Chicken Francese

Battered chicken breasts, pan-fried to golden-brown perfection, and topped with a buttery lemon sauce. Chicken Francese is an easy, unique Italian-American classic that makes a delicious meal!  

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A chicken breast on a white plate with lemon sauce being spooned on top of chicken francese

Before the world turned upside down, my husband and I committed to a weekly date-night. We’d book the babysitter (let’s be honest, I called my parents), make a reservation, and go out for a night on the town! I miss this!

Our restaurant of choice was on rotation. Some weeks we craved Argentinian Steaks and others Spanish Tapas, but mostly we’d venture out for Italian. Both Fred and I are obsessed with fresh pasta, bubbly pizzas, and perfectly-layered tiramisu. I mean, isn’t everyone?  My first trip to Italy is something I think about all the time.

Unfortunately, I don’t see myself eating calamari with my hubby anytime soon. So now I’m making some of our favorite restaurant classics. This week, we’re dishing out some Chicken Francese!  I hope I did this wonderful Italian-American dish justice.  This is definitely not authentic but I truly wanted to honor the incredible food I love from Italy.!

You can never go wrong with chicken for a simple, satisfying dinner. Chicken Francese is easy-to-make, and filled with wonderful Italian flavor.  So, light the candles and pour the wine, it’s date-night y’all!

A delicious shot of chicken francese in a skillet before serving

Perks and Highlights of the Best Chicken Francese

Cuisine Inspiration: Italian-American
Whisk yourself away to a kitchen in Little Italy with this dish that’s a bella blend of Italian finesse and American gusto. This isn’t just food, it’s culinary poetry in motion!

Primary Cooking Method: Pan-Frying
Sauté and sizzle your way to greatness, folks! The golden, crispy perfection you’re after comes from a good ol’ pan-fry. Let that stovetop be your stage and the frying pan your instrument!

Dietary Info: High-Protein, Gluten-Option
Flex those muscles because this dish is a protein powerhouse! And hey, need to nix the gluten? Swap out the all-purpose flour for your favorite gluten-free alternative and you’re golden (like your chicken)!

Key Flavor: Lemony Butter Bliss
Pucker up, buttercup! The zesty lemon twirls around the rich butter in a tangy tango that’ll send your taste buds spinning. It’s a citrus-soaked dance party in your mouth!

Skill Level: Intermediate
Got some kitchen skills and ready to flaunt ‘em? This recipe’s your jam! You’ve got this, culinary rockstars!

Special Perks:

  1. Flavor Fiesta: Each bite is a bash — tender chicken, vibrant lemon, and a buttery goodness that brings it all home. Taste buds, prepare for liftoff!
  2. Flexibility is Key: Serve it with pasta, rice, or steamed veggies — this dish is like your favorite playlist, it goes with absolutely everything.
  3. Impress the Masses: Whether it’s date night or a dinner party, this dish is dressed to impress. Who knew you had a gourmet chef hiding in you?
  4. Weeknight Wonder: Despite its fancy facade, this dish doesn’t demand hours. It’s the superhero of scrumptious weeknight dinners.
  5. Healthful & Hearty: Lean protein? Check! Vitamin C? Absolutely! Indulging in flavor doesn’t mean skimping on health, and this dish is here to prove it.

What is Chicken Francese?

Chicken Francese is an Italian-American dish of flour-dredged, egg-dipped, sautéed chicken cutlets with a lemon-butter and white wine sauce. These tender, juicy cutlets are often served over pasta or mashed potatoes, and a side of roasted vegetables or a fresh salad. If you’ve never had this dish before, I’d liken it to a Chicken Piccata: lightly breaded chicken cutlets, pan-fried, and smothered in a lemon, white-wine sauce and briny capers.

Egg battered thin chicken breasts frying in pan

Ingredients

Whenever I see Chicken Francese on a restaurant menu, I have to order it! I just can’t resist that combination of crispy chicken in a light lemon sauce. Since going to a restaurant isn’t an option these days, I’ve learned to make this dish at home, and I think my version might even be better!

Here’s how it all goes down:

  • Olive Oil is light and aromatic; it aids in crisping the breading without imparting unwanted flavor or adding heavy fat.
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts should be fresh and quite thin. We want the breasts to cook evenly and quickly, while still retaining lots of flavor.
  • All Purpose or Gluten Free Flour is used to bread the chicken, making for a crisp, golden-brown exterior.
  • Paprika is smoky, sweet, and vibrant. I also love the touch of color that this warm spice adds.
  • Eggs work to bind the flour to the chicken. Be sure to allow the excess egg to drip off before tossing the chicken in flour!
  • Chicken Stock creates a base for the sauce and adds depth of flavor. If you don’t have any on hand, chicken or vegetable broth will work as well.
  • White Wine= adds a sweet crispness to the sauce. If you’d prefer not to use alcohol (although the alcohol content will cook out), I’d recommend using white grape juice or a bit of white wine vinegar.
  • Lemon Juice is bright, zesty, and acidic! Even just a few squeezes adds an incredible amount of bold flavor. Looking to take it up a notch? Add the zest of your lemon too!
  • Unsalted Butter is decadent in all the best ways. Butter makes for a rich, creamy sauce that you’ll want to smother just about everything in.
  • Salt and Pepper is a must in any recipe! Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper are my go-to.
  • Lemon Wedges and Chopped Parsley jazz up the plate and make for a restaurant-worthy experience!
Battered chicken in pan with lemon sauce sauteing to serve

How to Make Chicken Francese

  1. Start with a Sizzle: Heat up the runway with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over a medium spotlight. It’s showtime!
  2. Season & Shine: Strut your chicken breasts down the flavor runway, seasoned with salt and pepper. Make it rain taste!
  3. Dress to Impress: Glide those seasoned chicken pieces through a shallow bowl with ⅓ cup of flour and a paprika party. Shake off the excess like you just don’t care!
  4. Egg Dip Double Flip: Dive those floured-up chicken beauties into a pool of beaten eggs, coating them with star-quality shimmer. Then, it’s their time to shine in the hot pan!
  5. Golden Brown Town: Sauté two chicken pieces at a time until they’re golden brown and irresistible. As they finish their debut, transfer them to a parchment-paper VIP lounge (aka a lined baking sheet). Keep the fashion show rolling until all your chicken is runway-ready!
  6. Saucy Comeback: Done with the chicken catwalk? Time for a quick stage cleanup. Then, bring back the pan over medium-high heat. It’s sauce o’clock!
  7. Boil & Broil: Mix the VIPs of zest — chicken stock, white wine, and lemon juice — and wait for the boiling ovation. Then, take it down a notch to a medium-low after-party.
  8. Thicken & Season: While you wait for the sauce to heat up, blend butter and the remaining flour backstage. This duo will thicken up your sauce like a charm. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper for that extra pizzazz!
  9. Final Flavor Fest: Bring back the chicken to this saucy soiree, ensuring each one gets a generous ladle of sauce love. Let them mingle and simmer for 3-6 minutes, absorbing all the fabulous flavors.
  10. Serve & Stun: It’s curtain call! Serve this star-studded dish and watch those jaws drop. Bravissimo, chef!

Variations

This recipe is delicious as-is! But, based on what I need to use up in my fridge, I like to mix things up.

Try out a few of these unique variations:

  • Herbs– I typically have some sort of fresh herb leftover in the fridge. Try using something with a bolder flavor: rosemary, basil, sage, or thyme.
  • Sauce– For a creamier sauce, add in ¼ cup of heavy cream or whole milk.
  • Veggies– This is a great opportunity to get in some veggies. Add in a few handfuls of spinach, some asparagus, or sliced mushrooms.
  • Cheese– Trying to clear out the cheese drawer? Top your chicken with some shaved or shredded Parmesan, or add it to the seasoned flour!
  • Sandwich- If you’re exploring new ways to reinvent leftovers, make a sandwich! French bread, cheese, salad greens, and some drizzled sauce make for an incredible midday munch.

Leftover Storage and Reheating

I never let leftovers go to waste! With any dish, it’s important to know how to properly store and reheat your precious remnants. Any leftover Chicken Francese should be completely cooled, stored in an airtight container, and kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

While oven reheating is the best, you can also choose to reheat the Chicken Francese in the microwave.

To oven reheat:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees, line a baking dish with foil, and place the chicken cutlets inside. Pour a couple tablespoons of chicken broth on top, to prevent it from drying out.

Cover the chicken with some aluminum foil, place the dish in the oven, and warm for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over halfway. Once heated through, remove the Chicken Francese from the oven and serve immediately.

To microwave reheat

Layer the Chicken Francese into a microwave-safe dish or bowl, and add a little bit of broth into the sauce and over the meat. Cover the bowl with a moistened paper towel and heat for up to 2 minutes. Leave the dish for 2 minutes to allow the heat to equalize through the dish. If necessary, heat for 1 more minute. Serve immediately.

Best Italian and European Inspired Dinners

Missing out on your old restaurant favorites? Fret no more! Instead, take matters into your own hands by tossing together a few of my FAVORITE homemade Italian-American recipes!

Check ‘em out:

A chicken breast on a white plate with lemon sauce being spooned on top of chicken francese

Chicken Francese

Battered chicken breasts, pan-fried to golden-brown perfection, and topped with a buttery lemon sauce. Chicken Francese is an easy, unique Italian-American classic that's so delicious.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil for sauteeing
  • 6-8 thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp flour divided
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 4 large eggs beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • Lemon slices and chopped fresh parsley for serving

Instructions

  • Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Season thin chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add ⅓ cup of flour to a separate shallow bowl and stir in paprika.
  • Dip seasoned chicken one at a time into flour then shake off excess then dip into eggs coating both sides then place into the hot pan.
  • Add two chicken breasts at a time to pan and cook on both sides until golden brown. As each piece is finished, place the chicken breast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add more olive oil and continue to cook until all pieces of chicken are cooked.
  • After the chicken is done cooking, clean the pan and put it back over medium high heat.
  • To make the sauce, add chicken stock, white wine, and lemon juice to the pan and wait for it to boil then lower heat to medium low.
  • While waiting for sauce to boil, stir together butter and remaining 1 tbsp of flour until combined. Stir into the sauce to thicken then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add chicken back to the sauce, spooning sauce over chicken and simmer for just 3-6 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

Notes

To oven reheat:
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees, line a baking dish with foil, and place the chicken cutlets inside. Pour a couple tablespoons of chicken broth on top, to prevent it from drying out.
Cover the chicken with some aluminum foil, place the dish in the oven, and warm for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over halfway. Once heated through, remove the Chicken Francese from the oven and serve immediately.
To microwave reheat
Layer the Chicken Francese into a microwave-safe dish or bowl, and add a little bit of broth into the sauce and over the meat. Cover the bowl with a moistened paper towel and heat for up to 2 minutes. Leave the dish for 2 minutes to allow the heat to equalize through the dish. If necessary, heat for 1 more minute. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 260mg | Potassium: 561mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 353IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
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Filed Under:  Chicken, Dinner, Italian Recipes, Main Dishes, Stovetop

Comments

  1. My boyfriend & I made this recipe tonight and i just want to say it came out AMAZING!! We usually order chicken Francese from our favorite Italian restaraunt and it turned out just the same, if not better!! Thank you for this recipe

  2. I want to try the recipe. It sounds great. My family does not do alcohol. Will leaving out the white wine change the recipe too much?

  3. OmGoodness!!!! The best!!
    I’d I’d not follow the exact amount of flour-
    I also doubled the recipe.
    Such a huge hit. It’s a keeper for sure!

  4. Made this for my Welsh neighbour for dinner tonight and it was SO DELICIOUS! No salad, sides or bread, just this incredibly divine lemony chicken. Spot on!
    Chicken fried steak next, another thing she’s never heard of, but I’ll guarantee that she’ll love it, it’s always been a great favourite of mine!

  5. I’ve just finished dinner and you have me hungry all over again! Well, at leadt I know what we’re having tomorrow night!
    I can’t wait!

  6. Can’t wait to try out this recipe! Our family loves chicken piccata, and I’m always looking for new ways to make it!

  7. Such a flavourful dish and one my whole family enjoys – it can be tough to find recipes that we all like but this is a real winner!

  8. What an awesome recipe and thank you for the leftover tips – I always have some and its good to know the best way to reheat!

5 from 9 votes

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