This chicken marsala recipe is an Italian-American classic! It has juicy pan-fried chicken smothered in a creamy wine and mushroom sauce. It's a 30-minute dish that's simple to master in your own kitchen.
For more restaurant favorites at home, try my Easy Chicken Piccata or Chicken Madeira.
Why you'll love it
Many restaurants have chicken marsala on their menu, but why not replicate it at home? It's actually really effortless and quick, so it's ideal for everything from a dinner party for easy entertaining to a weeknight meal when you're craving something a little special.
What's surprising to a lot of people is how few ingredients you need to make homemade chicken marsala. All it involves is a few pantry essentials along with a variety of wine that's easy to get your hands on, and that's it!
What is marsala?
- Marsala is an Italian fortified wine, which means a spirit has been added to it, in this case brandy. It's got a kind of nutty, caramelized flavor when used in sauces. I recommend using either semi-secco (semi-sweet) or secco (dry) marsala for this recipe. I used Cantine Pellegrino Fine I.P. Marsala here. Don't use sweet!
Ingredients for it
- Chicken - we're using two boneless/skinless chicken breasts cut into 4 smaller cutlets
- Garlic powder, salt & pepper, flour - for seasoning and dredging the cutlets to get a good crust, and flour will thicken the sauce
- Olive oil and butter - for sautéing
- Mushrooms - I love cremini mushrooms for their earthy and rich flavor that perfectly balances with the flavor profile of the marsala wine
- Garlic - use even more if you're a garlic aficionado. I like using a garlic press to mince it without peeling.
- Marsala wine - this gives our sauce its signature taste
- Heavy cream - the key to making the sauce luxurious
- If you prefer, you can pound the chicken so it's thinner vs. cutting it in half lengthwise like I suggest. You may then want to use four chicken breasts and sear the chicken in batches. Making smaller cutlets so that it cooks faster and remains nice and tender is my favorite shortcut, though!
How to make chicken marsala
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Prep and season your chicken, and then sear it on both sides until golden in a cast iron skillet. Transfer it to a plate. Fry the mushrooms in the same skillet with the remaining butter.
Add the garlic and marsala wine, and let the sauce reduce for a couple of minutes. Stir in the cream, and add the chicken back into the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Tips for success
- This particular version of chicken marsala is meant to be cooked at a fairly high temperature throughout. To get the nice sear on the chicken and to quickly brown the mushrooms, it's necessary that the pan is nice and hot!
- Only turn the heat down if it's splattering like crazy or you're using copper or cast iron cookware since they conduct heat much more than the regular stuff most of us use on a daily basis.
- Be careful not to overcook it. If you're in doubt, chicken is safe to eat at 165F as indicated by a meat thermometer.
Substitutions and variations
- Since this is chicken marsala, you probably don't want to substitute the marsala for anything, but if you're in a pinch, madeira or sherry will work.
- You can definitely use chicken thighs instead, but I recommend doing the searing step for a bit longer.
- I don't recommend substituting the heavy cream with anything else. Half-and-half or milk will yield a thinner sauce. You may need to add more flour or cornstarch to thicken it up effectively. With that said, some readers have replaced the cream with extra chicken broth and had good results.
- On the other hand, if you love an extra creamy sauce, go ahead and increase the amount of heavy cream to 1 cup. Carpe diem!
What to serve with it
- Chicken marsala is delicious served over pasta. Try my Quick & Easy Garlic Butter Noodles. Also, Garlic Mashed Potatoes or rice are equally tasty with the sauce.
- Serving it with this easy asparagus recipe makes a great vegetable pairing.
- A slice of crusty bread, garlic bread, or a side salad with this easy Italian dressing would be fantastic as well.
Leftovers and storage
- This chicken will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
- To reheat, place in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally until it's warmed through.
- I wouldn't recommend freezing this one because of the dairy in the sauce.
More restaurant-quality chicken recipes
I hope you'll love this dish. I think it's the absolute best chicken marsala recipe, but I'm maaaybe a little bit biased. Questions? Let me hear from you below!
Easy Chicken Marsala
- 2 large chicken breasts
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Flour for dredging
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 7 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced fairly thin
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 3/4 cup marsala wine see note
- 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
- Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise and trim off any remaining fat. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Coat each piece in flour.
- Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken and sear it for 4-5 minutes/side or until golden. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside (it'll finish cooking in the sauce).
- Add the remaining butter and mushrooms to the skillet and cook them for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.
- Add the minced garlic and marsala wine to the skillet and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cream to the skillet, and then add the chicken back in. Cook for another 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened up a bit. Season with extra salt & pepper if needed. I added a little bit of chopped parsley to finish it off (optional).
- If you have smaller chicken breasts, there's no need to cut them in half lengthwise, but you will need to cook them a bit longer.
- I recommend using either semi-sweet or dry marsala for this recipe. See blog post for more info.
- Chicken is safe to eat when it's reached an internal temperature of 165F. Use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on December 9, 2015. It's been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!
Cynthia Lovell says
Made this tonight and it was delicious!!
So glad to hear it! 🙂
I just made this for dinner and we all loved it!! My son in particular really enjoys Chicken Marsala in restaurants, and he said this was delicious!! Served it with a side of thin spaghetti and some asparagus.
That's so great to hear, Claire!! Thanks for your review!
So good! And easy! I used fat free half and half and thickened the sauce with some flour. It worked perfectly!
Barbara W. says
BW-,2/1/2023 Made this first time for me. . Used cooking Marsala cooking wine as that was what I had and in place of heavy cream used FF 1/2&1/2. Only change I would make is slice breast length wise if thick which would give 4 servings.
Hubby said it was good - served with rice and side salad.
Another twist I have made, is searing the chicken for the mallard reaction and then pouring in a generous amount of marsala and braising the chicken for about 30-45 minutes. Then whisking in a tbsp of flour to thicken it.
I like that idea!
So easy to make. Didn’t change a thing. Added the extra cream per your suggestion. It was delicious! My family loved it!!! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe.
You're very welcome, Marla!! 🙂
I made this many times I always use half half works wel.
Beth M says
I made this tonight! Fantastic! I did make a few changes…..ran out of Marsala, so I used 1/2 cup Marsala 1/2 cup sherry. I let that reduce for a few minutes with the sautéed mushrooms, added a pinch of flour to the mushrooms before putting the sherry in…. then added a little chicken broth (Approx 1/4 cup) . I only had 1/2 and 1/2 so I used that instead (which is why I added a little flour to the mushrooms. Turned out absolutely delicious. Next time I’m making it with even more sauce ! Company worthy receipe
So glad you enjoyed it!
Cream in a chicken marsala?
Mel B says
Easy prepping, easy cooking, and a delicious outcome! Truly a 30 min turnaround. More creamy than the marsala that you might see in chain restaurants, but it's better! I doubled everything but the chicken to have more sauce for the pasta and it turned out perfect. Not thickening like you want? Add a little cornstarch. 🙂
So pleased it was a hit!! 😀
Great flavor, and easy to make. Next time I will increase the liquids to produce more sauce
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Suzanne!
Loved this recipe! I was serving over linguine so wanted more of a sauce, so I doubled the Marsala wine and cream and added some chicken broth and let it cook a bit on low before adding chicken back in. Just enough juice and it was really delicious!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
That's so nice to hear, Allyse! Glad it worked out. 🙂
Delicious! A bit hit in our house. Can't wait to make it for company!
Thank you so much!
Will chicken tenders work?
I don't see why not. You might want to reduce cooking time a bit, though, as they cook through fairly fast. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Iris Evers says
It was very good ! Simple process and delicious results .. my husband was very pleased even doe it was my first time creating it. It was delicious 🤤 I will be adding this to my list of favorites!❤️ Thank you for the recipe. Will pass it along to my daughters.
Fantastic!! 🙂 You're very welcome. Thanks for your sweet comment!
What else would you serve with this chicken dish
Hi! Not sure if you saw the suggestions in the "what to serve with it" section of the post? Virtually any kind of potatoes would work, rice, pasta, veggies... a big salad... etc. It'll work with many different sides.
Charles Frank says
How many will this serve?
Hello! All the recipe cards on my site list how many servings beside the calorie info (near the top, above the ingredients list). For this recipe it's 4. Hope you enjoy it!
Meredith R says
LICK YOUR PLATE GOOD!
Chicken Marsala is one of my favorite dishes but I’d never made it at home. I don’t know why I assumed it was much more complicated than this. This is a quick, easy recipe that is DELISH! I eyeball measured the sauce and made extra to pour fettuccine. It was literally so good. Will definitely be a regular in my recipe rotation!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Thrilled you enjoyed it, Meredith! Thank you so much for the kind words!
Is the marsala wine dry or sweet?
Hi! It's all explained in the blog post.
This was absolutely phenomenal! It was super easy on a week night after school and before soccer. My extremely picky daughter deemed the chicken “really good” and I’m pretty sure she saves that description for pizza and burgers alone. I can’t wait to try my next Salt & Lavender recipe!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
That's awesome to hear, Kimberly! So glad your daughter enjoyed it as well!!
Jenny Lyons says
Hi. I made the chicken marsala tonight and my husband and I LOVED it. I followed the recipe, but I felt like we needed more sauce. Can I just double or triple all the amounts to make more sauce, especially for serving it for more people?
Sure, you could definitely double or triple the sauce ingredients. You may need to cook it for a little longer to thicken the sauce, however. Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Your recipe for Chicken Marsala is the best I've tried! I've collected about 4 versions, and have to say I was very unimpressed with them, and wondered what all the fuss was about! This going to be a keeper for me. Many of the others use chicken broth which thins the sauce out too much. Or no cream, which also leaves a watery gravy. I can see where if one had a Fond it could add more intense flavor, but in that case would just add "Better than Chicken" paste vs broth?
I cook for myself and like to have leftovers for the future as I do not have time or energy to cook every day. Your recipe was a true 4 portion meal and heated up well in my toaster oven!
Hi! I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed this one! 😀 Really appreciate your detailed review, Althea!
This was so good and so easy to make, thanks
You're very welcome!! Glad you enjoyed it!
Made this lovely and easy recipe last night and absolutely delish. Going into favorite file. And, and would be great for company. A special dish.
I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it, Liz!! 🙂
My choice of a Marsala wine ruined this recipe for me. Looked really good, but tasted way too sweet. Will try again with a better wine choice.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
It sounds like you bought the sweet variety of marsala, Darlene. I'll point you to the blog post, which has tips for buying marsala that you may have missed. Hope it works out next time!
I traded boneless, skinless chicken thighs for breasts and otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Amazing, delicious and fast. Thank you!
Fabulous!! Thanks for your review! 😀
Could you use cream cheese or mascarpone. In place of heavy cream?
Hi! You could try, but I'd probably lower the heat and just be careful to ensure that they melt in properly and don't curdle. Oh and cream cheese especially is good to microwave first so it softens up and melts into the sauce more easily (or let it sit on the counter for a couple hours). The sauce will end up a lot more tangy if you use cream cheese. If the broth gets too thick you may need to add a splash more liquid to thin it out.
I’ve made this recipe several times now, and it has become one of my family’s FAVORITES!! However, I don’t dredge the chicken in flour, I just add a little corn starch and make a slurry to thicken the sauce. My son has gout and can’t eat red meat, so even though this has the heavy cream, it makes a nice chicken alternative.
Awesome!! 🙂 I'm so glad that it's a hit in your home.
Reggie Brissette says
Cannot afford heavy cream, plus my arteries don’t need it. I use half and half by making a very light roux. The sauce thickens nicely.
Glad you were able to make tweaks, Reggie! 🙂
I would like to make this for a dinner get together for a group of 14, can I brown the chicken, place on a sheet pan and make the sauce without the cream in advance & refrigerate. Then just before dinner reheat the sauce add the cream, pour over the chicken and bake in the over for about 20 minutes until the chicken is reheated?
I think that sounds like a great plan!! I would just be sure not to overcook the chicken since chicken breasts can go from perfect to overcooked in a hurry. Good luck!! I hope everyone enjoys it. 🙂
I made this tonight for dinner; I had to double the recipe to feed our family of 5. Chicken Marsala is one of my favorite dishes, so I was happy to come across this recipe. I didn’t know if I should use dry or sweet Marsala wine, so I used half of each variety. It was relatively easy to make and my family LOVED it! This will definitely be going into our dinner line up!
Hi Jan! I indicated in the blog post what kind of marsala to use... I guess you must've missed it, but I'm so glad the recipe worked out! Mixing the two was a good idea. Thanks for your kind review! 🙂
I missed it too, I’m also very new to this blog! Can you please help indicate what kind of Marsala you use?
Hi! I actually explain about the marsala and list the exact kind I used in the "what is marsala section" of the post. 🙂 Just scroll back up and the info is all there. Let me know if you try the recipe, Kayla!
Emily H. says
This is always my go to recipe! I pretty much follow it exactly but add fresh thyme to the mushrooms and then we like to serve it over a small serving of angle hair (or really any boxed pasta we have on hand!)
That's great to hear, Emily!! 😀
Absolutely loved this recipe. So delicious and easy and with no fancy ingredients, I had everything on hand except heavy cream somI used 2% milk. I was worried about the consistency but I was boiling potatoes on the stove so just added a few spoonfuls of the boiling potato water just before the milk and it thickened perfectly.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! Great idea re: adding the starchy potato water!