Chicken Cutlets with Caper Sauce

Easy chicken cutlets with caper sauce. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin, seared, served with a caper sauce over arugula, fennel and shaved Parmesan. 1 pan, cooks in 15 minutes!

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serve 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 chicken breast halves, pounded very thin, and then cut in half, so that you have 4 thin cutlets
  • Salt
  • 1 large shallot, minced, about 2 Tbsp
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 2-3 cups arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, shaved thin
  • 16-24 paper thin shavings of parmesan cheese


1 Sear the chicken cutlets: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a stick-free sauté pan over medium-high heat until almost smoking, about 1-2 minutes.

Sprinkle salt over the pounded chicken breasts and sear them for 2-3 minutes per side in the hot pan, working in batches so that you do not crowd the pan.


Remove the chicken breasts and cover with foil to keep them warm.

2 Sauté the shallots: Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the shallots and cook 1 minute, stirring often. Do not let them burn, and if they begin to brown rapidly, turn the heat down.


Add the garlic and cook another 45 seconds to 1 minute, stirring often.

3 Deglaze pan with wine, add capers, red pepper flakes: Add the white wine and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

chicken-cutlets-caper-method-3 chicken-cutlets-caper-method-4

Add the capers and red pepper flakes and boil until the wine is almost gone, about 2-4 minutes.

4 Serve with arugula, shaved fennel, shaved Parmesan: To serve, mix the arugula and shaved fennel and put some on each plate. Arrange some shaved parmesan over them.

Lay a piece of chicken on each salad, then top with a little of the sauce. Serve hot.

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  • Kandy

    My husband and I loved the flavor, but the 1/2 teasp of red pepper flakes made it inedible for him. I toughed it out but will not be using that ingredient next time.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kandy, I think you’re right! That can be a little much for people who aren’t used to spice. I’ve adjusted the amount downward. Thank you for your feedback!

  • Katie

    Made this last night and it was delicious!!!!! I served it over steamed spinach as I’m one of the few that just does not like arugula. Wouldn’t change a things, will do again!!!!!

  • Judy

    Made this tonight and it was delicious!!! The flavors blended SO well together. We are vegetarians, so we used Quorn instead of real meat. Was just as good!

  • momnivore

    I know this is an old recipe but I just wanted to say that I made this last night and it was fantastic – my husband and 2 kids (age 2 and 4.5) raved over it – and it was easy to make. I didn’t have shallots handy so I just used a red onion and I added some lemon juice and parsley at the end but otherwise followed the recipe. Thanks so much for another great dinner!

  • Zach Alger

    This was fantastic and simple! Although when I added the shallots to the hot pan, they burned in about 10 seconds. Thankfully I had minced extra so I could replace the burned ones (after I let the pan cool down a little!)

  • Rhonda

    I made this a few nights ago and was surprised by the wonderful flavors. For some reason, I was afraid it was going to be a bit bland but it was far from bland. There are several layers of flavor combinations going on that work very well together.

    Some of the arugula “cooks” just slightly when you place the warm chicken on it and it makes a very nice bite to have some of the slightly cooked arugula with the crunchy arugula. Loved the shaved parmesan with it. I did not use the fennel because ours is not ready to be harvested and, with a rather large garden, I am stingy about purchasing veggies right now.

    This is a quick, tasty meal that will definitely be served again at our home!

  • Nick

    I made a similar dish just the other week. You’re basically making chicken “piccata,” often substituted with veal in restaurants. Except in a piccata you would season, then dredge your butterflied and pounded breasts in flour before cooking. The flour will brown the chicken nicely and create a pan roux with your oil and flour, which will later thicken the sauce you make. After you take the floured and browned chicken out of the pan, saute your shallots and garlic, add in your capers then white wine. Reduce your wine, if you have some chicken stock on hand you can put a little of that in too and reduce, then squeeze the juice of a lemon in there, take the pan off heat and stir in some butter and parsley. So if you’re not afraid of a couple extra calories and want the whole piccata experience there you have it, delicious! I’m sure the butter and flour free recipe is as well though.

  • Michelle

    Here’s a hint: When I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I pound several of them thin, then stack them with plastic wrap between each one and freeze. If you start with these, this recipe is fast, fast, fast.

    I made it last night for the first time (minus arugala, fennel and parmesan) and served it with some sauteed zuccini. It was very good. I helps to have a house full of caper lovers.

    What a brilliant, time-saving idea, thank you! ~Elise

  • Elise Lafosse

    Made this last night. Delicious and will make it again last night. The only thing I will change is to add less red pepper flakes…a 1/2 teaspoon made it a little too spicy for us…but otherwise delicious and light too! Not fattening…THANKS. Elise

  • Al

    I was wanting something just like this and there it was! I just made it and it was perfect! Thank you, as always, for your always on recipes.

  • Pamela

    Looks like a great recipe! Even though I am partial to bone-in chicken pieces, I will very often adapt a recipe to use chicken cutlets for the quickness factor I need on a weeknight. I love arugula, but I think spinach would be a great substitution for my kids. Thanks!

  • Carolyn

    made this tonight…yum!! The only thing I did differently is that I left out the fennel (not crazy about it…) and cut down the red pepper flakes to 1/4tsp (to make it a little more kid-friendly). Served with some quinoa and sauteed asparagus. Quick and easy!

  • goodeatsbykmuir

    I’m always on board with taking traditional recipes and healthifying them as I like to call it. The use of fennel is a great way to add an extra punch of flavor since the chicken isn’t breaded. Yum!

  • Kathleen

    Can someone tell me what the difference is between the two different sizes of capers that are offered in most stores? The smaller ones seem to cost twice as much. Thanks.

  • Abbey

    I’ve made a very similar dish before using white fish fillets instead of chicken (no fennel though, will have to try that next time!). It is delicious, especially with a teaspoon or so of zest and a squeeze of lemon juice added to the caper sauce for brightness.

  • Anna

    This recipe would also be very good with medallions of pork tenderloin pounded thin, maybe even better than factory farmed chicken breasts (which these days too often seem to have the taste and texture of wet paper towels).