Chicken Marsala is one of those main entrees that is a restaurant staple. The flavorful mushrooms, the savory sauce, the tender chicken. Feels too hard to accomplish at home right?
Nope! This recipe for easy chicken marsala is as simple as it gets! I find it’s one of the best chicken recipes to make right in your own kitchen! No need to head out to any fancy restaurants, you can have restaurant quality right at home with this!
Recipe Pairing Ideas:
- Start your evening with my Cream of Celery Soup Recipe with Parmesan Tuille
- For side dishes try my Smashed Potatoes, Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, or my Twice Baked Potatoes
- For dessert, try my Flourless Chocolate Cake or my Pear Almond Tart
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What is Chicken Marsala?
Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian chicken dish that consists of pounded chicken cutlets, sauteed mushrooms in a rich marsala wine sauce.
First, you’ll begin by prepping the mushrooms. For this Chicken Marsala recipe, I like to use cremini mushrooms, because I think they have the best flavor, but you could also use white button mushrooms as well.
What is the Best Way to Clean Mushrooms?
- The secret to cleaning mushrooms is to avoid “submerging them” in water.
- Mushrooms are extremely porous, think of them like little sponges and they will absorb any water you put on them and then release it when they cook. This will create a bit of a soupy-mushroom-mess!
- Instead of beautifully browned mushrooms, which is the hallmark of a great chicken marsala if you ask me! The better way to clean mushrooms is to use a damp paper towel to “clean” them of any dirt or debris.
Pre-Sliced vs Slicing Mushrooms
I find it’s better to do the slicing at home, as opposed to buying them already sliced. This will assure you will get a nice thin slice, which helps in the browning stage. I find thicker slices don’t brown as well as thinner ones.
What’s the Best Way to Brown Mushrooms?
- Browning mushrooms is a bit of science that can take some practice. But I find I get the best success when I use a large non-stick pan, and sautee them in butter.
- The size of the pan should be at least 10″ to allow the mushroom room to spread out and brown. If they are too crowded they will steam up and not get the proper browning.
- The browning brings out the best flavor on the mushrooms so it pays to spend some time perfecting the technique. Once they are browned you can place them in a bowl until it’s time to add them to the sauce.
Pounding the Chicken
Chicken marsala works best when the chicken is pounded thinly into a cutlet. This allows the chicken to cook quickly and retains its moisture. You can either buy the chicken already pounded or pound them at home.
Best Way to Pound the Chicken
- You’ll need two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and two sheets of wax paper.
- Slice the chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, starting at the meatier side of the breast.
- It’s easier to get the midway point from this end to assure your cutlets are of even thickness.
- A uniform thickness will help your chicken cook at the same rate.
Salting the Chicken
It’s important to salt them at this stage on both sides. Allowing your chicken to be “pre-salted” for at least 20 minutes before cooking will assure it remains tender and juicy. The salt works wonders!
Then place the second sheet of wax paper on top, and pound the chicken thin with a rolling pin or a meat mallet.
The Benefits of Flour Dredging
The other secret to a juicy piece of chicken is to lightly dredge them in a flour and spice mixture just before sauteeing. This helps coat the chicken and protect it from drying out and the spice blend adds additional flavor too.
Low and Slow is the Way to Go
- Another secret to keeping your chicken tender is low heat when sauteeing. To help with this I use a combination of olive oil and butter.
- This oil prevents the butter from burning, and the butter provides the flavor.
- The lower temperature takes more time, but the chicken will remain tender and juicy and so for me, it’s worth the wait!
At this stage you don’t need to cook the chicken all the way through, it’s just to sear the outer coating to create the protective layer.
Braising the Chicken
The last step to getting a juicy piece of chicken is to finish the chicken by braising it in the marsala wine sauce. This is the stage where the chicken should cook all the way through, gently in the wine sauce.
What Can You Substitute for Marsala Wine?
If you don’t have Marsala wine in the house you could also use a little dry sherry. If you wanted to omit the wine altogether you could just add more chicken broth, the same amount as the marsala wine.
Simmer the Sauce and Thicken it
The chicken will cook through while simmering in the sauce. Once it’s done, you can thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry.
How To Make a Cornstarch Slurry
- The best ratio for a cornstarch slurry is 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of very cold water, then whisk to combine.
- The secret to getting a slurry to work is to make sure your sauce is boiling as you add the slurry.
- Add the slurry in stages, thickening as you go. If the sauce is very hot and you add the full amount, it could thicken too quickly.
- Once it’s reached the desired thickness you can stop, and in fact, you may not need to use the full amount.
- It’s really a personal preference for how thick you like the sauce.
- The final step is to add some fresh flat-leaf parsley which adds great freshness against the richness of the marsala wine sauce and the mushrooms.
For a Creamier Marsala Sauce
You can make a creamier version of chicken marsala by adding 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to the marsala sauce after it’s thickened.
More Delicious Mushroom Recipes!
- Chicken and Mushroom Crepes
- Mushroom Ragout with Creamy Polenta
- Cream of Mushroom Soup
- White Wine Chicken
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- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half and pounded
- ¼ cup (30 g) flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ tsp (2.5ml) Italian Seasoning or dried basil
- 2 tbsp (30g) butter, separated
- 8 oz (230g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbsp (15ml) of oil
- ½ cup (120ml) Dry Marsala Wine
- 1 ¼ cup (300ml) chicken broth
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp (7g) cornstarch
- 1 tbsp (15ml) very cold water
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
- Slice chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, to create thin cutlets and pound thinly between wax paper. Salt chicken to taste on both sides and set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet melt 1 tbsp of the butter and add mushrooms. Allow to brown, not stirring, and shake the pan to turn gently. Once browned, transfer mushrooms to bowl and clean out skillet.
- In a shallow bowl or plate add flour, cracked pepper to taste, and Italian Seasoning. Whisk to combine.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour on both sides and shake off the excess.
- In a large deep skillet on medium-high heat melt 1 tbsp butter and olive oil heat until foamy. Add chicken breasts and cook gently on each side until cooked only halfway through. Transfer to a plate to rest.
- In the same skillet, add marsala wine, scrape the skillet with a wooden spoon. Reduce wine by 1/3 Add chicken broth and garlic. Add back in the chicken and then mushrooms. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- Then whisk water and cornstarch together. Remove the lid of the skillet and the sauce must be bubbling. Then add a little bit of the cornstarch mixture at a time until sauce is thickened as desired. You may not need the full quantity.
- Transfer chicken to a serving platter, spoon mushroom sauce on top. Serve with my mashed or smashed potatoes recipes!
The secret to cleaning mushrooms is to avoid "submerging them" in water. Mushrooms are extremely porous, think of the like little sponges and they will absorb any water you put on them and then release it when the cook. This will create a bit of a soupy-mushroom-mess! The better way to clean mushrooms is to use a damp paper towel to "clean" them of any dirt or debris. This will do the trick and keep them nice and dry and at the same time.
If you don't have Marsala wine in the house you could also use a little dry sherry. If you wanted to omit the wine all together you could just add more chicken broth, the same amount as the marsala wine, making it 1 3/4 cups chicken broth in total.
You can make a creamier version of chicken marsala by adding 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to the marsala sauce after it's thickened.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 84Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 233mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g