Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella is a classic recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook, first published in 1982. It’s a juicy chicken recipe made with olives, white wine, herbs, and prunes for sweetness. Perfect for a party!

Chicken Marbella
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.

The Secret to Chicken Marbella: Prunes!

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.

An Easy Chicken Marbella Recipe — Great for a Party!

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 to 3 hours worked fine.

About the Silver Palate Cookbook

What is the Silver Palate Cookbook? Published in 1982, it was written by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, who owned the Silver Palate Gourmet Shop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1970s.

They revolutionized American home cooking at the time, introducing Spanish, Moroccan, Italian, Mediterranean, and Asian influences, and adding complex flavors and sophistication to homemade dishes. The Silver Palate Cookbook showed people how to entertain easily at home in a manner that was very contemporary. The dishes were approachable and doable for regular home cooks since they didn't take all day to cook.

Forty years later, it is still a well-loved classic. Just like the Chicken Marbella dish that was all the rage at dinner parties during the 1980s.

What to Serve with Chicken Marbella

We recommend a starchy side to mop up all of the delicious pan juices from cooking the chicken. But a light salad is also a lovely accompaniment for Chicken Marbella.

More Crowd-Pleasing Chicken Recipes to Make!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Chicken Marbella

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 60 mins
Marinating 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings 5 to 8 servings

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.

Slightly adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook.


  • 2 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on (or 5 pounds of chicken pieces)

  • Cloves from 1/2 head garlic, 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 in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  3. Prepare the chicken in one or two baking pans:

    Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over the pieces evenly. Sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken and pour white wine around them.

  4. Bake until done:

    Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, 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).

  5. 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 the remaining juices in a gravy boat on the side.

Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
472 Calories
27g Fat
15g Carbs
39g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 472
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 125mg 42%
Sodium 329mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 448mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.