20 Minute Chicken with Tomato Caper Sauce

By Lilian Dikmans

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If you need a quick and healthy lunch or dinner, this Chicken with Tomato Caper Sauce is made in one pan and ready in 20 minutes. I like to eat it with crusty bread to soak up the sauce. It’s also great served with rice, quinoa, or even just a green salad if you want to keep things low carb.

You can use any sort of skinless chicken in the recipe. I used tenderloins here, but it also works with skinless chicken breast or skinless chicken thighs.

If using large chicken breasts, I would slice them in half to make sure they cook through in the 20 minute timeframe.

Cooking chicken and shallots for 20 Minute Chicken with Tomato Caper Sauce
Adding the shallots and garlic to the pan

To flavour the tomato sauce, capers provide a savoury saltiness. I also love to add dried thyme leaves. But feel free to get creative with other dried herbs.

Fresh parsley sprinkled over the top before serving adds a hit of freshness and fragrance. Fresh basil is also delicious.

Ingredients for 20 Minute Chicken with Tomato Caper Sauce

Free-range chicken: I used chicken tenderloins here, but boneless and skinless chicken breast or thigh would also work. If using large chicken breasts, I would slice them in half to ensure they cook through in 20 minutes. For another quick chicken dish, you might like my One Pan Chicken & Cauliflower Hash.

Banana shallot: Also called echalions, banana shallots are a cross between a shallot and an onion. They are larger than shallots and have a sweet, subtle flavour. You could use a small brown, white or red onion instead.

Garlic: Always great in a tomato-based sauce. You can use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder if you don’t have any fresh garlic.

20 Minute Chicken with Tomato Caper Sauce
Dried thyme, capers and tomato paste about to be stirred into the sauce

Butter: I use butter and a dash of olive oil to brown the chicken. Butter also adds richness to the tomato sauce. If you want to keep the recipe dairy-free, you can use extra olive oil instead.

Extra virgin olive oil: Just a dash is used along with the butter to brown the chicken and stop the butter from burning.

Canned tomatoes: I usually buy cans of peeled whole tomatoes, rather than chopped or crushed ones. I read a tip once that better quality tomatoes go into tinned whole tomatoes. Not sure if that is true, but if using tinned whole tomatoes I just chop them up with kitchen scissors in the can before adding them to the recipe.

Apple cider vinegar: Vinegar adds some life to the tomato sauce. I use apple cider vinegar because that’s what I have at home. But red or white wine vinegar would also work.

Capers: I love the savoury, salty hit that you get from capers. If you don’t like them, you could leave them out and perhaps taste the sauce before serving and season with a little extra sea salt if needed.

Dried thyme: Thyme has a subtle flavour that I like in this recipe. Dried oregano would also be nice.

20 Minute Chicken with Tomato Caper Sauce
Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving

Tomato paste: Adds richness and depth of flavour to the tomato sauce. This is particularly helpful since we aren’t cooking the sauce for very long, which is usually how you get the flavours to develop. I buy it in small sachets. If you don’t have any you can leave it out.

Sea salt and black pepper: Used to season the chicken. Always essential!

Fresh parsley: I love a generous sprinkling of fresh parsley on this dish before serving. Fresh basil also works well.


Prep time
2 mins

Cook time
18 mins


  • 1 banana shallot (or small onion)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 teaspoons (14g) butter
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g free-range chicken tenderloins or breast, boneless and skinless
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 x 400ml can tomatoes
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup (20g) drained and rinsed capers
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons (25g) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • Fresh parsley, to serve


  • 1
    Get all of the ingredients out so they’re ready to go, since we’re cooking quickly. Peel and finely slice the shallot (or onion) and garlic.
  • 2
    Heat the butter and olive oil over a high heat in a fry pan. Add the chicken to the pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Fry the chicken until browned, turning it regularly, for about 5 minutes.
  • 3
    Add the sliced shallot and garlic and let it cook around the chicken for about 2 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar, capers, thyme, tomato paste and water and stir everything together until well combined.
  • 4
    Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down slightly and let it simmer for another 9-10 minutes. The sauce should reduce a bit and the chicken should be cooked through.
  • 5
    Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and some crusty bread to soak up the sauce.


Once cooled, leftovers can be stored in the fridge for the next day. Reheat in a fry pan on the stove or in the microwave.


Serving size: 1 serve made with skinless chicken tenderloin or breast
Energy: 1251kJ (299Cal)
Protein: 34.1g
Total Fat: 9.4g
Saturated Fat: 4.1g
Total Carbohydrate: 21g
Sugars: 1.7g
Dietary Fibre: 4.7g
Sodium: 1293mg
Potassium: 777mg

Nutrition information is an estimate only. It may vary depending on the brand of ingredients used.

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