Chicken Francaise is a saucy chicken dish where a thin cutlet is dipped in flour and lightly fried. It’s covered in a lovely lemon butter sauce that you can spike with white wine, if you want. It’s literally the best chicken dinner for two on the planet. Made in less than 30 minutes, too!

Two plates with chicken over pasta with a lemon garnish.

I’m trying not to play favorites for dinner, but a thin chicken cutlet that has been lightly fried with a tangy butter lemon might win. The lemon butter sauce can have a big splash of wine in it, if you choose, so naturally, you must enjoy the rest of the wine with dinner. I love it when that happens!

Chicken francaise, or is it truly chicken francese, is a method for making chicken that you should memorize. You can buy thin chicken cutlets, or just cut your regular chicken breasts in half like a book to make two thin cutlets. Dipping chicken in eggs and flour is really just a method for making a thin, crispy crust on it. You’ll want to use this method for many other cuts of meat (especially pork schnitzel). After the chicken is cooked, we’re going to use the leftover ‘stuff’ in the pan to make a lemon butter sauce. It’s a three-step process that will make your favorite chicken dinner!

Ingredients:

  • chicken breasts: We need 4 thin chicken cutlets, or two regular chicken breasts, butterflied. To butterfly chicken breasts, lay them flat on a cutting board, and cut through them with your knife horizontally. Use your hand on top to steady yourself, and frequently check to make sure you’re cutting evenly in the middle.
  • 1 egg
  • flour
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • chicken broth
  • lemon: We’ll use lemon zest in the sauce to amp up the lemon flavor, and the lemon juice for the liquid.
  • white wine: Adding a splash of dry (not sweet) white wine brings a lovely flavor to the chicken francaise sauce, if you prefer. If you don’t like to cook with alcohol, the recipe is completely fine without it.

How to make chicken francaise:

  1. First gather ingredients: you’ll need 4 chicken cutlets, an egg, flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, butter, olive oil, chicken broth, and a lemon. Optional: 1/4 cup of wine for the sauce.
    Chicken cutlets on a plate surrounded by spices and butter.
  2. Create a dredging station for the chicken: beat the egg in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, stir together the flour and spices. Dip each chicken breast in the egg, followed by the flour mixture. Use your fingers to press on a thick flour coating that covers every inch of the chicken breast.
    Chicken cutlet dredged in flour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil. When the butter is sizzling and foaming, the pan is hot enough to add the chicken. Place the chicken cutlets in the pan, and do not move them while they sear on the first side. After 5 minutes, use tongs to peak and make sure the chicken is getting golden brown.
    Chicken cutlets in pan with pan sauce.
  4. Flip the chicken and cook for another 4 minutes on the second side.
  5. Once the chicken is golden brown on both sides, pour the chicken broth, lemon zest and lemon juice into the skillet. The mixture will bubble and boil. Lower the heat so that the chicken finishes cooking in the lemon sauce, about 3-4 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is 165-degrees F before serving.
  6. Serve chicken francaise over spaghetti, egg noodles, or buttered rice (optional).

Saucy chicken cutlet over pasta on plate.

How to pronounce chicken française:

While my second language is Spanish, my knowledge of French is limited to ballet terms! You pronounce ‘Francaise’ like this: frawn-sez-eh. I mean, I think? Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m assuming this is the feminine version because it has the ‘e’ on the end.

How to reheat:

I always plan on 2 chicken cutlets per person, but because the pasta is so filling, we usually have leftovers. For optimum reheating, store the pasta separately from the chicken. Reheat the chicken in a toaster oven or sheet pan with a wire rack over it in the oven at 200-degrees F for 10 minutes, or until hot. Warm the pasta with the sauce in a small saucepan or the microwave. You can add an extra splash of chicken stock or dab of butter if you think it needs more liquid. Sometimes, pasta absorbs all of the sauce during cold storage. Place the warm chicken over the hot pasta, and serve again.

What to serve with chicken francaise:

Since this recipe makes a lot of pan sauce, I recommend serving it over spaghetti noodles. You could also serve it over egg noodles or buttered rice. Another chicken and pasta dinner you might like is my chicken bacon pasta.

Yield: 4

Chicken Francaise

Saucy chicken cutlet over pasta on plate.

Chicken francaise (or chicken francese) cutlets fried and coated in a lemon butter sauce.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 4 thin chicken cutlets)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, optional

Instructions

    1. First, lay each chicken breast flat on a cutting board, and using a knife, split it in half. Find the center of the breast on the side, poke the knife in half-way, and then hold your hand down while cutting through each breast to make two even pieces. It can also help to turn it on its side like a book, and cut it while it folds away. You will get 4 chicken cutlets from 2 whole breasts. Alternatively, buy chicken cutlets that are already thin. If you use chicken cutlets, you need 4 for this recipe.
    2. In a shallow dish, beat the egg. Separately, in another shallow dish, add the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
    3. In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil. When the butter is sizzling and foaming, the pan is hot enough to add the chicken.
    4. Dip each chicken breast in the egg, followed by the flour mixture. Use your fingers to press on a thick flour coating that covers every inch of the chicken breast.
    5. Place the chicken cutlets in the pan, and do not move them while they sear on the first side. After 5 minutes, use tongs to peak and make sure the chicken is getting golden brown.
    6. Flip the chicken and cook for another 4 minutes on the second side.
    7. After 5 minutes, pour the chicken broth, lemon zest and lemon juice into the skillet. (Add the white wine, if using). The mixture will bubble and boil. Lower the heat so that the chicken finishes cooking in the lemon sauce, about 3-4 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is 165-degrees F before serving.
    8. Serve two chicken cutlets over pasta (optional)

Notes

chicken breasts: We need 4 thin chicken cutlets, or two regular chicken breasts, butterflied. To butterfly chicken breasts, lay them flat on a cutting board, and cut through them with your knife horizontally. Use your hand on top to steady yourself, and frequently check to make sure you're cutting
lemon: We'll use lemon zest in the sauce to amp up the lemon flavor, and the lemon juice for the liquid.
white wine: Adding a splash of dry (not sweet) white wine brings a lovely flavor to the sauce, if you prefer. If you don't like to cook with alcohol, the recipe is completely fine without it.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 605mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 22g

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