The Subtle Difference Between Chicken Francaise And Chicken Piccata

If you've ever excitedly reached in your bag for a pen upon coming across a Spot the Differences game in a magazine after spending way too much time in a waiting room, then you might be the kind of person who likes to know the granular differences between two seemingly alike things. If your curiosities have extended to the culinary world, then you already know just how abundant these alike-but-not-the-same dishes are. Of course, chicken francaise and chicken piccata easily fit the category.

Let's start with the similarities. According to Carrie's Experimental Kitchen, both chicken francaise and chicken piccata involve dipping the chicken into flour and simmering the meat in a lemon butter sauce. That was easy enough. Now let's look at the differences. (Time to grab your pen!)

There are really only two differences. The first is that while preparing chicken francaise, the chicken is dipped into an egg wash in addition to the flour before pan-searing, while you do not need an egg wash for chicken piccata. The other difference is that chicken piccata includes capers, while chicken francaise does not.

To caper or not to caper

Whether you choose to make chicken francaise (no capers) or chicken piccata (mo' capers) might ultimately simmer down to whether or not you like capers. Capers are tiny, bitter flower buds from a caper bush that are pickled. The brine turns the tiny spheres into "little flavor bombs, concentrated doses of salt and acid that can take ho-hum dishes to new heights" with a "little funky, vegetal tang" thrown in, making them somewhat of a desired taste (via Bon Appetit).

If you decide to go caper-less and make chicken francaise, you'll need to create an egg wash. The egg wash helps absorb the flour coating. According to, the egg wash can be made by cracking two eggs into a flat bowl, scrambling them slightly, and adding 1/4 cup of water. The chicken is then pulled through the egg wash just long enough to keep it wet, but advises to make it quick, emphasizing that this isn't a bath but a wash. We guess there won't be time for rubber duckies until after dinner is over!