Chicken Piccata Meatballs with Lemon Zest and Caper Sauce


Chicken Piccata Meatballs with Lemon Zest and Caper Sauce is a delightful twist on the classic Italian dish, Chicken Piccata. This recipe transforms the traditional flavors into delicious meatballs that are perfect for any occasion. The zesty lemon, savory garlic, and tangy capers create a harmonious blend of flavors that is both refreshing and comforting. These meatballs can be served over pasta, rice, or enjoyed on their own, making them a versatile addition to your culinary repertoire. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or preparing a family meal, these Chicken Piccata Meatballs are sure to impress.


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (for sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup capers + 2 tablespoons caper brine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


Step 1: Mix Meatball Ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, grated Parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs, salt, minced garlic, and lemon zest. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Step 2: Form Meatballs

Using approximately 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture per meatball, roll the mixture into balls and set aside. This should yield about 18-20 meatballs.

Step 3: Cook Meatballs

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs to the pan. Cook the meatballs, turning every few minutes to ensure even browning on all sides. This should take about 6 minutes. Once cooked, remove the meatballs from the pan and set them aside.

Step 4: Prepare the Sauce

In the same pan, add the butter and allow it to melt over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for another minute to create a roux.

Step 5: Simmer the Sauce

Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, ensuring no lumps form. Add the capers, caper brine, and lemon juice to the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.

Step 6: Combine Meatballs and Sauce

Add the meatballs back into the pan with the sauce. Cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, spooning the sauce over the meatballs to ensure they are well coated. The sauce should be thick and flavorful by this point.

Step 7: Serve

Serve the Chicken Piccata Meatballs over your choice of pasta, rice, or enjoy them as they are. Garnish with additional lemon zest or chopped parsley if desired.

Cooking Note

  • Ground Chicken: Ensure you use ground chicken with a bit of fat for juicy meatballs. If you prefer, you can use a mix of ground chicken and turkey.
  • Caper Brine: The brine from the capers adds extra tanginess to the sauce, enhancing the overall flavor. Don’t skip it!
  • Lemon Zest: Fresh lemon zest is key for a vibrant, zesty flavor. Make sure to zest the lemons before juicing them.

Serving Suggestions

These Chicken Piccata Meatballs can be paired with various sides for a complete meal:

  • Pasta: Serve over spaghetti or linguine, drizzled with the lemon-caper sauce.
  • Rice: A bed of jasmine or basmati rice makes a perfect companion to soak up the delicious sauce.
  • Vegetables: Steamed or roasted vegetables like asparagus or broccoli add a healthy touch.
  • Salad: A light, fresh salad with a lemon vinaigrette pairs wonderfully with the rich flavors of the meatballs.


  1. Uniform Meatballs: Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to ensure all meatballs are the same size, which helps them cook evenly.
  2. Prepping Ahead: The meatballs can be prepared and rolled in advance. Store them in the refrigerator for up to a day before cooking.
  3. Extra Sauce: If you like more sauce, feel free to double the sauce ingredients. It’s perfect for drizzling over sides or sopping up with bread.
  4. Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Prep Time

  • 10 minutes

Cooking Time

  • 30 minutes

Total Time

  • 40 minutes

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 320 (approximately)
  • Protein: 22 grams
  • Sodium: 780 milligrams


Chicken Piccata Meatballs with Lemon Zest and Caper Sauce are a delicious and elegant dish that brings a new twist to traditional meatballs. The bright, tangy flavors of the lemon and capers, combined with the savory chicken and rich sauce, create a meal that is both satisfying and sophisticated. This recipe is straightforward enough for a weeknight dinner but impressive enough for guests. Serve these meatballs with your favorite sides and enjoy a taste of Italy right at home. Whether for a special occasion or a comforting family meal, these Chicken Piccata Meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your household.

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