We’ve made Giada’s veal Marsala quite a few times over the past year since we discovered it and have just fallen in love with this recipe.  Unfortunately, it’s never been pretty enough to photograph and blog about but I finally get to share it with you here now!  When Kyle and I were trying to decide on a few different burgers to serve at our “sliders extravaganza” that we hosted for our parents a few weeks ago, we agreed that adapting this recipe into a burger was definitely something worth trying.

And boy was it delicious!!  I’m a big big fan of the flavor of Marsala and this burger was dripping in it.  There aren’t many meals that I’m actually sad when it’s over but this was one of them.  I couldn’t get enough of the mushroom sauce…and that’s coming from someone who is not a fan of mushrooms!  The recipe was easy to adapt into burgers and we cooked the burgers in a cast iron skillet, rather than on the grill, and then made the mushroom Marsala sauce in the drippings from the burgers, just as you would do if you used veal in the recipe.


If you’re wondering about this so-called “sliders extravaganza”…we decided on four different burger flavors: blue cheese sirloin with red onion jam, a pressed burger with manchego and jalapeno aoili, caprese, and these delectable Marsala burgers.  I made a ton of little tiny burger buns, probably even smaller than traditional slider-size buns, and we topped all of the burgers except this burger on the buns.  The Marsala burgers were set a top some crusty French bread – the perfect vessel for these burgers.  So if you’re looking for a burger that’s a little more exciting than what you’ve been making all summer, definitely give this one a shot.  I promise you won’t be sorry!


Two years ago: Spicy Black Bean Cakes


Marsala Burgers

  • Cook Time: 20min
  • Yield: 4 servings


12 oz ground beef (85%/15% works well here) or ground chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 oz assorted mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup sweet Marsala wine
½ cup low-sodium beef broth
1 fresh rosemary sprig
4 oz sharp cheddar or fontina, shredded (about 1 cup)
1 crusty French bread baguette


  • 01

    Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

  • 02

    Shape the ground beef into 4 oblong patties, about 4 inches long each. Drizzle each side of the patties with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut the french bread into pieces a little shorter than each of the patties and set aside.

  • 03

    Brown the patties in the skillet on both sides until the burgers are medium rare.  Transfer the burgers to a plate and keep warm; leave the juices in the pan.

  • 04

    Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and ½ tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the shallot and garlic. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add another ½ tablespoon of the olive oil, if necessary. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender and the juices evaporate, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Add the Marsala. Simmer until the Marsala reduces by half, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and the rosemary sprig. Simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.

  • 05

    Return the burgers to the skillet. Cook burgers until they are medium, turning to coat, about 1 minute. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.  Add 1 oz of cheese to the top of each burger and cover the pan to allow the cheese to melt, about 2 minutes.  When the cheese has melted, remove the burgers from the pan and place on the bread.  Top the burgers with Marsala sauce and then the top piece of bread. Serve hot.

Smells Like Home original | Marsala recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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Leave a Comment

  • August 20, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    Oh my goodness I absolutely LOVE marsala. But topping a burger this way? GENIUS!!! I think I could smother anything in marsala sauce and be happy but this burger idea is so awesome. I can’t wait to try it!

  • […] And I’m thinking it’s an appropriate piggyback to yesterday’s post because Smells Like Home is a Barefoot Blogger, one of the groups I was talking about yesterday. Marsala Burgers are the […]

  • August 20, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Wow those amazing!! I must try this recipe soon!

  • […] And I’m thinking it’s an appropriate piggyback to yesterday’s post because Smells Like Home is a Barefoot Blogger, one of the groups I was talking about yesterday. Marsala Burgers are the […]

  • August 20, 2009 at 1:07 PM

    OMG, those look amazing!! They’re going on my to-make list.

  • insanelygoodfood
    August 21, 2009 at 6:10 AM

    MMMM… I need to make reservations at your restaurant! :o)

  • August 21, 2009 at 3:32 PM

    What a yummy idea!

  • August 21, 2009 at 9:02 PM

    Those burgers look so good! Great idea!

  • Steve
    August 23, 2009 at 6:54 AM

    Sweet marsala ? Is that a store bought item in a jar?

    • smellslikehome
      August 23, 2009 at 7:25 AM

      store bought – i get mine in a liquor store.

  • August 24, 2009 at 9:15 PM

    I LOVE Chicken Marsala, so this is on my list to cook soon!

  • August 26, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    oh my, do these look incredible!

  • thecookingnurse
    August 27, 2009 at 4:37 PM

    Great pic’s, I want one of these right now!

  • August 29, 2009 at 3:11 AM

    The burger looks so mouth-watering!

  • September 1, 2009 at 12:58 PM

    We enjoyed this recipe on Saturday and my husband “Mmmmed” his way through the meal. Wonderful. I’ll be posting the recipe on my blog with a link back to yours. Your pictures turned out much better than mine. And your cheese is white — white sharp cheddar?

  • September 4, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    […] typed up the recipe below as I made these, but if you like mushrooms, be sure to check out Tara’s blog for the […]

  • Melissa
    September 4, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    I recently made these, except subbed caramelized onions for the mushrooms. They were so good!I’m so happy you came up with this idea!

  • Bethany
    April 8, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    yeah…now for some reason that split pea soup I was gonna make tonight for dinner doesn’t sound so great?! Could these ‘burgers’ look any tastier??!! WOW…I’m gonna bookmark this and make it soon…suffer through my split pea soup tonight 😛 Thanks for sharing!

  • October 24, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    […] Serves 4 Adapted from Smells Like Home […]

  • […] Marsala Burgers ~ These are simple, yet taste fancy. I like that they are served on French bread baguettes. Udi’s and Schar make great quality gluten free baguettes that I believe will work. […]