Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream

Quick and EasyLow CarbChicken BreastMarsala

This Chicken Marsala is so creamy, and so good! Learn how to make Chicken Marsala with breaded chicken cutlets in a Marsala wine, pancetta, and cream sauce. The secret is in the pancetta!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian American dish that sounds fancy and is perfect for a dinner party, but believe it or not, chicken Marsala is also easy enough to make for a midweek meal.

Traditionally, chicken Marsala is chicken cutlets dredged in flour and fried, served with a sauce made with a Marsala reduction. It often includes mushrooms.

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chicken marsala with pancetta and cream

Chicken Marsala Special Ingredient: Pancetta

This recipe for chicken marsala is a favorite of my father’s and is adapted from one he found in Fine Cooking magazine years ago. It doesn’t have mushrooms (though you could easily add them) and gets tons of flavor from Italian pancetta.

Pancetta is a lot like bacon (but better!); it’s the same cut, but salt-cured, not smoked.

My father has been known to substitute bacon for the pancetta in this Chicken Marsala recipe, which also works, and is a little easier on the wallet. (According to him, “one can’t live on pancetta alone.”) He also sometimes switches out the Marsala for dry vermouth.

Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta (about one 1/4-inch thick slice), cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion (or shallots)
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • 1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut or pounded into thin cutlets
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


1 Cook the pancetta: Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook until lightly browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.

how to cook chicken marsala with pancetta diced pancetta for chicken marsala recipe

2 Cook the onions or shallots: Add the onions or shallots and cook until translucent and lightly browned (5 to 10 minutes for onions, if using shallots lower the heat to medium and cook a minute or two).

Remove the onions from the pan, leaving any remaining fat in the pan. Add the onions to the cooked pancetta and set aside.

cook onions in pan for chicken marsala

3 Prepare chicken for dredging: Put flour on a shallow plate for dredging. Pat the chicken cutlets dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the skillet on medium high heat. You should have about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan from the pancetta, if not add more olive oil to the pan.

sprinkle chicken cutlets with salt and pepper for chicken marsala

4 Dredge and cook the chicken: When the fat in the pan is hot (test it to make sure by sprinkling a tiny bit of flour in the pan, it should sizzle), dredge a chicken cutlet in the flour on both sides, shake off the excess and place in the hot pan. Continue with as many cutlets as can fit in the pan without crowding.

Sauté until just browned, on both sides. It should only take a minute or two. Cook all of the cutlets in the same way, adding more olive oil to the pan if necessary. Remove the cooked cutlets to a plate.

5 Make the sauce: Pour off any excess fat. Add the marsala to the hot pan to deglaze it, scraping up any browned bits. Let the marsala boil away until it reduces by a quarter or a half and stir in the cream. Let boil until the sauce thickens.

6 Coat chicken cutlets in sauce: Return the chicken cutlets, the pancetta, and onions to the pan and turn to coat with the creamy Marsala sauce. Reheat for 1/2 a minute.

Creamy Chicken marsala ready to serve

Serve the cutlets with the sauce and a little freshly chopped parsley.

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Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine.


Pollo al Marsala from Bell'Alimento

Marsala from Ryan's Cafe - video and recipe from Chef John of Food Wishes

Chicken Marsala from She Wears Many Hats

Dinner Party Chicken Marsala from The Kitchn

chicken marsala with pancetta and cream

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

50 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Traci

    WoW. Been making your recipes for a while now
    When ever I look for a recipe I go to your sight first
    Made Chicken Marsala tonight for the first time
    Amazing followed the recipe & added 1/2 cup of mushrooms with the onions. Fantastic


  2. Malika Broadus

    How would one proceed if they wanted to double the sauce?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. EdwardG

    I used 18% “table cream” because that’s what I had on hand but it curdled instantly and the whole thing was a mess. I think the instructions need a special note at the bottom to inform people that anything with a lower fat content than heavy cream will curdle.

  4. Janice Adams

    After reading all these fantastic reviews on this dish I think ?I’ve got to try it, can you suggest what you would serve with it as I’ve got a family dinner to cook Sunday for 9 people thought I would try this dish.

    Show Replies (2)
  5. Keri

    this was absolutely wonderful!


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