Chicken Thighs Marsala for Two

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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.  This classic chicken recipe gives you great restaurant style flavor in a jiffy.

Chiucken Thighs in a creamy Marsala mushroom sauce

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.

quick dinner for two - chicken thighs marsala


Ingredient spotlight: MARSALA WINE


MARSALA is a fortified wine (it has a higher alcohol content than regular wine) from Italy that has a special affinity for any dish that features mushrooms. I love the flavor it imparts to sauces so I keep a bottle in the cupboard above the stove. Don’t buy cooking Marsala, buy a drinking grade wine, it’s not expensive and so great to have around!

Chicken Thighs Marsala for Two
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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 5-10 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 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
  9. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and/or thyme



Chicken Thighs Marsala for Two ~ this classic chicken recipe gives you great restaurant style flavor in a jiffy. #recipe #chicken #skillet #30minute #easy #chickenthighs #Italian #authentic

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  • Reply
    November 7, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I found the cooking time totally inadequate. I sauteed the thighs in the pan for 10 min., not 5. The baked in preheated oven 20 min. – they were still raw inside. 40 min. is more realistic. Also the marsala evaporated during 20 min. baking, leaving very little sauce at the end.

  • Reply
    Isela Guzman
    September 18, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I dont have a skillet that can go in the oven, will it work the same if i transfer all to an oven safe dish before putting in oven?

    • Reply
      September 18, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Sure, that will work.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Is it important that I use bone-in thighs with skin? I bought boneless skinless thighs before carefully reading the recipe…

    • Reply
      August 4, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Oh no, feel free to use any type of thigh, or any cut of chicken, for that matter. Your boneless skinless will work fine.

  • Reply
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    • Reply
      Alex Beautyman
      August 3, 2018 at 6:21 am

      These look fantastic , and it’$s just the right weather to experiment

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  • Reply
    March 18, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Just made this lovely and easy chicken dish. My husband scraped the pan for any leftover sauce. We’re looking forward to making the Chicken Lemon Biryani. Really like your site too, it’s not over the top full of fluff and stuff, just right and gets down to cooking.

    • Reply
      March 18, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks for the nice comment Jann, and I’m so glad you liked the chicken. FYI the chicken biryani is one of my favorites, I think you’ll like that one too.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Could this be made with boneless skinless chicken breast? If so, how would you adjust the cook time/temp?

    • Reply
      January 29, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      It would be delicious that way, or with chicken cutlets, which are even more delicate. With either you can just cook the chicken right in the pan, no oven time necessary. I like to pound my skinless breasts to even them out a bit, and they cook super fast that way.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    The whole family loved this ! It’s a keeper. Thank you

    • Reply
      December 15, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      You’re so welcome :)

  • Reply
    November 27, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Can his be made without heavy cream? Would it taste as good?
    We are lactose intolerant

    • Reply
      November 27, 2017 at 7:51 am

      Yes, the main flavor in this sauce comes from the Marsala, so you should be fine, Sarah.

  • 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


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