Lemon Caper Sauce (for Salmon, Chicken & More!!)

This easy 6-ingredient lemon caper sauce has a delicious dimension of flavors and a velvety richness, making it the perfect match for fish, shrimp, chicken, and more! Ready in just 5 minutes, it’s a simple go-to sauce that always upgrades your weeknight dinner.

Looking for more easy sauces to give your dinner a boost? Try my Red Wine Sauce, Seafood Boil Sauce, Remoulade Sauce, and Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce recipes as well.

Lemon butter sauce being spooned on salmon.

There are endless sauces you can serve with fish, shrimp, scallops, and chicken, but few rival this simple Lemon Caper Sauce. It takes your dishes to entirely new levels of flavor and sophistication without needing any complicated ingredients or techniques! 

With just 6 basic ingredients and a few effortless steps, you can whip up this delectable sauce in no time. The result? A  luxuriously smooth and creamy lemon butter caper sauce with a bold, buttery richness, briny depth, and a delightful citrusy zing.


There are two shining stars in this recipe: butter and capers. This duo, along with a handful of other simple ingredients, make up this easy, yet elegant sauce. This is everything you need:

  • Unsalted butter – Once melted, the butter gives the sauce a satiny smooth texture and rich, creamy flavor. Capers are already salty, so using unsalted butter here is best. 
  • Capers – You should be familiar with capers if you’re as big of a fan of chicken piccata as I am. They’re a pungent, tart, and briny relative to olives, and give this sauce its signature zing.
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice – The bright and tangy acidity cuts through the richness to elevate every taste. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice here, not the bottled stuff. 
  • Fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt

How to make lemon butter sauce

Start by melting the butter in a small skillet over low heat. Once melted, add the capers and garlic and cook until fragrant.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add in the lemon juice and parsley. Taste and season with salt as needed. That’s it!

Tips and tricks

  • This recipe moves quickly, so it’s best if you have all of the ingredients prepped, measured, and ready to go before getting started. 
  • Butter-based sauces should be smooth and creamy, not browned. Be patient and melt the butter over low heat to prevent it from overcooking.
  • If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it out by stirring in a splash of chicken broth or dry white wine. Remember to give it a taste before serving to ensure the flavors are still balanced.
  • And if it’s too thin, whisk in a few tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water to help it thicken. Start with a little, then add more as needed.
  • Taste it as you go! It’s the best way to maintain balance and gives you full control over the flavors. Try adding more lemon for tanginess, butter for richness, and capers for saltiness.


You can make this lemon caper sauce recipe your own with a little creativity. Here are some ideas:

  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon zest to intensify the citrusy aroma and tang. 
  • Besides parsley, fresh chives, dill, and tarragon complement this sauce perfectly. 
  • Add a few extra minced garlic cloves, plus shallots for extra depth of flavor.
  • Add a splash of dry white wine to elevate the flavor with a subtle hint of sweetness and acidity. 
Bowl of lemon caper sauce being stirred.

Serving suggestions

The sky’s the limit when it comes to ways to use lemon caper sauce! It’s perfect tossed with hot cooked pasta, drizzled over steamed or roasted veggies, like artichokes, asparagus, and broccoli, or paired with any of these simple proteins: 


The leftover butter sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. It also freezes well for 2 to 3 months.

Let the frozen sauce thaw overnight in the fridge, then gently reheat it in a saucepan on the stove over low heat before serving.


Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the sauce 1 to 2 days ahead of serving. Gently reheat it on the stove when it’s time to eat, whisking it well to help it re-emulsify.

Why did my sauce separate?

This typically happens if the sauce is heated over high heat or is left on the heat for too long. To fix a separated or broken sauce, remove it from the heat immediately and whisk it vigorously to re-emulsify the ingredients. 

Why does my sauce taste sour?

This can happen if you add too much lemon juice or use overly tart lemons. To balance the flavors, add a teaspoon of honey or a pinch of sugar.

Lemon caper sauce in skillet with spoon.

More sauces for fish and chicken

​​​​Did you make this lemon butter sauce with capers?

If you loved this lemon caper sauce, I would appreciate it so much if you would leave a ⭐️star review⭐️! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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Lemon caper sauce on spoon over small bowl.

Lemon Caper Sauce

This easy 6-ingredient lemon caper sauce has a delicious dimension of flavors and a velvety richness, making it the perfect match for fish, shrimp, chicken, and more! Ready in just 5 minutes, it’s a simple go-to sauce that always upgrades your weeknight dinner.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons jarred capers (drained)
  • 1 clove garlic (grated or minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley (minced)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)


  • In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat.
  • Once melted, add the capers and garlic. Bring to a simmer, and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and parsley. Season to taste with kosher salt.
  • Enjoy over fish, shrimp or chicken.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Small Skillet


Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 440IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.2mg

2 thoughts on “Lemon Caper Sauce (for Salmon, Chicken & More!!)”

  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious. I used dill because I had a bunch to use up. Also did put a little corn starch in for a thicker sauce and we liked it. This elevated our baked salmon which is already yummy to what we call “bistro” which is when we make something that feels like we’re eating out!


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