Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream

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

A table set with easy chicken marsala, drinks, and silvereware.
Eliezer Martinez

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.

What Is Chicken Marsala?

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

Overhead view of a skillet of easy chicken marsala.
Eliezer Martinez

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.

Overhead view of a plate of easy chicken marsala.
Eliezer Martinez

Tips for Storing and Reheating Chicken Marsala

Leftover chicken Marsala can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days. Reheat the chicken and sauce in a pan with a lid over medium heat until just heated through.

To freeze chicken Marsala, put the chicken and sauce in a freezer-safe zip top bag with the air removed. Freeze for up to three months. Defrost the chicken. Once defrosted, reheat the chicken and sauce in a pan with a lid over medium heat until just heated through.

Wondering What To Serve with Chicken Marsala? Try These Ideas!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 3 to 4 servings

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking.

Tawny Port, Dry Madeira, Dry vermouth, or fino Sherry will work as substitutions for the Marsala if you don't have it.



Ingredients

  • 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 all-purpose flour, for dredging

  • 1 pound 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

Method

  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.

    Sauteeing pancetta to make an easy chicken marsala recipe.
    Britney Willson
  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.

    Sauteeing onions to make an easy chicken marsala recipe.
    Britney Willson
  3. Prepare the chicken for dredging:

    Put flour on a shallow plate for dredging. Pat the chicken cutlets dry with a paper towel 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.

  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.

    Chicken breast set in a plate with breading to make creamy chicken marsala.
    Britney Willson
    Pan frying chicken to make creamy chicken marsala.
    Britney Willson
  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.

    Making the sauce for a chicken marsala recipe.
    Britney Willson
  6. Coat the 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.

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

    Adding chicken to the sauce for a chicken marsala recipe.
    Britney Willson
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
460 Calories
23g Fat
19g Carbs
39g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 460
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 10g 48%
Cholesterol 132mg 44%
Sodium 449mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 454mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.