This restaurant-quality Salmon Piccata serves up crispy salmon fillets glazed with a tangy sauce made with lemon juice, wine, capers and butter.

Salmon piccata in a white skillet, garnished with lemon wedges.

What is Salmon Piccata?

Salmon piccata is a variation of a classic Italian dish traditionally made with veal or chicken, known as piccata. The dish features a vibrant, tangy sauce made with lemon, butter, and capers, as well as sometimes white wine, garlic and parsley.

Salmon replaces the traditional meat in this recipe, making it an excellent option for those who prefer seafood or who are looking for an alternative to red meat.

Why you’ll love Lemon Piccata Salmon

  • It’s a restaurant-quality elegant dish perfect for impressing guests, but you can easily execute it at home.
  • It pairs well with a variety of side dishes, from simple steamed vegetables to pasta, making it a versatile part of your meal plan.
  • It’s easily adaptable to suit your tastes. You’re free to use more or less lemon or capers, and it will still turn out great.
Fish with lemon caper sauce, served on a rustic plate with orzo and steamed broccoli.

Salmon Piccata Recipe Ingredients

  • salmon fillets – more on this below!
  • flour – we’ll be lightly dredging the salmon in flour to make it nice and crispy.
  • butter – unsalted butter will thicken and add flavor to the sauce.
  • olive oil – we’ll also add a little olive oil for flavor.
  • garlic – I call for 4 minced garlic cloves below, but measure it with your heart.
  • chicken broth – this is the backbone of this piccata sauce.
  • white wine – this adds a bright, acidic note to the sauce. I use pinot grigio!
  • lemon juice – one of the star flavors of this dish! Make sure you are using juice from fresh lemons, not bottled juice. Buy a few extra lemons for a lemon smoothie tomorrow for breakfast.
  • lemon zest – this adds an extra punch of lemon to the salmon piccata sauce.
  • capers – you’ll need a full 1/4 cup. I buy the kind packed in brine, and drain and rinse them before using. You can also buy the salt-packed ones and rinse them really well, but I prefer the brine kind.
  • thyme – I think a fresh herb works really nicely in this dish, and thyme is my favorite. Extra thyme can be used to make savory oatmeal or colcannon soup.
  • salt and pepper – always!
  • parsley – I like to finish this dish with finely chopped fresh parsley for color, but this is optional.
Salmon piccata in a white skillet, garnished with lemon wedges.

How to buy the best fish for lemon salmon piccata:

Just like with my crab stuffed salmon recipe and salmon sandwich, I prefer thicker, center-cut pieces of salmon, and not thinner, tail-end pieces for salmon piccata.

The tail end pieces are really better for a recipe where the salmon is going to be flaked, like salmon alfredo or Cajun salmon pasta.

If you have a grocery store, butcher, or seafood market where you can specify that you need center-cut pieces, that’s ideal for this recipe.

You want skinless salmon for this recipe. If you happen to buy fillets with the skin on, just use your fingers and a sharp paring knife to carefully cut and peel the skin away from the fish before cooking.

You can use any variety of salmon you like best for this salmon piccata recipe, whether that’s Atlantic salmon, sockeye salmon, or something else. Food & Wine’s Guide to Every Type of Salmon You Can Buy will help you learn the differences.

Fish with lemon caper sauce, served on a rustic plate with orzo and steamed broccoli.

How to make salmon piccata

  1. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and then lightly dredge it in flour.
  2. Sear the salmon in butter and olive oil in a large nonstick skillet until it’s a nice deep golden brown.
  3. Take the salmon out of the pan and put it on a plate covered with foil to keep it warm while you make the sauce.
  4. The sauce starts by very quickly sauteeing some garlic just to release its flavor, and then adding the broth, wine and lemon juice. Cook this 8 to 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half and starts to take on more of a sauce consistency.
  5. Finish the salmon piccata sauce with capers, thyme, lemon zest, a bit more butter, and salt and pepper. Transfer the salmon back to the pan and give it a few turns until it’s nicely glazed in the sauce.
  6. Garnish with parsley and serve!
Salmon piccata in a white skillet, garnished with lemon wedges.

Home Chef Tips for making Salmon Lemon Piccata

  • While sometimes salted butter makes a fine swap for unsalted, you’ll want to use unsalted butter here, based on the amount of other salty ingredients.
  • Use the freshest lemon you can find for the zest and juice for the brightest flavor.
  • Consider serving salmon piccata with a glass of dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc to complement the dish’s flavors.

What to serve with salmon piccata

My absolute favorite side dishes for salmon piccata are orzo and steamed broccoli, because I just love the combination of salmon and orzo.

My salmon piccata recipe makes a generous amount of sauce, so I spoon some of the sauce over the orzo, too. You could even turn this dish into a salmon piccata pasta by making some noodles, breaking up the salmon, and tossing everything together.

You could also serve this with Israeli couscous, like I did with pesto salmon.

Other great vegetable side dishes are balsamic green beans and roasted glazed carrots.

If this is for a special Valentine’s Day dinner for your sweetie, finish the meal with heart jam cookies or a chocolate brownie pie.

Salmon piccata in a white skillet, garnished with lemon wedges.

Salmon Lemon Piccata

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This restaurant-quality Salmon Piccata serves up crispy salmon fillets glazed with a tangy sauce made with lemon juice, wine, capers and butter.


  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (about 5-6 ounces each), patted dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (be sure to zest the lemon first)
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Lemon slices, for garnish (optional)


  1. Season all sides of salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Place flour in shallow dish and dredge all sides of each piece of salmon with flour, shaking off excess flour.
  2. In large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to mix butter and olive oil.
  3. Add salmon to skillet and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until salmon is deep golden brown and easily releases from pan, turning once halfway through cooking, and gently pressing each side of the salmon down with a spatula so it makes good contact with the pan. Transfer salmon to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. 
  4. Reduce heat on skillet to medium-low. Add garlic and cook 15 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. 
  5. Add broth, wine and lemon juice to skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half, stirring and scraping bottom of pan as it cooks.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in capers, thyme, lemon zest and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Taste sauce and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. When butter is melted, transfer salmon back to skillet and turn so salmon is covered in sauce. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices, if desired, and serve immediately. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 464Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 684mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 33g

This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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