Chicken Marsala

$12.52 recipe / $3.13 serving
by Jess Rice
4.75 from 4 votes
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I love taking classic recipes and adapting them to be budget-friendly, and chicken Marsala is my latest endeavor. This Chicken Marsala recipe is so rich and flavorful, you won’t believe it didn’t come from your favorite Italian restaurant. Your family will be begging for this easy dinner recipe on repeat because it’s just that good!

partial overhead view of chicken marsala in a pan.

What is Chicken Marsala?

Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian dish, made from thinly sliced and pounded chicken breasts coated in a wine-based sauce enriched with butter and mushrooms. The mushrooms add what’s known as umami taste, a meaty, savory flavor that makes this dish so craveable.

Chicken Marsala Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make chicken marsala:

  • Vegetable Oil: Helps to cook the chicken and vegetables without burning them. Canola or olive oil also works well here.
  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the classic choice for this recipe. Slice them in half and pound them to create what’s known as escalopes.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and Italian herb seasoning add classic Italian flavor to the chicken.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour creates wonderful browning on the chicken breasts and helps to thicken up the sauce.
  • Mushrooms: We highly suggest using baby bella mushrooms because they have a rich flavor and add earthiness to the dish.
  • White Onion: Cooked white onion adds a touch of sweetness. Yellow or sweet onion will also work, so use whatever you have on hand.
  • Chicken Broth: Forms the savory base of the sauce. We used bouillon because it’s super budget-friendly. Vegetable bouillon or broth is also fine.
  • Marsala Cooking Wine: This has unique sweet, rich, and smoky notes and gives this chicken its signature flavor. Cooking wine is much more budget-friendly than straight Marsala wine since it is shelf-stable so none will go to waste!
  • Butter: Salted butter enriches the sauce, making it glossy and rich.
  • Italian Parsley: Adds a pop of color and freshness to this dish.

What can you use instead of Marsala wine for chicken Marsala?

Can’t find Marsala cooking wine? Try using ¼ cup balsamic vinegar and ¼ cup white grape juice instead. There are red and white marsala varieties out there, but the red kind (sweeter) is what’s typically used in Chicken Marsala. You can also use straight Marsala wine instead of cooking wine.

Does the alcohol cook off in Chicken Marsala?

The process of reducing the sauce will evaporate the alcohol in Marsala wine, but if you’re serving this to kids, you may want to use the balsamic/grape juice alternative. Studies from the FDA show that wine simmered for 15 minutes may still contain up to 40% of its alcohol content. Designated “cooking wines” are not meant to be drunk but they are not alcohol-free. They contain salt and other preservatives which extend their shelf life.

What to Serve with Chicken Marsala

We served our chicken Marsala with cooked bowtie pasta, also known as Farfalle. Any kind of noodle will work, or try olive oil mashed potatoes for a different take. Add a side of lemon butter green beans or lemon garlic roasted asparagus for a well-rounded meal.

overhead view of chicken marsala in a white dish with bowtie pasta.
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Chicken Marsala

4.75 from 4 votes
This budget-friendly chicken Marsala recipe is so rich and flavorful, you won't believe it didn't come from your favorite Italian restaurant!
Author: Jess Rice
overhead view of chicken marsala in a pan.
Servings 4
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided ($0.12)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($5.69)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian herb seasoning blend ($0.30)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour ($0.16)
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced (roughly 2 cups) ($2.08)
  • ½ white onion, julienned ($0.39)
  • 1 cup chicken broth ($0.09)
  • ½ cup Marsala cooking wine ($3.20)
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter ($0.27)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced ($0.12)
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Instructions 

  • Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Place one chicken breast at a time in a heavy-duty freezer bag (unsealed) and use a tenderizing mallet (or a rolling pin… whatever is safe and sturdy that you have on hand) to hammer each one 1/4" thin, starting in the thicker middle part of the breasts and working your way to the ends. Repeat this process until all breast pieces are 1/4" thick and equally flat.
  • Combine ½ tsp salt, black pepper, dried Italian herb seasoning, and all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl, reserving 1 Tbsp of flour. Lightly coat the chicken breasts in the seasoning mixture and shake off excess flour. Transfer to a clean plate.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken breasts and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. Try to not crowd your pan! You can do this in 2 batches if you need to. Once the chicken is cooked, transfer to a clean plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Turn the heat down to medium. Add 1 tsp sea salt, sliced mushrooms and onions. Spread them out on the pan, flipping as needed so each mushroom piece browns, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon as you go; the browned bits on the bottom become a tasty part of your sauce!
  • Add the Marsala wine and broth to the pan, scraping the browned bits off the bottom again. Simmer until the liquid reduces by 1/3, about 4 minutes on medium-high heat.
  • Now, make a slurry with your reserved 1 Tbsp of flour; whisk the flour with a small amount of water or liquid from your cooking pan until there are no lumps. Then, whisk in the flour “slurry”, minced parsley, and butter until it has completely melted. Finally, add the chicken cutlets back, flipping them halfway, cooking for another 4 minutes total. Let the sauce thicken while the chicken finishes cooking in the sauce.
  • Garnish with additional minced parsley and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy over any pasta you have on hand!

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Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 407kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 29gFat: 19gSodium: 1280mgFiber: 2g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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overhead view of chicken marsala in a pan.

how to make Chicken Marsala – step by step photos

A rolling pin pounding chicken breasts to even thickness on an orange cutting board.

Cut 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Place one chicken breast at a time in a heavy-duty freezer bag (unsealed) and use a tenderizing mallet (or a rolling pin… whatever is safe and sturdy that you have on hand) to hammer each one 1/4″ thin, starting in the thicker middle part of the breasts and working your way to the ends. Repeat this process until all breast pieces are 1/4″ thick and equally flat.

dredging chicken breasts in seasoned flour.

Combine ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 Tbsp dried Italian herb seasoning, and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl, reserving 1 Tbsp of flour. Lightly coat the chicken breasts in the seasoning mixture and shake off excess flour. Transfer to a clean plate.

2 chicken breasts cooking in a pan.

Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken breasts and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. Try to not crowd your pan! You can do this in 2 batches if you need to.

sliced onions and mushrooms in a pan.

Turn the heat down to medium. Add 1 tsp sea salt, 8 oz. sliced mushrooms, and ½ julienned onion. Spread them out on the pan, flipping as needed so each side browns, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon as you go; the browned bits on the bottom become a tasty part of your sauce!

marsala wine poured over mushrooms and onions in a pan.

Add ½ cup Marsala wine and 1 cup broth to a cup. Pour it into the pan, scraping the browned bits off the bottom again. (I combined the broth and Marsala wine and added them at the same time.) Simmer until the liquid reduces by 1/3, about 4 minutes on medium-high heat.

butter added to marsala sauce in a pan.

Now, make a slurry with your reserved 1 Tbsp of flour; whisk the flour with a small amount of hot water or liquid from your cooking pan until there are no lumps. Then, whisk in the flour “slurry”, 2 Tbsp minced parsley, and 2 Tbsp salted butter until it has completely melted. Finally, add the chicken cutlets back, flipping them halfway, cooking for another 4 minutes total. Let the sauce thicken while the chicken finishes cooking in the sauce.

chicken marsala in a pan.

Garnish with additional minced parsley and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Pour over your favorite pasta and enjoy!

a fork holding a piece of chicken marsala above a shallow dish.

This chicken Marsala recipe is even better than your favorite Italian restaurant!

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  1. Excellent recipe! I followed it to the letter on ingredients. I did one change on technique: after pounding chicken I cut into bite sized pieces. I did this because 2 of us were sharing a half recipe. I added cooked spaghetti noodle for the last 2 min. Huge hit! Thank you!

  2. The chicken marsala recipe sounds divine! It’s what I usually order when we eat out, which is rarely, these days. Just wanted to let you know that the link for the fresh cracked black pepper leads to an ad for Lea and Perrins Worcestershire! I love that, too, but I was looking for the pepper! Love this site and always read “Here’s what we’ve been cooking up this week!” when it hits my email. I have used quite a few of your recipes and will continue to do so. Please keep providing such good eatin’!

  3. This looks delicious. Personally, I’m not the least bit bothered by the flavor of cooking wines. They taste the same in the recipe to me as regular wine so I’d rather save the money. Someone with a more sensitive palate to wine may disagree. I have accidentally used sweet marsala in a veal marsala recipe…bad idea! For the cost, I’d choose the $4 dry marsala cooking wine over a $10-25 of regular wine; that’s about 1/2 my weekly cost of groceries for one ingredient.

  4. My version I’ll generally use whatever wine I have on hand, a semi/dry white and it works very well. Sometimes I serve over white or jasmine rice and it’s so good. My husband hates mushrooms so when it’s his late shift at the hospital this is a go to :)

  5. Sweet Marsala is NOT right for this dish. Dry Marsala lends a much more savory flavor.

    Salted cooking wine . . . just YUCK. Never cook with a wine you would not drink.

    Otherwise, your recipe looks good!

    1. I SO agree with you about horrible salted cooking wine! Fortified wines such as Marsala, Madeira, and Sherry have higher alcohol content than dinner wines and can keep in the refrigerator for several months. An ok 3/4 liter bottle such as Taylor can usually be found in a supermarket for under $10 and a splash provides a delicious accent to sauteed mushrooms, onion soup, and other recipes. Although they don’t taste quite the same, I treat these varieties as interchangeable. A better bottle will only cost $20-25. Enough for 6 recipes, a bottle never lasts long enough in my fridge to spoil. The sauce needs to simmer long enough for the alcohol taste to cook out, a step many restaurants seem to skip to the great decrement of this recipe. It’s been a budget fave in my family for more than 50 years and I never worried about trace alcohol invading the bodies of my children or grandchildren. Restaurants seem unconcerned, rarely cook the sauces long enough for the alcohol in the wine to properly evaporate, and serve them to kids all the time.

      This recipe is also a delicious way to cook economical pork cutlets.