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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 mashed potatoes.

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

What You’ll Need To Make Chicken Marsala

how to make chicken marsalaMarsala 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

how to make chicken marsalaIf 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.)

how to make chicken marsala

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

how to make chicken marsala

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

how to make chicken marsala

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

how to make chicken marsala

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.

how to make chicken marsala

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.

how to make chicken marsala

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.

how to make chicken marsala

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

how to make chicken marsala

Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.

how to make chicken marsala

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.

how to make chicken marsala

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).

how to make chicken marsala

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.

how to make chicken marsala

Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve.

how to make 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

  • I have been using Emeril’s chicken Marsala recipe for years and always thought it was good………this one was wonderful!
    I followed it to the letter but used a non-stick pan, and she was right, the chicken didn’t brown up as much as in her photos.
    Served it over long grain brown rice. Really better than any restaurant marsala I’ve ever had.

    • — JANA BALDWIN on February 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Best Marsala recipe I’ve tried. Everyone loved it. Also very easy to make. Thank you!

    • — Eliza on January 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this about six months ago and it was perfect. I followed the recipe exactly. I made it tonight and it just wasn’t right. I used chicken thighs instead of breasts. I used heavy whipping cream that I had frozen and thawed. I used the same bottle of marsala, which had been refrigerated. The sauce would not thicken. When I served it, it didn’t have much of a marsala flavor. Could the wine have gone “flat”? Could freezing the whipping cream have made a difference. I want to make it again, but not until I know what I did wrong, since it’s quite a bit of work.

    • — Wayne on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Wayne, sorry to hear this was a bit of a flop for you this time around! I suspect it had to do with the chicken thighs as they have a lot more fat than breasts and could make the sauce pretty greasy. And I’ve never frozen heavy cream. I googled it and it looks like it can be frozen, but I’m not sure if that may have impacted the sauce as well. Please LMK if I can help in any other way.

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Just wondering if sweet Marsala will work for this as well? For some reason I’m having trouble finding the dry, where I normally go they are out of stock.

    • — Tammy Zuber on January 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Tammy, Yes, sweet marsala will work here. You may find you need to add a squeeze of lemon before serving to balance the sweetness. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was a delicious dish. Very easy to make and the flavor was so good. I liked that it was not a thick sauce but adhered to the noodles nicely. I used one huge breast split in two of course and the amount of sauce was perfect. Used every drop. If making more than two pounded out pieces of chicken I would double the sauce because it is sooooo good:) Will def be making this again.

    • — M Moore on January 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Easy and delicious!

    • — L F Anthony on January 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I make this ahead of time and keep warm in oven until serving? I’m having friends for dinner and would like to make this and keep warm for about an hour before serving while we have pre-dinner drinks. If yes, what temperature should I set the oven for? This recipe looks delicious!

    • — Suzette Kern on January 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Suzette, I’m concerned that if you put it in the oven for an hour, it would dry out. Instead, I’d just cook it shortly before your guests arrive, leave it on the counter, covered, for the time that you’re having drinks, and reheat it briefly on the stove before serving. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2023
      • Reply
      • I made this exactly as the recipe called, except I doubled everything. I had to cook the chicken in3 batches so not to crowd it in the pan, but I put the sauce over all in the end ensuring the chicken was cooked through when I browned it. I refrigerated it covered overnight and put it in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes the next evening and it was perfect. Everyone raved about it and asked for the recipe. Chicken was super tender and the sauce was incredible.

        • — Michele on January 29, 2023
        • Reply
  • Amazing! Can’t wait to make it again!

    • — Colleen on January 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Beautiful recipe!
    Thank you for sharing. My daughter shared it with me and our whole family loves it.
    Wanted to share the picture but don’t see how to do that.

    • — CA Hines on January 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad the family enjoyed it! The blog isn’t set up to receive pictures, but feel free to send it to jennifer@onceuponachef.com. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2023
      • Reply
  • Thus is my favorite Chicken Marsala recipe. I make it all the time and it’s always a hit with family and friends.

    • — Randy Curtis on January 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Great recipe! I served it with orzo and added fresh spinach at the end with the chicken. Very nice sauce and tender chicken breast. Thanks

    • — Babs Leaphart on January 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wonderful recipe! Thank you for sharing.

    • — Rebecca on January 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • This Chicken Marsala turned out excellent! We don’t like the dryness of chicken breast, so we substituted thighs. Added more onion and garlic. Increased each of the three liquids by 1/3 cup and put it over buckwheat noodles. Served it with fresh asparagus. Best we have had in years!
    Thank You 🙂

    • — Bruce on January 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Just made this. Absolutely delicious!!! Easy to make.

    • — Joe Carnes on January 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Gorgeous recipe. I’ve never tenderised chicken breasts before. What a game changer! So much nicer.

    • — Helen on January 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wonderful!!! My entire family loved it. Will be making again!!!

    • — ChefPeanut on January 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve been making Chicken Marsala for years and loved my recipe. I came across your recipe and the reviews were so great, I had to give it a go. I heeded a few comments and increased sauce, I mean who doesn’t love sauce, but stuck to your ingredients exactly. The result was spot on amazing. I love your ratios on broth, Marsala and heavy cream. I used a cup of each and it did take a bit longer to thicken, but it was worth the wait. I just love when a recipe is so good there is absolutely no desire for conversation until plates are empty. I’m excited to try some of your other recipes. Thank you!

    • — Patti Connors, California on January 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe is outstanding. Sometimes I put the chicken in while the sauce darkens and it turns out just as good (discovered by making the mistake and then re-looking at the recipe). If you put the chicken in before the sauce darkens, don’t fret, it’ll come out just as good. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • — Brian Kennedy on January 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Excellent “foolproof” recipe! I doubled everything to serve 8 and used chicken tenderloins, pre-sliced mushrooms, and a dry marsala I found in a wine shop while visiting my in-laws over the holidays. Delicious over pasta and I will use the rest of the bottle to make again for my next dinner party. (Also, my husband loves veal marsala, so that’s another possibility.)

    • — Jennifer on January 1, 2023
    • Reply

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