In case you were wondering if my affection can be bought with Italian food, the answer is absolutely. Suggested form of bribery: Crock Pot Chicken Marsala.

Delicious crock pot chicken Marsala recipe in a slow cooker with mushrooms

Traditional chicken Marsala is an Italian-American dish that has numerous iterations throughout Italy and the U.S. It consists of juicy seared chicken breasts in a creamy Marsala wine sauce made with garlic, shallots, and mushrooms. As that ingredient line up might lead you to suspect, it tastes heavenly.

{FYI: Marsala is a fortified wine made in Sicily, often used for cooking. It’s rich and nutty, and you can find it at almost any grocery store that sells alcohol or at liquor stores.}

My first taste of chicken Marsala was in high school, when my mom’s then-boyfriend (now husband of 12+ years) offered to cook dinner for her and her three angsty teenage daughters. I still feel for him. We were not a cordial bunch.

What I lacked in warmth, I made up for in appetite. It turns out that no matter how skeptical you might be of the guy dating your mom, if he feeds you chicken Marsala, it’s going to be impossible not to give him at least one more chance, if for no other reason than the hope he’ll cook you chicken Marsala again.

Today’s crock pot chicken Marsala is in memory of that night (and in honor of my step-dad, who I now happen to adore very much). It has the classic Italian flavors I remember falling in love with, but it’s lightened up with healthy ingredients.

Instead of heavy cream, the thickness of the Marsala sauce results from the slow simmering in the crockpot. The slow cooking method also means that this chicken Marsala is easy to make and the clean up is minimal.

I’ve been a fan of using the crockpot to make Italian chicken favorites ever since this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore became a regular on our menu. I love that once I have the ingredients added, the crockpot does the rest of the cooking for me.

A slow cooker with meat, mushrooms, and a thick, savory sauce

More points for ease: Whereas most traditional chicken Marsala recipes dredge the chicken breasts in flour and then pan fry them, this crock pot version uses only a cornstarch slurry and skips the flour entirely. The slurry helps thicken the sauce further, and it keeps the crock pot chicken Marsala gluten free.

Not only does the slurry approach mean that more people can enjoy this recipe—it saves you the mess of coating the chicken with flour and the extra dredging bowl to wash.

Three chicken breasts in a slow cooker with mushrooms and a Marsala wine sauce

How to Make Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

The secret to the best crock pot chicken Marsala you will ever make is to sear the outsides of the the chicken breasts before adding them to the slow cooker. It’s a small step and the flavor payoff is 100% worth it.

The Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts. The chicken becomes deliciously tender and juicy in the slow cooker. Every piece will be coated in the thick, savory sauce. You could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe if you prefer. If using chicken thighs, they’ll need a little extra time in the slow cooker. Cook them on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Aromatics. Shallot and garlic add deep, complex flavors to the sauce.
  • Mushrooms. The flavor of the Marsala wine is a perfect complement to the mushrooms. They’ll soak up the sauce, become incredibly flavorful, and give the dish more complexity.
  • Marsala Wine. Deeply-flavored and exceptional when paired with the other ingredients in this recipe. Use a dry Marsala wine here (the kind that contains alcohol), not a cooking wine, which will not have the same flavorful results.
  • Cornstarch. Used to create a cornstarch slurry that will help thicken the sauce.

The Directions

Three chicken breasts being seared in a skillet

  1. Season and sear both sides of the chicken breasts until browned. Add chicken to the slow cooker.
  2. Saute the shallot and garlic.
    A Marsala wine sauce in a saute pan with shallots and garlic
  3. Add the Marsala wine, and let it simmer for a few minutes.
    Mushrooms on top of chicken breasts in a slow cooker
  4. Place the mushrooms on top of the chicken.Ingredients in a slow cooker for making healthy chicken Marsala
  5. Add the Marsala sauce, then cover and cook on LOW for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Remove the chicken once it’s done.
  6. Prepare the cornstarch slurry, and add it to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH until the sauce is thickened. Add the chicken back to the sauce. Serve with fresh herbs and an extra spoonful of sauce. ENJOY!

What Can I Substitute for Marsala Wine

  • I do not recommend substituting anything for the Marsala wine if at all possible. The flavors are unique, and it’s well worth it to use the real thing. The name, afterall, is chicken Marsala!
  • For those who really need a substitute, I did find a homemade option online **not tested** that says you can use ¼ cup grape juice and 1 teaspoon brandy for every ¼ cup Marsala wine. If you’ve tried this substitution (or any others), please let me know how it went in the comments below.
  • While the flavor will be different than Marsala wine, a reader also reported good results with using Sauvignon Blanc instead.

What to Serve with Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

  • To Make Ahead. Chop your vegetables up to 1 day in advance, and store them in the refrigerator.
  • To Store. Place leftover chicken in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store the sauce separately.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm chicken in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave. When I reheat chicken, I like to shred or cut it into smaller pieces first to help it heat evenly. Reheat the sauce gently on the stove.
  • To Freeze. Store chicken Marsala in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months, either with or separate from the sauce. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

More Healthy Crock Pot Chicken Recipes

Crock pot chicken Marsala on a plate with mushrooms and herbs

Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe

Cozy Italian flavors. Healthy ingredients. Minimal dishes. This is what I call the way to my heart!

Crock Pot Chicken Marsala in a Slow Cooker

Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

5 from 5 votes
An easy, healthy recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Marsala filled with rich Italian flavor. Juicy chicken breasts slow simmered in a creamy mushroom wine sauce.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 25 mins
Total: 3 hrs 35 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts about 3 breasts
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot or 1/2 small yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine not cooking wine
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water to create a slurry
  • For serving: chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • For serving: whole wheat pasta zucchini noodles, or simply a big loaf of crusty bread

Instructions
 

  • Lightly coat a large slow cooker with nonstick spray. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the chicken in a single layer. Cook on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned, moving the chicken as little as possible so that it gets a nice sear. Flip and brown on the other side, about 2 additional minutes. It does not need to be cooked all the way through. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
  • Reduce the skillet heat to medium low. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
  • While the skillet is still warm, pour in the Marsala. Increase the heat to medium and let simmer 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Scatter the mushrooms over the top of the chicken. Pour in the Marsala reduction. Cover and let cook on LOW, until the chicken is cooked through and reaches 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours on low (timing will vary based on your slow cooker model and the size of your chicken breasts). Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Pour into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and let heat over high for 5 additional minutes to warm through. Serve hot with desired accompaniments, with the sauce spooned over the top and a sprinkle of fresh parsley as desired.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Place leftover chicken in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store the sauce separately.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm chicken in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave. When I reheat chicken, I like to shred or cut it into smaller pieces first to help it heat evenly. Reheat the sauce gently on the stove.
  • TO FREEZE: Store chicken Marsala in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months, either with or separate from the sauce. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Photography note: the photos of this recipe show the sauce cooked down for a far more extended period than is necessary (the cooking time got away from me while photographing!). Your sauce might not look as thick as in the photos, but don't fear; it will still be delicious and is actually closer to how an authentic chicken marsala sauce is meant to be.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 384kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 50gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 145mgPotassium: 1169mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 68IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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16 Comments

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  1. During the current q, Dry Marsala seems impossible to find in any of the stores that offer curbside pickup… (Cribari Marsala is the only Marsala wine that Krogers stocks… I’m fairly certain it’s the sweet type.) Any suggestions for a substitute or do I wait until I can get back into the wine shop?

    1. Mark, while dry is definitely ideal, I’ve made this with a semi-dry that I could actually get at Kroger and we liked it OK (it was *as* good as a true dry marsala, but it was still good). One thing to consider is if you’ll mind having the extra semi-dry leftover. Sorry I can’t give you a 100% clear answer, but I hoipe that helps.

      1. I found dry Marsala! There’s a wine shop in Ann Arbor that is doing curbside pickup. I’m thinking I may dust the chicken breasts in flour before searing them… Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Made this tonight and it was SO good. I couldn’t find Marsala wine at my grocery store (and didn’t want to go looking at other stores), so I Googled swaps and used Sauvignon Blanc. It was delicious! 5 stars

  3. I’m not a mushroom lover so I made it without the mushrooms and the flavor was delicious, but my sauce wasn’t dark like yours is in your pictures. Is it the mushrooms that make the sauce dark?

    1. Hi Denise! The sauce does darken some from the mushrooms. I’m happy you still enjoyed the recipe without them!

  4. This recipe was so simple and delicious.  I didn’t have Marsala Wine so I substituted in a Red Table Wine and the flavor was so rich.  A big hit with the family!5 stars

    1. Elizabeth, I am so so pleased to hear it! Thanks for sharing this kind review and your tweaks. It means a lot to me and is so helpful to others!

  5. This was good and easy, thank you! I added a little extra salt and parmesan cheese for serving, and served over whole wheat pasta.5 stars

  6. This is a good version of Chicken Marsala for the crock-pot. I would have liked the sauce to be a little thicker than it was even with adding more corn starch. Keep an eye on your chicken as mine only took 2 hours to cook. Thanks5 stars