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Chicken and Mushroom Marinara Sauce

This homemade Chicken and Mushroom Marinara Sauce is quick, easy, delicious served over your favorite pasta, and totally worthy of a spot in your dinner rotation!

Want to change up spaghetti night? This super flavorful tomato sauce filled with mushrooms, onions, garlic, herbs, and tender bite-sized pieces of chicken is so good…and it’s ready in less than an hour!

When it comes to meat sauce, beef and Italian sausage are probably the most popular options, but I’m here to tell you that chicken can make a mighty fine meat sauce too (and mushrooms make it even better!).

If that sounds a little odd to you, just try it once and see for yourself. We combine chicken and tomato sauce when making a dish like Chicken Parmesan, so why not put the chicken right in the sauce?

I was first turned on to this idea many years ago when I made a recipe called Chicken Marinara With Mushrooms from the Better Homes and Gardens Treasured Recipes Cookbook. It was made using jarred spaghetti sauce, and we loved it.

As time went on, I made my own version of that recipe using my favorite Quick and Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce as the base. And we loved it even more.

I’ve made it more times than I can count!

Made with basic ingredients (most of which you probably already keep on hand) and ready in only about 40 minutes, this chicken and mushroom pasta sauce is perfect for a weeknight dinner…but it’s also good enough for serving guests!

a skillet filled with chicken and mushroom marinara sauce with a pot of spaghetti in the background

Ingredients You Need:

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Olive oil
  • Chicken tenderloins (or boneless chicken breasts; boneless chicken thighs can be used if you prefer dark meat)
  • Onions
  • Fresh mushrooms (I use baby bella/creminis; white button or other mushrooms, such as shiitakes, can be used instead)
  • Garlic
  • Chicken broth or stock (I use a roasted chicken base mixed with water)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Sugar
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried parsley
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cooked pasta, for serving (I use spaghetti)

Note: The above video is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.

Recipe Tips & Tidbits:

  • To make the most efficient use of your time, I recommend putting your pasta water on to boil before you start prepping your ingredients and making the sauce. Then cook the pasta while the sauce is simmering. 
  • Save on some prep time by buying pre-sliced fresh mushrooms.
  • Serving someone who isn’t a fan of mushrooms? You can leave them out for a yummy marinara sauce with chicken.
  • If you’re going to sprinkle some fresh parsley on top of your finished dish, you can use that instead of dried parsley in the sauce. The general ratio of fresh herbs to dried is 3:1, so you would use 3 tablespoons of fresh.
a bowl of spaghetti topped with chicken and mushroom marinara sauce with 2 forks and another bowl of pasta in the background

Storing Leftovers, Freezing and Reheating

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover sauce, once cooled, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.

This sauce tastes just as good (if not better!) the next day, so you could definitely make it ahead of time. If you make it ahead, just remember to count your storage days from the day you made it and not the day you serve it.

Freezing

To freeze: Cool completely and then place the sauce in an airtight freezer-safe container or freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, and freeze for up to 3 to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Reheating

Reheat the sauce in a pot on the stove top over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Be careful not to overcook, as the chicken can become dry.

a bowl of spaghetti with chicken and mushroom marinara sauce topped with parmesan cheese and parsley

What to Serve With Chicken and Mushroom Marinara Sauce

  • Pasta…of course! My favorite is good-old spaghetti, but you can use pretty much any pasta shape you like (linguine, fettuccine, bucatini, angel hair, rotini, rigatoni, farfalle, and ziti are all good options).
  • Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles make a great lower-carb option for pasta.
  • Gnocchi (try my quick and easy Instant Potato Gnocchi).
  • Freshly-grated or shredded parmesan cheese (for topping).
  • Chopped fresh parsley or basil (for topping).
  • Salad. I like either a simple tossed salad with romaine lettuce, cucumber, carrots, and cherry tomatoes or a Caesar salad.
  • Garlic bread, garlic knots, breadsticks, or dinner rolls.

I hope you try this Chicken and Mushroom Marinara Sauce recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Sauce Recipes You Might Like

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

spaghetti in a white bowl being topped with chicken and mushroom marinara sauce

Chicken and Mushroom Marinara Sauce

This homemade Chicken and Mushroom Marinara Sauce is quick, easy, delicious served over your favorite pasta, and totally worthy of a spot in your dinner rotation!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Estimated Calories: 496

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins, cut into bite-sized pieces (about ¾ to 1 inch big)
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (I use baby bella/creminis; white button or other mushrooms, such as shiitake, can be used instead)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chicken stock or broth, I use roasted chicken base mixed with water
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces pasta, cooked according to the package directions, for serving (I use spaghetti)

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (I use an 11-inch skillet with 2-inch sides).
  • Add the chicken; season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is no longer pink (it does not need to be cooked through at this point; it will finish cooking in the sauce later).
  • With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate; set aside.
  • Add the onions and mushrooms to the skillet; season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and mushrooms have softened.
  • Add the garlic; cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the chicken stock or broth, balsamic vinegar, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, parsley, and the chicken; stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer (uncovered), stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
    Make sure the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature of at least 165°F).
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  • Serve over hot cooked pasta and enjoy!

Notes

  • Serving suggestion: Top your pasta and sauce with freshly-grated or shredded parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley or basil.
  • To make the most efficient use of your time, I recommend putting your pasta water on to boil before you start prepping your ingredients and making the sauce. Then cook the pasta while the sauce is simmering. 
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used instead of chicken tenderloins. If you’re a fan of dark meat, try using boneless skinless chicken thighs.
  • To save on some of the prep time, use pre-sliced mushrooms.
  • Serving someone who isn’t a fan of mushrooms? You can leave them out for a yummy marinara sauce with chicken.
  • This sauce is also excellent served over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
  • Estimated calories shown are for one serving of sauce and pasta; estimated calories for one serving of sauce only is 296.
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