Chicken Piccata with Fried Capers

I love this version of Chicken Piccata which has fried capers to bump up the flavor; if you’ve enjoyed this dish in a restaurant, I hope you’ll try making it at home! And it doesn’t use flour, so this recipe is low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly. Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one

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Chicken Piccata is one of those classic dishes that are relatively easy to master, quick to prepare, and always taste great. This version of Chicken Piccata with Fried Capers caught my eye in Fine Cooking Annual because the chicken wasn’t dredged in flour, and the combination of capers and lemon is one of my favorites. But what really sold me on trying it was the fried capers.

Chinese cooking involves seasoning the oil where garlic and ginger are fried briefly in hot oil before you add other ingredients. Here I think frying the capers in olive oil before you brown the chicken takes Chicken Piccata to a whole new level.

When Jake and I made this again recently to update the photos, I was tempted to use a lot more capers than the recipe called for! I restrained myself, but if you love capers like I do, go ahead and use a bit more.

Capers are not berries, but the unopened green flower buds of the Capparis spinosa. They have an astringent sharp flavor, and are used a lot in Mediterranean cooking. Capers must be picked by hand, which makes them expensive. They’re sold pickled or salted, and both types are often rinsed. Read more about how to use capers at The Perfect Pantry, where Lydia does such a great job of helping us learn about the ingredients we’re using.

(Chicken Piccata with Fried Capers was updated with better photos and step-by-step instructions in March 2016.)

If you want to skip the photos below and watch a video instead, here is a video of how to make this recipe. See more recipe videos on My You Tube Channel.

Chicken Piccata with Fried Capers found on

Trim chicken breasts and cut in half to make two same-size pieces; then pound with a meat mallet (or something heavy) to make 1/2 inch thick cutlers. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Chop the parsley and garlic, and rinse the capers and pat dry.

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Heat the olive oil in frying pan, add capers and cook until they open slightly and crisp a bit, about 90 seconds. Transfer capers to a paper towel and add chicken to the pan. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until it’s nicely browned on both sides and cooked through, then transfer to a plate. (You can cover them to keep warm if you prefer.) While chicken cooks get the chicken stock, butter, and lemon juice measured and ready to go.

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Add garlic to the pan and cook about 30 seconds. Then add the stock and scrape to remove all the browned bits, cooking a few minutes until the stock is slightly reduced. Stir in the lemon juice (with sweetener if desired), then turn off the heat and add the butter, stirring until it’s melted into the sauce. Add half the capers and all the parsley to the sauce.

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Pour sauce over the chicken, then garnish with the rest of the capers and parsley and serve hot, with extra lemon to squeeze on at the table please! This would be great with Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and The Best Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese for a low-carb meal.

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And just for historical purposes, here’s the original photo of this recipe which isn’t bad at all for those days!

Chicken Piccata with Fried Capers
(Makes 2-3 servings, but could easily be doubled if you have a larger pan. Recipe adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Annual.)

2 or 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T nonpareil capers (or a little more if you love capers as much as I do)
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper to season chicken
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning (optional)
1-2 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock (or use canned chicken broth, but be sure it’s low sodium)
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sweetener of your choice (optional; if you like lemon you probably don’t need any sweetener)
1-2 T butter, cut up into several pieces
1 T chopped fresh parsley


Trim all visible fat and undesirable membranes from chicken breasts. Cut each one in half to make two pieces about the same size. One at a time, put pieces inside a heavy ziploc bag and pound chicken to make it an even 1/2 inch thick. Season chicken with a small amount of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning if using. Chop parlsey and set aside.

Rinse the capers and pat dry with paper towels. In a 12-inch nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. (I used my Green Pan, which worked well for this recipe.) When oil is hot, add capers and fry until they open slightly and crisp a little, took 60-90 seconds for me. Remove pan from heat and use a spoon to transfer capers to paper towel, letting the oil drip back into pan.

Get oil hot again, then saute chicken on top side until nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes. Turn over and cook on other side until chicken is done, probably only 1-2 minutes on the second side. Arrange chicken on serving dish with the most browned side facing up. (You can cover them to keep warm if you want, but I didn’t and they were fine.)

While chicken browns, measure out chicken stock, garlic, butter, and lemon juice (plus sweetener if using) so they’re ready. Add garlic to hot pan and saute 15-30 seconds. Add chicken stock, and scrape pan to dissolve browned bits. Cook until stock is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice (and sweetener if using), then turn off heat and add butter, stirring until butter is melted. Add half of capers and parsley to sauce, then pour sauce over chicken, garnishing with remaining capers.

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This recipe which doesn’t have any flour is great for low-carb or low-glycemic diet plans. Butter isn’t recommended for the South Beach Diet,  but I think the small amount of butter here is important for flavor. I would eat this for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

Find More Recipes Like This One:

Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?

If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Look What Else Tastes Great with Capers:
Deviled Eggs with Green Olives, Capers, and Dijon ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Cauliflower with Pancetta, Capers, and Parmesan ~ A Veggie Venture

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Olive-Caper Sauce ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Leon’s Caper and Anchovy Miracle Sauce ~ Nom Nom Paleo

Roasted Cauliflower Slices with Red Pepper, Kalamata Olives, Capers, and Lemon ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

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59 comments on “Chicken Piccata with Fried Capers”

  1. Chicken Piccata is one of my husband’s favorites, I must try this one. Looks wonderful!

  2. Hey Kalyn, Nice recipe with capers – I don’t see to many caper recipes around I havn’t tried them yet myself 🙂

  3. Frying the capers first! That sounds irresistible.

  4. Sounds delicious! As usual, I enjoy your amazing blog!

  5. I am a huge fan of capers and use them frequently in my cooking. While some brands are expensive, I’ve shopped around and found Goya and Cento both offer good values.

  6. I’ve been thinking of making Chicken Piccata, Kalyn, this will give me the incentive I need.

    My husband had this on our second date – but i”ve only made it once.

    Thanks for the link – SBD is wonderful!

  7. Kalyn, thanks for the mention. This looks like another of your elegant, yet not complicated, recipes. And your photos are getting more and more luscious!

  8. Tanna, thanks as always for your nice compliments.

    Jeena, capers are great if you like tart flavors.

    CC, I was quite intrigued by it too, and it’s a keeper.

    Sandy-la, thanks so much!

    Susan have to look for those brands. I get a huge jar of them at Costco, which works for me, but it can be a challenge to use them up.

    Mimi, you’re welcome. Glad you like South Beach.

    Lydia, thanks so much. I’m sometimes not overly thrilled with my photos, but I did like how this one turned out. Thanks for the good caper info.

  9. Kalyn,
    I’m taking this little number to Florida when we go at spring break. Marthat loves capers and it looks so easy. I’m drooling as I type!!

  10. Hooray, my friend Sandy left a comment on the blog. This is the person I used to have so much fun doing the D.C. restaurant thing with when we were on the NEA Board together. (That’s National Education Association for those who don’t know.)

  11. I love capers, and that picture shows them off perfectly!

  12. Can’t wait til I can cook that piccata, so utterly tempting I broke my fast and ate a whole jar of giant Sicilian capers last night.

  13. It looks fantastic. Piccata without capers is just not right. The idea of frying them is great as while I like the taste of capers, I never enjoyed the texture of them.

  14. What a yummy dish, we are cooking with capers today!! So all around the world alike tastes!! 🙂

  15. I’ve never tried capers before but my buy a bottle one day if I get into the capers mood. Thanks for providing the list of capers recipes. I then don’t have to crack my brain on what else I can use capers for!

  16. I’ve tried this twice now and it’s just delicious! Thanks so much!

  17. Rebecca and Dale – thanks for the feedback. I loved it, so I’m glad to hear that it turned out well for you too.

  18. I just tried this tonight and it was absolutely wonderful. I forgot to add the splenda, it did not even need it. I will definitely be making this often!

  19. This looks great — I am a total caper fanatic. The bright green parsley adds a nice touch, too. I like to serve chicken piccata with capers in a white wine sauce and then garnish with large caper berries and lemon slices.

  20. Believe it or not, I’d never tried capers until a couple of years ago when My Man bought me some for Christmas. LOL That sounds weird but they were part of a “cooking basket” that he whipped up for me. He’d never tried them and never will again..grin…but I loved ’em!

    Thanks for this recipe, Kalyn; I’m back “on the beach” and really need the inspiration.

  21. This was really good, healthy, and not too complicated! My husband and I both loved it. He recommended I make this when we have guests. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Kristi, glad you liked it!

  23. This was AWESOME!!!! Loved the sweet and salty taste. I could eat this everyday with your cheesey zucchini.

  24. Slice, thanks for letting me know you liked it!

  25. We're big caper fans and also buy the big jar at Costco. We use capers in our tuna, grilled cheese, paninis, salads (with greens and pasta), and just even for snacking for the kids (ages 2 and 6). They're also a must with anything salmon (salmon, caper, and brie pizza?!). I'm trying this recipe tonight!

  26. I made this tonight and totally messed up and added the broth with the lemon juice and maple syrup at the same time. It was still really good. The fried capers are awesome though and I would double or triple them for next time. I would fry capers for other things too!

  27. Eliza, I was also really impressed with the fried capers when I made this. Glad you liked it, and as long as it's good, who cares if you follow the recipe exactly?

  28. Yummy!! The fried capers added a nice twist to the dish!!

  29. Glad you liked it. I love it that people are discovering this recipe since it's been here so long!

  30. This is my third time making this! I had meant to leave a comment before, this is truly a delicious dish! I find myself almost licking my plate for every last bit of the sauce! lol.

  31. Sarah, thanks, that's always nice to hear!

  32. Thanks for posting. I love chicken piccata and am always looking for new South Beach safe recipes.Thanks!

  33. Glad this appeals to you; I loved this recipe when I tested it.

  34. I love capers but don't cook with them much. Glad to have this recipe.

  35. Thanks Paula. I love capers too, and I love this recipe.

  36. This recipe is a big staple in our household, my husband gets excited when he hears I'm making this! Frying the capers made such a big difference from the recipes of my past!

  37. Renie, so glad to hear you have enjoyed it!

  38. I've had this recipe from Fine Cooking in my files ever since it was published. I love capers, must make it soon…

  39. I made this tonight, sort of….I'm bad about reading ingredients and then proceeding on my own, so I didn't exactly follow your instructions. Still, it was delicious!

  40. Sally, don't you just love Fine Cooking! It's my absolute favorite food magazine.

    Georgia, glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  41. Your Chicken Piccata recipe sounds exquisite. We like capers but never thought about frying them first. Very nice tip. Thank you for sharing. Very nice post.

  42. Frying the capers really makes a difference in this dish.

  43. I made this last night and we loved it. Thanks!

  44. Oh Jen, so happy to hear that! Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  45. Made it last night. Loved it. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Enjoy your preparation photos. Very helpful! I am so happy I found your blog. Down 15 lbs. and counting!

  46. Lexi, that's great! Glad you liked the recipe too.

  47. Thank you Kayln the picatta was a bit hit on our table last night, even with the caper wary kids!

  48. Thanks for letting me know (and I love hearing about kids eating capers!)

  49. Hi, liked the idea of the fried capers, so I lifted the idea and made a Swordfish Piccata with fried capers last night. Came out incredible; pan-seared the fish quickly and poached in white wine, reduced the liquid plus lemon juice and sauteed capers/Vidalia onions to make the Piccata sauce. Really nice…. – Ken

  50. Ken, I think that sounds like a brilliant idea to use fried capers with swordfish!

  51. This recipe is great, thank you so much for such a great blog! I just started South Beach on Sunday (down 5lbs already, woo hoo!) and your site as been a lifesaver! I made this recipe last night, and your mustard chicken on Monday, and your spinach and leek breakfast casserole on Monday as well–all great receipes! Thanks also for making your site mobile-friendly–I cook a lot right off my IPhone (my husband says it's not the best idea to keep my $300 IPhone next to a hot stove, but what does he know, haha!)–so having the site mobile-friendly has been a livesaver. Thanks again!

  52. I made this recipe tonight. I cut it down for just one person, since my fiance does not enjoy capers. It was really delicious and easy. I had more than enough sauce to enjoy with the chicken.

  53. Diana, glad you liked it!

  54. Thanks for the shout-out. It's so much easier to cook with ingredients when you understand a little more about them! I'm not a huge fan of capers, but there is little to compare to the lemony, almost floral flavor.

  55. I know this was posted a long time ago, but we made this one for the first time last night. It was delicious!!! We doubled the capers, because like you, we love them. This is going into the rotation immediately!! Thank you!!

  56. omg delicious!! I was scared to try this recipe because I've tried making chicken piccata before and it turned out ridiculously tart. But for some reason this came out perfectly! Just enough tartness to make it delicious! Definitely adding this to my rotation!

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