You won't believe just how easy it is to make restaurant-quality Chicken Marsala at home! This simple Italian-American recipe is made with tender, pan-fried chicken, and a rich, creamy, mushroom sauce and comes together in under 30 minutes!
One of my all-time favorite recipes to order when dining at Italian restaurants is Chicken Marsala. From the tender chicken to the rich, earthy sauce that is kissed with marsala wine, it is a little bit of heaven.
And while you may think this restaurant favorite is complicated to make at home. Think again!
This recipe for chicken marsala, just like my recipe for Chicken Florentine and Chicken Piccata, comes together in less than 30 minutes, to deliver an insanely impressive and flavorful chicken dinner. It is a meal that feels rich, and elegant, yet it is easy enough for any night of the week.
Notes on Ingredients
- Chicken: This recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut and pounded into thin cutlets. If you do not want to slice the chicken yourself, you can opt to purchase thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets.
- Marsala Wine: Marsala is a fortified wine that adds nutty, rich, caramelized notes to the sauce. For best results, use dry Marsala wine, not a sweet Marsala, which is used in desserts, or cooking Marsala, which does not create an authentic tasting Marsala sauce.
- Mushrooms: For this recipe, you want to use cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, not button mushrooms, for a rich earthy taste. You can use fresh mushrooms or reconstituted dried mushrooms.
- Flour: To help thicken the sauce and create a crispy exterior on the chicken, you want to coat your chicken in all-purpose flour before pan-frying.
- Shallot: Instead of using onion or garlic, which can overwhelm the sauce, I suggest using a shallot which will add just a mild onion and garlic flavor to the dish without overpowering the chicken marsala. If you don't happen to have a shallot on hand, simply omit it.
- Broth: Use either low-sodium beef broth or mushroom broth, not chicken broth, as both beef and mushroom pair really well with the earthy flavors in the sauce. Using chicken broth or stock can result in a dish that is lacking in restaurant-quality flavor.
- Cream: Finishing the marsala sauce with heavy cream creates a rich, luscious sauce, but it is not classic in chicken marsala. If you don't want to use cream, use additional broth, for a lighter version.
- Thyme: A bit of fresh thyme leaves elevates this dish by adding a bit of floral, earthy notes to the sauce. While fresh thyme leaves are best, you can use dried thyme leaves in their place. Just don't use ground thyme as the flavor will quickly overwhelm the sauce.
- Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala: Replace the all-purpose flour with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend and ensure your broth is gluten-free.
- Dairy-Free Chicken Marsala: In place of the butter, use additional olive oil and instead of finishing the sauce with heavy cream, use additional beef or mushroom broth.
- Substitute for Marsala Wine: While Marsala wine is best for the most authentic flavor, you can use Madiera wine or sherry.
How to Make Chicken Cutlets
It is often more cost-effective to cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into cutlets rather than purchasing thin cutlets.
- Trim off any fat from the chicken breasts and then cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have 4 thinner pieces.
- Place the cutlets between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until the cutlets are even in thickness.
Tips for Making the Best Chicken Marsala
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Use both butter and oil to sear the chicken. The butter adds nice caramelized notes to the chicken and sauce, while the oil helps to prevent the butter from burning.
- Don't overcrowd the pan. It is better to work in batches than to overcrowd your skillet. This will ensure a nice golden sear on the chicken which gives Chicken Marsala a nice contrasting texture.
- Use caution when adding the marsala wine. Alcohol is flammable, so use caution when cooking on a gas stovetop. I recommend removing the skillet from the pan, adding the wine, and carefully move the skillet back to the heat.
- Allow time for the sauce to reduce. Letting the sauce simmer and reducing it by half will intensify the flavor and make the dish!
What to Serve with Chicken Marsala
Leftover, cooled chicken marsala can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. I don't recommend freezing leftovers, due to the heavy cream in the sauce.
More Easy Italian-American Recipes
- Chicken Piccata
- Pasta Puttanesca
- Shrimp Scampi Pasta
- Instant Pot Fettuccine Alfredo
- Italian Stuffed Shells
If you tried this recipe for Chicken Marsala, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 4 chicken cutlets
- kosher salt and pepper
- ½ cup flour
- 1 small shallot minced
- 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms see notes for substitutions
- ½ cup DRY Marsala wine
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Trim off any fat from the chicken breasts. Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have 4 thinner pieces. Place the cutlets between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until the cutlets are even in thickness. Pay dry.
- Combine the flour with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a small shallow dish. Dredge each chicken cutlet in the flour mixture to coat, shaking off excess flour.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Once melted, add the chicken to the pan, working in batches to prevent overcrowding your skillet. Cook the chicken cutlets for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on each side and just barely cooked through. Transfer chicken to a clean plate, tent with foil, and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into the skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add in the mushrooms and minced shallot and saute for 2-3 minutes to begin to soften and brown the mushrooms.
- Add the Marsala wine to the skillet and allow it to simmer and reduce for 1-2 minutes while scraping off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the broth, heavy cream, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and thyme to the skillet, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by about half, stirring frequently.
- Add the chicken back to the pan, along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, and simmer for 2-3 minutes just to warm through the chicken and to ensure it reaches 165 degrees F.
- Serve immediately topped with fresh minced parsley if desired.