Chicken Francese

Chicken Francese, also known as Chicken Francaise, is a stunning dish that combines the juiciness of chicken cutlets with the rich, lemony sauce of Italian-American cuisine. This dish is celebrated for its golden, lightly breaded chicken that’s pan-fried to perfection and then draped in a vibrant lemon-butter sauce. It’s a favorite in many households for its elegant presentation and the delightful contrast of flavors.

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  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Chicken Francese is an exquisite Italian-American dish featuring tender chicken cutlets coated in flour and egg, pan-fried to golden perfection, and served with a vibrant lemon-butter sauce. This dish combines the simplicity of its ingredients with the richness of flavors, creating a delightful meal that’s both comforting and elegant.



2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs
1 handful of fresh parsley
50g (2oz) Parmesan cheese
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 garlic clove
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper


Step 1
Crack the eggs into a large dish. Season with salt and pepper, lightly beat.

Step 2
Finely chop the parsley, keeping some for garnish. Add half to the egg mixture.

Step 3
Grate the Parmesan cheese finely, add to the egg mixture. Mix well and set aside.

Step 4
Remove chicken skin (if any) and butterfly cut the breasts. Flatten the thicker side using cling film and a meat mallet.

Step 5
Prepare white wine and chicken stock.

Step 6
Spread the plain flour on a plate.

Step 7
Peel and press garlic or chop finely.

Step 8
In a frying pan over moderate heat, add olive oil and half of the butter.

Step 9
Coat chicken in flour, shake off excess.

Step 10
Dip chicken in egg wash, ensuring full coverage. Place in hot oil.

Step 11
Cook chicken for approximately 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Transfer to a plate and rest.

Step 12
In the same pan over high heat, add white wine, chicken stock, crushed garlic, and lemon juice. Reduce for 2 minutes.

Step 13
Add remaining parsley and butter. Mix until butter is melted over low heat.

Step 14
Return chicken to the sauce, heating for no more than 30 seconds.

Step 15
Serve chicken on warm plates, garnished with parsley sprigs. Enjoy your Chicken Francese! 🍽️


  • Ensure chicken breasts are evenly pounded to ensure uniform cooking.
  • Adjust the lemon juice and broth ratio according to taste for a more or less tangy sauce.
  • Can be served over pasta or with a side of vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Can be adapted for gluten-free diets by using gluten-free flour.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Pan-Frying
  • Cuisine: Italian-American


  • Calories: 350
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 200mg
  • Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 0.5g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Cholesterol: 150mg

Chicken Francese


Can Chicken Francese be made ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare Chicken Francese in advance. Cook the chicken and sauce separately, then refrigerate. When ready to serve, gently reheat the chicken in the oven and warm the sauce on the stove before combining them. This method helps maintain the dish’s quality.

What’s the best way to achieve a smooth sauce for Chicken Francese?

For a smooth sauce, ensure to whisk continuously while gradually adding the broth and lemon juice to the pan residues. If lumps appear, straining the sauce through a fine sieve can remove them, resulting in a velvety consistency.

How can I thicken the sauce if it’s too runny?

If the sauce for Chicken Francese is too runny, a slurry made from a teaspoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water mixed in can thicken it. Add this mixture to the simmering sauce, stirring constantly until it reaches the desired thickness.

Is it possible to use boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts for Chicken Francese?

Yes, boneless chicken thighs can be used as an alternative to chicken breasts in Chicken Francese. They might require a slightly longer cooking time due to their higher fat content but will result in a juicier and more flavorful dish.

Can Chicken Francese be frozen for later use?

While you can freeze Chicken Francese, it’s best enjoyed fresh. If you must freeze it, do so without the sauce to prevent the chicken from becoming soggy. Freeze the sauce separately and combine after both components have been thawed and reheated.

Selecting the Right Ingredients

To ensure the success of Chicken Francese, start with thin chicken breast cutlets. If the chicken breasts are thick, butterfly them or pound them thin for even cooking. Fresh lemons are non-negotiable for their zest and juice, which are key to the sauce’s bright flavor. High-quality butter and a dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, contribute to the richness of the sauce, making the dish truly memorable.

Preparing the Chicken Cutlets

Begin by dredging the chicken cutlets in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, then dip them into beaten eggs. This process not only adds flavor but also creates a delicate coating that turns beautifully golden when pan-fried. Ensure your skillet is at the right temperature with a mix of olive oil and butter before adding the chicken, to achieve that perfect sear without burning.

Creating the Lemon-Butter Sauce

After frying the chicken to a golden brown, set the cutlets aside and focus on the sauce. In the same pan, add a bit more butter, fresh lemon juice, white wine, and chicken broth. Let the sauce simmer and reduce slightly, scraping up any browned bits from the pan for extra flavor. Finishing the sauce with a touch of fresh parsley adds a pop of color and freshness.

Assembling and Serving Chicken Francese

Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, return the chicken cutlets to the pan, spooning the sauce over them to reheat and coat them thoroughly. Serve Chicken Francese hot, garnished with lemon slices and a sprinkle of chopped parsley for an elegant presentation. This dish pairs wonderfully with light pasta, steamed vegetables, or a simple salad, making it versatile for any dining occasion.

Customizing Your Chicken Francese

Chicken Francese is a dish that welcomes customization. For those who prefer a creamier sauce, a splash of heavy cream can be added at the end of cooking. If you’re looking to add a bit more body to the sauce, capers or artichoke hearts can introduce new textures and flavors that complement the chicken and lemon beautifully.

Chicken Francese

Chicken Francese stands as a testament to the elegance and simplicity of Italian-American cooking. With its tender chicken, golden crust, and zesty sauce, it’s a dish that promises to delight the palate and elevate any meal to a special occasion. Whether enjoyed in a cozy home kitchen or served at a festive gathering, Chicken Francese is a culinary experience that’s both comforting and sophisticated.

Mastering the Art of Egg Wash

A crucial step in achieving the signature texture and taste of Chicken Francese is mastering the art of the egg wash. Whisking the eggs thoroughly until they’re smooth and adding a touch of grated Parmesan cheese can elevate the flavor and help the flour adhere better, ensuring each chicken cutlet is evenly coated. This not only contributes to a richer taste but also aids in achieving that perfect golden crust when pan-fried.

Achieving the Perfect Sear

Achieving the perfect sear on the chicken is pivotal for Chicken Francese. Heating the oil and butter mixture to just the right temperature—hot enough so the chicken sizzles on contact but not so hot as to burn the coating—is key. The chicken should be cooked until just golden on each side, locking in the juices and ensuring a tender, moist interior. This step sets the stage for the flavorsome sauce to complement.

Balancing the Lemon-Butter Sauce

The lemon-butter sauce is the heart of Chicken Francese, bringing all the elements of the dish together with its vibrant acidity and rich butteriness. Balancing this sauce involves tasting and adjusting the lemon juice and broth ratios to achieve a harmonious blend of flavors. A hint of garlic or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes can add depth to the sauce, while a final swirl of butter off the heat lends it a luxurious silkiness.

Side Dishes That Complement Chicken Francese

Choosing the right side dishes can turn Chicken Francese into a feast. Light, buttered pasta or angel hair tossed with fresh parsley and lemon zest makes for an ideal base that absorbs the sauce beautifully. For a healthier twist, roasted asparagus or green beans, seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon, can add freshness and balance the richness of the dish.

Storing and Reheating Tips

If you find yourself with leftovers, Chicken Francese can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated with care to maintain its delightful texture and flavor. Gently reheating the chicken in a covered skillet on low heat, with a splash of chicken broth to keep it moist, can revive the dish almost to its original glory. Avoid microwaving, as it can make the chicken tough and the coating soggy.

Engaging Guests with Chicken Francese

Chicken Francese is not only a joy to eat but also to serve. Plating the dish with attention to detail—arranging the chicken on a platter, spooning the sauce generously over the top, and garnishing with lemon slices and parsley—can turn the meal into a visual and culinary delight. Pairing the dish with a well-chosen white wine, such as a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, can enhance the dining experience, making it a memorable one for your guests.

Chicken Francese embodies the essence of simple ingredients coming together to create a dish that’s rich in flavors and textures. Its preparation, from the egg wash to the sear, and the crafting of the lemon-butter sauce, speaks to the care and love that goes into cooking. Whether enjoyed as a weeknight dinner or served at a special occasion, Chicken Francese continues to be a cherished recipe in the repertoire of Italian-American cuisine.

Chicken Francese

Exploring Variations of Chicken Francese

While the classic Chicken Francese recipe is beloved for its simplicity and elegance, exploring variations can add exciting new flavors to this traditional dish. Incorporating ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes or olives into the sauce introduces a Mediterranean twist, while a splash of caper brine can add a salty depth that complements the lemony brightness. For those who enjoy a bit of heat, a few slices of fresh chili or a dash of chili flakes can kick the flavor up a notch, offering a spicy version that still retains the essence of the original recipe.

The Importance of High-Quality Ingredients

The quality of ingredients plays a significant role in the success of Chicken Francese. Opting for organic chicken can enhance the dish’s flavor profile, while using freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of bottled can make a noticeable difference in the freshness of the sauce. Similarly, choosing artisanal or aged cheeses for the egg wash mixture can add a layer of complexity to the taste. Investing in high-quality ingredients elevates the dish, making it not just a meal but a culinary experience.

Pairing Wine with Chicken Francese

Selecting the right wine to accompany Chicken Francese can enhance the dining experience, highlighting the dish’s delicate flavors. A crisp, dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully, cutting through the richness of the butter sauce while complementing the lemon’s acidity. For those preferring a slightly fuller-bodied wine, a Chardonnay with minimal oak aging can provide a lovely balance to the meal, adding an extra dimension to the flavors on the palate.

Tips for Cooking for Large Groups

Chicken Francese can easily be adapted to serve large groups, making it an excellent choice for gatherings and celebrations. To ensure efficiency and consistency when cooking for many, preparing the chicken in batches and keeping it warm in a low oven is key. The sauce can also be made in larger quantities and added to the chicken just before serving to maintain its vibrant taste. Arranging the chicken on a large platter and allowing guests to serve themselves can make for an impressive and inviting presentation.

Nutritional Considerations for Health-Conscious Diners

For health-conscious diners, there are several ways to modify Chicken Francese to fit dietary preferences or restrictions. Using olive oil in place of butter for frying, and opting for a lighter cream or a dairy-free alternative for the sauce, can reduce the dish’s overall fat content. Additionally, serving the chicken alongside a generous portion of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad can provide balance to the meal, ensuring it remains hearty yet wholesome.

Chicken Francese remains a versatile and beloved dish, its popularity enduring due to its delicious flavors and the ease with which it can be customized. Whether sticking closely to the traditional recipe or experimenting with new ingredients and pairings, Chicken Francese offers a canvas for culinary creativity. Its ability to delight and satisfy makes it a timeless choice for any occasion, continuing to earn its place as a favorite in the repertoire of home cooks and professional chefs alike.


Chicken Francese is a culinary delight that exemplifies the beauty of Italian-American cuisine, blending tender chicken with a tangy and rich lemon-butter sauce. Its versatility not only lies in the choice of ingredients but also in its ability to be adapted to various dietary needs and preferences, making it a universally beloved dish. Whether served at an elegant dinner party or enjoyed as a comforting weeknight meal, Chicken Francese offers a taste of sophistication and comfort in every bite. By following simple tips and exploring different variations, anyone can master this dish, making it a cherished addition to their cooking repertoire. With its harmonious blend of flavors and textures, Chicken Francese continues to be a standout dish that promises to impress and satisfy.

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