Chicken Thighs Marsala for Two

chicken thighs in marsala sauce, a restaurant worthy 30 minute meal

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

save the recipe!

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



  • Reply
    August 13, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I just wanted to say that I hope you never take this recipe down. it is by far, one of my favorites. It is so simple but absolutely luscious. I’ve made this several times now, and it is perfect every time. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Reply
      August 13, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks so much Sarah ~ I promise, it’ll be here for eternity!

  • Reply
    April 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Are you supposed to put the sauce and mushrooms in the oven with the chicken or just leave it in the skillet until the chicken is done? My sauce came out more on the soupy side rather than creamy, is it supposed to be that way?

    • Reply
      April 14, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Yes, you bake the thighs right in the sauce Bethany, and the heavy cream should make it nice and creamy. A traditional Marsala sauce is creamy but on the thin side, it’s not like a flour thickened cheesy sauce. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Diana willis
    December 30, 2016 at 1:33 pm

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

    • Reply
      December 30, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      I didn’t cover it, Diana, but you can always put a layer of foil over it if you’re concerned.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm

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

    • Reply
      October 30, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks Nanette :)

  • Reply
    September 19, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Nutritional info available?

    • Reply
      September 19, 2016 at 10:08 am

      I don’t have that capability on my blog right now, Lorna, sorry!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

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

    • Reply
      March 14, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      I’m pretty casual with my meals, Colleen, so I’d serve a salad, or some couscous and green beans, something like that. I think a green veggie would complement the creamy chicken.

      • Reply
        September 26, 2016 at 2:55 pm

        I served it over fresh angel hair pasta and it was to die! Thank you for the recipe!

        • Reply
          September 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm


  • Reply
    Barbara Grimes
    March 12, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Should I use dry or sweet marsala?

    • Reply
      March 12, 2016 at 10:04 am

      I like to use dry, Barbara.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    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 ????

    • Reply
      October 5, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      Thanks Nikki :)

  • Reply
    September 26, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Gotta triple this recipe!!:)

    • Reply
      September 26, 2015 at 7:32 am

      Go for it!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Charlotte Rich
    June 16, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    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?

    • Reply
      June 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Hey Charlotte, I just updated the recipe to mention the fresh thyme garnish, thanks!

  • Reply
    May 12, 2015 at 1:51 pm

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

    • Reply
      May 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Sure, any good sturdy pan will do!

  • Reply
    March 29, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    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!!

    • Reply
      March 29, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      You’re so welcome :)

  • Reply
    March 22, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    would a 10″ skillet work?

    • Reply
      March 22, 2015 at 1:36 pm


  • Reply
    March 22, 2015 at 7:50 am

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

    • Reply
      March 22, 2015 at 8:14 am

      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!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2015 at 7:42 am

    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!!

    • Reply
      February 5, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Thanks Savvychef!!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2015 at 9:04 am

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

  • Reply
    January 30, 2015 at 8:46 pm

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

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    January 30, 2015 at 8:07 pm

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

  • Reply
    January 30, 2015 at 6:05 pm

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

    • Reply
      January 30, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Pretty darned cute :)

  • Reply
    January 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    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 ;)

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Bring Back Delicious
    January 30, 2015 at 7:53 am

    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

    • Reply
      January 30, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Ha ha – they are surprisingly cheap, Rebecca…just don’t drop one on your toe ;)

  • Reply
    January 30, 2015 at 5:42 am

    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.

    • Reply
      January 30, 2015 at 7:13 am

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

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    January 30, 2015 at 5:07 am

    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

    • Reply
      January 30, 2015 at 7:14 am

      You too Tricia!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    January 30, 2015 at 4:16 am

    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 ;)

  • Leave a Reply