Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian dish. Earthy mushrooms and razor-thin chicken scallopine are bathed in a thick, sweet Marsala wine sauce and then topped with fresh parsley. It's pretty standard fare in most Italian restaurants. But I've added a little something extra to my version to take it over the top: salty, smoked prosciutto. It adds another layer of flavor to a dish that is already a delight for your senses.
If you can't find the smoked version just buy regular prosciutto. Smoked prosciutto is often called "speck", so be sure to look out for it.
In the northeastern part of the United States, Italian restaurants are plentiful, and Chicken Marsala is on the menu 99% of the time.
If it's not, you can likely ask your server to make it for you.
For this recipe, you will need chicken cutlets, white button or crimini mushrooms, dry marsala wine, low sodium chicken stock, olive oil, butter, flour, parsley, and smoked prosciutto. A bit of cornstarch works well for thickening the sauce.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Begin by slicing the mushrooms.
- Make strips of the prosciutto and then dice them into small pieces as shown in pic 2.
- Season the flour with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well. Dredge the thin chicken cutlets into the flour and shake off excess. Set the dredged cutlets aside onto a baking pan lined with parchment or wax paper.
- Saute the speck in a large pan over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Once the prosciutto becomes crispy (about 5 minutes) add the mushrooms and saute until they release their water. Remove the mushrooms and prosciutto and set them aside in a bowl.
- To the pan add a bit of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken in batches.
- After a few minutes flip the chicken.
- When the chicken is brown and cooked through remove it from the pan.
- To the pan add the Marsala wine and chicken stock.
- Turn heat to medium-high and using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the flavor bits. Cook for 3 minutes and let the sauce reduce a bit.
- Turn heat to low and add 3 tablespoons of butter. Whisk the butter in and create the sauce. If the sauce is too thin mix 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1-2 ounces of water and add the mixture to the pan. Cook the sauce on medium-high to thicken if using the cornstarch.
- When satisfied with the sauce's consistency, taste test it. Make final adjustments to salt and pepper then add the chicken, mushrooms, and prosciutto back to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes to warm it through, then remove from heat. Add parsley and serve.
Serve Chicken Marsala with rice for the sauce and a green side such as:
- The best green salad - Via Carota-inspired salad with an almost drinkable vinaigrette!
- Sauteed broccoli rabe - Delicious bitter veggie with garlic, olive oil, and hot red pepper.
- String beans with garlic and oil - Crisp green beans with garlic and oil.
- Garlic spinach - Less than 10 minutes to make!
- Italian broccoli - Tender broccoli florets with garlic and olive oil.
- Chicken - Use thinly sliced chicken cutlets. Cutting them into smaller pieces allows more surface area of the chicken to receive the flour during dredging. This will help thicken the sauce somewhat.
- Dredging - Season the flour with a lot of salt and pepper or the chicken pieces individually before searing. Chicken needs a lot of salt. Also, setting up a dredging station makes the prep process easier. Placing all the cutlets onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper allows you to more efficiently move onto the searing step. The same process works even better when making chicken Milanese.
- Pan - If the pan gets a little brown (you can see mine did in the steps) either clean it midway through cooking or grab another pan.
- Sauce - Cornstarch can thicken the sauce quite easily. 1-2 tablespoons will do the trick with the amount of liquid the recipe calls for.
- Keep the chicken and mushrooms warm - Once these are prepped, just use a foil tent to keep it warm until you're ready to eat. All you have to do is add them into the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes more to have a piping hot dish.
Chicken Marsala can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop at medium to medium-low heat. If using the stovetop and the sauce is a bit dry add a bit of water or chicken stock (2-3 ounces) to loosen it right up.
Substitutions and additions
Pork and veal can be used in place of the chicken. Omitting the smoked prosciutto is fine too. If you want to serve this over pasta just double the sauce ingredients.
More thin cutlet Italian chicken recipes
- Chicken saltimbocca - Thin cutlets with prosciutto and sage in an easy wine sauce.
- Chicken pizzaiola - Chicken cutlets with peppers, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, and white wine.
- Chicken Milanese - Large thin chicken cutlets, breaded and fried, and topped with an easy tomato salad.
- Creamy sun dried tomato chicken - Spinach, sun dried tomatoes, white wine, and basil in an easy cream sauce.
- Chicken parmigiana - Fried chicken cutlets topped with tomato sauce, melted mozzarella, and plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Chicken Sorrentino - Layers of eggplant, fontina cheese, and prosciutto in a Marsala tomato butter sauce.
- Italian chicken with capers and tomatoes - Super simple dish in a vinegary caper and cherry tomato sauce - a weeknight staple in our home!
- Chicken Valdostana - Thin chicken cutlets with melty cheese and prosciutto in a white wine sauce.
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- 1.5 pounds chicken cutlets thinly sliced
- 10 ounces mushrooms sliced
- ¼ pound smoked prosciutto
- ¾ cup dry Marsala wine
- ¾ cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 5 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons parsley minced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- In a large shallow bowl mix salt and pepper into flour. Dip chicken cutlets into flour and shake off excess. Set coated cutlets on a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet.
- In a large pan saute the prosciutto over medium heat for 5 minutes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they release their water (about 5 minutes). Set mushrooms and prosciutto aside in a bowl tented with foil.
- In the same pan add a bit more olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the chicken in batches (about 3 minutes per side) until browned. Work in batches adding more oil and butter if required. Set all chicken aside in a plate and tent with foil.
- To the pan add the Marsala wine and chicken stock. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the flavor bits. Turn heat to medium-high and cook for 3-5 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced.
- Turn heat to low and add the remaining butter. Swirl it around or whisk to form the sauce. If the sauce is not thick enough add a slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 ounce of water. Turn heat to high and stir until thickened (about 1 minute). When satisfied with the sauce's consistency, taste test and make final adjustments to salt and pepper levels.
- Finally, add the chicken, mushrooms, and prosciutto back to the pan and heat through for 1-2 minutes until hot. Top with parsley and serve. Enjoy!
- Chicken – Small, thinly-sliced chicken cutlet pieces, aka scallopine, work best.
- Dredging – Season the flour well with salt and pepper and set aside the dredged chicken pieces for easier cooking.
- Pan – If the pan gets a little brown (you can see mine did in the steps) either clean it midway through cooking or grab another pan.
- Sauce – Use a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce if required. 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1-2 ounces of water will be more than adequate.