Who doesn’t love an easy dinner? Veal piccata is light and fresh, made with veal cutlets, covered in a zesty lemon sauce, and sprinkled with capers; it’s a perfect dinner for weeknights when you want something quick and comforting.
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Although this is a classic veal recipe, as iconic as veal parmesan and grandma’s homemade veal meatballs, it’s uncomplicated and simple to make. It’s a timeless recipe we’ve all had at Italian restaurants, but with a few simple pantry staples, it’s a family favorite you can make on busy weeknights and for the occasional special date night.
The cut: What are veal cutlets?
Veal cutlets are thin cuts of veal, pounded thin, and ideal for quick cooking recipes that are synonymous with Italian dishes. They are incredibly tender and mild in flavor with a milky pink color. When fried quickly for classic dishes like veal scallopini, marsala, milanese, or even schnitzel, they are the perfect vessel for iconic flavors. And this veal piccata recipe is no exception.
This is a classic veal piccata, but you could use chicken cutlets if desired.
- Veal Cutlets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Oil for frying, a neutral oil like canola or avocado oil works great for this.
- Unsalted butter
- White wine – use a light, crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Chicken broth
- Lemon – we use freshly squeezed lemon juice in the recipe and sliced lemon for serving.
- Fresh parsley
How to make veal piccata
Set up your workstation because this recipe comes together quickly. Having all the ingredients minced, measured, and waiting to be used will help you not miss any steps.
- Start by removing the thinly sliced veal cutlets from the package and patting them dry with paper towels. Then, season them liberally with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour. Make sure to shake off any excess flour.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two to three veal cutlets to the pan in a single layer, and quickly fry for 2-3 minutes a side until golden brown. Transfer the cooked veal piccata to a baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven while you continue frying them all.
- Once all the veal is cooked, reduce the heat to medium and make the pan sauce by adding the minced shallot to the hot pan and sauteeing it for a few minutes until translucent.
- Then deglaze the pan with the white wine by slowly pouring in the wine and using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. This helps add depth to the sauce with that rich umami flavor and cleans the pan of any stuck-on bits. Finally, add in the chicken broth and fresh lemon juice and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the salty capers and remove the pan from the heat.
- Finally, add the remaining butter to the sauce and stir to combine. This will thicken the sauce, making it smooth and creamy. Add in the chopped parsley and stir just to combine. Return the cutlets to the pan, coat them in the sauce, and serve them immediately with additional lemon slices.
Girl Carnivore Expert Recipe Tips
Check that your veal is all about the same even thickness. If not, place them between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the individual thin veal cutlets to an even size, about a quarter inch thick.
We love our large 12″ cast iron skillet for this classic dish. It holds heat evenly and can fry 3 pieces of veal at a time, making quick work of the recipe. But any large saute pan will work. To see all of our favorite tools, check out our shop page. And for guides on how to clean and season cast iron, check out our guides.
Remember not to over-salt this dish when cooking, as the briny capers add a lot of flavor to the pan sauce at the end. We have found some capers to be saltier than others and are currently using non-pareil capers by the Mezetta brand. We strain the capers before using them.
What to serve with veal piccata
Pair this dish with fresh veggies like sauteed or roasted green beans, broccolini, and a fresh salad. We find the bright flavors from the lemon caper sauce goes great with any simple roasted vegetable. And of course, if you aren’t keeping it low-carb, a simple fresh pasta dish is the perfect pairing for this recipe. We love spaghetti simply tossed in butter with freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top, similar to our classic carbonara.
Leftovers and reheating
Store leftover veal piccata in an airtight container with any extra sauce for up to four days. To reheat, place the veal piccata on a baking sheet wrapped in foil and into an oven preheated to 325 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes, until heated through. We avoid microwaving leftover cutlets as we feel it can make the texture rubbery.
Veal piccata is a delectable dish showcasing veal’s tender and delicate flavors. Its tangy and vibrant lemon-caper sauce offers a refreshing twist to traditional meat dishes. You’ve got to try veal piccata! Imagine tender veal cutlets pan-fried to perfection, then smothered in a mouthwatering sauce. It’s a flavor and texture in every bite! Whether you’re cooking a fancy dinner or just want something special for a celebration, this dish is a timeless hit. Give this iconic Italian classic a go—you won’t regret it, and it’s bound to become a staple at your dinner table.
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For the fried veal cutlets:
- 2 lbs Veal Cutlets
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 2 tbsp Oil for frying a neutral oil like canola or avocado oil
- 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
For the piccata sauce:
- 1 Shallot
- 1/2 cup White wine – use a light crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
- 3/4 cup Chicken broth
- 2 fresh lemons for 2 tbsp juice and slices
- 1 tbsp Capers drained
- 1 tbsp parsley minced
- Fresh lemon slices
- Fresh parsley minced
Prep and cook the veal:
- Remove the veal from the package and pat dry.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
- Season the veal with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place flour in a shallow dish and, one at a time, dredge each cutlet in flour, making sure to coat both sides and shake off any excess flour.
- When ready to cook, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the butter and when the butter is melted, add the veal cutlets, in a single layer, 2 to 3 at a time, not to over crowd the pan.
- Fry 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Lay the cooked veal on a baking sheet and keep warm in the preheated oven until all the cutlets are cooked.
Make the piccata sauce:
- Once all the veal is cooked, working with the same pan, add the minced shallot and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until translucent and softened.
- Slowly and carefully pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Add in the chicken broth and fresh lemon juice and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the capers and remove the pan from the heat.
- Off heat, add the remaining butter to the sauce and stir to combine.
- Stir in the minced parsley and return the cutlets to the pan, coat them in the sauce.
- Serve the veal piccata immediately with fresh lemon wedges and garnish with chopped parsley.
You can swap the veal cutlets with chicken cutlets if desired. We love the tenderness and flavor of veal cutlets, but this recipe works with any thin cut of meat.
The sauce made for veal piccata is a very simple pan sauce that is bright and fresh and made with dry white wine and lemon juice. There’s a hint of saltiness from capers and a light herbaceousness from parsley. It’s one of the easiest pan sauces you can add, and it goes great over veal, chicken, pork, or even fish.
You could coat the veal in an egg wash and bread it, but we find that a simple coating of flour and fast fry works great for this recipe. If you want more crisp, then use a breading and fry the veal cutlets.