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Chicken Piccata on white plate with asparagus and slice of lemon with green napkin on the side and an Instant Pot in the background.
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Instant Pot Chicken Piccata

Instant Pot Chicken Piccata, with a garlic lemon caper sauce, is an easy, simple and delicious way to turn ordinary chicken breast into a gourmet meal and have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Chicken Piccata, Instant Pot Chicken Piccata
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Pressurization 10 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 422kcal

Ingredients

Add BEFORE Pressure Cooking

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts (half the thickness of regular chicken breast)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots (optional)

Add AFTER Pressure Cooking

  • 1/2 cup cream (or milk) (Optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (Optional)
  • 3.5 ounces capers (1 jar of capers, drained)

Optional Cornstarch Slurry

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Water

Instructions

  • Season Chicken. Season the 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast cutlets with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Optionally, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon cayenne for a little heat. (Note: the cayenne will add spicy heat and will make the sauce a little more reddish brown in color.)
  • Brown Chicken. Make sure the Instant Pot is plugged in. Press the SAUTE button until it says "More". Then wait a few minutes while it heats up. During this time, the display will say "On." When the Instant Pot is ready, it will show "Hot" on the display. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter is melted, add the 4 seasoned chicken breasts and cook on one side for 4 minutes or until that side has turned white and golden brown in some spots. Turn and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes on the other side until that side has browned. When finished, remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and place on a plate. Set aside.
  • Saute Garlic and Shallots. Add the tablespoon of minced garlic and tablespoon of minced or chopped shallots and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pot with white wine. Press CANCEL to cancel the Saute function. Pour in 1/4 cup white wine. Using a wooden spatula, scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure no bits of food are stuck to the bottom of the pot. (See note below regarding using a trivet.)
  • Add Liquid. Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and stir.
  • Add Back Chicken. Add the browned chicken back in the pot. (See note below.)
  • Pressure Cook 4 Minutes High Pressure. Press the MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK button (depending on model) and press HIGH PRESSURE. Then press the + or - sign to adjust the time to 4 minutes. Close and lock the lid. Move the Pressure Release valve to the SEALING position. (Note, it will take about 5 or 10 minutes to come up to pressure. During that time, the display will say "On." Once it comes up to pressure, it will start pressure cooking and the display will change to start counting down the time from 4 minutes. When it has finished pressure cooking, it will beep several times, and the display will start counting up from 0.)
  • 5-Minute Natural Release. After the Instant Pot has finished pressure cooking and beeps several times, DO NOTHING for 5 minutes and allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for 5 minutes. This means DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING on the Instant Pot for 5 minutes.
  • Quick Release. After the Instant Pot has released pressure naturally for 5 minutes and the display shows "L0:05" (See photo in blog post.), using a long handled spoon (to keep your hands away from the rising steam), move the Pressure Release Valve to the VENTING position to allow the pressure to release quickly. This may take a minute or two.
  • Add Capers and Thicken The Sauce. Remove the lid and remove the chicken and place on a serving plate. Add the drained capers to the sauce. If you would like to thicken the sauce, make a cornstarch slurry by stirring together in a small bowl 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then stir into the sauce. Wait a few minutes and the sauce should thicken.
  • To Make The Sauce Creamy (Optional). Add 1/2 cup heavy cream or milk to the sauce and stir. If you like, you can also add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and stir. Ladle the sauce over the chicken. Sprikle with parmesan cheese to garnish. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Potential Ingredient Substitutions

  • Oil and butter Use an oil that has a high smoke point. This will allow it to withstand the high temperatures of sautéing and pressure cooking.
  • Thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If you have thick chicken breasts, you will need to slice each one horizontally to make 2 thin chicken breasts instead of one thick chicken breast. This is important because thicker chicken breasts will take longer to cook and potentially double the pressure cooking time.
  • Chicken stock or chicken broth. You can use chicken stock, broth, vegetable broth, or water. The important thing for Instant Pot cooking is to have a thin liquid, like broth or water, to allow the Instant Pot to come up to pressure.
  • White wine (optional). Traditionally, Chicken Piccata uses white wine. However, if you prefer, use more chicken broth instead of wine.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice. You will need the juice from one lemon, which should generate about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. 
  • Minced Garlic. Garlic is a foundational flavor in this recipe. Don't skip it.
  • Chopped Shallots. While not necessarily in the traditional recipe, it adds additional flavor. However, if you don't have it, you can skip it or add chopped onions if you like.
  • Capers. These are an essential ingredient for Chicken Piccata and can't be skipped. If you don't already have them, make a trip to the store to get them for this recipe.
  • Seasonings. You will need salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne, which is optional. If you don't have lemon pepper, use regular pepper. If you don't like any heat, leave out the cayenne. Another option for cayenne, would be crushed red pepper.
  • Milk or Cream (optional). To make the sauce more creamy, you can add milk or cream after pressure cooking the chicken. However, this is optional.
  • Cornstarch and water (optional to thicken sauce). Pressure cooking requires a certain amount of liquid. Sometimes, for some people, it makes the sauce thinner than they would like. In that case, you can stir together cornstarch and water and add it to the sauce to thicken the sauce. 
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional). I used this more as a garnish when serving, and serve a small bowl of parmesan cheese with the Chicken Piccata in case guests want to add more cheese. However, you could also add the parmesan cheese directly to the sauce after the chicken has been pressure cooked.

Tips For Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Piccata Every Time

  • Use Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts. I can't stress this enough. It is important to use thinly sliced chicken breasts or chicken cutlets that are about 1/2 inch thick or less and not thick chicken breasts. The reason is that the thick chicken breasts will not cook as quickly and may double the pressure cooking time.
  • DeGlaze the Pot. Do NOT skip this step. I understand that you may be in a hurry and may be tempted to skip this step. However, it is important to prevent getting a burn notice. That happens when food is burned on the bottom of the Instant pot. However, by adding liquid and scraping off bits off of the bottom of the pot, then this will help prevent that. However, another reason to do this step, is that it will add flavor to the chicken and sauce. 
  • Add Ingredients In Order Specified. As mentioned above, to prevent getting the Instant Pot Burn Message, add the ingredients in the order specified in the recipe. A thin liquid, such as broth or water, needs to be at the bottom of the pot when pressure cooking. 
  • Use A Trivet. Another way to avoid getting the Burn notice is to place the chicken breasts on a trivet just above the liquid. Since they are not sitting on the bottom of the pot, there is less risk that the bottom of the pot would burn. I also prefer the taste and texture of the chicken breast when it is on the trivet and is therefore steamed instead of boiled during pressure cooking.
  • Add Cream and Cheese AFTER Pressure Cooking. Pressure cooking dairy products, such as milk or cream, can sometimes cause them to curdle. Therefore, it is a best practice to add these dairy items AFTER pressure cooking. The residual heat can heat the cream and melt the cheese. If necessary, you can use the SAUTE function to heat the dairy products and thicken the sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1417mg | Potassium: 695mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 716IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 1mg