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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3.37 from 527 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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89 Comments

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  • Reply
    Nicholas Pepper
    September 22, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    5 stars
    how do you keep the skin crispy if you return the chicken to the sauce in the end i loved this dish my skin was crispy after the first cook which was beautiful the 15mins was spot on but when i returned the cooked chicken to the pan the skin went soft and wasn’t pleasant so next time i try this i will serve the sauce under the chicken skin side up and a nice crusty bread thank you again for a wonderful recipe

  • Reply
    Heidi Fatula
    August 28, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. Only change I made was using one cup of heavy cream instead of a cup and a half. Everyone must try this!

  • Reply
    Pam
    June 16, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    5 stars
    Do you have the calorie content of this recipe. I’m logging all my calories. This was an amazing dinner. Hoping I didn’t go over my calorie budget. Will save this is a favorite!

  • Reply
    Janelle
    April 17, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    5 stars
    It was delicious. I didn’t have Marsala wine so I used Sherry. I didn’t have any cherry tomatoes so I used more sundried. Finely chopped white onion instead of a shallot. The flavors were great and the smell in the kitchen was intoxicating!

  • Reply
    Sharon
    March 13, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe many times. Of course like many good cooks, I change things up a bit. Added mushrooms, double the spinach, and used dry Sherry instead of wine. I used a combination of chicken thighs and legs, bone in with skin. Like you I had a huge amount of grape tomatoes. Combined them with sun dried in olive oil. Double the sauce because I want to save it to make this with shrimp. This recipe freezes well. I’ve had no problem reheating portions in my toaster oven.

  • Reply
    Nita Anderson
    March 4, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Trying this on Sunday. Any suggestions for side dishes?

  • Reply
    Maria G
    January 20, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve been eyeing this recipie for awhile and finally made it tonight. The only thing that I’m disappointed in is that I had waited so long to make it! It is going to be a regular meal at my house. Thank you so much for sharing this awesomeness!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      January 20, 2021 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Maria 🙂

      • Reply
        Lou G
        February 9, 2021 at 4:45 pm

        5 stars
        I’ve made this twice, and both times came out delicious. My son, who doesn’t eat tomatoes or spinach, devours it.

  • Reply
    Danuta Veillette
    December 12, 2020 at 11:29 am

    5 stars
    This is literally the best dish I made. It tastes like it just came out from a restaurant. Wow, my whole family was amazed. I live this so much!

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