Delicious Side Dishes: Perfect Pairings for Chicken Marsala

What to serve with Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian dish that combines chicken, wine, and flavorful ingredients to create a decadent and rich dining experience. When it comes to choosing the perfect accompaniment for Chicken Marsala, it is important to consider dishes that complement its semi-sweet flavors and do not overpower the main dish. In this article, we will explore several options for side dishes that pair well with Chicken Marsala.

Chicken Marsala: An Introduction

Before we delve into side dish choices, let’s first understand what chicken marsala is. This dish typically consists of chicken cutlets cooked in a Marsala wine sauce. Marsala wine is a fortified wine that comes from Marsala, Sicily in Italy. The wine can be dry, sweet, or a balanced combination of both, depending on the winemaking process. The type of Marsala wine used directly affects the flavor of the sauce.
The chicken cutlets used in Chicken Marsala are boneless pieces of meat that have been flattened to break up the tough fibers and ensure even cooking. Coating and cooking methods can vary depending on the recipe, but often the chicken is coated in flour and sautéed in butter. The remaining butter from the pan, or a new clean pan, is then used to make the sauce, which is simmered with Marsala wine until it reaches a syrupy consistency. The chicken can also be cooked separately in butter and wine before being added to the sauce.

Choosing the best side dishes

When choosing side dishes to serve with Chicken Marsala, it is important to consider moisture content and texture. Chicken tends to dry out easily, so it is advisable to choose sides that are moist and succulent. Here are some excellent options that pair well with Chicken Marsala:

1. Pasta

Pasta is a natural choice when it comes to serving Chicken Marsala. Given the Italian origins of both dishes, they complement each other perfectly. When serving pasta as a side dish, make sure it is not dry and consider incorporating flavors that harmonize with the main dish. Some recommended options include

  • Penne pasta drizzled with olive oil, roasted baby tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkled with Parmesan.
  • Simple macaroni and cheese made with authentic Italian cheeses.
  • Cut cooked chicken Marsala into pieces and mix with cooked pasta, then drizzle with sauce.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower spaghetti with garlic butter.

Feel free to experiment with different pasta shapes and flavors, keeping in mind the need to balance the garnish with the rich flavors of Chicken Marsala.

2. Pasta

Pasta can add a unique and clever twist to your Chicken Marsala meal. They serve as a serving container and contribute to the overall moisture and interest of the dish. Consider using plain, buttery ramen noodles or other types such as egg or vermicelli noodles. If you prefer gluten-free options or want to reduce calories, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles are excellent substitutes.

3. Rice

Rice may be considered a forgettable side dish, but it pairs exceptionally well with Chicken Marsala. To elevate the flavor profile of rice, consider making seasoned turmeric and cumin rice. These spices work well with most ingredients and add depth to the dish. Another option is to make a creamy, smooth risotto that takes longer to cook but is well worth the effort. Mushroom risotto, in particular, complements the texture and flavors of Chicken Marsala.

4. Potatoes

Potatoes are a versatile side dish that can be adapted to any meal. For Chicken Marsala, consider making smooth and cheesy mashed potatoes to counteract any dryness in the chicken. Mashed potatoes can be flavored with a variety of spices, herbs, and other ingredients to enhance the flavor. Another creative option is twice-baked potatoes, which are soft and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Cut the potatoes into the shape of your choice, such as fries or wedges, to complement the overall meal.
If you prefer a sweeter and less starchy alternative, sweet potatoes can be used in similar ways to regular potatoes while offering a distinct flavor profile.

5. Vegetables

Vegetables offer a wide range of flavors and can be easily adapted to the main dish. When choosing vegetables to accompany Chicken Marsala, opt for herbs and non-pungent spices to avoid overpowering the dish. Steamed vegetables are an excellent choice as they retain their vibrant color, nutrients and fresh flavor. For a slight twist, try the “en papillote” method, in which vegetables, garlic, herbs, and spices are placed in a parchment package and baked. This technique adds flavor to the vegetables while keeping them moist and tender.
Some recommended vegetables to serve with Chicken Marsala include

  • Roasted asparagus spears seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Sautéed spinach with garlic and a hint of lemon juice.
  • Grilled zucchini and yellow squash with herbs and olive oil.
  • Steamed broccoli florets drizzled with a light lemon butter sauce.
  • Glazed carrots cooked with honey and a hint of cinnamon.

These vegetable options provide a refreshing and nutritious balance to the richness of Chicken Marsala.

6. Salads

Salads can serve as a light and refreshing counterpoint to the richness of Chicken Marsala. Choose salads that include fresh greens, vibrant vegetables and complementary dressings. Here are a few salad ideas to consider:

  • Mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Caprese salad with ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Arugula salad with shaved Parmesan, toasted pine nuts and a lemon vinaigrette.
  • Spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese and a light raspberry vinaigrette.

These salads provide a burst of freshness and tang that complements the savory flavors of Chicken Marsala.

7. Breads

While bread is not the traditional choice for serving with Chicken Marsala, it can still be a delightful addition. Consider offering crusty bread or garlic bread as a side dish. These bread options can be used to soak up the delicious Marsala wine sauce or simply enjoyed with the main dish. Alternatively, serve breadsticks or rolls to add a touch of warmth and comfort to the meal.


In conclusion, when deciding what to serve with Chicken Marsala, it is important to choose side dishes that enhance and complement the flavors of the main dish. Pasta, noodles, rice, potatoes, vegetables, salads, and bread are all excellent options that offer a variety of textures and flavors. Remember to consider the moisture content and texture of the side dishes to ensure they balance well with the chicken. By choosing the right accompaniments, you can create a memorable and satisfying dining experience with Chicken Marsala as the star of the show.


What are some popular side dishes to serve with Chicken Marsala?

Some popular side dishes to serve with Chicken Marsala include mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, steamed vegetables, salads and bread. These options complement the flavors of the dish and provide a variety of textures to enhance your dining experience.

Can I serve Chicken Marsala with pasta instead of noodles?

Yes, noodles can be a delicious alternative to traditional pasta when serving Chicken Marsala. Consider using plain, buttery ramen noodles, egg noodles, or even spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for a lighter, gluten-free option.

Are there vegetarian side dish options to serve with Chicken Marsala?

Yes, there are vegetarian side dish options that pair well with Chicken Marsala. You can choose dishes such as garlic butter broccoli and cauliflower spaghetti, grilled vegetables, roasted asparagus, sautéed spinach, or glazed carrots. These options provide a balance of flavors and textures alongside the main course.

Can I serve a salad with Chicken Marsala?

Yes, salads can be a refreshing and light accompaniment to the richness of Chicken Marsala. Consider options such as mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and balsamic vinaigrette; caprese salad with fresh mozzarella and basil; or spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese.

What are some creative potato side dishes to serve with Chicken Marsala?

Potatoes offer versatility when it comes to side dishes for Chicken Marsala. Some creative options include creamy mashed potatoes seasoned with herbs and cheese, twice-baked potatoes with a crispy top, or sweet potato fries for a sweeter twist. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and preparations to elevate your meal.