Shrimp Piccata

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This easy Shrimp Piccata with the most delicious lemon, butter, and caper sauce is the perfect fancy meal to make at home for a special occasion. Ready in just 15 minutes!

288 CAL 6g CARBS 13g FAT 35g PROTEIN
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This easy Shrimp Piccata looks like a restaurant-worthy meal but it is actually an easy, weeknight dinner! In fact, you can make this classic piccata dish in just 15 minutes with simple ingredients.

One of my favorite "fancy" dishes is Chicken Piccata, with its buttery sauce and salty capers. While I love the chicken version, I think I may have fallen in more love with this easy shrimp piccata. 

There's just something about the sweetness of the shrimp paired with the buttery, lemony sauce, and capers that tastes so good. 

Shrimp piccata is usually served with pasta or rice. It's also delicious with zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, and polenta.

Shrimp lovers also must try this Blackened Shrimp and Crispy Shrimp Burgers.

Easy shrimp piccata with rice, lemon, and capers on a plate.

Ingredients for Shrimp Piccata

  • Shrimp: Since shrimp is the star of this dish, look for medium-large shrimp. Make sure they are raw and defrosted with the shells and veins removed. Frozen shrimp is fine, it just needs to be fully defrosted and patted dry. 
  • Flour: To help the shrimp get nicely browned and slightly crispy, flour is the perfect ingredient. Flour also helps to thicken the sauce. Cornstarch will also work. 
  • Butter and olive oil: It isn't piccata without some butter. Adding it to the sauce at the ends, ensure you get a smooth buttery sauce. For extra butter flavor, add a tablespoon to the olive oil when cooking the shrimp.
  • White wine: White wine is almost always used in piccata. If you prefer not to cook with wine, simply swap in chicken or vegetable broth. 
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is the best option to have a nice, garlicky sauce. Minced garlic or garlic paste will work as well, but use a little extra to get the same flavor.
  • Capers: It isn't piccata without capers. Capers are very salty and briny. Add them to taste and be careful not to oversalt the rest of the dish. If you don't have capers, you could swap in salty green olives 
  • Lemon: Lemon brightens up the dish and helps to balance the rich flavors of the butter and oil.
  • Parsley: This dish can be finished with fresh parsley, basil, or dill. Each adds a slightly different flavor to the final dish, but parsley is the classic preparation. 

What is piccata?

Piccata is an Italian-inspired dish that is famous for its bright lemon butter sauce made with capers, garlic, and white wine.

Classically it is made with chicken or veal that is dredged in flour and cooked until browned and crispy. However, there are versions made with shrimp, sole, fish, and even eggplant. 

Ways to Serve Shrimp Piccata

Shrimp piccata is classically served with pasta or rice, but it's easy to get creative and try out different serving ideas. 

  • With pasta: Pasta is the classic choice for this piccata dish. Usually, it is a long pasta like linguini or a medium-sized pasta like penne. 
  • Over rice: Another common pairing is rice. Serve it with rice pilaf, white rice, brown rice, wild rice, or quinoa. 
  • Zucchini noodles: Fior a light option, serve the shrimp with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
  • Bread: Let's face it, bread is great for soaking up all those piccata juice. Try classic Italian bread, sourdough, French bread, or a baguette.
  • Mashed potatoes: Serve under, over, or on the side of some yummy, garlicky mashed potatoes for the full buttery piccata effects.
  • Mashed cauliflower: Same idea as mashed potatoes, but fulfilling all your low-carb needs.

Side Dishes

Sometimes sides are the easiest part of putting together a meal and sometimes they're the thing I get stuck on. Whether I grab what I have in the fridge or pantry and make it work or plan ahead, I've found that these sides work well with shrimp piccata.

  • Side salads. Toss together what you have in your veggie drawer, purchase a pre-made, bagged salad mix, or make a specialty salad like this Arugula Salad.
  • Roasted mixed veggies. Add a layer of your favorite veggie combination to a greased roasting pan or sheet pan. Sprinkle with olive oil, pepper, garlic salt, and an acid like lemon juice or balsamic. Roast at 375° for 20 minutes or more, depending on the thickness of your veggies (for example, butternut squash will need more time while asparagus will not).
  • Roasted broccoli. You'll get to pile on the Parmesan in this flavorful veggie dish.
  • Roasted root vegetables. Skip the soggy bag of baby carrots and roast up some root veggie magic with a mixture of carrots, onion, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and more.
  • Sauteed veggies. Whip up a quick side dish by sauteing your favorite mixture of veggies in no time at all. You can also add some fresh mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach right to the shrimp piccata. 

Italian shrimp piccata with capers, lemon, and a butter and white wine sauce over rice.

Tips and Tricks for Cooking Shrimp Piccata

Shrimp might be easy to find and simple to cook, but a few helpful hints can help you make the best out of this pint-sized protein.

  • To thaw frozen shrimp, you can let it thaw for four hours or overnight in your fridge or you can pour it into a colander or a bowl of water and run cool (not warm) water over it until it thaws. It should only take about 10-15 minutes.
  • To peel and devein shrimp, first make sure it's thawed. Then, take the shrimp, one at a time and first peel the legs off then break open the shell where the legs were and peel off each side. Devein by using the pointy end of a knife to pull the dark vein out and wipe on a paper towel or rinse after each one.
  • Shrimp is done when the exterior is pink and the inside is slightly white inside, but completely opaque.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making shrimp piccata.

Piccata sauce is made with white wine, olive oil, butter, garlic, lemon, capers, parsley, salt, and pepper. 

Both piccata and scampi have sauces with butter, lemon, garlic, and white tine. But piccata sauce also contains capers, while scampi typically has red pepper flakes. 

It is important to note that some more traditional scampi sauces may not contain lemon. 

The Recipe
Shrimp piccata with capers and lemons over a bed of rice.

Shrimp Piccata

288 CAL 6g CARBS 13g FAT 35g PROTEIN
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  • 1.5 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or broth)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

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Toss the shrimp with flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.


Heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add half of the shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes per side until lightly browned and almost cooked through. Repeat with the remaining shrimp. When the shrimp are done, squeeze about half of the lemon juice over top and stir. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.


Add the garlic to the pan and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the lemon juice, white wine, and chicken broth. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. It should thicken and reduce slightly.


Add the butter, capers, parsley to the pan. Stir until the butter melts and the sauce is smooth. Add the shrimp and let cook for 1 minute. Taste and season as needed.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 288
Calories from Fat 122
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 289mg
Sodium 337mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 35g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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