Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs




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Overhead photo of creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs in blue pan

This creamy Tuscan chicken thighs is the kind of meal that draws people like a magnet…they wander into the kitchen from all directions, noses high in the air, begging to know what smells so delicious.  What cook doesn’t live for those moments?  And it all comes together in about 30 minutes…check it out!

Overhead photo of creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs in blue pan

Creamy Tuscan chicken is a cult favorite pasta dish at The Olive Garden, and it’s been copied a lot because it’s so mouthwatering.  Leave it to a large chain restaurant to come up with such an irresistible combination of ingredients ~ they know what people want.  My version ditches the pasta and uses chicken thighs, but there’s no reason you can’t put it over pasta if you crave that.  It’s a very versatile recipe that can be adapted in lots of ways, which I’ll explore in my Make it Your Own section below.

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs bubbling in pan

I like to use bone in, skin on, thighs, but you can use whatever you like, including chicken breasts, or a whole fryer chicken cut in parts, it all works.   You’ll brown whatever you’re using in some olive oil until both sides are nice and golden.  You can either cook the meat right on the stove top, or pop it in the oven to finish cooking while you make the sauce.

TIP: if you use skin on thighs you’ll want to keep that skin out of the sauce until serving, so it stays crisp.  If you use skinless chicken you can submerge it in the sauce.

Overhead photo of Creamy Tuscan Chicken in pan

The quick pan sauce builds flavor starting with the drippings from browning the chicken.  I love to saute minced shallots and garlic in those drippings before adding the Marsala wine to deglaze the bottom and really grab up every bit of flavor.


Reader Rave ~

“This was a fabulous recipe. Yes, very rich but oh so good! I only used 1 cup of cream but was still great! I served over pasta and was perfect. Thanks for a recipe that the whole family loved.”  ~ Misty


The sauce finishes with chicken stock and heavy cream.  It gets more flavor, color, and texture from sun dried tomatoes, and fresh spinach.  I threw in a few chopped cherry tomatoes because they were sitting on the counter.

Sauteing shallots for a Creamy Tuscan Chicken sauce

TIP: A wide shallow cast iron casserole with a lid (sometimes called a braiser) is perfect for this dish.  These can range from very pricey, to less pricey, and there are lots of choices.  I think every kitchen needs one, they cook evenly and make a beautiful stove or oven to table presentation.  If you cook from my blog you might recognize this pan from these other chicken recipes:

Overhead image of Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs in a pan


Reader Rave ~

Delish! A welcome new dish for our Keto meal plan-Thanks for the recipe!.”  ~Suzanne


Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs
Rate this recipe
115 ratings

Yield: serves 4-6

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of bone in/skin on chicken thighs (about 6)
  • olive oil
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine (or any dry white wine)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (jarred, in olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup good shredded Parmesan cheese
  • large handful (2 cups) fresh spinach, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, or any good red tomatos
  • parsley or fresh thyme for garnish

Instructions

  1. Coat the bottom of a large shallow cast iron skillet or braising pan with olive oil and heat on medium heat until hot. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and then brown, skin side down for about 15 minutes, until the skin is nice and crisp. Flip the chicken and cook for another 15 minutes, or until done. The meat should read 160F on an instant read thermometer. Set aside on a plate and cover with foil, or put in a warm oven while you make the sauce.
  2. Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and saute, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes. Then add the Marsala wine and let it bubble down while you scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the chicken stock, heavy cream, and sun dried tomatoes, and cook the sauce for a few minutes until it starts to thicken, stirring frequently. Scrape up everything from the bottom and sides of the pan into the sauce. NOTE: This isn't a super thick sauce, but it will thicken somewhat as it cooks.
  4. Add the cheese and stir until incorporated. Add the chopped spinach and fresh tomatoes to the pan, and cook until the spinach has wilted. Add the chicken back into the pan and heat through before serving, garnished with fresh parsley or thyme.

Make it your own ~

  • My husband’s a dedicated thigh man, hence I used thighs, but this recipe is just as good with any chicken parts, and you can make a super quick meal with chicken cutlets, which are thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • Use chopped chicken instead of the whole thighs, and serve this over pasta.  The pasta absorbs all that creamy sauce and it’s fantastic.
  • Cut calories and fat by using a little more chicken stock and less cream.  Let the chicken stock reduce, and you can thicken the sauce with a little Wondra flour.
  • I use the sun-dried tomatoes that come in oil, in a jar, but if you only have the dry kind, re-hydrate them in warm water before using.
  • For no-alcohol version replace wine with chicken stock, although be aware that some of the alcohol evaporates off, and the flavor payoff is huge.  Even a tablespoon or two will make a difference in the flavor of this sauce.

 

don’t forget to pin this easy 30 minute Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs is a 30 minute meal that the whole family goes crazy for! #dinner #easydinner #chicken #chickenthighs #30minutemeal #olivegarden #copycat #recipe

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    Misty Alvis
    February 27, 2019 at 5:01 pm


    This was a fabulous recipe. Yes, very rich but oh so good! I only used 1 cup of cream but was still great! I served over pasta and was perfect. Thanks for a recipe that the whole family loved.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 27, 2019 at 5:26 pm

      I can imagine it was great over pasta, thanks for the review!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Harrison
    January 5, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Delish! A welcome new dish for our Keto meal plan-Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    Eric Vanderwerff
    December 23, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    This was so good! I skipped the sun dried tomatoes and did mushrooms instead. Frozen spinach and onion instead of shallot. Used dry Chardonnay to deglase. Still amazing! Shared your recipe and my results on Facebook. I couldn’t figure out how to post my picture results but let me know and I’ll send it on. Thanks so much for this recipe!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 24, 2018 at 7:52 am

      Thanks Eric ~ I’ll have to see if I can get the option to post photos here, that would be fun to see everybody’s creations.

  • Reply
    Matthew
    December 2, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    My wife and I, mostly my wife, are on the keto diet. I had some chicken thighs to cook and was looking for recipes that seemed keto friendly. OMG this was delicious! Both my wife and I liked it. I have friends who are food snobs and I think I will cook this for them. What is not to love about this meal. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 2, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      Hope those snobs approve ;)

  • Reply
    Louise Pragt
    November 4, 2018 at 12:55 am

    This is the most delicious & easy recipe ever. I make it a couple of times a month. An absolute standout!! Thank you.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 4, 2018 at 8:25 am

      Love to hear that Louise!

  • Reply
    Nanette
    June 15, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Winner Winner this will be my chicken dinner tonight. I just love your website. I am here daily getting fresh new ideas and I have to say that you are turning me into a pretty good cook.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 17, 2018 at 9:19 am

      I’m so happy to hear this Nanette, it’s great to have you cooking along with me :)

  • Reply
    Alison
    June 7, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    We really enjoyed this last night – I didn’t have any regular cream so used a small tub of sour cream and it worked well. Will definitely make this again. Thanks for your lovely recipes.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      That’s so nice to hear, thanks Alison. It’s good to know about the sour cream, I bet it added some nice extra flavor to the sauce.

  • Reply
    Berni
    May 30, 2018 at 8:20 am

    I’ve made this twice already, it’s delish! And it was so good the next day for lunch as well everyone I work with was so jealous – what is that wonderful smell! Thanks Sue!

  • Reply
    Susan
    April 25, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Hi Sue,

    I made this for dinner last night and it was DELISH!! ? I used boneless, skinless thighs but next time will cook less and at a lower temperature as they stuck to the pan but left great brown bits! We love mushrooms so I threw some into the sauce. No one will be disappointed if they try this. I served it over whole grain brown rice.

    I love your recipes and beautiful site and look forward to trying many more of your recipes.

    Thank you.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 25, 2018 at 8:36 am

      I’ve had lots of good feedback from this recipe already, Susan, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Sticking chicken thighs is a constant problem, and it seems that no matter what I do, at least one of two of them stick, but, as you say, that just means more brown bits!

    • Reply
      Susan
      April 25, 2018 at 8:38 am

      Hi again,

      I just read my post and saw there was a ? after DELISH that shouldn’t be there and also that it should have read “threw” instead of “through”–should’ve read through it first. ?

      • Reply
        Sue
        April 25, 2018 at 8:53 am

        already fixed the ‘through’, and for some reason my comment plugin adds those annoying ??, not sure why!

  • Reply
    Candykid
    April 21, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Last night I cooked this recipe ( minus the cheese, sun dried tomatoes and garlic). My family devoured it immediately. Served with quinoa, it was a complete meal and could be a company dinner because it looks as great as Sue’s photos when done. Bravo

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 21, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Yay, and I’m so pleased that your meal turned out delish AND pretty! It’s so nice to have a few go-to company meals in your back pocket. Thanks for taking the time to let me know Candy :)

  • Reply
    Shelley S
    April 20, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    I adapted this to Keto, And served with mashed trips. I also adapted it to be cooked in an instant pot. Love the recipe and will definitely make it again. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 20, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      I need to try the Instant Pot idea, sounds good!

  • Reply
    Christina
    April 20, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Oooooooh, this looks so good. I eat a lot of chicken which tends to get boring so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that help spruce up my chicken dinners!! Plus, who doesn’t love a quick, easy, and delicious weeknight meal! Pinning!

  • Reply
    Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    April 19, 2018 at 5:36 am

    Beautiful looking dinner Sue. And that creamy sauce = ohmy! Need to try this one soon.

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    April 19, 2018 at 1:12 am

    Lots of flavours and that creamy sauce looks so good!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 19, 2018 at 7:31 am

      There’s something about creamy sauces!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    April 18, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    I love that creamy sauce, what a delicious dinner idea!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 18, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Love getting new ideas for chicken dinners! This one looks like a winner :)

  • Reply
    Tricia
    April 18, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    I can see why this is a favorite of many! I will try it very soon and join the club of loyal followers – so pretty!!!

  • Reply
    Amy Abbott
    April 18, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Looks like just the meal I like to serve on a Friday night. My go to chicken is always thighs. This would be nice served over orzo too! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2018 at 8:43 am

      What a perfect way to put it, this is totally a Friday night meal!

  • Reply
    Mike Hultquist
    April 18, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Oh my, this looks so delicious. I recently made a Tuscan pasta soup and think chicken thighs would have been an outstanding addition. I’ll have to make this one soon!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2018 at 8:44 am

      I almost went for Tuscan chicken soup first, that sounds so good.

  • Reply
    John / Kitchen Riffs
    April 18, 2018 at 7:48 am

    That sauce looks killer! Terrific dish — yo’ve loaded this up with flavor. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    April 18, 2018 at 7:33 am

    I dream of dinners like this! It sounds like it’s full of wonderful flavor!

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