Sole Piccata

This recipe calls for petrale sole, but any small flat fish fillet will work. Other good choices are flounder, fluke, small walleye or perch, rock cod, catfish or crappie. The recipe will work best with fillets that are 3/8-inch to 1/2 inch thick.

Have everything ready before you start cooking the fish, as the recipe comes together very quickly.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 pound thin, skinless fish fillets
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour for dredging
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup small capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp butter


1 Dredge fillets in flour: Rinse the fish in cold water and pat them dry. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper. Then place the flour mixture in a long shallow bowl or dish. Dredge the fillets in the flour so that both sides are lightly coated.


2 Fry fillets until golden: Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stick-free sauté pan.

When the oil is hot (add a little pinch of flour to the oil, and if it sizzle immediately, you're ready), work in batches and place the fish fillets in the pan in one layer and fry until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Add more oil to the pan if needed.

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3 Remove fish to a paper-towel lined plate: Once browned on both sides, remove the fish fillets from the pan, set them on a paper towel-lined plate (or keep them warm in a 200°F oven).


4 Deglaze pan with wine: Add the white wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

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5 Add lemon juice and capers: Let the wine boil furiously for a minute or two, until greatly reduced, then add the lemon juice and capers. Boil another minute.


6 Swirl in butter: Turn off the heat. Add 1 Tbsp of butter to the pan, swirling it constantly. When it melts, repeat the process with the other tablespoon of butter.


7 Serve: Stir in half of the parsley and pour it over the fish. Sprinkle the fish with the remaining parsley. Serve at once.

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  • Angela

    I made this tonight, exactly the way the recipe stated. There was very little sauce so I added a can of College Inn chicken broth and a little flour. Really could have used another can of broth would have been better. However, the fish was delicious.


  • Kerline

    I tried this with flounder. It was super! I added thyme and shallots to my oil before I added the wine.

  • Linda

    My sole was wonderful. But, my flour came off and the fish didn’t brown beautifully like the picture – what did I do wrong

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Linda, make sure the pan is sufficiently hot before adding the fish to the pan. A little pinch of flour sprinkled on the hot oil in the pan should sizzle.

  • PaschaDee

    Tried it tonight with tilapia with no flour or salt. We didn’t miss the salt because of the capers. It was superb and will differently be on our go to at least a few times per month. Thank you…

  • Sonia

    I made this recipe today and it came out delicious. Next time I make it, I will try to make more sauce. My husband and I loved it!

  • Nikita

    What if you have a thicker chunk of Halibut? Just adjust the cooking time?

    • Elise

      Hi Nikita, I haven’t tried making this with halibut. It’s a much different type of fish than sole. Sole is thin and delicate. Halibut is thick and more steak-like. That said, yes you would need to increase the cooking time. You would probably also need to lower the heat on the stove so that the breading doesn’t burn in the longer time it takes to cook the halibut.

      • Nikita

        What about browning in a pan and baking the fish?

  • Stash

    Made this for dinner last night. We used olive oil all the way through instead of butter and it was still outstanding!!! I kept saying “wasn’t that just perfect fish?” over and over until my SO told me to can it! ;-) But it truly was PERFECT! Thank you for a great recipe!

  • Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy

    This recipe looks divine exactly as written. However, I don’t have any butter or white flour (only whole wheat) in the house because I don’t usually cook with those ingredients. Has anyone tried these adaptations with any success? My kids like sole, and I think they will really like this recipe.

  • Peter

    When you have lemons, make piccata. I used plaice filets, which are perfect for this. It’s a sustainable and wild caught fish, not farmed. After sautéing the fish, I poured off the excess oil. I thinly sliced a lemon and after adding the wine to deglaze the pan, I added the lemon slices. This give an additional tang to the sauce and the lemon slices are delicious. The rest of the recipe followed. It was delicious.

  • Anita Sullivan

    Yum! I’m on a quest to eat whole foods, and as I drop the convenience items, I’m always glad to find things like this that are so simple and yet so delicious. I’m going to think of how I could do the same basic thing without white flour, but since it’s such a very little bit, may just use it.

  • Franj

    In case you caper lovers (like me) don’t know..If you have access to a Costco..they have wonderful big jars of capers for a very reasonable price…(usually they come in small jars!) and the vinagrette that they are packed in is pretty tasty and can give an extra zing to things! It just entices you to find more things to put them in!!

  • Amy

    We made this last night and loved it. Thank you!

  • Kathleen

    We’ve had your chicken piccata so many times since you posted it. I don’t know if my family will let me stray from it. I’ve followed many food blogs over the years but you are my most trusted.

  • [email protected]

    Simple, beautiful, and delicious.

  • Alex

    Is there any difference between sole piccata and sole meuniere?

    • Elise

      From what I can tell, sole piccata always has capers, sole meuniere doesn’t necessarily have capers. Also sole meuniere is fried in butter. The butter browns and the resulting sauce has that nutty browned butter flavor.

      • MIMSEY

        Oops, I used butter instead of olive oil to fry the fish and accidentally made sole meuniere! The nutty brown sauce (w/capers) was out of this world!

  • Sandi

    Do you think this would work with tilapia? I’d like to start using it more but haven’t really found a recipe that gives it enough flavor.

    • Elise

      It’s worth a try! (use a thin fillet)

    • Felyx Leiter

      I used tilapia tonight, and it came out perfect.

  • Laura

    This is one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare sole, talapia, or scallops. I like to steam asparagus to serve with it–very complimentary to the lemon. Wonderful, simple recipe, thank you!

  • Keli M.

    I’m definitely using this on our abundant supply of walleye. I’m always looking for good things to do with walleye. Thanks Elise!

  • Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Elise- this is totally going in my “to-try” file for dinners next week! I have some Meyer Lemons in my fruit basket, which can only make this even better, right?

  • Judith

    I like drinking sauvignon blancs, and do not like chardonnays that much. However, when it comes to cooking, chards are better ($2 chuck is great). When I cooked this sauce with sauvignon blanc, it tasted thin and metallic. It is richer and rounder with chards.