You can cook Chicken Francaise, even if you can’t pronounce it! My chicken Francaise dish is elevated in appearance and rich in flavor, but it’s easy to cook and ready in less than 30 minutes!
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Chicken Francaise is flour-dredged, egg mixture-dipped pan-fried chicken cutlets, simmered in a heavenly lemon-butter and white wine sauce.
Francaise (pronounced “frahn-says”) literally means “French,” but there is a twist.
Chicken Francaise (or “Francese” as it can also be spelled) isn’t French at all.
It’s Italian American (!).
When Italian immigrants came to America, they brought their favorite recipes with them (hello Chicken Saltimbocca, and Chicken Fricassée!), including veal Francaise, but they began swapping in the less costly chicken for the veal, thus creating chicken Francaise.
Chicken Francaise is similar to another lemon-buttery Italian chicken dish: Chicken Piccata.
Speaking of lemon-buttery, you’d swoon over this Lemon Butter Chicken, which also has a to-die-for sauce.
(And if pan fried is your lover when it comes to chicken, you should try this Pan Fried Chicken Breast!)
Chicken Francaise vs. Chicken Piccata
- Chicken Francaise and Chicken Piccata are similar dishes in that they are pan-fried chicken cutlets in a scrumptious lemon butter sauce.
- Chicken piccata has capers. So for you caper haters out there, the Francaise version is for you.
- Chicken Francaise is dredged in flour and egg, whereas chicken piccata is dredged only in flour, so the Francaise has a bit more (delightfully) substantial coating.
- If you try both this chicken Francaise and chicken piccata, I’d love to hear which is your favorite!
How to Make the Best Chicken Francaise
The chicken is quickly pan fried, and then the sauce is cooked in the same pan, making clean up easy.
Advance warning: the sauce is so yummy, you will be tempted to lick it up!
- Chicken. While the star of the dish is the sauce, the chicken when prepared remains juicy with a delightful crispy outside. It’s already a healthy source of protein, plus no deep fry!
To make the chicken breasts easier to slice into cutlets, place raw breasts in the freezer for 10-15 minutes prior to cutting.
- Butter. It’s the right amount of decadent without being over the top.
- Lemon. What gives the dish a fresh zip and a colorful touch and source of vitamin C.
- Chicken Broth. To help build that sauce flavor.
- White Wine. As Ina Garten says “cook with what you’d drink.” If you prefer to not use wine, all chicken broth can be substituted.
- Fresh Parsley. While it might require an extra grocery store purchase if you are not an herb gardener, since this dish has such simple ingredients, getting fresh parsley is worth it.
- Split each chicken breast into cutlets and season. Dredge in flour and egg.
- Cook the chicken in butter and olive oil on the first side.
- Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through. Remove to a plate.
- Sizzle the lemon slices in the butter.
- Add the wine and broth and reduce.
- Stir in more butter and parsley. Serve immediately with lots of the pan lemon sauce spooned over and garnish with more parsley. Enjoy!
- To Store. Place cooked chicken Francaise in airtight storage container, with sauce stored in separate container. Eat within 3 to 4 days.
- To Reheat. For best reheating leftovers, warm a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook on both sides until warmed through to re-crisp the chicken.
- To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing chicken Francaise.
Meal Prep Tip
To save time on cooking the day of, split the chicken breasts the day before.
What to Serve with Chicken Francaise
- Arugula Salad. Serve the chicken and sauce right over or alongside a nice arugula salad. So fresh!
- Bread. A fresh baguette would make a delicious vehicle for sopping sauce. You could also try making this No Knead Focaccia.
- Rice. Chicken and rice is a classic pairing. This Instant Pot Brown Rice recipe preps plenty for this dish and future meals, or if you want to go all-in on the lemon thing, try this Lemon Rice.
- Mashed Potatoes. We could eat these for a side with any dish, right? Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes or Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes are easy cooking methods and another great way to get some extra servings saved for future meals.
- Pasta. Your pasta of course would be a nice pairing keeping with the Italian theme.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Large Skillet. This is a kitchen staple for one-pot dishes, sautéing, and more!
- Instant Read Thermometer. Use this for any meat you cook to ensure doneness.
- Citrus Juicer. Handy tool for easy lemon juicing. I use it a lot!
And now you can cook AND pronounce chicken Francaise!
Frequently Asked Questions
Nothing; they are the same thing! There are two spellings for this dish: “Chicken Francese” and “Chicken Française.” These are the same dish!
Yes! No need to slice into cutlets, but you could pound them slightly for a more even thickness.
Substitute the flour 1:1 for almond flour, chickpea flour, or your preferred gluten-free flour blend.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus a few pinches
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 lemon plus wedges for serving
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or additional chicken stock
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Split each chicken breast in half horizontally to create two thinner pieces of chicken (a.k.a. chicken cutlets). While slicing, carefully place your hand on top to get a feel for whether or not you are slicing the chicken evenly. To make the chicken easier to slice, you can place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes prior to cutting. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place the flour in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, beat the eggs and water. Dredge each pieces of chicken in flour, shake off the excess, then dip in the eggwash, completely coating both sides; shake of any excess (you can do all of the pieces and place them on a plate or back to the cutting board at this point, or dip the pieces as you go).
- In a large, sturdy skillet, heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once the butter has melted, carefully lower a single layer of chicken pieces into the skillet (angle the chicken away from you as you set it down), ensuring they do not touch each other in the pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 to 3 minutes on the second side. Transfer the chicken to a plate, keeping it in a single layer. Repeat with remaining batch(es). If at any point the pan seems dry, drizzle in a little more oil.
- Zest the whole lemon directly over the pan. Slice half of the lemon into thin rounds and add the rounds to the pan (reserve the other half). Let the rounds sizzle for 1 minute.
- Add the wine and broth. Let simmer, stirring often, until the liquid is reduced by approximately half, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low. Juice the reserved lemon half into the pan and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir to combine. Stir in the parsley. Finish the chicken with a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice from the wedges, and sprinkle of fresh parsley. Serve immediately with lots of the pan sauce spooned over the top.
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