This classic chicken marsala with mushrooms is an easy and delicious chicken dinner, with boneless chicken and mushrooms in a Marsala wine pan sauce.
Why I love chicken marsala
- This classic chicken marsala recipe has been in regular rotation here for more years that I can count. It’s a dish that has so much to recommend it. It’s quick and easy, so it’s perfect for weeknight meals, but it has a certain elegance to it, that makes it great for entertaining, as well.
- It’s also delicious, which is always good and especially good when it comes along with the quick and easy part.
This easy chicken dinner cooks up quickly in a hot skillet, so it’s on the table in just about 30 minutes!
Ingredients and substitutions
Boneless Chicken Breasts: While you can find thin chicken fillets, I prefer to buy the whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them in half myself. Either will work here though. The thin fillets will cook more quickly.
Shallots: If you have shallots on hand, they are the best choice here. Alternately, you can use a red or yellow onion.
Mushrooms: You can use any mushrooms here. I like a mix of button mushrooms and cremini mushrooms. I like to buy them whole and slice them myself, but pre-sliced mushrooms are fine.
Marsala Wine: I prefer to use a Dry Marsala Wine. If you are heading out to buy some Marsala for your kitchen, you’ll find it in with the Fortified Wines. The brand I use is called Sperone Fine I.P. and is labeled “Dry”. Some people like sweet Marsala wine, but unless you are sure that is your preference, I recommend sticking with the dry Marsala.
Marsala wine has a distinctive flavour that is not easily duplicated, but in a pinch, a nice red wine will work here. A dry sherry or brandy might be a decent substitute, as well.
Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is generally used in sauces that contain wine, as its fat content prevents it from “splitting”. A lighter cream can be used, but may split (produce tiny white pebbles of fat in the sauce). If using a lighter, thinner cream, you can either mix with 1 tsp of cornstarch to thicken the sauce or reduce the chicken stock slightly for a thicker sauce that way.
- Flouring the chicken before frying gives it a light coating that “browns” more easily than just cooking the chicken plain. I think it’s nice that the chicken has a little colour, but it’s not a necessary step, so if you prefer, you can skip the flour on the chicken.
- Be sure your chicken is cooked through before removing to the plate, as it won’t cook additionally at the end.
- Take your time when cooking the mushrooms and let them cook until deep golden brown. The extra few minutes makes for a much nicer finished dish.
- Use a meat pounder or a cast iron skillet to pound your chicken breasts after slicing them in half. They don’t have to be super thin, but they should be evenly thick. Starting with thin and even pieces of chicken ensures quick and even cooking.
- Be sure to taste your sauce at the end of cooking and add additional salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed, to bring all the flavours together.
- For a gluten-free dish, skip the flour on the chicken and the flour sprinkled on the mushrooms. Thicken the sauce at the end of cooking with a mixture of 2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder mixed with 1 Tbsp cold water. Add to the hot sauce and cook until the sauce thickens.
This dish cooks quickly over high heat and it’s of great benefit to have all your ingredients measured and handy beside the stove, to add to the hot skillet as needed.
What to serve with chicken marsala
I love to serve chicken marsala with mashed potatoes, to take advantage of the generous, delicious sauce. It’s also nice with white or brown rice or try it with pasta. Add a green vegetable, such as broccoli or green beans to complete the meal.
Making ahead, storing and freezing
While this dish is best cooked and enjoyed right away, it can be made ahead and reheated. I might skip the flour on the chicken if the intention is to make ahead and reheat, as it might have a tendency to become a little soft at best or mushy. To reheat, simply cook through adding the chicken back to the sauce, then cool slightly, cover and refrigerate right in the skillet. When ready to serve, gently heat over low heat until re-warmed.
Store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days or it should also freeze well up to 3 months.
Get the Recipe: Classic Chicken Marsala
- 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
For the marsala sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 medium shallots, finely diced, can substitute red or yellow onion
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 8-10 oz button or cremini mushrooms, or a mix of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Tip! This dish cooks quickly over high heat and it's of great benefit to have all your ingredients measured and handy beside the stove, to add to the hot skillet as needed.
- Halve the chicken breasts lengthwise. Using a meat pounder, rolling pin or a heavy skillet, pound the pieces until evenly thick. Season with salt and pepper. Add the 1/3 cup of flour to a plate and lightly coat (dredge) each piece of chicken in flour, shaking off the excess. Set aside while the skillet heats.
- In a heavy-bottomed large skillet, heat the 3 Tbsp olive oil together with the 1 Tbsp butter over medium-high heat (or a touch higher even). When the butter is foaming, add the floured chicken cutlets, adding only as many as will fit flat with an inch at least in between. (Do in batches, if necessary). Cook until the underside is golden, then flip and cook the other side as well, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
- Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp butter in the pan. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook 15 seconds more. Add the mushrooms and cook until all of the mushroom liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the Marsala. Allow the Marsala to boil until almost completely evaporated.
- Once the Marsala has almost completely evaporated, add the chicken broth and cook until the mixture is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream. Return the chicken to the pan and allow it to simmer with sauce to re-warm. Taste the sauce and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
- If desired, garnish with chopped parsley or fresh thyme leaves (or dried thyme leaves).
More Recipes with Marsala to Love!
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!