Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs

Overhead photo of creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs in blue pan

This creamy Tuscan chicken thighs recipe 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 was 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. 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. Good move.


Reader Rave ~

“This is my second time making this dish and it’s delicious! It was so easy to make and also the ingredients weren’t too expensive to buy. Great family dinner meal.” ~ Cassie


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 not so 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


Overhead photo of creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs in blue pan
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3.44 from 553 votes

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs

This creamy Tuscan chicken thighs recipe 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!
Course dinner
Cuisine Italian American
Cook Time 40 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of bone in/skin on chicken thighs, or 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 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 tomatoes
  • parsley or fresh thyme for garnish

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Cook’s notes

  • 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.
 
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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103 Comments

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    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Celena
    May 8, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    5 stars
    Wow – I can’t believe the rating for this recipe is only 3.4… this was delicious! I give it 5 stars. The only thing I changed was that I used chicken legs rather than chicken thighs. Worked perfectly!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 8, 2022 at 6:54 pm

      The star rating system is so wonky ~ at one point when someone would try to rate it 5 stars it would automatically go to 3, lol. Glad you love this 🙂

  • Reply
    joyce wilbanks
    April 12, 2022 at 8:46 am

    Made this a few times and everyone I have served this to loves it. I make enough for leftovers for myself because I live alone and I love it.

  • Reply
    Rasma
    April 1, 2022 at 7:34 am

    5 stars
    Made it yesterday for dinner, the flavors were spot on and it was quite easy to make. I made a larger portion and used more chicken stock than heavy cream and some Wondra to thicken the sauce. It was a hit with the whole family. This recipe is certainly a keeper.

  • Reply
    Tyheshia
    February 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

    5 stars
    Made this last night and it was absolutely DELISH! I tweaked the recipe a little. Seasoned my thighs with black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and a touch of salt. Because I served with angel hair pasta, I added double the spinach and heavy cream. (wanted more of the creamy sauce) This is definitely going into rotation! Quick, Simple & Delish. (I hate that we can’t share pics!)
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 24, 2022 at 11:55 am

      Love the idea of serving with angel hair, sounds yummy!

  • Reply
    Brittany Thomas
    January 21, 2022 at 10:08 am

    Can I bake them in the oven instead?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      January 21, 2022 at 11:16 am

      Yes, sure.

    • Reply
      Rich Siepak
      February 7, 2022 at 5:34 pm

      5 stars
      So good and easy love it

  • Reply
    Christina
    January 4, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    5 stars
    Very good! Tried it tonight . I used arugula and spinach.

  • Reply
    Mary Ippolito
    December 27, 2021 at 11:17 am

    Can I use whole milk instead of cream? ???

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 27, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      Whole milk won’t make a thick creamy sauce, I’m afraid. You might try using half and half, or even evaporated milk for extra creaminess.

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