Chicken Marsala

Heather says:

There’s a rule of thumb when cooking dishes that involve wine: don’t use anything you wouldn’t drink.

What if you don’t drink wine or what if you just don’t like the kind of wine called for in a recipe? I know if you look at my wine rack, you’ll usually only find cab, shiraz, or red zin. Sometimes I’ll buy a bottle of white for my mom

Did you know, if you use red wine to make a chicken dish, you end up with tasty, but bizarre looking chicken—it’s purple! You can call it chicken rocio if you want to be fancy, but we’re hardly fancy and usually refer to it as alien chicken. It works for a quick dinner, but it sure isn’t chicken marsala, one of my favorite, if rarely made chicken dishes.

In these cases I resort to shelf-stable wine. *GASP* It works for us, if you want to go out and buy a bottle of marsala, by all means, go ahead. I typically use Holland House, it’s carried at all of my local grocey stores and I know it works. 

I do want to note, for my gluten free readers that all of the Holland House Cooking Wines and all, except for the Malt Vinegar, of their premium vinegar line are gluten-free. Nice. Unfortunately, this recipe for chicken marsala as written isn’t, but the availability of excellent gf all purpose flours means it is a very easy substitution, just swap out the flour with your favorite GF blend. 

Chicken marsala is a classic comfort food and one of my favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I do.

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Chicken Marsala

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup seasoned flour (add a pinch each of: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and dried basil. Stir)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP butter – divided into 1, 1, and 2 TBSP portions
  • 3/4 cup Holland House Marsala Wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced – baby portabellas, crimini, shittake or even button
  • salt / pepper to taste
  • optional green onions for garnish


Cut each chicken breast in half, cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and pound thin with a mallet, empty wine bottle, or rolling pin.

Pro-Tip Pounding the chicken breasts physically breaks down the muscle tissue, leaving you with tender chicken you won’t ever need a knife to cut. Don’t skip that step, go ahead and take out some of the day’s frustrations. It’ll be worth every whack.

Heat your pan over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and 1 TBSP of the butter to the pan. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, shake off the excess.

Cook the chicken 2 – 3 minutes a side in the hot pan. Then set aside. You’ll need to cook the chicken in two – three batches to avoid crowding the pan too much.

When the chicken has been browned and set aside, add 1 TBSP of butter to the pan, then the 3 cups of mushrooms.

Cook the mushrooms until they start to sweat. If your pan starts to dry up too much, turn the heat down a little and cover. When the mushrooms are golden brown around the edges, releasing their liquid magic, it’s time to add the 3/4 cup of marsala wine.

Simmer until about half the liquid is gone, then add the 1 cup of chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, simmer for 3 minutes and add the chicken back to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Now, scoot all of the chicken and mushrooms over to one side of the pan and add the final 2 TBSP of butter plus any salt and pepper you’d like to the sauce. Swirl it a bit, then mix the chicken back through the richer sauce to make sure every piece gets its fair share and serve.

This dish can be served over noodles or mashed potatoes, or skip the starch entirely and just serve next to a pile of roasted broccoli.

This recipe for Chicken Marsala is easily modified for those who need a gluten free version




  1. HeatherSolos on August 15, 2011 at 9:44 am

    @tybaltknight Absolutely, that’s a perfectly fine substitution. That’s the fun of cooking, in my opinion, the ability to play with recipes to suit what you have and your specific tastes.

  2. tybaltknight on August 15, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Could one make this with oyster mushrooms instead? I’ve had a bunch from Mepkin Abbey just sitting in the fridge because I couldn’t think of a single recipe I liked with mushrooms.

  3. HeatherSolos on August 15, 2011 at 9:32 am

    @Jo-Lynne Shane Yes and marsala over mashed potatoes? Comfort food heaven. 🙂

  4. Jo-Lynne Shane on August 15, 2011 at 9:30 am

    This is awesome. I hate to spend all out doors on a bottle of marsala wine that I won’t ever use up. I’ll try the cooking wine for sure. And this could easily be adapted for us G-Free types using G-free all purpose flour.

  5. mom2krb on June 7, 2011 at 10:04 am

    If using a drinking white wine and not the marsala wine, is there any other spice for flavoring that might be needed?

  6. Lin on February 2, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Used your recipe tonight and it was delish! Love your site, thanks for posting all your tips!

  7. Mike on December 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I have Reese Marsala cooking wine in my pantry. I bought it for a recipe years ago and have never used it since. Thank you for giving me reason to use it up.

  8. Mrs. Jen B on December 10, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Funny – I adore chicken marsala but have never prepared it. I mean, chicken + wine + mushrooms + pasta (which I would inevitably serve it with)? I think that equals love in my book. I have to try this now!
    My recent post The Biggest Nerd of All

    • HeatherSolos on December 11, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      It's one of those recipes that takes forever to write up, but the actual dish itself will be done in about the time it takes to boil the pasta. (I'd set the water to boil after the chicken has been cut and pounded) and the first few are in the pan browning.

  9. candice on December 9, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    what if you hate mushrooms? 😉
    My recent post new job…

    • Carol Shive Mirek on December 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm

      I hate eating mushrooms, but I love the flavor of marsala. I throw all my mushrooms out, after I cook with them :).

  10. Eugene Mah on December 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    (looks yummy)

  11. Eugene Mah on December 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Are their cooking wines like other cooking wines that usually contain other things like salt? Most cooking wines I've encountered aren't anything you could actually drink, but work for cooking and seasoning.

    • HeatherSolos on December 9, 2010 at 10:26 pm

      They do contain salt. If I was using an actual marsala wine, I'd probably add additional salt to the recipe.

    • HeatherSolos on December 10, 2010 at 9:38 am

      Also, the salt acts as a preservative. I don't know about other households, but if I buy a bottle of wine for cooking specifically, it tends to go bad.
      I know, I could freeze it in an ice cube tray. . .
      Sometimes shelf stable is really nice.

      • casey on December 10, 2010 at 10:00 am

        I made a duck stew a few weeks ago that called for 1/2 cup of wine. I'm not a big wine drinker so I didn't want to open a whole bottle. I went to the local grocery store and they sold pint size wine bottles (package of 4) for about the same price as a full bottle. So I used part of one bottle for the stew. I did end up drinking the rest (about a glassful) but even if I hadn't I would've only wasted a little bit of wine instead of a whole bottle.

        • HeatherSolos on December 10, 2010 at 10:03 am

          I've seen that for basic whites and reds, but never for something like marsala. I'm sure it depends on the store. Those are definitely a good option for some things.

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