Years ago I saw Giada de Laurentiss making her famous Chicken Piccata recipe on her cooking show on the Food Network. Those golden chicken breasts and slices of lemon had me hooked! So, I went and bought stainless steel skillets just to make those perfectly browned chicken breasts in my own kitchen. Can you blame me? My version of this dish just happens to be paleo, low carb, and keto friendly. So let me show you how to make the BEST Chicken Piccata.
Isn’t it wonderful how some of the most basic dishes are so deliciously memorable? Especially with chicken. This popular protein is humble yet versatile, and can be the perfect platform on which to build robust flavor with just a handful of the right ingredients.
One of the most often used yet underrated cuts of chicken is the simple chicken breast. There are so many ways to pan sear and sauté chicken breasts, and Chicken Piccata is at the top of my list of recipes.
While classic Chicken Piccata is one my favorite chicken meals, my husband isn’t a fan of capers. Who doesn’t like capers? Well, he is just not a fan. I think it’s the incredibly briny taste. So, sometimes I leave them out of the cooking process and serve on the side to enjoy for myself.
For me, it is all about the bright and zesty lemon, anyway.
Keto Chicken Piccata
Although I didn’t set out to make a keto, paleo, or low carb Chicken Piccata, this dish naturally is. There are only 2 grams of carbs in each serving, and only 1 net carb.
My unique way of perfectly searing chicken breasts means no flour or grains are used in the recipe. It is also sugar free.
Lemons have a trace of fructose, which likely accounts for the 1 gram of sugars in each serving.
Paleo Chicken Piccata
To make this paleo, use ghee or coconut oil in place of the butter.
What Ingredients are in this Recipe
The key ingredient for making an amazing Chicken Piccata is to add a little lemon zest.
The yellow outer skin of the lemon is flavorful and contains a high level of lemon oil. This gives the dish a more intense, tangy and bold lemon flavor.
To properly zest a lemon: Using a small zester or grater, gently take off the yellow outermost layer of the lemon rind. Just the yellow part, not the white rind, which is bitter.
Here is everything you need to make deliciously bright and buttery lemon Chicken Piccata:
- Thinly sliced chicken breasts – a must for searing and quickly cooking
- Olive oil
- Diced onion
- Minced garlic
- Lemon juice and lemon zest, plus thinly sliced lemon for garnish
- Chicken broth – I recommend low sodium
- Unsalted butter (ghee or coconut oil)
You’ll notice that I don’t use flour in my piccata recipe. This low-carb version is just as crispy without flour when the chicken breasts are properly seared. Keep reading for my tips to achieve golden brown gluten-free perfection!
How to Make Easy Chicken Piccata
Start to finish this easy and flavorful lemon Chicken Piccata recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make. It is perfect for enjoying as a hearty, comforting homemade meal even on a busy weeknight.
Here’s how to make classic Chicken Piccata that’s low carb and paleo or keto friendly:
- In a large skillet on medium-high heat, heat olive oil until simmering. Add the chicken breasts and sauté for 4 minutes on each side. For the the best sear, do not flip the chicken more than once.
- Remove chicken breasts to a plate or platter, tenting loosely with foil. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and chicken broth, stirring until smooth. Simmer until bubbly.
- Remove skillet from heat and add butter and capers. Using tongs, dip each chicken breast into the sauce, coating both sides. Serve with slices of lemon as garnish (optional).
Tips for Perfectly Seared Chicken
Want to make this a truly memorable meal? Here are a few tricks for getting perfectly seared, golden brown chicken breasts:
- The chicken needs to be completely dry. I pat lay a layer of paper towels under the chicken, and fold over the top. Press down, blotting out all the moisture.
- The other trick is to pound the chicken breasts until they have a more uniform thickness. Or, slice them thinly. This gives the chicken breasts a better sear. Plus, they will cook more evenly.
- For a great sear, avoid moving the chicken around in the skillet. Lay the fillets in the skillet and don’t move them, until it’s time to turn the chicken. Initially, they might stick to the pan, but the browning of the chicken releases them.
- To check the color of the chicken, gently lift the edge of the chicken. If it sticks, try again after a minute or two.
- Some, including Giada, like dredging their chicken in flour before searing, but I’ve found that just drying the breasts well before searing makes them crispy. And it’s gluten-free and less carbs.
- Also, if you have to cover the pan the trapped moisture can cause the crust to come off. So, I think it comes down to what works best for you.
Now you know all of the tips for making this dish delightfully light and lemony.
Enjoy Chicken Piccata hot with mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, or more keto and low carb friendly green beans for an amazing dinner.
Leftovers will keep well stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
See Below for the Complete Chicken Piccata Recipe with Video!
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Chicken Piccata Recipe
This bright and flavorful lemon Chicken Piccata recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner, easily homemade in less than 30 minutes with just one skillet!
- 4 boneless thinly sliced chicken breasts
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. diced onion
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 lemon, juiced
- grated lemon zest (from the rind of the lemon)
- 1/3 cup chicken broth, low sodium
- 1 Tbsp. capers, rinsed well and dried
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (or ghee or coconut oil)
- 1 lemon, very thinly sliced (optional, for garnish)
In a large skillet on medium-high heat, heat olive oil until simmering. Add the chicken breasts and sauté for 4 minutes on each side. For the the best sear, do not flip the chicken more than once.
Remove chicken breasts to a plate or platter, tenting loosely with foil. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and chicken broth, stirring until smooth. Simmer until bubbly.
Remove skillet from heat and add butter and capers. Using tongs, dip each chicken breast into the sauce, coating both sides. Serve with slices of lemon as garnish (optional).
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.