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Scallopini vs Piccata: What’s the Difference?

Are you wondering what the difference is between scallopini and piccata? If so, you’re not alone.

These two Italian dishes have been confusing countless diners for years due to their similar ingredients and cooking techniques.

While they both look very similar, there are some subtle differences that important distinctions when it comes to taste.

In this blog post we’ll take a deep dive into understanding the key variations between these two classic Italian dishes – from ingredients to preparation methods and resulting flavors – so that, no matter which dish your tastebuds yearn for, you can make an informed decision at the table.

What is Scallopini?

Scallopini – a favorite among many. This Italian classic is made with thinly pounded meat, like chicken, veal, or pork.

It’s then lightly seasoned and sautéed until golden brown.

What makes scallopini unique is the delightful sauce it’s served with.

A popular option is the lemon caper sauce; combining zesty lemon juice, white wine, capers, and butter for a perfect balance of flavors.

Scallopini is versatile, too. Serve it as the main course with pasta or mashed potatoes.

Or, use it as a filling for sandwiches or wraps.

It’s ideal for both casual and formal gatherings.

What is Piccata?

Piccata is an Italian dish renowned for its deliciousness.

It’s made with thin slices of chicken or veal which are sautéed to perfection.

And it’s served with a zesty lemon-butter sauce.

The tender meat and tangy sauce balance each other perfectly, tantalizing the taste buds.

The origins of piccata trace back to Italy.

It’s popular worldwide and has a unique preparation method.

The meat is floured to create a crunchy texture when cooked.

Then it’s quickly sautéed in olive oil until golden.

The signature lemon-butter sauce adds delightful citrus flavor and a silky texture.

Plus, capers give it a tangy, salty element. This is what makes piccata so special.

You can make piccata with chicken or veal. It’s great with pasta or steamed veggies.

It’s simple yet elegant, sure to impress even the pickiest of diners. So why not give it a go?

Differences Between Scallopini and Piccata

Scallopini and piccata may seem similar, but they have distinct differences.

They both come from Italian cuisine. However, their preparation and flavors set them apart.

Ingredients Used

When it comes to cooking, ingredients make a difference.

Scallopini and piccata have variations in ingredients.

Scallopini uses thinly sliced meat (chicken, veal).

It’s coated in flour and cooked in butter/oil.

Finished off with a sauce made from wine, lemon juice, and capers – adding a tangy, savory note.

Piccata also has thinly sliced meat.

Dredged in breadcrumbs/Parmesan cheese before sautéing.

The sauce is lemon juice, white wine, and butter, giving it a zesty, rich taste.

Piccata has one unique aspect – lemon slices cooked alongside the meat.

They add citrus flavor and a pleasing touch.

This sets piccata apart from scallopini.

Both use thinly sliced meat, same cooking techniques – but coatings and sauces are what make each dish unique.

Whether you prefer tangy capers or rich Parmesan, both offer flavors to satisfy your palate.

Cooking Method

Cooking can really change a dish. Scallopini and Piccata are two examples of this.

How? Their cooking methods.

Scallopini is a way of prepping meat or fish. Slice thinly, coat in flour, then sauté in butter or oil.

The result? Juicy meat with a golden brown crust.

Piccata follows a different method.

Pound the meat thin, dredge in flour, then quickly sauté in a pan with lemon juice, capers, and butter/olive oil.

This adds a tangy and refreshing flavor. Both require ingredients like flour and oil.

But their cooking methods make them unique.

Scallopini focuses on a crispy crust while keeping the inside moist.

Piccata emphasizes the lemony flavors.

Conclusion: although similar, Scallopini and Piccata differ in their cooking methods.

Whether you prefer crispiness or zestiness, they offer a delightful culinary experience.

Sauce and Flavor

Sauce and flavor are important to distinguish Scallopini from Piccata.

Both dishes use thinly sliced meat. But, the key difference lies in the sauce.

Scallopini often has a creamy sauce with mushrooms or wine.

Piccata has a tangy sauce made from lemon juice, capers, and butter.

The sauces give each dish its own flavor.

So, if you like velvety Scallopini or zesty Piccata, both will tantalize your taste buds.

Similarities Between Scallopini and Piccata

Scallopini and Piccata might seem similar.

Both dishes feature tender meat that’s pan-fried for a golden crust.

Plus, they often have a tangy sauce with lemon juice and capers.

But there are differences.

Scallopini usually has veal or chicken that’s pounded before cooking.

Piccata can use any type of meat, like fish.

Also, Scallopini has a creamy sauce with butter and cream.

Piccata has a lighter sauce from pan drippings, lemon juice and white wine.

Serving and Pairing Differences

Serving and pairing styles are key to understanding the difference between scallopinis and piccata.

Scallopinis are served with a creamy sauce, best paired with robust red wines or full-bodied Chardonnays.

Piccata, however, come with a zesty lemon sauce that pairs well with crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Presentation is also distinct between the two. Scallopinis are usually presented as individual portions.

Whereas piccata is plated as a whole piece of meat topped with the lemon sauce and garnished with capers or parsley.

These unique details separate scallopinis and piccata.

Knowing them helps you appreciate each dish for its own culinary merits.


After exploring the differences between scallopini and piccata, it’s clear that while they may look very similar, there are key elements that set these two Italian dishes apart.

Although both feature a thin cutlet of meat cooked in a lemon butter sauce, the difference lies in the type of meat used and sauce texture.

While piccata favors a more acidic flavor profile due to the lemon juice presence in the sauce, scallopini takes a more subtle approach as there is usually only a fraction of butter added to the dish prior to cooking.

So, no matter which one you end up ordering—whether it’s scallopini or piccata—you will be sure to enjoy an authentically delicious Italian meal at your next restaurant outing.

Scallopini vs Piccata: What's the Difference?

Scallopini vs Piccata: What's the Difference?
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Scallopini
  • Piccata


  1. Choose between Scallopini and Piccata based on your taste preference.
  2. Follow the cooking directions for your chosen option.
  3. Prepare the dish according to your desired recipe.
  4. Savor the unique flavors and enjoy your culinary creation.
  5. Experiment with both Scallopini and Piccata to explore different taste experiences.
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