Spanish Baked Chicken

Chicken marinated in oil and vinegar with olives and raisins, then baked with wine and brown sugar. Pollo Estofado.

  • Prep time: 2 hours
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dash of pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced or halved pitted green olives
  • 3 pounds chicken parts
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine


1 Make marinade: In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, bay leaves, raisins and olives.

2 Marinate the chicken: Prick the skin of the chicken with fork tines or the tip of a sharp knife and add to the marinade, coating well. Pricking the skin is to help the marinade penetrate the chicken. Cover and refrigerate several hours or up to overnight.


3 Place chicken in baking dish, cover with marinade, wine, brown sugar:  Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Place chicken in a 12x8x2-inch baking dish. Add the wine to the marinade and pour over chicken. Sprinkle the chicken all over with brown sugar.

spanish-baked-chicken-method-2 spanish-baked-chicken-method-3

4 Bake: Bake uncovered at 350°F, basting occasionally, until chicken is tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove bay leaves.


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  • Charlie

    In the 2nd paragraph, you say, add red wine and brown sugar. In the recipe, it calls for white wine.

  • Doreen

    Would this dish be okay for stage 2 diabetic.

  • Rose Meldrum

    I made this recipe today. It was very good and reminded me of the food we ate on Spain. I especially loved the raisons with the chicken & olives. And your Spanish rice recipe was good too.

  • Julie Gabella

    I loved this recipe! I made it a couple of months ago, and am about to make it again this weekend. It’s definitely part of my regular meal rotation!


  • Christopher

    Just had this with Spanish rice, but with honey as I didn’t have brown sugar, and it was utterly glorious. I’ll be making this many, many more times, I’m certain. Thanks, Elise.

  • Carolyn K

    Made this exactly as written. Our entire family loved it. Served with brown rice.

  • Gail Romano

    I made this chicken for dinner tonight. It was delicious. Instead of golden raisins I used craisins because that is what I had. I marinated it first thing this morning, turning it periodically. I did not use 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, just a light sprinkling. Easy & different!

  • Elizabeth Watts

    Can you use green olives with pimentos in them? That’s all I have on hand. Thanks!

    • Elise

      You might try pulling the pimentos out. Or leaving them in. Let us know how it works for you with the pimento olives!

  • enas

    dear Elise,
    i cant use wine in cooking so kindly advise what will be a delicious substitute?
    thank you

    • Elise

      You could use chicken stock and add a touch of lemon juice.

  • Renee

    Elise, do you think this could be made easily in a Dutch oven/Le Creuset on the stove top? I’m thinking it would work well. (I have a stove but not an oven).

    • Elise

      If I were to use a stovetop instead of an oven for this recipe, I would brown the chicken pieces first, and then to cook, I would place them skin side up, and cover.

  • jenni

    Hi Elise,

    I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago and I loved how it turned out. I wrote up a post on it, sharing your recipe with others. Thought you might be interested to see it.

    Thanks for the recipe and looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    • Elise

      Hi Jenni, I love your photos! So glad you made, and liked, the recipe. :-)

  • siew yung

    can i substitute the white wine with red wine instead?

    • Elise

      Try it and see if you like it! It will change the taste, and the color a bit, but it should still be good.

  • jenni

    I’m a pretty new cook, and this recipe turned out great! Thanks for posting something so delicious that a beginner could make!

  • Mike H

    The raisins and the olives together with the chicken remind me of a Morrocan tajine. A lot of Spanish food is heavily influenced by Moorish cuisene due to Spanish history. The mix of sweet, salty, and savory has definately caught my attention and I am definately am going to give this a go tonight for my fiance’s and my romantic dinner.


    It looks delicious, I usually cook chicken in a similar way but I’ll try yours!

  • Carol H

    For the person that didn’t want to buy a whole bottle of wine for this recipe….you can buy 1 cup sample size wine at the front of the liquor store here in Canada, so I’m sure you must have that too. Ours is about $5

    My chicken is marinating right now and I can hardly wait to try this!

  • Michele

    I made this last night and what a hit! Both of my boys loved it and that never happens. I have put this front and center in my recipe box.

  • Jean

    Yum! I made this in the oven, not the slow cooker as I intended, for a small dinner party. It was great. We all enjoyed sopping up the sauce with crusty bread. I will try it again with some of the suggestions from other posters and in the slow cooker because I often need the convenience of a meal that cooks itself. I served it with rice and a Hungarian cucumber salad that contrasted with the slight sweetness of the chicken. Thanks for the great recipe. I’m adding it to my box.

  • Evelyn from Vancouver

    I made this last night, using dark raisins and kalamata olives because golden raisins and green olives were not available. I marinated the chicken for about four hours. It was easy (baking is probably the easiest way to prepare chicken) and produced a lovely, tangy sauce. My husband and I both really liked it and I’ve added it to my recipe box.

  • Ed8r

    Out of curiosity: why do you use garlic powder rather than fresh garlic?

    • Try it. You'll like it.

      Try it with crushed or minced garlic cloves. Should achieve the desired result. Also google “adobo chicken” which is a Filipino style of braised chicken that uses crushed garlic cloves.


      • Ed8r

        Still curious why original recipe calls for powder. I like both, but have noticed there is a definite difference between the two. Do you personally prefer the taste of garlic powder over that of fresh garlic in this dish?

        • Elise

          You could use either. The original recipe that my mother clipped from the Sacramento Bee years ago specified powder, probably because it was more popular to use at the time. It also disperses better through the marinade.

  • Ed8r

    Question about the olives: the recipe states “sliced” but the photos obviously show halves. Could you clarify?

    • Elise

      Thickly sliced or halved, depending on how large the olives are.

  • Jayne

    I have black olives and think I can totally use that here. Love a tangy rich sauce with my chicken dishes.

  • Bob Lidd

    If I google pollo estofado, it comes back as “estofado de pollo and that the origin is Peruvian. A common thread along with the chicken is the raisins, but the couple of tbspns of sugar appears to be an addition from the source of original publication.

    • GeeEs

      Pollo estofado just means stewed chicken, estofado de pollo means stew of chicken, not a big difference, and stewed chicken isn’t unique to anywhere. Like any other stew there are a zillion variations. You will frequently find more vegetables in it, like peas, carrots, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. In Spain proper you would find a lot of versions, really sweet versions with sweet sherry, carmelized onions, and raisins, to really pungent versions with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, really any way you can think of it, red wines, white wines, mushrooms, the sky is the limit. The sugar is a little different to me, I would use sherry over wine, which would make up for both.
      If you are using wine you would want that extra sweet bite.

  • alain

    my, what wonderful inspiration for delicious recipe
    I wonder what the rich people are having for supper tonight
    making it right now , and taste testing it, as it’s cooking, wow, what a sunny taste it is.
    added oil cured sun dried tomatoes and capers , slivers of onions and omitted the raisins, I know, it does changes the whole recipe but your post gave me the enthusiasm to try it and that’s what count.


  • Cheryl

    Would dry sherry work instead of dry white wine?

  • Claudia McDonald

    Elsie, Thanks for the suggestion to substitute chicken stock with a little lemon juice for the wine. I had considered the stock but never thought about the addition of a little lemon juice. I often have to decide what to sub. for wine since I just do not have it in the house regularly and do not like buying if for often a small quantity called for in a recipe. The other day I had the problem while making a sauce for fish and all I had available was apple juice. My husband, who is easy to cook for, thought it was good but I was disappointed. I’ve heard of using grape juice as a substitute for wine and just bought some small bottles yesterday, but haven’t tried it in place of wine yet in a recipe. Guess I will have to try grape juice and another time chicken stock with lemon juice and compare. Does anyone have experience with either, and any comments?

    • Julie

      If your objection is not to the alcohol, you can keep vermouth on hand to substitute for white wine. Because it’s fortified, it’s shelf stable and will last (opened) for a very long time. I’m not sure what’s recommended but mine will last for months. I *think* I read that tip in Cooks Illustrated. I know it was a test between several substitutes and vermouth came out on top and I’ve used it successfully in lots of applications.

    • Gwen

      Adding the lemon juice to the stock mimics the acidity that would be present in the wine. A light vinegar (such as cider) would also work. I would imagine juices would be too sweet so I would definitely leave out any extra sugar the recipe might call for if using juice. And, as with stock, I’d add a little lemon juice or vinegar.

    • GeeEs

      I cook with unfiltered apple juice, but never fish, usually pork or chicken. Grape juice is very sweet. Contrary to what a lot of people might say you don’t need to spend a lot on wine you are cooking with, a 3. bottle from Trader Joe’s or Aldi will do fine. Like a previous poster said you can keep fortified wines longer — that is ports, sherrys, marsala, vermouth, you can get all of them for about 6. a bottle at Trader Joe’s too. Fortified wines add a lot of depth to cooking, when you pour a half cup here and an half cup there you go though it pretty fast. You learn whats what, like I would use a dry sherry for this.

  • beth

    would love to try this, but can’t use wine – any suggestions for a substitution? would chicken stock, perhaps, be light enough to sub in?

    • Elise

      You could use chicken stock and add a little lemon juice.

  • James

    Fabulous. Used capers instead of olives and split two Cornish hens before marinating!

  • Walter Underwood

    I make a similar recipe from Joan Nathan’s “Jewish Cooking in America”. It is Gallina a la Vinagreta.

    The chicken is not marinated. It does not use oregano, but uses cloves and cinnamon. It uses marsala instead of sugar and white wine, and some boiler onions. A whole head of garlic is in the center, with the tip trimmed off (squeeze the cloves out at the end). It cooks slowly on the stovetop for two hours.

    My family is not used to bones in chicken (sigh), so I use boneless thighs.

    I do this in our 12″ saute pan. It is hard to describe how luscious it is.

    And there is a wonderful historic note in the book: “In the ancient world, garlic was known as an aphrodisiac. Since a Jewish husband is supposed to fulfill his marital obligation to his wife at least on Friday night, rabbis have suggested that garlic be used in the dishes at the Sabbath eve meal.”

    When your spouse puts extra garlic in dinner…

  • Aymar

    What can I substitute red wine vinegar with?

  • Virginia

    I really want to try this with boneless skinless chicken thighs. What cook time would you suggest?

  • rose

    I don’t see the spicy vinaigrette in the ingredients.

    • Elise

      The spicy vinaigrette mentioned in the introductory notes is the oil and vinegar based marinade, the ingredients for which are listed in the ingredient list.

  • Lisa

    Perfectly delish without the raisins/brown sugar too! :-) My Cuban mother in law taught me to make this dish many years ago. Still a favorite in our house!

  • WestEndGirl

    I’m pretty sure this is actually a Sephardi Jewish dish. The combination of vinegar and raisins is also common to Italian Jewish cuisine.

  • Lisa

    We have a cherished Spanish dressing recipe for Thanksgiving that also includes raisins and olives, and while it sounds like it shouldn’t work it is fabulous!! On my menu for tonight!

  • Jean

    This sounds delicious! I’d like to make it in my slow cooker. Do you think that would work? I might be able to cut out the marinating step and cook low and slow.

    • Elise

      If you try it in a slow cooker, please let us know how it turns out!

  • sheila

    I make a similar recipe I use prunes instead of raisins. It is killer. Everyone always loves it! It’s my goto entertaining dish.

  • :)

    What if I omit the brown sugar.

  • Margarita

    I assume you’re using fresh oregano?

    • Elise

      Yes. I’ve now clarified that in the recipe, thank you! If you have dried oregano, use half as much.

  • stacey snacks

    This reminds me of the Silver Palate recipe for Chicken Marbella…………I love that dish…………will try this version!


  • catherine peck

    does it taste the same without bay leave?

    • Elise

      If you leave out ingredients it will not taste the same. That said, it will not suffer horribly if you leave out the bay leaves.

  • Chandni

    I have used an Albarino from Rias Baixas and it has worked beautifully – before, during and in the meal!

  • Gordon Clubb

    Great dish! This is one of the few online recipes I make again and again. Typically I don’t marinate overnight but put in the wine and marinate for 4 to 6 hours. Love this site too.

  • Carmen

    Followed recipe exactly…terrific.The contrast of olives and raisins worked beautifully.The chicken was moist and flavorful. This site was a true find. Thanks.


  • Julia

    This chicken is so scrumptious! Easy, make-ahead, perfect for company. Love the unusual flavor combo. Thanks for another great recipe, Elise!

  • Kathy

    Just to be clear… You are adding the wine to the marinade already on the chicken, right? Or are you making more marinade, mixing with wine and pouring on top? I’m new at cooking.

    You are adding the wine to the marinade already on the chicken. ~Elise

  • Nikki

    Love at first bite! This dish was soo moist and delicious. Next time, I’ll increase the amount so there are leftovers.

  • Marsha

    Wow, I made this for dinner this past weekend and our company LOVED LOVED LOVED it. So easy to make! This is a keeper.

  • Richy

    When you say basting, what are you using?

    The juices that are coming out of the chicken. ~Elise

  • joel

    First recipe I used from elise about 9 months ago, my gf & I love to cook this. It’s tasty any time of the year w/ the spanish rice, a fresh veg & a glass of wine. Sometimes we get the full shoulder/legs at whole foods (SO good) but the marinade works just as well when we’re buying cheaper cuts. love it!

  • Jeanne

    Just reading this recipe got me drooling, so I HAD to try it! I used frozen chicken breasts (it’s what I had on hand), balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, two big cloves crushed garlic, and jumbo red flame raisins. The chicken didn’t thaw enough for dinner the other night, so I let it sit in the fridge a full day. The smell while it was cooking made me crazy, but eating it was even better. I’m even thinking about buying a barbecue now, because this would be INSANELY good grilled outside – thank you so much, this recipe’s a KEEPER!


  • Harry

    Elise, I got around to making this last night. Thank you so much for posting the recipe; it’s a winner and will be made again and again. Perfect for make-ahead too. I baked all the white meat last night and will bake off the rest tonight. I’m drooling thinking about it; can’t wait.

  • Lee

    Another wonderful recipe. Even my two-year-old son ate it. The flavor is so light. We will make this again for sure.

  • Tina

    Thanks for the recipe! I tried it out and doubled the portion for a pot luck and it was a hit! Deee-licious! =)

  • randi

    I love the flavors in this dish! This is a lot like chicken marbella, with golden raisins substituted for dried pitted prunes. I serve it over white rice and it’s delicious. I’m going to make this tomorrow but I’m using boneless chicken breasts because it’s easier to serve to my 1 and 3 year old boys.