This chicken marsala recipe is an Italian-American classic that features pan-fried chicken cutlets simmered in a creamy mushroom sauce. It’s an elegant 20-minute dinner recipe.
Looking for a restaurant-style chicken dinner at home? You need to try this chicken marsala recipe.
It elevates the humble chicken breast into something quite exquisite. It cooks in minutes and is so delicious!
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Why this recipe works
This dish may look incredibly fancy, but honestly, it’s so simple to whip up!
- Incredible texture and flavor. You get the chicken’s juiciness, the sauce’s creaminess, and mouthfuls of tender mushrooms. It’s savory and rich, and you get a slight nuttiness from the Marsala wine.
- Ready in under 20 minutes. Despite its rich flavor, this dish takes no time to cook. And while the sauce cooks, you have the time to cook the side dish and make a quick dessert to end the evening.
- Perfect for special occasions. This is the kind of dinner that works as a weeknight meal or something fancier on the weekend!
What is chicken marsala?
Chicken marsala is a dish of Sicilian origin now considered Italian-American due to its wide popularity in the US. This dish consists of pan-fried chicken pieces cooked with mushrooms in a Marsala wine sauce.
This marsala chicken is so easy, and besides some cream and seasonings, there isn’t much else needed to make. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken breasts. Skinless and boneless.
- Marsala wine. Dry Marsala is the best choice for cooking. It gives this dish a rich, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor.
Marsala wine options
Like any good wine, there are a few options to choose from. For cooking, opt for a semi-sweet or dry marsala wine. Anything sweeter and this dish will be a little too overpowering.
- Shallots. Due to their delicate flavor, shallots work much better for this recipe than onions.
- Mushroom. I love using brown mushrooms for this recipe as they have a rich, savory flavor and hold their shape well. Other types of mushrooms you can use are porcini and button mushrooms.
- Heavy cream. For a rich, creamy sauce.
- Chicken broth. I prefer using a good quality store-bought one out of convenience, but if you have time, feel free to make it from scratch.
- Flour. Coating the chicken in a tiny bit of flour before pan-frying is a surefire way to trap the juices inside, yielding extra JUICY meat.
- Butter and oil. A combination of butter and oil is best when working with chicken. It not only ensures it doesn’t overcook, but it also gives the pan juices extra flavor.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Parsley. Fresh chopped parsley for garnish.
How to make chicken marsala
Creamy chicken marsala is so easy: just remember to pat dry any moisture from the chicken before seasoning them.
Prep the chicken breasts: Pound the chicken until they are evenly thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge them in all-purpose flour and shake off the excess.
Cook the chicken: Heat oil and butter over medium heat and brown the chicken pieces on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
Sauté the shallots and mushrooms: Add the remaining butter to the pan and sauté the shallots until translucent. Then add the sliced mushrooms and cook until caramelized.
Cook the Marsala sauce: Add the Marsala wine and cook until it reduces by half. Add the chicken broth and the heavy cream and cook for 5 minutes.
Assemble: Bring back the browned chicken and cook for 5 minutes to marry all flavors. Give the sauce a taste, and add salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Make it alcohol-free: While Marsala is a must-ingredient for this dish, substitute it with the same amount of chicken stock if you don’t want to use wine or alcohol.
- Slowly add the cream: To prevent the cream from curdling and becoming grainy, add it to the wine only when it has been reduced by half.
- Shake off the flour: Don’t forget to shake off the excess flour from the chicken breast. Otherwise, the sauce will turn out to be too thick.
- Cook the mushrooms slowly: Be patient when cooking the mushrooms. Wait until all the liquid in the mushrooms cooks off and they get nicely caramelized.
What to serve with this dish
Because of the creamy marsala sauce, serve this chicken over pasta or fragrant rice (coconut rice works well) to soak everything up nicely.
You can never go wrong with a slice of crusty sourdough, garlic bread, or fresh dinner rolls (always served hot!).
To store. Place leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to four days.
To freeze. Place the cooked and cooled chicken and sauce in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Reheating. Reheat this chicken on the stove over medium heat. Add a splash of heavy cream or broth if needed.
More restaurant-style chicken dinners
Frequently asked questions
While chicken breasts are preferred, I have successfully made it with boneless and skinless chicken thighs and chicken cutlets. Bone-in chicken will not hold the sauce as well, and chicken tenders are small, so they cook too quickly.
Any semi-sweet or dry marsala works. Some popular brands include Colombo marsala dry and Florio dry marsala.
If you notice your sauce is on the thinner side, continue simmering for several minutes. This will be ample time for it to reduce further and thicken. If it has lost a little bit of creaminess, add a splash of cream once the chicken is added back to the pan.
- Slice chicken breasts in half into four cutlets and pound them lightly to get them even thickness.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Place flour on a plate and dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off any excess.
- Heat oil and 2 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Cook the chicken cutlets until deeply browned on both sides, 3 minutes per side. Set chicken aside once finished.
- Heat the remaining butter in the pan and saute the shallots until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add marsala wine and cook until the liquid has reduced in volume by half. Add stock and heavy cream and cook for 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and cook for several more minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper if needed, and serve with fresh parsley.
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