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Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbellaa delicious, classic American recipe that is great for entertaining. Very elegant and easy to make!

Chicken Marbella in yellow baking dish0

What is so special about this Chicken Marbella, and why should you make it

This recipe for Chicken Marbella is not a new one. I decided to post it here because I fell in love with it, and it is one of my favorite recipes when I entertain.

This dish contains chicken, prunes, capers, and green olives. It is a classic dish and such a simple recipe that you can’t go wrong with it.

The recipe comes from the famous The Silver Palate Cookbook– by Sheila Lukins & Julee Rosso. The book was first published in 1982, and it revolutionized American cooking. The authors brought Spanish, Mediterranean, and Asian flavors to a time when everyone was obsessed with French cuisine. 

The Chicken Marbella dish is probably the most popular recipe from the book, but so many other recipes are equally worth trying.

Chicken Marbella, though, is the recipe that became popular for entertaining, and many generations grew up with it.

Why do I like this classic recipe:

  • It is incredibly easy to make
  • The chicken is juicy as you have to let it sit in this fantastic marinade made out of garlic, spices, vinegar, olive oil, and juice from the capers. There is also white wine involved, green olives, and prunes.
  • It can be assembled a day before and just baked before the guests come for that perfect dinner party.
  • This dish is perfect for entertaining– It is an awesome recipe for the average home cook who likes to entertain but doesn’t have a lot of time on their hands to make complicated food.

The flavor of the chicken, and the saltiness of the olives combined with the dried fruit, caper juice, garlic, and white wine, make this dish worthy of special occasions.

I don’t know about you, but I love entertaining. I grew up in a culture where people still like hosting, and hospitality plays an important role in their lives.

Even if we did not have much when I was growing up, the kitchen was always the most important room in the house. Sunday meals were a must. 

I do remember the clean tablecloth, the “good silverware,” the fancy napkins kept for the occasion, and the tall glasses for wine, which made the table look elegant and inviting.

Music was always playing in the background while the family enjoyed the meal. The food was simple, hearty, and delicious.

Entertaining should not be complicated or crazy. There are a gazillion recipes out there that can be made in advance, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Food is the instrument to bring people together, and that inspired me to share this recipe with you today. This chicken recipe is indeed one of the most popular American recipes for entertaining.

What kind of chicken can I use?

Feel free to use whatever part of the chicken you have available. Also, you can cut the recipe in half if you have fewer people around the table.

However, the original recipe requires four whole chickens, quartered, but I used different chicken parts with great success on many occasions. 

My favorite parts for this dish:

Chicken legs

Chicken thighs

Bone-in chicken breast

Boneless chicken thighs

I would stay away from boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, as the meat doesn’t have much flavor and will dry out in the oven.

What other ingredients go into this Silver Palate recipe? (Find the printable recipe card at the end of this article)

  • 1 head of garlic peeled and finely pureed– You might say that this recipe has a stunning amount of garlic, but bear with me, as this dish is made for 10 people. There is a lot of chicken and a lot of other ingredients that will end up marinating, so a head of garlic is not a big deal.
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • ½ cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • ½ cup brown sugar or to your taste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley and/or fresh coriander, finely chopped cilantro

How to make Chicken Marbella

This recipe is spectacular to serve for dinner, and it’s excellent, both hot and cold.

Step 1. Marinate the chicken.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, chopped garlic cloves, oregano, pepper, coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves.

Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge, or place the chicken together with the rest of the ingredients in a plastic storage bag.

This is the first thing you need to do. The overnight marination is essential for the finished dish.

Chicken marinated with prunes, green olives, capers and wine in a yellow baking dish- for Chicken Marbella

Step 2. Bake the dish.

The next day, when you are ready to prepare the dish, preheat the oven to 350F. Grab one or two shallow baking pans or a large baking dish and arrange the chicken in a single layer. Spoon marinade over it evenly.

Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour wine around them.

Bake, but make sure you baste the chicken with pan juices. Chicken is done when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165F, and the juices run clear.

How to serve Chicken Marbella:

When the chicken is done and golden brown, transfer everything to a serving platter. Pour a few spoonfuls of pan juices on the chicken and sprinkle generously with fresh parsley or cilantro. 

Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat for extra sauce on each plate. Some crusty bread would be awesome for dipping in the lovely sauce.

You can serve Chicken Marbella either cold or at room temperature. Allow the chicken and the juices to come to room temperature before transferring them to a serving platter.

If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.

Leftover Chicken Marbella:

Keep the leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it in a freezer bag for up to six months.

Chicken Marbella baked0

This Chicken Marbella is an elegant, beautiful, and delicious dish! Also, it is so easy to make that it doesn’t even feel like you are cooking. 

People will think you worked all day in the kitchen. How cool is that?

Chicken Marbella baked in a yellow pan0

Expert tip: Make sure you calculate about 6 to 8 ounces of chicken per person when you plan the menu. You can get away with it by preparing only this dish, besides some light appetizers and maybe a salad as a starter.

Chicken Marbella overhead picture

I also used less sugar. One cup seems to be too much for my taste, and it might be for you as well if you are not into sugar much or try to avoid it. 

For dessert, if you don’t want to make anything complicated, serve this easy recipe that you cannot fail at Five Minutes Triffle. 

If you feel like baking something, try this Orange Almond Flan– a delicious Spanish recipe that will end the meal in style and everyone will enjoy.

And the results are amazing. As a matter of fact, I cannot wait to have it for lunch tomorrow. I just made another batch tonight, and it came out divine. Leftovers are great too.


More recipes to love:

Roasted Chicken And Potatoes

Chicken Soup With Sour Cream And Garlic

Caldo de Pollo or Chicken Soup Mexican Style (Instant Pot)

Peanut Butter Chicken

Check out the web story for this recipe: Easy Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella From The Silver Palate Cookbook- featured picture
Chicken Marbella Close Up0

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella- a delicious, classic American recipe that is great for entertaining. Very elegant and easy to make!
4.73 from 11 votes
Print Pin Share Grow Rate
Course: Meat and Poultry
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, chicken marbella recipe, roasted chicken with olives and prunes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Inactive Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 483kcal


  • 4 pounds chicken parts bone-in chicken thighs, breast, legs
  • 1 head of garlic peeled and finely pureed
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • ½ cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • ½ cup brown sugar or to your taste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley and/or fresh coriander finely chopped cilantro


  • In a large bowl, combine chicken parts, garlic, oregano, pepper, coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and marinate it overnight in the fridge.
  • On the next day, preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly.
  • Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, and baste the chicken frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when it reaches at least 165F inside, and the juices run clear.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.
  • To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved liquid over the chicken.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 906mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 498IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 29th of December 2021

I want to try this recipe but 1/4 cup of oregano sounds like a lot. Can less be used? Thanks!

The Bossy Kitchen

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

Hi Sara, 1/4 cup of dried oregano means 4 tablespoons. 4 tablespoons is not much when you look at the amount of chicken that the recipe requires, which is 10 pounds. It feeds 10 people so that 1/4 cup of oregano is not a lot. You can definitely scale back on ingredients if you do not make it for so many people.

Friday 29th of March 2019

Saturday 16th of March 2019

Sunday 6th of January 2019

Wednesday 19th of December 2018