Lemon Caper Chicken Recipe

Lemon Caper Chicken is a classic restaurant recipe you’ll enjoy for a delicious dinner again and again. It’s a healthier version of chicken piccata, made with clean eating (real-food) ingredients!

Chicken and lemon come together in this familiar restaurant classic. Only this time, there’s no butter.

Finished Lemon Caper Chicken still in the skillet and ready to serve.

Now, before you roll your eyes and click on another lemon caper chicken recipe (a.k.a. chicken piccata), I promise it’s possible to enjoy a sauce without the added butter. I swear. And while this one is a bit different than what you’d get in a restaurant, it’s certainly a good substitute. My family loved it, and I hope yours will, too.

Lemon Caper Chicken Pasta

You can serve this chicken by itself with a side of veggies and rice, or you can serve it over pasta for a delicious pasta dinner!

What To Serve With Lemon Caper Chicken

This lemon caper chicken is wonderful with a side of rice and veggies. You can serve it over pasta, as mentioned above, or with another whole grain, such as farro or quinoa. If you serve it over pasta, keep a little extra chicken broth on hand in case you want more sauce for the pasta. Potatoes also make a lovely pairing with this dish.

Creamy Lemon Caper Chicken

If you prefer to make this a creamy dish, you can stir in a small amount of plain yogurt. Just don’t go overboard, or the tang of the yogurt and lemon juice together might get a little overwhelming.

What Are Capers?

Capers are the edible, unripened flower buds from the caper bush, Capparis spinose. The bush can be found the Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa, Pacific Islands, and Australia although the origin remains uncertain. (source)

Health Benefits Of Capers

Capers have a decent dose of vitamin K, folate, and magnesium.

Some studies show that capers may possibly help with liver health and blood sugar control and even aid in blood clotting as well as fighting inflammation. (source)

And up close view of this lemon caper chicken still sitting in the skillet with a serving spoon lifting up one of the chicken breasts. It has capers sprinkled over it as well as fresh parsley.

How Long Do Capers Last?

If stored properly, they can last in the fridge for up to 1 year. But they must stay refrigerated and be properly sealed in a food-safe container.

Are Capers A Vegetable?

No. They are technically flower buds. The berries are also used.

What To Use Instead Of Capers In A Recipe

The closest thing to capers will be green olives. Chop them small and use them as a substitute.

Recipe Notes

I will say that this probably isn’t a dish that kids will enjoy. It’s definitely more for adult palates. The lemony tang can be a bit overwhelming for the little ones. When I made this, I cooked a piece of plain chicken on the side for Mini Chef. I served it with potatoes and veggies.

Also, if you prefer the added flavor of butter, you can certainly add a bit here. And if you really want something decadent, you can even add some real cream to the sauce. I wouldn’t go overboard, but it does create a wonderfully creamy sauce. If you choose to add either of the two, do so at the end. Allow everything to cool a bit first, and then stir in the butter or cream. But this recipe is delicious without either. The choice is yours!

Lemon caper chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet.

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And up close view of this lemon caper chicken still sitting in the skillet with a serving spoon lifting up one of the chicken breasts. It has capers sprinkled over it as well as fresh parsley.

Lemon Caper Chicken Recipe

A deliciously healthy chicken picatta recipe!
4.34 from 6 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 327kcal


  • 2 ½ lb. chicken breasts (about 5 boneless, skinless breasts)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. small capers (drained, soaked for 5 minutes and rinsed – If you can only find large capers, chop them.)
  • 2 tbsp. organic cornstarch (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (no sugar added, low sodium is best)
  • salt to taste after cooking


  • Place your chicken breasts on a flat work surface. If you prefer to tenderize it, do so now. Season with salt and pepper.
    Step one of this lemon caper chicken recipe shows the raw chicken breasts sitting on a cutting board, ready to prep.
  • Warm the oil in your skillet and add the chicken to it.
    Step three shows the chicken breasts in the skillet, ready to cook.
  • When the chicken is no longer pink on the outside, add half of the lemon juice and continue to cook.
    Step four shows the chicken breasts cooking and browning beautifully in the cast iron skillet.
  • In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, rest of the lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder and capers. Whisk in the cornstarch as well and set aside.
    Step two shows the whisked lemon sauce in a mixing bowl with the whisk still in it. Cut lemons sit to the side of the bowl.
  • When the chicken is nearly done, pour in the chicken broth mixture and cook until the chicken is done and the liquid has thickened into a nice sauce.
    Step five shows the capers added to the skillet, sprinkled over the chicken.
  • If needed, season with a little extra salt to taste.
    The finished lemon caper chicken, ready to serve over pasta, rice, or just by itself!
  • Serve over whole grain pasta, rice or with your favorite side dishes.
    A single chicken breasts shown served over some whole grain pasta. Cut lemons sit to the side of the white bowl.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 327kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 602mg | Potassium: 932mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 11.5mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 2/27/12.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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  1. Barbara Falzone says:

    This is my kind of recipe, as I don’t like to cook with butter. Only use it for Christmas cookies,and other occasional baking. Will definitely be giving this a try.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Barbara – Fantastic! I hope you enjoy it.

  2. graciouspantry says:

    Dcohen – Pinterest is fine. I’m more concerned with people who take my photos to post in their own blog posts or for other personal projects.

  3. So weird! I totally ate chicken picatta for dinner last night. I will have to try your take on it…looks delicious.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Talia – I hope you enjoy it!

  4. graciouspantry says:

    Diana – Fabulous! Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. graciouspantry says:

    Cg – Great! I might have to try that!

  6. graciouspantry says:

    Sheri – Wonderful! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  7. graciouspantry says:

    Missi – I get my WW pastry flour at Whole Foods. The most common brand is Bob’s Redmill. You may want to call around to find out who carries it, or go to their web site to find a store in your area.

    The chicken breasts I used were about 6 to 8 ounces each.

  8. graciouspantry says:

    The flour is just for thickening. You can also use cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

  9. Alana Altmann says:

    This is so delicious! I make it whenever I have company and everyone is always shocked by the ingredients! Thank you so much!!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      My pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Tiffany M says:

    I made this for my family the other night (I love chicken piccata), and it was a HUGE hit!! Both my 8 year old son & 4 year old daughter loved it! My son went back for seconds, and then was very happy to have it again the next night. I used cornstarch, as I didn’t have any wheat flour, and it turned out great! Thanks so much for the recipe, I look forward to trying some of your other recipes! (Especially your desserts, my weakness!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      How awesome! So glad everyone enjoyed it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I love chicken piccata as well, one of my favorites! I plan to try your recipe, should I serve it with spaghetti? Is there enough sauce to spoon over some pasta?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sarah T. – I didn’t, but I think there’s enough sauce for a small amount of pasta. You could always double up on the sauce…

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe was super easy. I added lemon zest at the end right before serving. This is the best chicken dish I have ever made. This will be on my regular rotation. Going to add artichokes too next time. Thank you for such a great recipe! Yum!

      1. 5 stars
        Just wanted you to know that I am making a double batch of this today and cannot wait to enjoy your chicken dish again! I am obsessed!