Tarragon Chicken Marsala is fancy enough for guests, yet easy enough for an everyday meal.

Tarragon Chicken Marsala Recipe


Marsala wine is a common ingredient in sauces for chicken, beef, and pork. Here, the sauce is enlivened by tarragon, Dijon mustard, and a touch of honey to create Tarragon Chicken Marsala.

Chicken thighs are my favorite for this dish because of their deeper flavor, but check the notes for substitutions. If you are a fan of the light licorice/mint flavor of tarragon, you might want to increase the amount by half, but don’t over-do it or you will ruin the dish. If your chicken thighs are small, you will probably want to allot 2 per serving.

Tarragon Chicken Marsala Recipe

8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on (see Notes)
1 cup buttermilk, sour milk, or whole milk

1/4 cup (about) all-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/2 cup Marsala wine (see Notes)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey, optional
1/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Place chicken thighs in a zip-top bag. Add buttermilk, squeeze out all the air, and seal tightly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

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Remove chicken from the buttermilk, discarding the buttermilk, and drain thoroughly. Pat chicken dry using paper towels. Dredge thighs in flour, shaking off any excess. Season both sides generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a large, heavy, covered skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When hot, add butter and swirl to coat the pan. Place thighs fat-side down in the hot pan. Cook until golden brown on each side, turning only once. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle browned chicken thighs with tarragon. Pour the Marsala wine down the side of the pan and tilt pan to distribute it over the bottom. Cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Remove chicken from the skillet and keep warm.

Over medium heat, whisk the Dijon mustard and optional honey into the remaining sauce in the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Return chicken to the skillet and rewarm in the sauce 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve chicken thighs with the Marsala pan sauce and garnish with fresh chopped tarragon or parsley, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

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• Madiera, sherry, or sweet white wine may be substituted for the Marsala.

• Chicken legs may be substituted for the thighs.

• You may try this with chicken breasts, but take care not to overcook or the meat will become dry. I prefer using chicken parts with skin on to help keep in moisture. I suggest baking uncovered for 30 minutes, then test with a meat thermometer. The center of each should read 165 F. Then proceed as directed above with the sauce.

• If sauce becomes too thick, thin with chicken broth.

• Have all ingredients measured and ready to use and this main dish will go together pretty fast.

• Recipe may be halved for smaller families.

Tarragon Chicken Marsala Recipe Photo ©2018 Peggy Filippone

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