This Salmon Piccata recipe can be on the table in just 20 minutes! It starts with pan seared salmon that is served with a homemade lemony piccata sauce that is smooth and creamy. We love its vibrant, tangy taste (it’s made with capers and fresh lemon juice) with perfectly cooked salmon filets. A quick and easy salmon filet recipe that is special enough for date night in, but also scales easily for feeding a crowd!
While some piccata recipes use heavy cream, we don’t think it’s necessary. It weighs down the sauce and dilutes that bright lemon sauce. Use a white wine you love drinking (recommended pairings below!) and read on for tips on how to emulsify your sauce without adding cream.
What Is Piccata?
Piccata generally refers to chicken or veal that is dredged in flour, then pan seared and served with a sauce made from lemon, capers, butter, and, often white wine or chicken broth.
Though salmon may not be the traditional protein found in piccata, it is a natural pairing with these flavors and feels like an obvious choice for an elevated weeknight dinner. It’s essentially just pan seared salmon with our easy piccata sauce!
Ingredients For Salmon Piccata
- Salmon filets, skin on or off. This is Atlantic salmon, though you can check out our salmon guide for more information on the different species.
- All-purpose flour (for dredging)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: To season everything!
- Dry white wine, such as Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc
- Capers, drained and rinsed
- Chicken broth, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
- Unsalted butter
- Fresh lemons: This is non-negotiable, you have to use fresh lemons to make this lemony salmon piccata!
- Fresh parsley
- Flaky sea salt: For serving!
- Olive oil
A typical single serving salmon filet should weigh about 6 oz a piece. Ask your fish monger to slice them for you!
How To Make Salmon Piccata
This is the same cooking method we use for pan seared salmon, whether we’re making salmon piccata or simply pan frying salmon fillets without any added sauce. It’s foolproof!
To cook salmon:
- Prepare the salmon filets. First, dry salmon by patting gently on all sides with a paper towel.
- Make the dredge. Combine all-purpose flour, kosher salt, and black pepper in a shallow bowl.
- Season the salmon filets. Season salmon filets on all sides with flour, shaking off any excess.
- Cook the salmon on a stovetop. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add salmon, flesh side down, and cook for 3 minutes undisturbed. Carefully turn salmon over so it is now skin side down, then cook an additional 2-3 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer salmon to a plate while you make the sauce.
Salmon is medium-rare (our preferred doneness for the fish) when the internal temperature reaches 110-125 F.
We recommend the Thermapen MK4 to check for doneness on all meats!
Make The Piccata Sauce
- Add smashed garlic cloves to the pan, then cook until fragrant and browned, about 30 seconds.
- Add white wine and capers, bring to a boil, and cook for about 1-2 minutes to reduce.
- Pour in stock (or water), turn heat down to medium, then add butter. Swirl until butter has completely melted.
- Remove pan from the heat, add fresh lemon juice and parsley, then stir one final time. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Return pan cooked salmon filets to piccata sauce, garnish with additional parsley, lemon wedges, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Serve immediately with extra piccata sauce spooned on top.
Leftovers will keep for 2-3 days in a fridge. Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator.
- Cook with a wine that’s good enough to drink! The flavors concentrate as the sauce reduces. You definitely want to use something you enjoy drinking!
- Go heavy on the capers! The brininess is a natural pairing with the pan seared salmon and lemon.
- Use fresh lemon juice. It is so much better than bottled!
- Dredge the salmon in flour! It helps to create that golden brown crust when you sear and will also thicken the piccata sauce without adding flour directly into the sauce.
- How long to cook salmon in a pan? For fresh salmon fillets that are about 1-inch thick, they’ll cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side, undisturbed, and then another 2-3 minutes on the second side. Make sure the pan is set to medium-high heat, and use a fish spatula to help flip the salmon!
How To Serve
Pasta is, of course, a classic choice! Not feeling like pasta? Roasted potatoes or rice are great too! Rice is nice because it soaks up that delicious piccata sauce. So good!
Other side dishes we love serving with piccata:
The stovetop salmon is crispy, yet luscious and smooth. The piccata sauce is tangy and zesty. The whole recipe just works! If you’re a salmon lover like we are, you will love love love this quick, simple salmon piccata recipe!
If you make Salmon Piccata recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below.
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More salmon recipes to try!Tender, Flaky Salmon en Papillote (Salmon in Parchment) Tender, Slow Baked Salmon with Compound Butter Make-Ahead Marinated Salmon Escabeche with Olives Pan Seared Salmon Cakes with Creamy Yogurt Sauce 10 Salmon Dinner Recipes You Can’t Live Without
For more Italian-inspired recipes, check out the following:
- Easy chicken parmesan
- Spaghetti alle vongole
- Chicken milanese with fennel salad
- Lamb and mint ragu
- Veal saltimbocca
15-Minute Pan Seared Salmon Piccata
For the Salmon
- 4 (6 oz) salmon filets
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the Piccata Sauce
- 4 cloves garlic smashed
- ½ cup dry white wine such as Pinto Blanc or Pinot Gris
- ¼ cup chicken stock or vegetable stock low-sodium
- 2 Tbsp capers drained
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into pieces, divided
- 1 lemon juiced about 3 Tbsp
- 2 Tbsp parsley finely chopped
- Prep the salmon. Dry salmon by patting gently on all sides with a paper towel. Combine ½ cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp Kosher salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper in a shallow bowl. Season salmon filets on all sides with flour, then shake off any excess.
- Pan sear the salmon. Heat 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add salmon, flesh side down, and cook for 3 minutes undisturbed. Carefully turn salmon over so it is now skin side down, then cook an additional 2-3 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer salmon to a plate while you make the sauce.
- Make the piccata sauce. Add smashed garlic cloves to the pan, then cook until fragrant and browned, about 30 seconds. Add ½ cup white wine and 2 Tbsp capers, bring to a boil, and cook for about 1-2 minutes to reduce.
- Finish the sauce. Pour in ¼ cup stock (or water), turn heat down to medium, then add remaining 4 Tbsp butter. Swirl until butter has completely melted. Remove pan from the heat, add 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice and2 Tbsp chopped parsley, then stir one final time. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Finish, then serve. Return cooked salmon filets to piccata sauce, garnish with additional parsley, lemon wedges, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Serve immediately with extra piccata sauce spooned on top.
- Cook with a wine that’s good enough to drink! The flavors concentrate as it reduces, so you definitely want to use something you enjoy. We recommend Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris. See post for more recommended wine pairings!
- Use fresh lemon juice. The lemon juice is the star of the sauce. It will taste so much better than what comes in a plastic container.
- Leftovers will keep for 2-3 days in a fridge. Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator.