten’s recipe exactly, you can find it in her cookbook Barefoot Contessa At Home.
Tips and Tricks for Making Ina Garten Chicken Piccata
- Deglaze with stock instead of wine. Chicken stock has less sugar than wine and will cut down on the amount of sugar in your chicken piccata. This is also a good way to make this dish more appealing to kids.
- Use fresh lemon juice instead of the bottled variety. Fresh lemon juice tastes so much brighter and punchier. Meanwhile, bottled lemon juice often contains preservatives.
- Choose a drinking wine, rather than a cooking wine. I suggest a dry variety like Pinot Grigio for the best flavor.
- Coat the chicken in panko crumbs instead of flour. Panko is light and crispy, and fries nicely. You can even add extra seasonings like herbs or grated parmesan cheese.
- Give the chicken lots of space while it’s frying. The chicken will steam instead of crisp up if the pan is overcrowded. You can fry in batches, and keep the cooked chicken warm in the oven.
- Bake the cutlets instead of frying, for a healthier option. Just coat the chicken with flour and a drizzle of oil, and place on a baking tray. Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 400°F.
- Chop some fresh Italian parsley and use it to garnish the chicken piccata. Not only does it look beautiful, it also adds some freshness.
Ina Garten Chicken Piccata Recipe
- Prep Time15 min
- Cook Time15 min
- Total Time30 min
- Preheat the Oven
Heat your oven to 400°F. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Flatten the Chicken Breast
You should have 4 individual pieces of chicken after cutting the chicken breasts in half. Position the chicken in between two pieces of parchment paper.
Use a rolling pin or mallet to pound the chicken pieces until they’re flat and thin. They should be about 1/4 inch thick. Season the chicken with pepper and salt.
- Prepare the Breading
In a medium bowl, add the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk together until combined.
In a separate bowl, crack the egg and whisk it together with a splash of water. Add breadcrumbs to a third bowl.
Coat both sides of the chicken in the flour mixture. Then, dunk into the egg mixture. Finally, coat your chicken with a layer of bread crumbs.
- Fry the Chicken
Heat a large pan on medium-high and add olive oil. Fry the chicken breasts for 2 minutes, then flip over and repeat. Remove the chicken from the heat when they’re golden brown and crispy.
Place the chicken onto a sheet pan. Bake them for about 5-10 minutes at 400°F until fully cooked.
- Make the Sauce
Add some olive oil to the same pan the chicken was cooked in. Cook the minced garlic until fragrant. Add chicken broth to deglaze the pan, and scrape the bottom to release all the flavors.
Once the chicken broth reaches a boil, add white wine, freshly squeezed lemon juice, capers and reserved lemon halves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer everything until all the flavors are well combined, then discard the lemon halves.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the cream and herb butter. Don’t add it all at once, or the sauce might separate.
- Serve and Enjoy
Plate the chicken breast with pasta, potatoes or your choice of side. Pour the sauce over top of the chicken. Garnish with extra lemon slices and a healthy sprinkle of chopped parsley.
Swaps and Substitutions
Capers are somewhat of an acquired taste. Kids especially aren’t too fond of them. So if you don’t like capers, you can substitute them for chopped green olives instead.
If you want to make something more similar to the original Italian recipe, swap the chicken for veal or fish. If you’re using fish, there’s no need to pound it first, since the fish is so delicate.
I like to add some vegetables to the sauce to make it a bit healthier. Mushrooms and onions work well, and they absorb a lot of that sauce to get a nice flavor.
Some recipes also include pickled artichoke, which pairs nicely with the capers.
Orange chicken piccata is a popular variation on this recipe. Instead of lemon juice and capers, orange chicken piccata uses orange juice and almond slices. The result is much sweeter, and super flavorful!
What to Serve with Chicken Piccata?
In Italy, veal piccata is often served with either polenta or angel hair pasta. Polenta isn’t very common in America, so Ina Garten chicken piccata is usually paired with pasta.
The lemon butter sauce goes wonderfully mixed with penne, spaghetti or egg noodles.
Next to pasta, the most popular pairing for chicken piccata is mashed potatoes. You can serve the chicken right on top of the potatoes and let them soak up the sauce.
Rice is another easy side option. All you have to do is cook the rice in the rice cooker and it’s ready.
No boiling, cutting, peeling or mashing involved!
If you’re looking for a way to make this chicken piccata more healthy, opt for a side of roasted vegetables. You don’t even need to season the vegetables heavily, since they’ll absorb the flavors from the chicken piccata.
For a healthier alternative to pasta, try spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles instead.
And, my all-time favorite pairing for chicken piccata is good crusty bread. Just tear off a piece and dip it right into the sauce!
- 18.7g Fat
- 56g Carbs