Easy to Make Chicken Francaise

Recipe Pin
50 minutes
4 servings

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Chicken Francaise is chicken cutlet in an INSANELY DELICIOUS sauce of fresh lemon, dry white wine, and generous heaps of sweet cream butter! It’s an easy to follow one skillet wonder using simple ingredients.

Chicken Francaise in a lemony creamy sauce in a saute pan.

Chicken Française, a classic Italian-American creation born in upstate New York. This delicious dish, crafted with tender chicken and a light lemon sauce, is a testament to the ingenuity of Italian immigrants. It’s a wonderful twist on chicken piccata, boasting a unique lemony sauce that sets it apart.

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Love Chicken Française? Fun fact: you won’t find ‘Francese’ or ‘Française’ on Italian menus. This Italian-American gem, born in the USA and spiced by Italian immigrants, adapts an old-world recipe that originally called for veal. While ‘Chicken Francese’ translates to ‘Chicken French’ in Italian, the exact spelling remains a delightful mystery. But one thing’s certain – this ‘Chicken French’ dish is fabulous!

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe!

Simplicity Meets Flavor: With simple ingredients like fresh lemons and olive oil, this dish brings a burst of flavor with every bite.
Elegant Yet Easy: Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned cook, this recipe guarantees a restaurant-quality meal at home.
Versatile and Delicious: Perfectly golden brown chicken pieces in a tangy lemon butter sauce make this dish a crowd-pleaser.


Ingredients To Make Chicken Francaise

After a brief tryst in flour, the cutlets are dipped in egg, then back into flour before being sautéed in olive oil until golden brown.​ The resulting texture is altogether velvety on the outside while juicy and tender on the inside.

A photo representing all ingredients necessary to cook Chicken Francese.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Flatten them to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Select fresh, organic boneless breasts for this dish. Ensure they are pinkish in color. Find them in the poultry section.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper: Essential seasonings found in the spice aisle. If you do not have Kosher salt, substitute with sea salt.
  • All-purpose flour: For the flour mixture, creating a velvety coating. Gluten-free options work too.
  • Eggs: Whisked for the egg wash using light cream, milk, or in a pinch, a tablespoon of water.
  • Lemon juice and slices: Fresh lemons provide the best flavor. Locate them in the produce section.
  • Unsalted butter: A key component for sautéing and the lemon butter sauce.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: For cooking the chicken pieces over medium-high heat.
  • Dry white wine: Choose a good quality wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
  • Chicken stock or broth: Adds depth to the pan sauce.
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See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Anchovy paste – this additional ingredient would be typical of this same dish using veal and offers an umami profile when it merges with lemon.
  • Brown butter lemon slices – sauté both sides in brown butter before adding BOTH the lemon slices and the brown butter to the sauce for an absolutely over the top dish.
  • Less Pungency this recipe is incredibly good, but ‘lemon intense.’ Avoid adding the lemon slices to the finishing sauce at the end to reduce the acidity.
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This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

Step by Step Instructions

The crucial step of simmering the silky sauce until it reduces by half intensifies the star flavor of the ingredient list, the lemon.

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Tip: Pound Cutlets Thin!

Cook cutlets quickly and evenly. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap and use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound to 1/4-inch thickness.


A womans hands dredging chicken cutlets in egg and flour.

Coat the Chicken Cutlets

Step 1: In a shallow bowl or dish, whisk together two large eggs and 2 tablespoons of light cream. Set aside. (Image 1)

Step 2: In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper together with 1 cup of the flour. (Image 2)

Step 3: Season chicken cutlets with Kosher salt and dredge in flour mixture shaking off the excess. Dip in egg mixture and let excess drip off the coated chicken. (Image 3)

Step 4. Transfer to the flour once again, turning to coat thoroughly. Gently shake off excess flour. (Image 4)

A womans hands melting butter in a skillet and frying chicken cutlets.

Sauté the Cutlets

Step 5: Using a large skillet for even cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. (Image 5)

Step 6: As you place the cutlets directly into the hot skillet, lay them down away from you to prevent hot oil and butter from splashing toward you. Over medium heat, sauté 2 cutlets at a time, turning once, until the chicken is golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter to keep warm. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Carefully wipe the skillet clean. (Image 6)

Step 7: Create the sauce with lemon juice, zest, white wine, and chicken stock by adding 3 tablespoons butter to the now empty skillet over medium heat. Toss in 1/4 cup of chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour over the onion and garlic mixture and stir for 2 minutes. It’s normal for the flour and bits of onion to begin sticking to the bottom of the pan. (Image 7)

Step 8: Pour in 1/2 cup wine, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and 2 cups of chicken broth. Increase heat and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with the back of a spoon. Lower heat and simmer to reduce sauce to about 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. It will appear slightly thickened. (Image 8)

A womans hands slicing a lemon into thin slices and adding them to sauteed chicken in a white wine sauce.

Simmer the Francaise Sauce

Step 9: Slice a lemon into 6 to 8 thin slices. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the sauce and stir until the sauce is glossy and the butter is melted. (Image 9)

Step 10: Add half the lemon slices to the sauce and then return the chicken to the sauce.  Add the remaining half of lemon slices to the top of the cutlets. Heat gently for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once, or until heated through. Cut heat and allow to stand 5 minutes to hasten additional thickening. (Image 10)

Step 11: If serving with pasta, remove the cutlets and lemons from the sauce. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Twirl taking care to coat the noodles well. (Image 11)

Step 12: Arrange the chicken over the pasta. Top the chicken with the sautéed lemon slices. To plate this dish, serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese. (Image 12)

Jenny’s Recipe Pro Tips

  • Slice the chicken breasts straight from your refrigerator while they are still cold and very firm.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan – fry in batches. Overcrowding causes steam and makes for a soggy coating.
  • If doubling the sauce only, extend the simmering time by 5 to 8 minutes – added liquid will naturally take longer to reduce.
  • For a less intense lemon flavor, adjust the amount of lemon juice.

Recipe FAQs

How do I store leftover Chicken French?

Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Can Chicken Francaise be frozen?

Yes, Francaise may be frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat in a medium saucepan for best results.

What wine works best for cooking Chicken Francaise?

A good quality dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio enhances the flavor.

More One-Pan Chicken Recipes You’ll Love

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After trying this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts! Consider leaving a star rating in the recipe card located below or sharing your feedback in the comment section. Your reviews and comments are highly valued and appreciated.

A skillet with Chicken Francaise and lemon slices and lemon sauce.

Easy To Make Chicken Française

Jenny DeRemer
This Chicken Française recipe combines thin chicken cutlets in a delectable white wine sauce with lemon, offering a truly delicious meal.
4.72 from 74 votes
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 602 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts each breast sliced in half lengthwise, pounded to 1/4" thickness
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons light cream or milk
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup + 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Vidalia onion chopped, or other sweet onion
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup  dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth use homemade chicken stock if on hand
  • ¼ cup lemon juice fresh squeezed, about 2 juicy lemons
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 large lemon sliced, about 6 to 8 thin slices
  • parsley fresh, chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a shallow bowl or dish, whisk together eggs and cream. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine salt and pepper with 1 cup of flour.
  • Season chicken cutlets with a pinch of salt and dredge in flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Dip in egg mixture and let excess drip off the coated chicken. Transfer to the flour once again, turning to coat thoroughly. Gently shake off extra flour. 
  • Heat the olive oil with 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until the butter is melted.
  • Over medium heat, sauté 2 cutlets at a time, turning once, until the chicken is golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter to keep warm. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Carefully wipe the skillet clean.
  • Add 3 tablespoons butter to the now empty skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook until soft. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and sauté 1 minute. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour over the onion and garlic mixture and stir for 2 minutes. It's normal for the flour and bits of onion to begin sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour in wine, lemon juice, zest, and chicken broth. Increase heat and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with the back of a spoon. Lower heat and simmer to reduce the sauce to about 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. The sauce will be slightly thickened.
  • Slice a lemon into 6 to 8 thin slices. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the sauce and stir until the sauce is glossy and the butter is melted.
  • Add half the lemon slices to the sauce and then return the chicken to the sauce.  Add the remaining half of the lemon slices to the top of the cutlets. Heat gently for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once or until heated through. Cut the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes to hasten additional thickening.
  • If serving with pasta, remove the cutlets and lemons from the sauce. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Twirl, taking care to coat the noodles well. Arrange the chicken over the pasta. Top the chicken with the sautéed lemon slices. To plate this dish, serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.

Notes

Make Ahead: The chicken can be coated and refrigerated on a wire rack atop a baking sheet up to four hours ahead. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before sautéing. I have also prepared the lemon sauce ahead with great success. It may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Substitutions: Cassava and gluten-free flour were tested for use in this recipe. Both did well with very little change in texture attribution to the chicken. Either may be substituted in lieu of AP flour 1:1. 
Storing Leftovers: Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freezing: Fully cooked cutlets (no Sauce) can be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze the cutlets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until firm, about 1 hour, then transfer to a freezer bag with parchment squares between each cutlet. Freeze the lemon sauce separately in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost both the chicken and the lemon sauce in the refrigerator before reheating.

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 602kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 23gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 185mgSodium: 837mgPotassium: 444mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 764IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 4mg
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Recipe Rating




42 Comments

    1. Stephanie, I cannot wait to learn how you and yours enjoy this recipe! Use the buttermilk 🙂 It will lend a lovely tanginess to the chicken. Drop back by and let me know here in the comments what you changed so other readers will know if they’d like to try doing the same! x – Jenny

    1. Joann, you’ve made my day! Thank you for this – I agree whole heartedly, but then I am surely biased 😉 x – Jenny

  1. I see the ingredient list at the top has Chicken Stock and the ingredient list lower down says Chicken Broth. Which one is it?

    1. Nick, thank you for requesting clarification on this; I am a HUGE proponent of homemade STOCKS (stock is made with bones) so encourage you to use stock over and above broth in just about every recipe. If, however, you do not have homemade stock on hand, use chicken broth as a substitute. Please let me know how you enjoy the recipe 🙂 Jenny

        1. I feel like you could purchase a nice stock IF you wanted to, but not if it’s price exceeds reason. Remember that the lemon is the primary flavor profile in the end. Do however make sure whatever you end up using is full fat, as that richness is what you’re after.

          Also, I’d go the 1 tablespoon of EVOO adding additional if you have to re-coat the skillet with additional batches of chicken. Of course, an extra tablespoon of EVOO is not going to alter the final dish dramatically.

      1. Also, in the lower ingredients section it says 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil however in the directions it says to heat two tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet.

  2. Everything was delicious until I put the lemon slices in the sauce and placed the chicken on top. The lemon rinds turned the sauce bitter!! I was so upset. I will try again but will not place the slices in. Has anyone else has this issue?3 stars

    1. Jaimee, say it isn’t so! Lemon can absolutely be a potent ingredient, but a couple of hacks I’ve learned may be helpful to you for next time. First, scrub the lemon with a potato or vegetable scrubber under tepid water. This removes any chemicals potentially used to preserve the life of the fruit. Next, reduce the amount of lemon zest to 1 1/2 teaspoons and forgo adding the lemon slices to the sauce.

      Lemon is not bitter to everyone. It specifically has to do with us, medications we take which affect our sense of taste and smell, and even what else we are consuming at the time we are consuming the lemon. I would love to know your result if you should venture to try this dish again. I promise it really is both a stunning dish and a delicious one! x – Jenny

  3. This is one of the best recipes I have stumbled upon. The lemon in the sauce is just perfect. Thank you! I can’t wait to try more recipes.5 stars

    1. Sacha, this is kind of you to say and to take the time to say it – thank you! Chicken Francaise may not be Southern, but it is all American and it’s among my faves! Can’t wait to know how you get on with other recipes should you try more 🙂 Jenny

  4. Oh my gosh, absolutely ONE OF THE BEST RECIPES I have ever prepared in my kitchen! I will make this again and again and am so thankful for your step by steps, as I am a new cook!5 stars

  5. OMG!!! What a fantastic recipe!!! Followed it to a tee, with the exception of Plating. We just ate straight from the pan. My wife wife was so impressed!!!

    1. Michael, not too many dudes comment on recipes on NEA, so your comment is WELL RECEIVED!!! THANK YOU! And, if you both really do enjoy cooking together, go with my recipe for the Original Chicken Arthur Avenue next time – TRUST ME 😉

  6. Chicken Francaise is one of my favorites – and your version looks delicious! Pinned!
    Cheers!
    Shelley5 stars

  7. We all just loved your Chicken-Francaise, it is featured on Full Plate Thursday 544 this week. I just pinned your post to our special features board and thanks so much for sharing it with us. Hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen5 stars

    1. Miz Helen, thank you is just not enough when I read your lovely messages! I’d like to join the party which just opened – Dee keeps me posted 😉 xo