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Chicken Marbella

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One of the most popular dishes from the Silver Palate Cookbook, Chicken Marbella has been a family favorite for decades. Loved it back then; still love it now!

Chicken marbella on a platter.

Chicken Marbella is probably the most famous recipe to come out of the beloved Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and the late Sheila Lukins. Growing up, this dish was a regular at our family dinners, especially during Rosh Hashanah and Passover. To this day, my mom prepares it for special family gatherings. I hesitated to share this recipe initially, thinking many of you might already have it tucked away. But then it dawned on me that an entire new generation of home cooks might be unfamiliar with it. After all, the cookbook hit the shelves in 1982 — and to put that in perspective, I was only 9 years old back then!

So, what makes Chicken Marbella so darn good? First off, the chicken itself is always tender and juicy. But more than anything, it’s in the unique Mediterranean flavor combination — a marinade of garlic and herbs, a savory-sweet wine gravy (which, I swear, is good enough to drink), and a mix of plump prunes, briny capers, and tangy green olives. It all comes together to make one gorgeous and memorable dish.

“I made this for my husband’s birthday dinner last night – THE MOST AMAZING CHICKEN ever!”


If you don’t have the Silver Palate Cookbook, a 25th-anniversary edition complete with photos was published a few years ago. The recipes are as relevant today as they were in the 1980s. In fact, my mother still keeps her original copy by the stove, with the Chicken Marbella page (among many others) dog-eared and scribbled on.

What You’ll Need To Make Chicken Marbella

chicken marbella ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade (use your hands to rub marinade all over and especially under the skin). Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

chicken with marinade in bowl

Preheat the oven to 350°F and set two oven racks in the centermost positions. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in two 9 x 13-inch baking dishes and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

chicken in baking dish sprinkled with brown sugar and wine

Bake for about 1 hour, basting occasionally with the pan juices. The chicken is done when the thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest point, yield clear yellow juice (not pink).

baked chicken marbella

At this point, you can serve the chicken as is, especially if you plan to remove the skin. However, if you prefer a crisper, browner skin, transfer the chicken pieces to a foil-lined baking sheet.

baked chicken on foil-lined baking sheet

Broil 5 inches from the heating element for a few minutes, or until the skin is golden and crisp; keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Then proceed to serve as above.)

browned chicken on foil-lined baking sheet

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Add some of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley. Pass the remaining sauce on the side.

Chicken marbella on a platter.

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Chicken Marbella

One of the most popular dishes from the Silver Palate Cookbook, Chicken Marbella has been a family favorite for decades. Loved it back then; still love it now!

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes, plus 12 hours to marinate the chicken


  • 2 cut-up chickens, 2½ pounds each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on (see note)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup pitted prunes
  • ¼ cup Spanish green olives
  • ¼ cup capers, with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley


  1. In a large bowl combine the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade (use your hands to rub marinade all over and especially under the skin). Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set two oven racks in the centermost positions.
  3. Arrange the marinated chicken in a single layer in two 9 x 13-inch baking dishes and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour, basting occasionally with the pan juices. The chicken is done when the thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest point, yield clear yellow juice (not pink).
  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter (discard the bay leaves). Add some of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley. Pass the remaining sauce in a gravy boat. (Alternatively, if you prefer a crisper, browner skin, transfer the chicken pieces to a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from the heating element for a few minutes, or until the skin is golden and crisp; keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn. Then proceed to serve as above.) Serve the chicken hot or room temperature.
  6. Note: You can substitute all white or dark meat depending on what your family likes. I've also seen appetizer versions made entirely with small drumsticks and wings.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 821
  • Fat: 50 g
  • Saturated fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 62 g
  • Sodium: 963 mg
  • Cholesterol: 280 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • How can this dish have 67 grams of fat per serving!!! I only see olive oil and chicken to make most of the fat grams. Am I missing something?

    • — Marcia Y on September 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Marcia – I just recalculated it and there was actually an error – new data has been added. It’s still quite high due to the chicken skin as well as the marinade/sauce. The actual calorie/fat count is likely much lower without the marinade, but since the chicken is cooked in it and it is served as a sauce, it’s included in the nutritional data.

      • — Jenn on September 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • Your instructions say that after marinating the chicken, you should spoon the marinade over the chicken prior to cooking it. I had always heard that you should boil the marinade first to avoid contamination or divide the marinade and use part for marinating and the rest for cooking.

    • — Mary Kraft on September 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, It’s fine here since it cooks thoroughly with the chicken.

      • — Jenn on September 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • What are some good sides for this dish. I plan on using boneless thighs. I love your recipes. I have to adjust because of my husband being on dialysis.

    • — Rebecca Coppage on September 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Rebecca, You could serve it with any roasted vegetable – I love carrots, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts. Rice, couscous, or roasted potatoes all work well too.

      • — Jenn on September 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • I doubled the Chicken Marbella Recipe and ate half and put the other half in the freezer uncooked in the marinade. It is a delicious recipe and my family enjoyed it. Now it the other half is in the freezer in the marinade and has been there for 5 months. I haven’t added the wine or brown sugar as I planned to add it when cooking. My question will it still be good if it has been in the freezer for 5 months?

    • — Peggy Maibaum on August 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Peggy, so glad you enjoyed it! I think 5 months is pushing it a bit, but it’s probably still good.

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • is it possible to make this ahead and freeze it? The day after my son’s wedding, the family is coming over and I’d like to serve Chicken Marabella but I dont see myself marinating the night after returning home from the wedding or early the next morning.

    • — LJo on August 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, that would be fine. Enjoy the wedding!

      • — Jenn on August 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delicious. I love that on cooking day it is just dump and bake! I used half of the extra liquid to make rice. My family loves this chicken recipe. We all like the “bits of yummy stuff”. Olives/capers/prunes/(and I added dry cherries). Thank you for sharing the recipe. Happy when the good old recipes resurface.

    • — Cindy on July 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn, I am planning to make this for a group of 25 people next week. Since Meny will be eating off paper plates on their laps, I was thinking boneless would be much easier. Do you think it matters if it’s thighs or breasts? And do you think it would be OK to let it marinate for 48 hours, or is that too much? Thank you!

    • — Peter Nassetta on May 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Peter, if you want to use boneless chicken, I’d definitely go with the thighs as they will be more moist. And I think it would be fine for the chicken to marinate for 48 hours. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on May 18, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this for tonight’s dinner. I had boneless, skinless chicken breasts readily available so gave that a try. After marinating them overnight, I baked them until the internal temperature was 165 degrees and it turned out delicious! The juices were perfect and we poured the extra over rice.

    • — Debbie on April 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Someone commented previously about using fresh bay leaf vs. dried because the dried falls apart during marinating. I’ve only cooked with dried bay leaf. Can you give me your thoughts? This is a new recipe I’m making for Passover this year!
    Thanks so much!

    • — Aycie on March 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Aycie, Dried bay leaves are better for cooking (and I don’t think you’ll find fresh ones at the supermarket). Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • Julee Rosso, not Julie.

    • — bob on March 14, 2023
    • Reply
    • Thanks for pointing that out! I just updated the recipe.

      • — Jenn on March 15, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made this for Christmas (exactly as written) and it was fabulous!This time I plan to try it with boneless, skinless thighs, as several are trying to cut calories. I know you don’t recommend boneless, skinless thighs, but if I do use them should I skip the brown sugar!? Also, would the cooking time be longer without bone-in?

    • — Tess on February 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Tess, it’s okay to use thighs and I’d still use the sugar. Also, the cooking time may be a bit shorter, so keep a close eye on them. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • Although I am in my 50’s, neither I nor anyone in my extended family had heard of this dish. I made it to use up some extra olives, and it was unexpectedly complex in flavor. Everyone really enjoyed it. It was very easy to make. I followed the recipe exactly, using boneless skinless chicken thighs, except I halved the sugar due to diabetic constraints. It still turned out delicious. Will definitely be adding this to our dinner rotation. Thank you Jenn for posting this. Another great recipe!!

    • — Angela on January 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made chicken marbella many times using boneless, skinless thighs. It is always yummy but after reading all the comments I’m going to leave the skin on for even more flavor and moistness. I recently got a new oven with convection bake and convection roast options. I have not used either function yet and wondered if one of these methods would work well for this recipe. Also what temperature would you suggest? My daughter and I love all of your recipes and I am giving her your cookbooks for Christmas this year. Thank you!

    • — Rose on December 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Rose, I would recommend sticking with the regular setting on your oven as I find using the convection setting tends to dry out chicken and beef. Also, so glad both you and your daughter like the recipes – thanks for your support of the cookbook! 💗

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Thanks for reminding me of a recipe I made often years ago. Made it tonight and it was as good as I remember. I used only chicken thighs because that’s what we like and tossed in a few extra prunes and olives to have 2 of each for each serving. I roasted the chicken and turned on convection for the last 20 minutes and it browned up beautifully.

    • — Kathie on November 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have been making this for many years. Easy and always good for weeknight or guests. Last night I served it to friends with quinoa and roasted asparagus. Started with a spring greens, baby spinach, cucumber, shredded carrot, hearts of palm, yellow peppers, snap peas, tomato craisins and a balsamic vinaigrette topped with blue cheese crumbles. Warm apple crisp for dessert.

    • — RDN in Lenox on November 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • i have been making this for years the “right way”, but its too hot for the oven, so i modified. (no time for marinating). Using a dutch oven, I seared the chicken quickly, then dumped in all the ingredients. got it boiling, then covered and turned way down. it was delicious and done top to bottom in an hour. loved this. definitely adding to my summer recipes. <3

    • — trish_in_florida on July 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • Another outstanding recipe, thank you. So easy to make and so delicious to eat. All my kids absolutely love this one. A++

    • — Victoria B on July 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • i made it and it did not turn out. The sauce was very watery and when i tried to boil it down it did not taste good.

    • — Bett on April 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hello,
    I am making this wonderful dish as part of Easter meal. My question is can I put the baked chicken and juice in a crockpot to keep warm since my sisters main oven and smaller ovens will be in use. It will be baked on Saturday and taken to her home Easter Sunday. I would think so but just wanted to check. Thank you. It’s a fabulous dish!

    • — Tish on April 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it, and yes, that should work. Happy Easter!

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hey There Jenn!
    I’m about to make this later today for dinner, it’s still marinating in the fridge. I’m so excited to taste this after reading all your rave reviews!!! Here’s my question, I’ve got all the ingredients in the marinade, but I just realized I ALSO happened to have some dried cherries, you think it’d be ok to add a small amount to the marinade, and it’d still taste great?! Or no?
    Thanks for your quick reply!
    Gigi B.

    • Hi Gigi, Go for it – should be delicious. 🙂

      • Will DO! Thanks so much Jenn!!

  • I have made this several times. I love it so much! Most of the time I just buy a whole chicken cut up. Recently, I am using Truvia sugar substitute, because I can not eat much sugar. It is still delicious!!

    • — Julie Chambers
    • Reply
  • I have made the Moroccan Chicken Tagine which was delicious though I only put in 2 finely chopped garlic cloves as I’m not keen on too much garlic.
    Looking forward to making this one but again I shall have to reduce the amount of garlic so hopefully if won’t spoil the flavour.

  • Made this for Christmas dinner last year and it was fabulous! Going to making it again this year.

  • How do you think this would be served over creamy polenta? And could I use boneless chicken breasts?

    • I think this would be delicious served over polenta! And the recipe really won’t work with boneless breasts, but you might try this recipe, which is similar. Hope that helps!

      • The recipe works perfectly for boneless breasts (i cut in half). Been making this recipe for 25 years. Perfect! Add large family style zatarans dirty rice to the dish and serve all mixed together , its the best!

        • — Steven on June 29, 2022
        • Reply
  • All I can find for prunes is “dried pitted prunes”. Will they work okay here? Thank you! Your recipes are consistently outstanding!

    • Yes, that’s exactly what you want! Hope you enjoy the chicken (and so glad you like the recipes)!

  • I have the original Silver Palate cookbook, but use your adaption. This is such an easy dish to make, and I always recommend it (and your website) to less experienced cooks.

    Your pictures and descriptions are so well organized, they really make cooking accessible.

    I am making Chicken Marbella today for an early family dinner. We have a soccer game in the pouring rain to attend, and we will be well fed at least.

  • Hey Jenn! Big fan of your recipes! You are really truly gifted! I just realized I only have dark brown sugar…will this work?

    • So glad you like the recipes! Yes, dark brown sugar should be fine — enjoy!

  • This was amazing! I used 12 boneless skinless thighs. Baked for 40 minutes then let stand for 20 minutes covered with foil. It wasn’t too dry. Served with organic jasmine rice. Will definitely make many more times.

  • I have made this wonderful dish several times. It gets rave reviews every single time. Can this be made with SKINLESS chicken thighs? Please advise.
    Kind regards,

    • Sure, Franca, that should work. Please LMK how it turns out!

    • Hi Jenn,
      I made this again last night for dinner. I used skinless chicken thighs and although it was still scrumptious, the chicken thighs were a bit drier. I may continue to use skinless chicken for our family meals, but if I make it for guests I will definitely use chicken with the bone in and skin on. Thank you for this wonderful website and your flawless recipes.
      Kind regards,

      • Good to know — thanks for reporting back — I think that will be helpful to other readers. 🙂

      • Making it this way tonight. Did you adjust cooking time or temperature? Thanks, John

  • Might be a beginner mistake, but make sure to use fresh bay leaves. Dried bay leaves fall apart when you mix the marinade. Hoping it won’t be too bad picking them out tomorrow..

  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m planning to make this for our outdoor seder on Saturday. Can I add potatoes to the dish? One less dish to worry about in the oven and to carry outside! Thanks!

    • Sure Ellen — they won’t be crispy, but it would certainly work to add potatoes here. Hope you enjoy!

  • How long would I bake this if I used boneless breasts?

    • Hi Barbara, The recipe really won’t work with boneless breasts – sorry! But you might try this recipe on Epicurious, which is similar. Hope that helps!

  • The Silver Palette was my “ go to” cookbook back in the days. Chicken Marabella was a staple at every baby shower we threw! Haha Used extra boneless chicken breast instead.. was easier to serve lots of people (though I’m sure not as tasty when using a whole chicken…but was pretty good, since we always made it). Brought up lots of great memories. Thank you. Check out the carrot soufflé in the book…fabulous especially if you have a sweet tooth. Ha

  • How do treat the marinade amounts if only making half the amount of chicken and what would you do to keep the the original amount of gravy?

    • — sophie sindelar
    • Reply
    • Hi Sophie, if you want to keep the original amount of gravy, I’d make the full amount of marinade but prior to marinating the chicken, set half of it aside to heat up and use as a gravy at serving time. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

  • Jenn- Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It was absolutely delicious!!! I was hesitant at first because it seems like a weird pairing of ingredients but it works. Really outstanding flavor and the bonus is that it can be prepared almost completely the night before any festivities.
    Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • This recipe is a keeper! I’ve made it at least a dozen times now and it never fails to make everyone happy. Family favorite.

    • — Victoria Arduini
    • Reply
  • This has to be one of my favorite recipes! I have served it at small dinner parties as well as large family parties as a buffet dish. I usually make the recipe and keep it in the fridge overnight. This makes entertaining so much easier with your entree already to pop in the oven. Since I have always used the Silver Palate recipe, I didn’t brown the chicken:, and it is still fabulous. Please, Please do not let the ingredients keep you from making this dish. Prune haters will never even know they are in this recipe. I have also used these ingredients to make large batches of wings and received rave reviews! Thanks again Jen for another winner!

  • Two main things to know about this amazing dish…it is super yummy and it is so easy to make! The sauce is so good. I served it with couscous. I’ve made it several times and everyone always loves it!

  • Easy yet fancy enough for guests. A keeper!

  • I used boneless /skinless thighs and reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup. It turned out awesome! New family favorite.

  • Made this tonight for my son. He has lived in San Francisco for the last several years so has had the great opportunity to eat at some of the finest restaurants in the land. He said this was the best dinner he has ever had. He fell in love with it. I made the asparagus and peas as well as the couscous which you suggested. Wow. Jenn, you give us the best recipes ever. Thank you.

    • — Janie Cashimere Johnson
    • Reply
  • This is a great recipe and I am one of the original Silver palate cookbook followers; my original fell apart (the binding was never great) and I managed to find a new one in a second hand book store; it’s something I always check for when in a second hand shop.

    I have never had any problem with it browning nicely in the oven, especially if you use convection bake. Another great accompaniment is pureed sweet potato (either with carrots as in the SP cookbook or alone). I also serve couscous; the combination of flavours and textures goes really well together and works great for a buffet!

    Don’t worry about the “weird” ingredients; my kids would hate the olives, capers and prunes on their own but LOVE this dish.

  • I would like to make this but I only have skinless boneless chicken thighs…would that work here?

    • Sure, Vikki, I think it should work. Enjoy!

  • I would like to make this for a progressive dinner. Since I cannot be home for an hour of baking time before serving, I was wondering if I could make it in advance, and after baking, put it in a crockpot at the “keep warm” or “low” setting to keep warm while I head off to the appetizer stop. Or would it overcook? Thanks.

    • Hi Pam, I don’t have experience with a crockpot, but as long as you keep it on warm instead of low, I’m guessing it should be fine. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • This chicken was great my whole family loved it and took the leftovers. 5stars

  • Amazing! Made it with raisins and then used the leftover chicken and sauce to make a chicken pie the next night with an added mirepoix and roasted peppers. Definitely making again, such great flavour.

  • Hi Jenn! I started this recipe only to find I’m out of red wine vinegar. Can I use aged white wine vinegar instead? Or aged sherry vinegar?

    • Hi Jane, either of those should work. Enjoy!

  • Delicious and easy to make!!!

  • I’m having a family dinner next Sunday think this would be great.
    Nine adults- would you recommend all thighs? Double recipe? Or? I’ve been thinking about this for two days and thought I’d ask. Also can I substitute prunes for golden raisins? Thx Marlene

    • — Marlene Bisbee
    • Reply
    • Hi Marlene, If you double the recipe, you’re very likely to have leftovers (which is not necessarily a bad thing). 🙂 You could make 1.5 times the recipe. All thighs would work fine here and golden raisins would be tasty too. Hope you enjoy!

  • Yum! This was just what I expected. I have had this many times, but have never made it before. I used thighs, doubled the olives and used blonde coconut sugar. I was out of prunes and ended up adding them not long before baking. My friend got a link to your site. Thanks Jenn.

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