Italian inspired Chicken Marsala has lightly floured chicken then browned and mixed with fresh mushrooms in a rich marsala sauce. It’s an easy healthy comfort food for entertaining or weeknight dinner that’s ready in about 30 minutes.
This Easy Chicken Marsala recipe is special enough for entertaining but simple enough for a weeknight dinner. Made in a skillet with a simple flour coating that you brown (chicken breast or thigh -make what you love)) then served in a rich, deep, smoky marsala sauce that is swirled around earthy mushrooms.
I love stovetop chicken recipes like this Chicken in Tarragon sauce. Made in one skillet in about 30 minutes for easy weeknight dinner are complete winners in my busy life!
The chicken is juicy and tender but the marsala sauce is what makes this recipe special.
Which leads me to what everyone asks me when I make this recipe……..
What is Marsala and what is in Marsala sauce?
Marsala is a fortified wine predominantly from Sicily.
What is a fortified wine?
A fortified wine in this case is when they add brandy to the wine after the fermentation process. The wine has a higher alcohol content because of the addition of the wine.
Originally the wine was fortified for long boat rides to its final destination to help avoid the wine going bad. Today that’s of course not an issue, but since Marsala is a great tasting wine that is popular they keep the process.
Marsala Sauce Ingredients
- Marsala Wine
- Olive Oil
- Chicken Stock
- Fresh Herbs
This sauce has a smoky rich taste from the toasting of the flour and the marsala wine. By using just a very minute amount of flour you can achieve a beautiful velvety texture that coats the chicken and mushrooms perfectly.
Any kind of mushrooms will work but I usually use basic criminis or button mushrooms. They have a nice earthy flavor and are very inexpensive. That’s a win for me!
By all means feel free to use porcini mushrooms, shittake, portobellos, chanterelle or what ever mushroom you love. It’s completely your choice!
How to make Chicken Marsala
Try to use chicken pieces that are no thicker than 1/2″ thick. It will help you maintain even cooking.
Use a good solid bottom skillet that cooks evenly. I tested this recipe while doing a review for Mealthy on their new 10″ Stainless Steel Frying Pan. It has a 3 layer aluminum core that helps conduct heat evenly. Read more about the frying pan here and see how you can get a 15 percent discount if you want to try the pan!
Don’t be shy seasoning the chicken and the flour with salt and pepper. Nothing is worse than bland flavor of plain chicken. Salt and pepper heighten the flavor of the chicken.
You’ll want to cook in batches and remove it to a side plate once it’s done. Be sure and add all the juices that pool on the plate— that’s the heart of the flavor of the chicken!
After softening the the shallots and garlic, you’ll want to add in the flour and let it cook for a couple of minutes. It will help develop a rich nutty flavor.
When adding the wine to the pan, scrape up all the dried bits on the bottom of the pan. Again, its all that yummy flavor you want to keep with your chicken.
Once the chicken broth is added you’ll let that sauce boil for a few minutes to thicken up before adding the chicken back. Taste the sauce after the chicken has had a few minutes to get hot again and add extra seasoning if needed.
Common Questions about this Chicken and Mushroom Recipe
I only like skin on my chicken, but you suggest skinless chicken breasts for it? Use whatever chicken meat you prefer, both skin on and skinless chicken breasts will work. Switching to skin on breasts will change nothing in regards to the instructions in the recipe.
Can I make chicken thigh marsala instead? Yes you can use a chicken thigh in place of the breast. Chicken thighs usually cook faster, but since you pound the breast or use filets in the recipe they will probably be about the same time. I always cut into the chicken before serving it to make sure it is cooked through just to make sure.
Can I make chicken mushroom marsala without alcohol? You can make this recipe without the marsala wine but it won’t be marsala chicken. However I have made this using apple cider vinegar in place of the marsala wine. It’s a little different taste, but still very delicious!
I see you have snow peas in your photos but they are not in the recipe? Authentic Chicken Marsala has no vegetables in it, but I happened to have them so I added them. I parboiled them for 5 minutes, then tossed them in at the same time as I added the chicken back into the sauce.
What is the difference between masala and marsala? Masala is a wine and is used in this Italian inspired chicken recipe. Marsala is actually Indian. Its a blend of herbs and spices and not what you will use in this recipe! (It’s very delicious though!)
Another Variation: Add 1/4 cup heavy cream in place of 1/4 cup of the chicken broth for a creamy style Chicken Marsala.
What to serve with Chicken Marsala
- A simple Salad
- Buttered Egg Noodles
- Spaghetti Pasta (no other sauce, place it underneath the chicken and spoon the marsala sauce over the top
- Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Healthy Creamy Cauliflower Puree
- Garlic Sugar Snap Peas
Other Easy Comfort Foods You might enjoy:
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- 1 pound chicken breasts ( cut in half and pounded to 1/2" thick 8 pieces)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
- 5 Tablespoons Butter
- 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 12 ounces Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small Shallot, Minced
- 1/3 cup Dry Marsala Wine
- 1/3 Cup Chicken Stock
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Tarragon
- Cut the chicken breast in half then pound it to 1/2" thick. Or buy chicken tenders to save time.
- Mince garlic place in a bowl.
- Mince shallots place in a bowl.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge chicken in the flour, shake off excess. (Save 1 tablespoon for thickener)
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy bottom skillet to medium high heat.
- Working in batches add chicken cooking for 3-4 minutes per side (turn only once) until golden brown. Remove chicken to a side plate once done.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter, melt then add mushrooms and saute until golden brown and softened for about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate with chicken.
- Heat remaining oil, add garlic and shallots and cook about 1 minute. Stir in remaining flour cook for 2-3 minutes more.
- Add marsala, scrape up the browned bits from the bottom then add stock, whisk and cook for about 2-3 minutes until thickened.
- Return chicken and mushroom to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Remove from heat, add last of butter, stir.
- Taste sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh tarragon and serve immediately.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 68mg Sodium: 309mg Carbohydrates: 4g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 19g