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Easy Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella is an exquisite chicken recipe made with prunes and olives and marinated overnight. Totally out of this world!

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella achieves perfect results with such little effort. It never lets me down!

I’ve been making this recipe since I bought the original Silver Palate cookbook in 1982.

The Chicken Marbella recipe is iconic and one of the most popular from the cookbook.

Marinated overnight, this recipe is as simple as combining some seasonings, prunes, olives and capers in a one gallon zip lock bag along with the chicken. Place in the fridge overnight and the next night you have an amazing dinner.

chicken marbella

I’ve made this for Shabbat, for company, for large groups and just for me. It is so good.

The prunes contribute the sweet, and the olives and capers, the salt.

Want to change it up a bit? Substitute dates or apricots for the prunes.

When it comes to olives, there are so many choices. Years ago there were no such things as olive bars and now my regular grocer has so many choices.

This time I added citrus olives in chiles and oh my, the brine is so good I could drink it. I didn’t even add the capers, I just used more olives and added the olive brine instead of the caper juice.

You can’t go wrong with this recipe. Everyone loves it that has tried it.

They will also think you’ve slaved in the kitchen, but we will let this simple recipe be our secret, eh?

Chicken Marbella is worth the hype. There aren’t many recipes that are so simple and yet have so much flavor.

chicken marbella

Try not to skimp on the marinating time as this not only keeps the chicken moist, it also amps up the taste!

Despite the name of this dish, it is not Spanish, though Sheila Lukins said it was created with Spanish and Moroccan flavors.

What should you serve with Chicken Marbella?

If you have the cookbook, I will tell you that the orange mashed potatoes with sauteed onions are incredible. I promise one day I will give you this recipe. 

In the meantime though instead of adding milk or cream to your mashed potatoes, try fresh squeezed orange juice. It puts those mashers over the top!

I have also served this with wide butter egg noodles or papparadelle pasta. Couscous is great, as is rice, but my favorite side is of course, the mashed potatoes!

chicken marbella


Add a salad and you have a complete and luscious meal!

Chicken Marbella is the perfect party, potluck and easy family dish.  It can also be served at room temp, improves over time, and can  be made with boneless breasts and thighs for a buffet.

If you want the house to smell great, just make this recipe. I promise everyone will come running.

One bite and they will ask when are you making it again!

Try a Few More From Silver Palate:

Braised Chicken with Apples and Sausage

Chicken with Apples, sausage and Prunes

Pecan Bars

Pecan Bars

Pesto Breakfast Strata

Summer Pesto Breakfast Strata

I’d Love it if you’d Follow Me On Pinterest and Pin and Share!

Chicken Marbella

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chicken marbella

Chicken Marbella Never Lets Me Down!

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 - 60 Minutes
  • Total Time: 65 Minutes
  • Yield: 6 - 8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Chicken Marbella with prunes and olives, is marinated overnight and then baked. It is one of my most asked for recipes!



2 chickens, approx. 2 and 1/2lbs each, cut into pieces

½ head garlic, peeled and minced or thinly sliced

2 T dried oregano

Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

¼ c red wine vinegar

¼ c olive oil

½ c pitted prunes or should I say dried plums?

¼ c pitted Spanish (green) olives (I like the ones in the deli with the garlic slivers inside)

¼ c capers with a bit of juice

3 bay leaves


1/2 c brown sugar

½ c white wine

2 T cilantro or parsley for garnish


Up to 24 hours ahead, combine chicken with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange chicken in a single layer and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar and white wine.

Bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until chicken is golden.

Transfer to serving platter and pour pan juices over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley or cilantro.


This recipe calls for 2.5 lb chickens. If your grocer is like mine, these are hard to find. I often cut my breasts into two pieces and try not to marinate more than 5 -6 lbs at a time. I use a large gallon sized zip lock bag to marinate the chicken and have also used chicken breasts cut into large chunks and served this at a party over noodles or mashed potatoes.


Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Saturday 20th of April 2024

Has anyone made this without prunes? My husband can't have it so am looking at making this without.


Sunday 21st of April 2024

Apricots or dates are a great substitute!


Saturday 9th of July 2022

Hi - does using boneless breast pieces change the cooking time?


Monday 11th of July 2022

Hi Jessica. Yes, it will cook faster! Probably in about 20 -25 minutes. Keep your eyes on it!

Karen (Back Road Journal)

Monday 15th of March 2021

I haven't had Chicken Marbella in years but can attest to how great it is. I can remember the first time I had it to this day, so that in itself would tell your readers they should give the recipe a try.


Thursday 18th of March 2021

Every time I make it Karen, I always wonder why it took me so long.

Healthy World Cuisine

Wednesday 10th of March 2021

When the recipe starts with a half a head of garlic, we are on board! Love the sweet, salty and savory aspects of this recipe to make one delicious bite.


Thursday 18th of March 2021

This dish has it all! So good!


Thursday 4th of March 2021

this sounds wonderful. i love the flavours! so they are quite small chickens i take it? About a kilo each? could you use chicken pieces? i love that you use a big whack of garlic. Yum!