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This delicious lemon caper sauce takes your meal to the next level! Great for salmon, shrimp, chicken, pasta: you name it.

Lemon caper sauce
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Want to take your dinner to the next level? Try this Lemon Caper Sauce! This magical meld is so full of savory, salty, buttery goodness, you’ll want to swim in it. Drape it over a piece of grilled or baked fish or chicken, and you won’t want each bite to end. It’s full of big Mediterranean flair and it takes just a few minutes to whip up. And it’s not too terrible for you, either. This is our favorite trick for making dinner taste fancy restaurant quality meal in minutes.

Ingredients in lemon caper sauce

This lemon caper sauce has a very short ingredient list and takes just a few minutes to put together. In fact, reading about it might take longer than the steps to make it! Here’s what you’ll need for this simple caper butter sauce:

  • Jarred capers (see below)
  • Salted butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Salt
Lemon caper sauce

What are capers, exactly?

Trust us: capers are some sort of kitchen magic. They bring the best salty and savory flavor to foods, and they’re especially great for vegetarian and vegan dishes because they taste meaty. What are they, exactly?

Capers are a berry of the caper bush that’s native to the Mediterranean. They’re round and dark green gray, about the size of a peppercorn. You’ll find them in Italian and Mediterranean recipes. Capers taste tangy, briny and salty, and add an incredible amount of flavor to any dish.

Where to find capers in the grocery

Capers are served pickled, so they’re always sold in a jar. It’s a long and thin jar, and after you buy it once, you’ll recognize it instantly. Find capers for this lemon caper sauce in the condiments near the olives at the grocery store. Or check in the international aisle near the Italian products. Other recipes that use capers? Try this Roasted Eggplant Pasta or Eggplant Caponata.


How to make lemon caper sauce: some tips

This lemon caper sauce is so simple, it’s just a matter of melting butter and cooking for 3 minutes. Here are a few quick tips on the method:

  • Use salted butter. It has a noticeably more robust flavor than unsalted.
  • Add a whole garlic clove, then remove it. This butter sauce is infused with garlic instead of sauteed with it. All you do is add a garlic clove and then discard after cooking: no mincing necessary!
  • Use lemon juice and zest. Using the zest gives it a depth that’s not there with just juice. We like to use a microplane for zesting: it makes quick work of it.

Want more with lemon? Try these 15 Zesty Lemon Recipes.

How to make lemon caper sauce

5 ways to serve lemon caper sauce

Here’s the fun part: how to serve this sauce! This one works in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to start. But our favorite way is as a sauce for salmon…so let’s start there! Here are our top ways to serve lemon caper sauce:

This lemon caper sauce recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Lemon caper sauce

Easy Lemon Caper Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: ⅓ cup (enough for 1 pound fish or meat) 1x
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This delicious lemon caper sauce takes your meal to the next level! Great for salmon, shrimp, chicken, pasta: you name it.


  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons jarred capers, drained
  • 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 pinch kosher salt


  1.  Melt the butter in a saucepan or skillet over low heat.
  2. Once melted, add the capers and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and remove garlic clove. Stir in the lemon juice, zest and kosher salt. Serve immediately over salmon, white fish, shrimp or chicken.



  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegetarian

More recipes with capers

Got a jar of capers to use up? Here are some of our favorite ways to use them:

  • French Potato Salad or Dill Potato Salad Capers add intensely savory flavor to potato salad! Pair them with zingy red potatoes and fresh herbs.
  • Roasted Eggplant Pasta Meatless pasta is another great place for capers to shine! This eggplant pasta is flavor-packed with roasted eggplant & zesty marinara sauce.
  • Paprika Goat Cheese Spread Capers add great flavor to dips. This goat cheese spread takes happy hour to the next level in 5 minutes!
  • Italian Vegan Pasta Salad Capers round out the Italian flair in this pasta salad, helping to add cheesy flavor without the dairy.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Sue says:

    I’m not a cook and yes, I screwed this recipe up (doubled the capers) and it was still amazing on my air fryer cooked salmon! I could eat this daily’s….yum!

  2. Michele Murphy says:

    This Lemon Caper sauce was SO simple and delicious. The closest we’ve ever found to our favourite beach cafe in Honolulu