Chicken Marbella


Chicken marbella recipe, classic chicken party dish, chicken cooked with white wine, prunes, green olives. Adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of the finest dishes ever to come out of The Silver Palate Cookbook, Chicken Marbella is chicken first marinated in oil, vinegar, capers, olives, prunes, and herbs, then baked with added brown sugar and white wine.

Prunes are the distinctive ingredient in this famous dish. They’re actually used often in classical French cooking, and the Silver Palate recipe borrows heavily from the French traditional lapin aux pruneaux.

While prunes and capers might seem like an odd combination, when cooked together with chicken they create a delectable sweet and sour, savory flavor. Chicken Marbella is a great dish for entertaining, not only is it easy to put together without a lot of hands on cooking time, but it’s also a real crowd pleaser.

The original recipe calls for the chicken pieces to be marinated all night. We found that marinating for 2-3 hours worked fine.

From the recipe archive, first posted 2005.

Chicken Marbella Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Marinating time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 5-8

Although the original recipe calls for 2 small chickens to be quartered, you could easily do this recipe with 5 pounds of chicken pieces, thighs and breasts.


  • 2 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on
  • Cloves from 1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely puréed
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 8 large pitted Spanish green olives, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped


1 Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight.

2 Place chicken in baking pan, top with marinade, brown sugar, wine: Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken pieces and pour white wine around them.

3 Bake until done: Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with the pan juices. Chicken is done when a sharp knife inserted into the thigh pieces, at their thickest point, run with clear yellow juices (not pink).

4 Serve with pan juices: With a slotted spoon, move the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Pour some of the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle generously with parsley. Serve remaining juices in a gravy boat.

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Slightly adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook


Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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147 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mike Judge

    Always great, always has guests swooning!


  2. Anne

    I made this for guests last night and it was AMAZING. I mistakingly put the sugar and the wine in the marinade rather than at the end—-and I forgot to add the parsley at the end….regardless, I cooked it for longer than called for because we like the chicken to be practically falling off the bone, and the sauce became caramelized. I don’t know if the flavor was different because of those differences but it was so delicious and we will definitely make this again – the wrong way!


  3. Tina

    I accidentally added the wine to the marinade…is it ruined?

  4. Traci

    Fabulous recipe! The combination of sweet prunes with savory capers and olives makes this burst with flavor! A family favorite and so quick and easy to prepare. I also add dried apricots.

    I use the leftovers for another tasty meal… De-bone chicken, chop all ingredients, mix together and spoon into the middle of prepared biscuit or popover dough and fold dough up around ingredients, pinching across top to seal it. Place each “popover” in a muffin pan and bake @ 350° for about 20 minutes.


  5. Christine !

    Loved this!! I made it a year ago, and stumbled upon a picture of my dish, and I thought “why haven’t I made this again?” – so I have it marinating in the fridge right now. The sweet/savory/acidic taste to this dish is wonderful. Do not hesitate to give this dish a try – even if you don’t like olives, or prunes, or capers etc. Most people sit down to a Caesar salad and don’t think anything about it, but would turn up their nose if offered an anchovy. It all just works!


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