Chef John’s Chicken Marsala Recipe

Background and History

Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian-American dish featuring pan-fried chicken cutlets in a rich Marsala wine and mushroom sauce. Named after Marsala, a fortified wine from Sicily, this dish has become a staple in Italian-American cuisine. The origins of Chicken Marsala date back to the 19th century when Italian immigrants brought their culinary traditions to America, blending Old World flavors with New World ingredients. Chef John’s rendition of this timeless recipe emphasizes simplicity and depth of flavor, making it a favorite for both home cooks and professional chefs alike.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges (for serving)

Useful and Interesting Facts

Marsala Wine

Marsala wine is a fortified wine from Sicily, known for its deep, rich flavor. It comes in both sweet and dry varieties; dry Marsala is typically used for savory dishes like Chicken Marsala.

Flavor Profile

This dish balances the umami of mushrooms with the sweet and nutty notes of Marsala wine, creating a harmonious and indulgent sauce.


Chicken Marsala can be served over pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes, making it a versatile dish for various occasions.




  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes

Cooking Time

30 minutes


Prepare the Chicken

  • Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally to create 4 thin cutlets.
  • Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge the cutlets in flour, shaking off any excess.

Cook the Chicken

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken cutlets and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

Cook the Mushrooms

  • In the same skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture and become golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Deglaze the Pan

  • Pour in the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  • Cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes.

Make the Sauce

  • Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the butter until melted and the sauce is smooth.

Combine and Serve

  • Return the chicken cutlets to the skillet and simmer for another 5 minutes until heated through.
  • Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
  • Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories: 400
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 120mg
  • Sodium: 600mg
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 2g


  • Marsala Wine Substitute: If Marsala wine is unavailable, you can substitute with Madeira wine or a dry sherry.
  • Thickening the Sauce: If you prefer a thicker sauce, let it simmer for a bit longer to reduce further or add a small slurry of cornstarch and water.
  • Serving Suggestions: Pair with pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes, and a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad.

Allergy Warning

  • Dairy: This recipe contains dairy from the heavy cream and butter.
  • Gluten: Contains gluten from the all-purpose flour used for dredging the chicken. Use gluten-free flour if needed.
  • Alcohol: Contains alcohol from the Marsala wine. The alcohol content cooks off, but if you are sensitive to alcohol, consider a non-alcoholic substitute.

What is chicken Marsala made of?

Chicken Marsala is made of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Marsala wine, mushrooms, chicken broth, heavy cream, butter, and seasonings such as garlic, salt, and pepper.

What is chicken Marsala served over?

Chicken Marsala is typically served over pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice. It can also be accompanied by a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh green salad.

Who makes Marsala sauce?

Marsala sauce is usually made by the cook or chef preparing the dish. It is created by combining Marsala wine with mushrooms, chicken broth, heavy cream, and seasonings, then cooking it until it thickens into a rich sauce.

Which Marsala is best for chicken Marsala?

Dry Marsala wine is best for making chicken Marsala, as it provides a rich, savory flavor that complements the dish. Sweet Marsala can be used, but it will impart a sweeter taste to the sauce.

What is Marsala in Indian cooking?

In Indian cooking, “Masala” refers to a mixture of spices. It is different from Marsala wine used in Chicken Marsala. Masala can be used in a variety of dishes to add depth and complexity of flavor.

What kind of wine is Marsala?

Marsala is a fortified wine from Sicily, Italy. It is available in both dry and sweet varieties and is known for its rich, complex flavor.

What is a substitute for Marsala?

A good substitute for Marsala wine is Madeira wine or dry sherry. You can also use a mixture of dry white wine and brandy or a combination of grape juice and vinegar for a non-alcoholic alternative.

Is Marsala wine alcoholic?

Yes, Marsala wine is alcoholic. It is a fortified wine, which means it has a higher alcohol content compared to regular table wines.

Do you cook Marsala dry or sweet?

For cooking chicken Marsala, dry Marsala wine is typically used. It adds a savory depth to the sauce that complements the flavors of the chicken and mushrooms.

How to make chicken Marsala thicker?

To make chicken Marsala thicker, you can simmer the sauce longer to reduce it, or add a slurry made of cornstarch and water. Stir the slurry into the sauce and cook until it reaches the desired consistency.

Tarquin Pemberton
Tarquin Pemberton, the culinary virtuoso behind this site, carries the distinguished title of Sous-Chef Sensation. With a flair for creating culinary masterpieces, Tarquin brings his expertise to the world of pet cuisine. His site is a treasure trove for pet owners seeking gourmet and health-conscious recipes to delight their beloved companions. Tarquin's passion for crafting exquisite meals is evident in the delectable and thoughtfully curated content he shares. For those who aspire to treat their pets to a culinary adventure, Tarquin Pemberton's site is a testament to the artistry and skill of a sous-chef dedicated to the gastronomic happiness of our four-legged friends.