This Chicken Marsala Fettuccine dish is a healthier, lighter twist on the Italian favorite. It's rich, creamy, and the perfect meal for date nights in. Have this flavorful pasta on the table in less than 1 hour.
📋 About the Recipe
- So much better than Olive Garden. I'll admit I haven't ordered the Olive Garden Chicken Marsala in a long time, but that's because I learned a long time ago that making it at home was not only more delicious, but healthier too. Skip the globs of butter, cream, and excess fat and try this healthier chicken marsala instead!
- Made with just 10 ingredients. It may seem complicated to make a pasta dish with a sauce from scratch, but it really only requires 10 simple ingredients you can easily pick up at the grocery store.
- Made without cream or cheese. I don't focus on avoiding any ingredients in my diet, but if you avoid eating pasta dishes because you assume they contain butter, milk, or cream, this chicken pasta dish is for you! It's made without parmesan cheese, heavy cream, or butter.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Chicken - For this dish, you'll need 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 2 pounds total.
- Flour - Dredging the chicken in flour not only gives it a nice, deep golden crust, but it also helps thicken the marsala wine sauce and helps replace the need for any heavy cream or cheese.
- Mushrooms - For the best, rich flavored sauce, I recommend using earthy mushrooms like sliced baby bella mushrooms. If those aren't available, any brown variety of mushrooms will work too. White button mushrooms will even do, but will have a lighter, less mature flavor.
- Marsala wine - This Italian wine is sweet and dry and reduces into a flavorful, smooth sauce that's ideal for savory pastas and chicken dishes.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Marsala wine substitutes: Substitute with madeira wine or sherry. If you don't have these options or prefer to cook without alcohol, use a mixture of red wine vinegar and grape juice. This mixture is a good balance of acidic and sweet. It won't be a perfect flavor substitute, but it's the best option in a pinch.
- Fettuccine substitutions: Any long pasta will work. Try linguine, spaghetti, even angel hair pasta.
- Broth/stock: I find chicken broth compliments the protein well, but if needed, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock or beef stock. Either will work fine.
- Butterfly the chicken. Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise, yielding 6 thin chicken cutlets.
- Make the flour mixture. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and black pepper. Reserve 1 tablespoon of this mixture and set aside.
- Prep. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, coat both sides of the chicken cutlets in the flour mixture, then place them on the hot, oiled skillet.
- Cook. Cook the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. The chicken does not need to be cooked all the way through - just browned on both sides.
- Sauté mushrooms, onions and shallots. Once the chicken is browned on both sides, remove it from the skillet and place it on a clean plate. Into the same skillet, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil, then add in the mushrooms, onions and shallots. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the juices the mushrooms give off have fully evaporated.
- Add garlic. Stir in the garlic and the reserved flour mixture until well combined.
- Add marsala wine. Add in the wine, then allow it to cook down for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until there is barely any wine left in the pan.
- Cook the pasta al dente. While the wine reduces, boil the fettuccine pasta in a separate pot of salter water according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Add chicken broth and browned chicken. Once the wine has reduced, add in the chicken broth, chicken cutlets, as well as any drippings remaining on the plate. Make sure the chicken is covered in the broth and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees F and the sauce has thickened.
- Slice the chicken. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes, then slice into thin strips.
- Finish the sauce. Season the sauce with Italian seasoning and pour in ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Allow the sauce to reduce to your desired thickness, about 3 more minutes, or at least thick enough to coat the pasta and chicken.
- Stir in the fettuccine. When the sauce is done reducing, stir in the cooked fettuccine pasta and serve topped with the chicken, extra sauce, and fresh parsley.
❄️ How to Store
To store: This chicken and pasta dish will keep for 4 to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
To freeze: Freezing this dish is not recommended - the pasta will become overly mushy and undesirable in texture.
To reheat: Reheat leftover chicken marsala fettuccine in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second bursts until warmed through.
🔍 Recipe FAQs
The sauce should be decadent and thick enough to cling to the pasta and the chicken, but not so thick that it is no longer saucy. A great way to test the thickness of your sauce is by placing a spoon in the sauce. If the sauce coats the back of the spoon, it's ready!
Although these chicken dishes are close in spelling, they are very different. Marsala is a popular Italian wine that's reduced in this marsala sauce until thick and flavorful. Tikka masala on the other hand is an Indian dish. Both of these contain very different spices and flavor profiles.
Most chicken marsala recipes found in Italian restaurants are made with a lot of butter and heavy cream. However, this chicken recipe is dairy free, made without cream or butter and is a lighter, healthier version of the classic chicken marsala fettuccine.
💭 One More Tip
If you're serving a crowd, easily increase the servings of this recipe by doubling the sauce and fettuccine and adding additional chicken breasts.
If you choose to do this, you will need to brown the chicken in batches so the pieces aren't overlapping. Additionally, it may take a bit longer to reduce the sauce.
As a general rule of thumb, the more sauce you're reducing the longer it will take.
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Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I'd love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!
Chicken Marsala Fettuccine
- large skillet
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 6 cups thinly sliced baby bella mushrooms, scrubbed clean (about 1 pound)
- 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
- ¾ cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2 shallots)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 5 cloves of garlic)
- 2 cups dry marsala wine
- 16 ounces (1 pound) fettuccine pasta
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth (or 1 ¾ cups)
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Butterfly chicken breasts, cutting all the way through lengthwise, so you end up with 6 thin cutlets.
- Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture and set it aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, coat both sides of each chicken cutlet in the flour mixture and place them in the skillet.
- Cook for 5 to 7 minutes (or until lightly golden brown), then flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until both sides are golden. The chicken does not need to be cooked all the way through. It’ll cook through later in the sauce.
- Remove chicken from the skillet and place on a clean plate. With the skillet still over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the sliced mushrooms, onions and shallots, stirring occasionally so the bottom does not burn. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the juices the mushrooms give off have fully evaporated.
- Stir in the garlic and reserved 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the marsala wine. Allow the wine to cook down for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until there is barely any wine left in the pan.
- While the wine reduces, boil the fettuccine pasta in salted water according to the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining.
- Once the wine has reduced, add the chicken broth and chicken back into the pan, as well as any drippings remaining on the plate. Make sure the chicken is covered in the broth and simmer the sauce with the chicken, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through to 165 degrees F in the middle, and the sauce has thickened.
- Remove the chicken to a cutting board. Let it sit for 5 minutes, before slicing it into thin strips.
- Season the sauce in the pan with Italian seasoning. Pour in ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water (keep the remaining ¼ cup in case you need to thin out the sauce later). Allow the sauce to reduce to your desired thickness, about 3 more minutes, or at least thick enough to coat the pasta and the chicken.
- When the sauce is done reducing, stir in the fettuccine noodles. Serve pasta topped with chicken and extra sauce.
- When done cooking the chicken in the skillet, don't worry about the brown bits stuck to the pan. As the mushrooms and onion sweat, their juices will lift the brown bits from the pan and add flavor to the sauce.
- This recipe can be made without the fettuccine pasta and served with your favorite side dish instead. I like pairing the chicken with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.
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