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

  • A perfect recipe! Made it last night, used chicken cutlets, and it’s restaurant-level home cooking. Easy to make and comes together so quickly!

    • — Margie Dana on March 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe was a true winner! My whole family loved it. I made it a few weeks ago and wanted to make again today. I couldn’t find my printed recipe and didn’t know what site I had found it on. So, I made another, and it was just not the same! So I just scoured the scores of Chicken marsala recipes on the website until…..viola…. I found it! I think it is the heavy cream that adds so much to this dish! Not going to lose it again!

    • — Sandy Pruitt on March 15, 2023
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  • I made this tonight it was fantastic and I wasn’t sure it would work. I had only non fat half and half. But it was great! I might not use heavy cream again that’s how much everyone enjoyed it. Thank you.

    • — Ann on March 14, 2023
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  • Thanks for an amazing recipe. Followed the cooking times in the process. Only switch was a splash of sweet Marsala with the dry marsala 2/3 cup and 1/2 cup of half and half in place of cream. Such a delicious recipe!! Delicious !!

    • — Kristine Ehlen on March 10, 2023
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  • So delicious and simple to prepare but next time will make more chicken to get all the delicious sauce soaked up😋

    • — Jessica J on March 8, 2023
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  • This is an excellent recipe. Plenty of flavor and delicious paired with mashed potatoes!

    • — Dave on March 6, 2023
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    • Made yellow spanish rice for mine, and it was absolutely a wonderful side dish that soaked up that delicious sauce!

      • — Chef Will on March 12, 2023
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  • Fantastic! As good as I’ve had in any restaurant.

    • — David Williams on March 4, 2023
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  • I followed the recipe to a T, including using a stainless steel pan, and it turned out PERFECTLY. Everyone thought it was so delicious, myself included! Thank you for creating a recipe I’ll come back to whenever I really want to impress someone. Your recipes are always spot-on 🙂

    • — Kait on March 4, 2023
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    • I used Lodge cast iron skillet, and that added an awesome and crispy browned sides to my chicken breasts!

      • — Chef Will on March 12, 2023
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  • Gluten free flour works great! Took a few pictures would have uploaded them if this website allowed it! Savory and delicious with grape juice as a substitute for marsala wine!

    • — William Parr on March 3, 2023
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  • Amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe

    • — Virginia on March 3, 2023
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  • Jenn, is the Santini Marsala that you show in the picture dry or sweet? Do you prefer one over the other.

    • — Sue Giaccone on March 2, 2023
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    • Hi Sue, it’s dry and I prefer dry for the recipe. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 2, 2023
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  • Can I use port as a substitute?

    • — Trish Fitzpatrick on February 28, 2023
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    • Hi Trish, I haven’t tried it with port, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2023
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  • Great flavor, love this recipe!

    • — Jen on February 21, 2023
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  • I haven’t made the dish yet but wondering if I could use almond flour for coating the chicken if I have some gluten-free guests?

    • — Sherrie on February 21, 2023
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    • Sure, Sherrie, that should be fine. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2023
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  • I made this for company last night. Prepped the mushrooms, garlic, onions (I used red onions instead of shallots) in advance. Floured the chicken and refrigerated it for about 3 hours. The meal was absolutely fantastic! Beyond delicious. Amazing. Everyone loved it.

    • — JDS on February 19, 2023
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  • Absolutely amazing recipe! Definitely 5-stars! For this recipe, I added about 8 oz. of fettuccine pasta, doubled the recipe of the sauce (salt and pepper, thyme, heavy cream, chicken broth, any additional juices and brown bits from the cooked chicken, and Marsala wine), and added parmesan cheese on top of the chicken marsala along with the fresh parsley right before eating. Absolutely delicious!

    • — Jeremy Williams on February 18, 2023
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  • I made this tonight. Despite the challenge of an unfamiliar pan, it was great
    I lessened the amount of Marsala and cream and salt, but full amount of the rest. I needed to add salt at the end
    Delicious! Served with white rice cooked in broth and fresh green beans

    • — Debbie on February 17, 2023
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  • One of the best chicken Marsalas I’ve ever had. I like a little more sauce, so I just had one cup of each of all the liquids and it was so good!!!!! Hats off to the chef

    • — J L on February 16, 2023
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  • I have made this a couple of times and it has always been amazing. Now to put on the Kevlar vest for my mistake. I was in a rush at the store and grabbed the first bottle of Marsala I saw and it was sweet not dry. My kids liked it better with the sweet Marsala and I have to say, I thought it was just as good as dry to me. … thank you for the recipe Jenn

    • — Dave on February 14, 2023
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  • This is just DREAMY!!! You will feel like you are being spoiled!!
    The ONLY changes I made… I used dried, ground thyme, a pinch at a time, because I normally don’t like thyme. I ended up using 1/3 to 1/2 a tsp. total….
    I also dried parsley, to taste…
    I added the chicken back into the sauce earlier than it says you should, because it wasn’t cook quite throug, and the sauce can only benefit from the chicken juices cooking into it.

    • — Susan Hepp on February 14, 2023
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  • This is a wonderfully tasty recipe. I lightened it up a little by starting with more olive oil and less butter.
    I also thickened it with flour instead of cream.

    • — Diane on February 12, 2023
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  • Another brilliant recipe from Jenn! We loved it!

    • — Laura J Ahlberg on February 12, 2023
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  • Hello Jenn. I’ve tried several different recipes for this, but you beat them all. I think the quantity of Marsala wine you ask to put in as ingredients makes all the difference. Unless you have some kind of health issue, I would not deviate that ingredient. Sometimes I add more mushrooms as I find the earthy taste of them is very appealing. Thanks for this one, it certainly has been saved to my favorites folder.

    • — Lyse on February 11, 2023
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  • I love this dish and have made many times, because it’s delicious! This time I changed it up a bit…used boneless pork chops and beef broth instead of chicken, still amazing!

    • — Sharon T on February 11, 2023
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  • Hi Jennifer! I’m visiting my son in college and want to make this for dinner. However, he only has a Lodge Dutch oven; do you think that could work for this recipe? Thank you!

    • — JennyG on February 11, 2023
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    • Yes I do think you can make it work – you may just need to cook the chicken in batches depending on how large the Dutch oven is. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 11, 2023
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  • Thank you Jenn for this recipe. I made this tonight for my family and it was outstanding. Definitely the restaurant quality dish I had been hoping for.

    • — Deanna King on February 10, 2023
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  • Absolutely delicious! Keeping in mind that I do not like mushrooms. We devoured it. We served it over bow tie pasta. Next time I will double the sauce.

    • — Tina on February 10, 2023
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  • Turned out great . Omitted thyme ( forgot ) and used half and half . My sauce came out lighter then yours . Didnt darken up too much . How come ?

    • — Asra on February 6, 2023
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    • Hi Asra, Did you happen to double the recipe? If you did, the sauce would’ve been lighter as you had fewer pan drippings to contribute to the darker color of the sauce.

      • — Jenn on February 6, 2023
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  • I made this and it was a huge hit with my family!! Super great recipe!!! Thank you!! ❤️

    • — Michelle Hopkins on February 5, 2023
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    • I also served over rice with a side salad!

      • — Michelle Hopkins on February 5, 2023
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      • Absolutely delicious!!!! Cannot wait to make this again!!!!

        • — Veronica A on February 8, 2023
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  • I am a vegetarian but am surrounded by meat eaters. I needed a dish I could not mess up for date night with some friends. Following recipes to a T is a must because I cannot test them. The first thing they said when they arrived was how good it smelled. I did have to cook the chicken longer than the recipes stated to get the browning and was concerned that it would come out dry, but it was fork tender. I paired it with the green beans and parm mashers. Great choice. Thanks for the recipe, it was a hit!

    • — Cassie Benson on February 4, 2023
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  • This was fantastic! I used Turkey cutlets from Trader Joe’s. I made this last night and I am literally thinking about making it again for breakfast this morning. Thank you for this recipe which I will use for years to come.

    • — Davey on February 4, 2023
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  • 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
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    • How can I keep this warm after making it for 50 people. I’ll make it late afternoon and serve it around 7:00.

      • — Jerannine on May 16, 2023
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      • Hi Jerannine, I wouldn’t try to keep it warm for more than 30 minutes or so as I’m concerned it would dry out. For that much chicken/sauce, I’d suggest putting it in a large, disposable aluminum baking pan and covering it tightly with foil. Prior to serving, put it in a 300° oven until warmed through. Hope everyone enjoys!

        • — Jenn on May 19, 2023
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  • Best Marsala recipe I’ve tried. Everyone loved it. Also very easy to make. Thank you!

    • — Eliza on January 30, 2023
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  • 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
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    • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • Easy and delicious!

    • — L F Anthony on January 26, 2023
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  • 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
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      • 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
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      • It does not dry out, but you must use a warming temperature, no higher than 180 Farenheit.

        • — Lyse on February 11, 2023
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  • Amazing! Can’t wait to make it again!

    • — Colleen on January 24, 2023
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  • 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
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    • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • Wonderful recipe! Thank you for sharing.

    • — Rebecca on January 14, 2023
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  • 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
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  • Gorgeous recipe. I’ve never tenderised chicken breasts before. What a game changer! So much nicer.

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

    • — ChefPeanut on January 9, 2023
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  • 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
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  • 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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