Chicken Marsala

chicken marsala, an Italian American classic

A classic Italian American dish, Chicken Marsala, is quick and easy to prepare. Served with pasta or mashed potatoes, this delicious meal is sure to please your family and friends.

chicken marsala, an Italian American classic
Chicken Marsala, An Italian American Classic

Chicken Marsala is quick and easy to prepare so there is no need to go to a restaurant to enjoy this popular dish. Your family and friends will be impressed because who can resist a golden brown pan sautéed chicken breast topped with a delicious mushroom wine sauce.

What makes this dish so good is Marsala wine. Marsala, dry with a touch of sweetness, is a fortified wine from Sicily that adds a rich, caramelized and savory flavor to recipes. The alcohol cooks off as it simmers, leaving a wonderful taste that does not overpower the chicken or veal used in this classic recipe. I suggest buying a good bottle of Marsala wine and keeping it in your kitchen pantry. You can use a semi sweet Marsala wine for the sauce but I prefer a dry Marsala in a savory dish like this recipe and I use a sweet Marsala wine in dessert recipes like sabayon or tiramisu.

If Marsala is hard to find in your area, you could substitute another fortified wine such as a dry sherry or Madeira. The sauce will have a similar but slightly different flavor. If you are preparing dinner for a special occasion, instead of making Chicken Marsala, you might want to serve Veal Marsala, it’s prepared the same but using a more expensive ingredient.

Chicken Marsala
Chicken Marsala, An Italian American Classic

 Chicken Marsala

Serves two, adjust the recipe according

  • 2 chicken cutlets (about 4 oz. each), pounded to a 1/4 inch thickness
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour for dusting (I use Wondra)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter plus an additional 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 c. Marsala wine
  •  1 c. chicken stock (homemade preferred)
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 c. cream (optional for a rich, creamy sauce)*
  • 1/8 tsp. truffle oil (optional for added flavor)*
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley (save a little for garnish)

Pat the chicken dry with paper towel, pound to an even thickness then season each side with salt and pepper. Dust lightly with flour and shake off any excess. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 Tbsp. butter with the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and sauté briefly, about 3 minutes per side, depending on their thickness, until they are light golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, add 1 Tbsp. of butter, the mushrooms and the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add another Tbsp. of butter, the shallot and garlic then sauté for about a minute.  Add the Marsala and cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until the wine is reduced by half then add the chicken broth. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove the thyme stems and stir the remaining Tbsp. of butter into the sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. *If you would like to have a rich, creamy sauce, add 1/4 cup of cream and simmer for another minute. Add the truffle oil*, if using, and the chopped parsley. Return the chicken to the pan along with any accumulated juices and simmer to heat through. Serve, garnished with a little finely chopped parsley.

****

chicken marsala
Chicken Marsala On A Bed Of Sautéed Baby Spinach With A Side Of Fettuccini Pasta

When I make this recipe for just my husband and I, it is usually served with a simple pasta that I toss with olive oil, butter and finely chopped fresh parsley. The Chicken Marsala is super fast to prepare so if you are going to serve the recipe with pasta like I do, cook and keep the pasta warm before adding your chicken to the marsala sauce.

When I’m making this dish for a dinner party, another pretty way of serving the sautéed chicken topped with the savory mushroom wine sauce is to place the chicken on a bed of sautéed baby spinach. It is not only delicious but adds nice color to the plate. I also serve pasta or mashed potatoes to complete the meal. All you need to add is a good bottle of wine to go along with the meal and your friends will be saying “delizioso“.

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74 thoughts on “Chicken Marsala

    1. Hi Amelia, I bought my truffle oil at Fresh Market…it is where I shop for the special ingredients that Publix doesn’t carry. If you have a Trader Joes down you way, I think they would have it as well. It comes in a small bottle but will last a long time because you just need a tiny amount in a recipe. Thank you for your compliment.

      1. I go to the TJs in Palm Beach Gardens pretty regularly (holdover from Atlanta) I wish they would build one around here! Thanks, I have wanted to try that – Ina is always using truffle butter and it sounds wonderful as well.

      2. I think they will have the truffle butter too. We don’t have a TJ’s either but stop at one after visiting our children in Ft. Lauderdale and Delray.

    1. I’m always happy to share my recipes Momoe and I’m glad you like it. This is a hard dish to make look pretty because it is all brown but the taste is oh so good. 🙂 Thank you for your lovely compliment.

  1. I love chicken Marsala. I recently dined out and was going to get it, but opted for the special. Although the special was good, I was a tad disappointed that I didn’t get the chicken Marsala.
    Cheers,
    Carolyn

    1. Hi Carolyn, I know what you mean…many times I will go for a special instead of what I originally was going to order. Chicken and veal marsala are both of my favorites. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you.

  2. So, why haven’t I made Chicken Marsala in SO long? It’s been at least 5 years. Yours looks terrific, and you’ve inspired me! I GOTTA make this! 🙂 Thanks!

    1. I know what you mean John, I think we all stop making some of the dishes that we all like. I guess we want to keep trying new things. I’m glad I’ve inspired to try chicken marsala again. It wouldn’t surprise me if you have a bottle of marsala in your cabinet somewhere. Thank you for your compliment.

  3. Like you, I have sweet Marsala, for use in tiramisu and cannoli , which I’ve used in making this but I think the dry Marsala would be a better choice. Just have to use up all the sweet first. 🙂

    1. Sorry that I made you hungry with my chicken marsala recipe Mad Dog but I’m glad it was close to supper time and you didn’t have long to wait. Knowing you, your meal was a good one. 🙂

    1. Thank you Sandra, I’m glad you like my suggestion for serving the chicken marsala on top of the sautéed baby spinach. I think it makes and pretty and delicious way of serving the dish to guests. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you Diane. I miss being able to leave comments on your blog but I did enjoy the photos of your outing to Verteuil-sur-Charente. The Rochefoucauld family certainly does know how to live with not one but two chateau in the area. 🙂

  4. Wow – I used to make this all the time when I was in college and just after. Haven’t made it in decades! About time – right? Yours looks beautiful and I love how you flour the breasts to get a nice crust on them. I didn’t do that when I was young – bet it makes a big difference!

    1. Decades…wow is right. You must try the dish again David. Yes, I think the flour does make a difference, I use Wondra which lots of chefs use. It is terrific when sautéing as it gives a little crispness to thin cuts that cook quickly. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  5. i love these flavours together; nothing nicer than chicken and mushroom! just wondering – when you say shallot, do you mean a french shallot – small and tear drop shaped, or long and thin with a green stalk mostly? what we call a spring onion. i’m thinking it’s a french shallot you’ve used:) cheers sherry

    1. Sorry to take so long to answer your question Sherry. You are correct, what I call a shallot would be what you call a French shallot. The long thin one you mentioned is what I would call a green onion, scallion or spring onion. Thank you, I glad you like the recipe.

  6. Oh My Goodness that looks so good. I made a similar dish with Madeira wine that we enjoyed. I would love to try the Marsala wine version. I’m sure it would be delicious!

  7. I love chicken Marsala, Karen, but I’ve actually never made it. You’ve inspired me to get some Marsala and make this, it seems pretty easy and so so delish! Thanks!

    1. If you love chicken marsala Laura, then you definitely should buy a good bottle of marsala wine and make it. You will be surprised how easy and quick this dish is to make at home.

  8. Between the truffle oil and the abundance of mushrooms, I’d say this is heavenly! 🙂 I can think of so many times this recipe would have come in handy in times we’ve had particular guests. Those times will return. Thank you!

  9. My husband really loves chicken and veal Marsala. Your recipe sounds delicious!

    As I write this, I wanted to add that today I made your Spinach and Goat Cheese Tarts on Puff Pastry. I had invited one of my editors along with his wife, and served it with a bowl of delicious olives. I took pics of the process to share on my blog–with a link to you of course, and then forgot to take a pic of the beautifully cooked tarts! Still have a few left so I’ll try. What a hit!! Thank you so much!

    Jane x

    1. Thank you Jane, I so appreciate when someone takes the time to let me know that they have made one of my recipes and that they prepared it for others. I’m glad that you and your friends enjoyed the tomato, spinach and goat cheese tarts. 😀

  10. Karen, this is one of my favorite classic dishes and I don’t ever think to make it. This is a great reminder of how delicious it is, and that it’s easy to prepare. Those mushrooms are luring me right in! Yum – thank you! ~Valentina

    1. Hi Susan, with chicken marsala’s delicious sauce, I think that a simple pasta and sautéed baby spinach go well as sides…thank you. I do hope you put the dish back into your repertoire.

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