Chicken Marsala

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Chicken Marsala is an Italian-American dish of golden pan-fried chicken cutlets and mushrooms in a rich Marsala wine sauce.

how to make chicken marsala

Chicken Marsala is an Italian-American dish of golden pan-fried chicken cutlets and mushrooms in a rich Marsala wine sauce. It’s the most popular chicken recipe on this website, and though it’s a classic restaurant dish, it’s really easy to make at home. With just one pan, you can have it on the dinner table in 45 minutes. The recipe makes a lovely sauce that is delicious over pasta, polenta, rice, or Parmesan smashed potatoes.

If your family loves Italian food like mine does, once you master chicken Marsala, try your hand at other Italian restaurant favorites, such as chicken cacciatore, pasta e fagioli, eggplant parmesan, penne alla vodka, and lasagna.

What You’ll Need To Make Chicken Marsala

Marsala ingredients including mushrooms, heavy cream, and chicken broth.Marsala is a brandy-fortified wine from Sicily that is 100% worth adding to your pantry, if only to make this dish time and again. It will keep in a cool, dry spot for months.

I buy boneless skinless chicken breasts and pound them thin myself, as opposed to using the ultra-thin sliced cutlets sold at the supermarket, since pounding tenderizes the meat. This adds an extra step but you can save time by using pre-sliced mushrooms. (Or you can skip all this hassle by using chicken tenderloins.)

How To Make Chicken Marsala

Person slicing a chicken breast with a large knife.If your chicken breasts are large, like the ones in the photo above, it’s best to first cut them in half horizontally. (If you pound them without first halving them, they’ll be ginormous and oddly shaped.)

Sliced chicken breast on a cutting board.

Once you’ve got four flat filets,  pound them each to an even 1/4-inch thickness.

Person pounding a chicken breast with a meat mallet.

Place the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a ziplock bag.

Seasonings in a bag.

Add the chicken to the bag; seal the bag tightly and shake to coat chicken evenly. Set aside.

Seasoned chicken in a bag.

Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (Use a stainless steel pan for the best browning. Nonstick will work too, but you won’t get that nice golden color on the chicken.) Place the flour-dusted chicken in the pan, shaking off any excess first.

Seasoned chicken in a skillet.

Cook, turning once, until the chicken is golden and just barely cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Partially-cooked chicken in a skillet.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Mushrooms in a skillet.

Add the shallots, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Cooked mushrooms with other ingredients in a skillet.

Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.

Skillet of cooked mushrooms.

Add the broth, wine, heavy cream, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper; use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the pan into the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.

Cream with mushrooms in a skillet.

Gently boil, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by about half, slightly thickened, and darkened in color, 10 to 15 minutes (you’re going for a thin cream sauce; it won’t start to thicken until the very end of the cooking time).

Skillet of creamy mushrooms.

Add the chicken back to the pan, along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce thickens a bit more, 2 to 3 minutes.

Skillet of chicken marsala.

Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve.

Plate of chicken marsala.

Video Tutorial

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Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is an Italian-American dish of golden pan-fried chicken cutlets and mushrooms in a rich Marsala wine sauce.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded ¼-inch thick (see note), or chicken tenderloins
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 (8-oz) package pre-sliced bella or button mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots, from 1 medium shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅔ cup chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup dry Marsala wine
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the flour, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a ziplock bag. Add the chicken to the bag; seal bag tightly and shake to coat chicken evenly. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (Use a stainless steel pan for the best browning. Nonstick will work too, but you won’t get that nice golden color on the chicken.) Place the flour-dusted chicken in the pan, shaking off any excess first, and cook, turning once, until the chicken is golden and just barely cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  3. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon of salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the broth, Marsala, heavy cream, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper; use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the pan into the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by about half, slightly thickened, and darkened in color, 10 to 15 minutes (you’re going for a thin cream sauce; it won’t start to thicken until the very end of the cooking time). Add the chicken back to the pan, along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce thickens a bit more, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve.
  4. Note: If your chicken breasts are large (like the ones in the photos that are about ¾ lb. each), it’s best to first cut them horizontally to form four flat fillets, then pound them to an even ¼-inch thickness. If you pound large chicken breasts without first halving them, they’ll be huge. Of course, you could also pound them thin first and then cut them in half vertically; the only drawback is that they’ll lose their natural shape (which, admittedly, is not a big deal!).

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Calories: 537
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated fat: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 43 g
  • Sodium: 877 mg
  • Cholesterol: 203 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • This was amazing and even better the next day. We served it over linguini and added a little red pepper flakes to give it a little bite. Fresh herbs make all the difference as well. We did add a little extra oils when we pan seared the chicken. This is a definite redo and made our favorites bookmark.

    • — Kirsten Paxson on June 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • My family said that this was a restaurant quality dish. I loved the flavor of the sauce. We love chicken Marsala but this version was hands down the best that we have tried!

    • — Rebecca on June 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • I was short of time and needed a nice Italian dinner for the family- this was easy, and there were no left overs! Scrumptious! ( I butterflied the chicken breasts, and skipped the pounding, it still came out well with the cook times) “Keeper recipe A+”

    • — Teresa on June 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this for my wife a couple of weeks ago. I’m back to save the recipe and make it again. We both thought it was fabulous. My wife said it was probably the best chicken marsala she’d ever had.

    • — Joe on June 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Can I use sweet Marsala
    Will it make. Difference

    You recipes are Always s great.thank you for sharing

    • — Momofthree on June 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! 😊
      Sweet marsala will work here, but you may find you need to add a squeeze of lemon before serving to balance the sweetness. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 4, 2024
      • Reply
    • I made this tonight used the sweet Marsala and my family loved it. Thank you for an excellent recipe and the advise!

      • — Momofthree on June 6, 2024
      • Reply
  • Is there anything I can substitute for the Marsala wine. Live in a small town and cannot find it anywhere. Want to make it for dinner tonight but I’ll have to wait to hear the reply.

    • — Joan on June 1, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Joan, I’m obviously weighing in too late to help, but for future reference, you can use white wine here – it won’t be chicken Marsala but it should still be delicious.

      • — Jenn on June 3, 2024
      • Reply
  • This recipe tastes okay, but it really should be called Chicken Marsala Soup. I boiled down the sauce for 25 minutes and it was still very very thin. It NEVER thickened up at all. I may try it again using half of the recommended 2/3 cup of broth, Marsala wine, and heavy cream. That might make it better.

    • — Heather MacKenzie on May 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • This recipe was exceptionally delicious…as well as easy. My family loved it, as did I. I made the stringbeans and mashed potato recipes that were suggested with the recipe. All were excellent!

    • — Lynn Q. on May 24, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was by far the most delicious chicken marsala I’ve ever had. Better than any of my local Italian restaurants! I made it last night for dinner and I’ve been dreaming about it all day. I may have to remake it this weekend 10 out of 10 stars! Love all of your recipes! Keep up the great work.

    • — Jodi on May 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was outstanding! Restaurant quality and incredibly simple to make. No changes except I only had marsala sauce and not the wine. Can’t imagine it being better but look forward to trying it with the “real thing!”

    • — Kayla on May 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this for dinner last night and it turned out perfect! Grandkids loved it too. I had lost a previous recipe so I was looking for another and I’m so glad I did. I made it just as the recipe instructed, and would not change a thing. The sauce was wonderful and chicken was just the right, very juicy. I used a good quality Marsala, not from the grocery store shelf but purchased from a wine store. I did warm the cream before adding it to the mushroom mixture. It took a bit for it to thicken and brown and turned out just right. I wouldn’t change a thing.
    Thank you, Jenn!

    • — Peggy on April 19, 2024
    • Reply

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