Chicken Francese Recipe


Chicken Francese, sometimes spelled Chicken Francaise, is a classic dish that has become a staple in Italian-American cuisine. Its creation is a testament to the culinary creativity that emerges from blending Italian traditions with American tastes. This delightful dish involves tender chicken breasts, lightly coated in flour and egg, then fried and served in a lemony butter sauce. The simplicity of its preparation belies the rich history and cultural fusion behind it. Chicken Francese has garnered a dedicated following, appearing on countless home dinner tables and restaurant menus alike. Its variations, whether in name or recipe tweaks, reflect the personal touch cooks love to add to their dishes. This overview will explore the origins of Chicken Francese, its evolution, and why it continues to be a beloved favorite in kitchens across the United States.

History and Origin

The story of Chicken Francese begins with the wave of Italian immigrants who brought their culinary traditions to America. As these traditions intersected with local ingredients and tastes, innovative dishes like Chicken Francese were born. Initially, it may have been an adaptation of the classic Italian dish, Chicken Piccata, but with a heavier focus on the egg in the breading process, setting it apart from the typical flour-dusted Italian preparations.

As Italian-American cuisine began to carve out its niche, Chicken Francese became a symbol of successful culinary fusion. Unlike the traditional Italian method of frying and breading chicken cutlets, which often involved breadcrumbs, Chicken Francese introduced a lighter, egg-based coating. This not only enhanced the dish’s flavor profile but also its texture, giving it a unique place in the hearts of food lovers.

The introduction of Chicken Francese into restaurant menus marked a pivotal moment in its history. It was no longer just a family recipe passed down through generations but had become a recognized dish in its own right. This transition from home kitchens to restaurant tables reflected its rising popularity and the growing appreciation for Italian-American cuisine.

As Chicken Francese continues to delight palates, it serves as a reminder of the enduring impact of Italian-American culture and cuisine. Its evolution from traditional frying and breading techniques to becoming a celebrated dish highlights the innovative spirit of immigrant communities and their contributions to American culinary landscape.

Ingredients List

The essence of Chicken Francese lies in its simple yet flavorful ingredients. The basic components include:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, the star of the dish.
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning the chicken to taste.
  • All-purpose flour, for lightly coating the chicken.
  • Eggs, beaten, to create the distinctive egg batter.
  • Butter and olive oil, used for frying the chicken and adding richness to the sauce.
  • Lemons, both juiced and sliced, to provide the signature citrus flavor.
  • Chicken broth and white wine, which form the base of the sauce.

Substitutions and Variations:

  • For those who prefer a richer sauce, heavy cream can be added to the egg mixture.
  • Capers can be included for an additional burst of flavor, echoing the style of Chicken Piccata.
  • White pepper can be used instead of black pepper for aesthetic reasons, keeping the sauce pristine and light in color.

Preparation and Cooking Steps

1. Prepare the Chicken:

  • Start by slicing the chicken breasts horizontally to create thinner cutlets. This not only ensures even cooking but also tenderizes the meat.
  • Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Use a meat mallet to lightly pound the chicken cutlets between sheets of plastic wrap. This achieves a uniform thickness for consistent frying.

2. Coating:

  • Dredge the seasoned chicken cutlets in flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Dip them into the beaten eggs, allowing the excess to drip off. This egg layer is crucial for achieving the dish’s signature texture.

3. Frying:

  • Heat a mixture of butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The combination ensures the chicken doesn’t stick while adding depth to the flavor.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet, cooking each side until golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd the pan to ensure even cooking.

4. Creating the Sauce:

  • Remove the chicken and set aside. In the same skillet, add white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits.
  • Stir in chicken broth and lemon juice, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the sauce slightly before returning the chicken to the pan.
  • Add lemon slices and simmer gently, allowing the chicken to finish cooking in the sauce and absorb the flavors.

5. Finishing Touches:

  • Adjust the seasoning of the sauce as needed. Garnish with chopped parsley and additional lemon slices before serving.

By following these steps and incorporating the tips for slicing and pounding the chicken, you’ll create a perfectly cooked Chicken Francese that’s both visually appealing and delicious.

Sauce Preparation

The lemony butter wine sauce is what sets Chicken Francese apart, offering a tangy and rich accompaniment to the tender chicken. To prepare:

  1. Deglaze: After frying the chicken, use the same skillet to deglaze with white wine, scraping up the flavorful bits from the pan.
  2. Simmer: Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer, allowing the alcohol to cook off and the flavors to meld.
  3. Emulsify: Incorporate butter into the sauce, stirring continuously, to create a silky, emulsified texture.
  4. Season: Squeeze in fresh lemon juice for that bright acidity and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adjusting Thickness and Flavor:

  • For a thicker sauce, a slurry of cornstarch and water can be whisked in, simmering until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning, perhaps with more lemon juice for tartness or a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity.


  • Enhance the presentation with thinly sliced lemon rounds and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley for color and freshness.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken Francese pairs beautifully with a variety of sides. Consider:

  • Pasta: Linguine or spaghetti lightly tossed with olive oil or garlic butter.
  • Rice: A fluffy bed of jasmine or basmati rice.
  • Potatoes: Roasted baby potatoes or creamy mashed potatoes.
  • Vegetables: Sautéed spinach, steamed asparagus, or a crisp green salad.

These sides not only complement the flavors of Chicken Francese but also turn the dish into a hearty, satisfying meal.

Tips and Tricks

Selecting Ingredients:

  • Wine: Opt for a dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, that you enjoy drinking. The quality of the wine directly influences the sauce’s flavor.
  • Lemons: Use fresh lemons for both juice and garnish. The zest can also add a vibrant note to the dish.

Cooking Tips:

  • Sauce Consistency: Achieve the perfect sauce thickness by adjusting with a little cornstarch slurry or by simmering to reduce and concentrate the flavors.
  • Chicken Tenderness: Avoid overcooking the chicken by keeping a close eye on it, especially when simmering in the sauce. It should be cooked through but still juicy.

These thoughtful selections and careful preparations ensure your Chicken Francese is not just a meal, but a culinary delight.

Nutritional Information

A single serving of Chicken Francese typically contains about 300-400 calories, with fat content ranging from 15 to 20 grams, depending on the preparation method. This dish also provides protein from the chicken, along with vitamin C and iron from the lemon sauce and garnishes. To reduce calorie and fat content, you may substitute olive oil for butter or use a lighter wine option.

FAQs Section

What variations can I make to the Chicken Francese recipe?

  • Vegetarian Option: Replace chicken with thick slices of cauliflower or tofu for a vegetarian version, adjusting cooking times accordingly.
  • Creamy Sauce: Add a splash of heavy cream to the sauce for a richer flavor.
  • With Capers: Incorporate capers into the sauce for an added tangy bite, similar to Chicken Piccata.

How should I store leftovers?

  • Refrigeration: Store leftover Chicken Francese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Gently reheat in a skillet over low heat or in the microwave, adding a little chicken broth or water to keep the chicken moist.

How can I make Chicken Francese healthier?

  • Reduce Butter: Use less butter or substitute with a heart-healthy oil like olive oil.
  • Whole Wheat Flour: Swap all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for additional fiber.
  • Serve with Vegetables: Pair with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad instead of pasta or rice for a lighter meal.

These FAQs cover a range of topics, from recipe variations to storage and health tips, ensuring that readers have all the information they need to enjoy Chicken Francese in a way that suits their dietary preferences and lifestyle.

Chicken Francese Recipe

This Chicken Francese recipe offers a delightful blend of tender chicken in a tangy lemon-butter sauce. Perfect for any occasion, it's a classic Italian-American dish that's sure to impress with its elegant flavors and simple preparation.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian-American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 400 kcal


  • Skillet
  • Meat Mallet
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • 4 large eggs beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Lemon slices for garnish
  • Fresh parsley chopped, for garnish


  • Prepare Chicken: Season chicken slices with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, then dip in beaten eggs.
  • Cook Chicken: In a skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Fry chicken until golden, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  • Make Sauce: In the same skillet, add wine to deglaze. Add chicken broth and lemon juice. Simmer until slightly reduced.
  • Combine: Return chicken to the skillet. Cook in sauce for another 5 minutes.
  • Garnish and Serve: Serve chicken garnished with lemon slices and parsley.


  • Wine Selection: Choose a wine you enjoy drinking. A good-quality Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay works well.
  • Sauce Consistency: For a thicker sauce, a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with water can be added.
  • Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat gently to preserve the texture.
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve with a side of pasta, rice, or vegetables for a complete meal.
Keyword Chicken Francese, Italian-American Cuisine, Lemon Butter Sauce