Chicken Thighs Marsala for Two is a quick and easy one skillet meal for a romantic date night, or a casual weeknight dinner.

Chiucken Thighs in a creamy Marsala mushroom sauce

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Most nights I’m just cooking for Grant and me, so I’m ahead of the game when it comes to dinners for two, romantic or otherwise.  Simple dinner’s for two are nice because everything fits in a cast iron skillet, and it takes just a few minutes to prep and cook.  We eat at 6:30 and honestly most nights I  don’t get into the kitchen until around 6.  Since we watch the nightly news with dinner (not so romantic, I know) I have to get things organized by 6:30 or we’ll miss something huge, I just know it.

mushroom sauteeing for Chicken Thighs Marsala

There is 1 pan, and 3 stages to this recipe — first the chicken thighs get browned over a high heat to kick start the cooking and give them a nice golden color.  Then the shallots, garlic and mushroom saute, and finally you’ll make the sauce right in the same pan and add back the chicken for a final few minutes of cooking in the oven.  You can also finish if off on the stove if you like.

Crispy Chicken Thighs in a creamy Marsala mushroom sauce

Marsala sauce is an easy way to give instant elegance to dinner.  I’ve said this a lot before, but the combination of shallots, mushrooms, garlic, cream, and Marsala wine (you can also use a dry Sherry) gives instant fancy restaurant appeal to the most basic chicken.  Marsala is a fortified wine, which just means that is has a higher alcohol content than regular wine.  It’s used in chicken dishes like this, and in risottos and even tiramisus.  You’ll recognize the flavor instantly.  Add fresh thyme and you will get rave reviews, no question.

Chicken Thighs Marsala for Two


  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb small mushrooms, I used a combination of white button and brown cremini
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine (or dry Sherry)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh thyme


  1. Set oven to 375F
  2. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Cut off the ends of the stems, and slice them, rather thickly. You can simply cut small mushrooms in half.
  3. Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat until quite hot. Brush the skin side of the thighs with a little olive oil and, when the pan is good and hot, but not smoking, brown the thighs, skin down, for about 5 minutes or until they have a nice brown color. Remove them to a plate.
  4. Wipe out any burnt bits and add 2 Tbsp of the butter to the pan. Saute the garlic and the shallots for about 5 minutes, stirring often and being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until they start to shrink and brown.
  5. Add the wine to the pan and turn up the heat and let it reduce down a bit.
  6. Add the cream to the pan and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and finish the sauce by stirring in the last bit of butter.
  7. Nestle the chicken thighs back into the pan, spooning the sauce over them a bit as well.
  8. Bake the thighs for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  9. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.


quick dinner for two - chicken thighs marsala


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44 Responses to Chicken Thighs Marsala for Two

  1. Diana willis says:

    Do you cover it in oven.. afraid of sauce burning away

  2. Nanette says:

    This is a keeper recipe as far as I am concerned. Easy, pretty and delish.

  3. Lorna says:

    Nutritional info available?

  4. KarenB says:

    I have found when I am out of marsala wine, a substitute is a dry white or red or a port wine and add a couple tablespoons of brandy. Makes it work just like the marsala. However I do have a new bottle of marsala I got at Trader Joes (neener neener lol) and have frozen chicken thighs so will thaw out for dinner tomorrow. I LOVE THIGHS TOO!

  5. Colleen says:

    I’m getting ready to make this but what do you usually serve with this?

  6. Barbara Grimes says:

    Should I use dry or sweet marsala?

  7. Nikki says:

    Just got done eating this for dinner, it is delicious!! The house smelt amazing while it cooked and the chicken turned out perfect!

    I agree with the above, you need to brown the chicken longer than 5 minutes, I did about 8.
    I also didn’t have marsala or heavy cream (I have a two year old so there’s a lot of improvising in my cooking, it’s not worth the grocery store trip) so I used chianti and milk. Sauce was a lot thinner because of this (you’ll have to mix in a little flower to thicken)

    Wife, husband, and baby approved ????

  8. Melinda says:

    Gotta triple this recipe!!:)

  9. Will says:

    I just made this and I thought I should point some things out. 5 minutes isn’t long enough to properly brown the chicken skin and get it crispy (which is one of the appeals of using chicken thighs). 10 minutes is closer to being better. Also, I had to bake mine for 35 minutes rather than 20 minutes.

    I think I prefer chicken stock to cream in these sorts of dishes, but the sauce was still pretty good.

  10. Charlotte Rich says:

    This recipe is great! But, I noticed that it calls for thyme, and yet in the directions it’s never used… Is it garnish or am i missing something that would make this recipe even better than it already is?

  11. Jennifer says:

    Hey I don’t have a cast iron skillet is this still possible to make?!

  12. Savvy says:

    JUST out of the oven again- and now ‘committed’ to memory! My market had great sale on thighs this week, and now my freezer is well-stocked with ‘do ahead’ dinners!! Thanks, Sue!!

  13. Alex says:

    would a 10″ skillet work?

  14. Crystal says:

    What if we have thighs without skin on? How do we altar the recipe?

    • Sue says:

      Chrystal you can actually brown skinless chicken, too. The only change I would make in the recipe is to coat the bottom of the pan with oil as well. Good luck!

  15. savvy says:

    Just took the pan out of the oven!! Thanks for GREAT recipe- once again! Could easily be prepped ahead, browned, and then baked off just before serving!! My SHARE button on FB having ‘fits and starts’ this am….not enuff Feb?? so back there later!!

  16. I love food cooked in marsala wine. Wow I love this recipe. The photo looks like it does it justice. I have been thinking about inviting a guest for dinner. I think I have hit upon a recipe!

  17. annie says:

    This looks amazing! I’ll be making it next week for sure!

  18. I want to swim in that awesome sauce! This looks so good and you cook so GOOD!

  19. I love chicken marsala and I have a feeling this would make a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner!

  20. Sippitysup says:

    My Brothers name is Grant. We’re Greg, Grant and Gretchen. Too cute, huh? GREG

  21. Susan says:

    I love the photo of the heat coming off the pan. What a easy, delicious dish – and we do love chicken thighs too. Wine makes everything taste better ;)

  22. I love the idea of the cast iron skillet. Even if you don’t cook in it, the idea of serving it family style is nice.

    I guess I’ll have to go buy a big cast iron skillet now. Oh darn. :-p

  23. Monica says:

    This is lovely. Marsala sauce (and all the delicious trappings of mushrooms and shallots that go with it) is a favorite of ours. This would make a wonderful V-day dinner since we always eat in and celebrate at home. Love how it’s all done in one pan.

    • Sue says:

      I think it would make a good Valentine’s Day dinner, I think heavy cream makes just about anything romantic! thanks Monica.

  24. You are so right about everything in this post. The Marsala sauce, making a quick dinner for two – this would be amazing on my dinner table, while watching the news of course! Good one! Have a great weekend Sue

  25. What a beautiful skillet. You evenings such so much like mine, now that our daughter has left for college, leaving us an empty nest. Now if that evening news is NBC, we could be twins ;)

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