Make this easy chicken marsala recipe for dinner tonight! It comes together in a snap & everyone will love the rich, savory mushroom sauce!
It’s chicken marsala day! Yay!
I make this chicken marsala recipe pretty regularly and everyone is always so happy when I do! It’s definitely one of the best chicken and mushroom recipes out there.
I love the combination of tender chicken cutlets, browned in olive oil and topped with a rich brown mushroom gravy. And that subtly sweet, tangy flavor of marsala wine is such a special touch!
This is another classic to add to your repertoire of Italian recipes. You just can’t go wrong with Italian food! If you’ve made and enjoyed my pork Milanese, chicken piccata, or gnocchi, then you’re going to love this one just as much, if not more!
Table of Contents
- What is chicken marsala?
- What’s great about this recipe
- What does chicken marsala taste like?
- Special equipment
- How to make this chicken marsala recipe
- How to serve chicken Marsala
- Expert tips
- Frequently asked questions
- A few more of my favorite dinner recipes
What is chicken marsala?
Chicken marsala is an iconic dish, made by searing chicken cutlets and then bathing them in a simple pan sauce featuring marsala wine.
Marsala is a fortified wine, so it’s infused with brandy for a rich flavor that’s not quite like anything else. It’s a little sweet, a little tangy, and when combined with other ingredients like mushrooms, shallots, and stock, it makes magic!
What’s great about this recipe
- Tastes amazing: The flavors here are on point!
- Few ingredients: Just a few basics and this dinner is made.
- Easy to make: Comes together in around 40 minutes. Maybe even less!
- Classic: This dish has stood the test of time! It’s been around forever and it’s a huge crowd-pleaser.
What does chicken marsala taste like?
Chicken marsala has a taste all its own. The chicken cutlets are moist, juicy, and flavorful. They’re a perfect vehicle for marsala sauce!
The sauce is really rich and savory, with a subtly sweet and tangy back note from the wine. It’s loaded with earthy mushrooms, and enhanced by the mildly sweet, oniony flavor of shallot.
Look for “thin-sliced chicken breasts,” or “chicken cutlets.” These are a huge timesaver! You don’t even have to pound them out. They’re already even, at the perfect thickness.
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder are my go-to seasonings in most savory dishes, and this one is no different!
A little bit of all-purpose flour coats the chicken and helps it to brown, and flour also helps to thicken the sauce to a lovely, velvety texture.
For gluten-free chicken marsala, a gluten-free flour blend that can sub 1:1 for regular flour should work just fine. And I’ve provided instructions on how to swap in cornstarch to thicken the sauce below.
Oil & butter
I like to sear the chicken in extra-virgin olive oil, but I use butter in the sauce. It gives a beautiful sheen and a slightly creamy taste.
I just used good ol’ button mushrooms here, but if you want to get a little fancy, I think portabellos or criminis would be fantastic!
A shallot looks like a smaller, elongated red onion, and it has a sweet, mild flavor that works so well in this dish!
Marsala wine is a product of Sicily, which is an island off the southernmost part of Italy. It’s made by adding brandy (a spirit distilled from grapes) to a sweet white wine which is then aged in wooden casks.
This process gives it a really unique and complex flavor that makes the sauce so delicious!
How to make this chicken marsala recipe
This is a really quick and easy recipe, so it’s great for busy weeknights. It comes together in just 4 simple steps.
Step 1: Season and sear the chicken
Sprinkle the chicken with salt, garlic powder and salt on both sides, then dust them lightly with flour.
Tap off any excess flour. We just want a very thin coating. Too much flour will cause gumminess.
Next, heat the oil in a large skillet until it shimmers, and then sear the chicken until it’s golden brown on both sides.
Once the chicken is browned and a little crusty on the edges, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Step 2: Saute the veggies
Add a lump of butter to the pan and allow it to melt and get foamy.
Then, toss in the mushrooms. As they cook, they’ll first release their moisture, then soak it back up.
Give this process the time it needs. If there’s a lot of juice in the pan, the mushrooms won’t really brown up and get that roasty-toasty flavor you’re after.
When you’re happy with the color on the mushrooms, clear a little space in the middle and start cooking the shallot. The shallot will become tender and translucent pretty quickly, since it’s so finely minced.
Step 3: Make a roux
Once the mushrooms are brown and the shallot is tender, sprinkle everything with flour.
And stir it all around so a little bit of flour coats every little bit of the veggie mixture.
Step 4: Add liquid
Next, whisk in the Marsala wine. It’s a good idea to add it slowly, and really whisk it vigorously so the sauce is satin-smooth and lump free.
The aromas are positively intoxicating!
Allow some of the harsh alcohol fumes to evaporate away, then whisk in the chicken stock and add the remaining seasonings. When it comes to a low simmer, it should thicken up into the most gorgeous consistency!
And that’s your Marsala sauce made!
How to serve chicken Marsala
Slip the seared chicken cutlets back into the pan, re-warming them and bathing them in the Marsala sauce.
I like to serve this over mashed potatoes because I am a mashed potato freak! I love how the creamy potatoes cradle the sauce. Mouthwatering!
But it’s really good over pasta or rice too. And a little green veg on the side makes this a beautifully balanced meal!
Make it ahead:
If your family is anything like mine, with kids running off in all directions at all hours, you might need to prep this ahead of time and keep it warm for them so it can be enjoyed on their schedules.
Season, flour, and sear the chicken, then wrap it lightly in foil so it stays moist. Keep it in the oven on the lowest setting.
The sauce can be made ahead too. Reheat it over a low flame, stirring, until it’s warmed through.
When it’s time to eat, take the chicken out of the oven and nap it in the sauce.
Allow it to simmer:
The flour won’t reach its full thickening power until the sauce comes to a bubble. So if yours is looking a little watery or too runny, give it a minute to reach the magic temperature.
Gluten-free chicken marsala:
As I mentioned above, you can use a gluten-free flour blend. Or, you can thicken the sauce with cornstarch instead.
To do this, cook the mushrooms and shallot without adding flour. Stir in the marsala wine and chicken stock, then make a slurry with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water, whisked together until smooth and milky.
Stream this into the sauce while whisking, to avoid lumps.
When it comes to a low simmer, it should thicken right up!
Frequently asked questions
You can, but they’re a little more work!
If regular boneless, skinless chicken breasts are all you’ve got, you’ll want to slice them horizontally to make them thinner. You can also pound them to an even thickness with a meat mallet.
It’s important to have an even thickness so the chicken cooks through quickly and evenly.
If you don’t keep Marsala on hand, I think port wine or sherry would be good substitutes! They’re both very similar.
Because the chicken is so thin, it will cook very quickly. By the time you’re seeing a little brown crust on the outside, it’s probably done through.
But if in doubt, you can always check it with a thermometer! It should register an internal temp of around 165 degrees F.
If you’ve allowed your sauce to come to a simmer and it still doesn’t seem thick enough, mix a teaspoon of flour with 2 teaspoons of oil and whisk it into the sauce. Again, bring it to a simmer before you decide it needs more.
If the sauce seems too tight you can dilute it with stock or water to get it to a thinner consistency.
This recipe serves 4 people. The nutritional info below reflects a serving size of 1/4 the batch. It does not include side dishes, just the chicken and sauce.
If you have leftovers, stash them in an airtight container in the fridge. They should keep there for a few days.
Or, freeze them. This should last in the freezer for a few weeks. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in a skillet over low heat.
A few more of my favorite dinner recipes
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- 1 pound (453.59 g) thin-sliced chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons (12 g) kosher salt, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (4.5 g) garlic powder, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup (41.67 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
- 16 ounces (453.59 g) mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 (12.5 g) shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup (120 g) marsala wine
- 1/2 cup (120 g) chicken stock
- parsley or thyme , optional garnish
- Season the chicken on both sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and pepper.
- Coat the chicken lightly in flour, tapping off any excess.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until shimmering.
- Sear the chicken in the hot oil until golden on both sides.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Add the butter to the pan, along with the mushrooms, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Saute the mushrooms until softened, then clear out a space in the center of the skillet and add the shallot.
- Cook the shallot until tender and translucent, then sprinkle on the flour and stir until the vegetables are coated.
- Slowly whisk in the marsala wine.
- Whisk in the chicken stock and allow the sauce to come to a simmer and become thick.
- Slip the chicken back into the sauce to re-warm.