How to Cook with Capers

If capers aren’t already your secret weapon in the kitchen, they should be. If you know how to cook with capers, these tiny green buds will add a bright pop of briny flavor to whatever you’re making. Think of them like a shortcut to flavor. These are some of the recipes that made us fall in love with capers. 

What are capers?

Capers are small, unopened flower buds. They’re harvested from the caper bush, or Flinder’s rose, a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean. After harvesting, the bud is pickled and kept in either salt or a salt-vinegar mixture. During this process, the capers release mustard oil, giving them a distinct, savory flavor.

What do capers taste like? 

Capers have a lot of the same brine and saltiness that you’d expect from an olive, but with brighter lemony and floral flavors. They are, after all, a flower bud.

How do you use capers?

Capers can be eaten raw, but they’re most often incorporated into sauces or used as a flavorful topping for proteins. 

Recipes with capers

This simple chicken dish gets a boost from a zesty a topping made with briny capers and garlic.

Piccata is a traditional Italian dish prepared with capers. This seared chicken dish is inspired by the classic and topped with a piccata-style sauce made from garlic, lemon juice, capers, and butter.

Capers are the perfect complement to bright, acidic tomatoes in this flavorful appetizer.

In this vibrant pasta dish, we’re bringing together seared chicken and sweet peppers with a rich, creamy sauce, which gets deliciously varied flavors and textures from Calabrian chile paste, roasted red peppers, and briny capers.

Capers cooked in brown butter add a pop of flavor to this satisfying vegetarian dish made with roasted cauliflower, kale, and breadcrumbs.