Chicken Marbella

5 from 5 votes
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This easy, juicy, and caramelized Chicken Marbella recipe is packed with olives, capers, and prunes. Marinated in a sweet, herby brine, you’ll love the flavors of this simple yet fancy dish.

If you’re in the mood for more delicious chicken recipes, try my baked chicken with mushrooms for a hearty meal or my Italian dressing chicken for a zesty, tangy twist.

overhead shot of caramelized chicken Marbella in a baking dish.


 

This baked Chicken Marbella recipe is a quick weeknight meal, boasting a mix of sweet, briny, and savory flavors, thanks to the olives, capers, and prunes. Marinate ahead and just pop it in the oven when ready! The chicken, marinated in olive oil and red wine vinegar, is tender, juicy, and caramelized by brown sugar. It’s paired with thinly sliced onions and garlic, making the cooking juices irresistible. Ready in about an hour, this dish is restaurant-quality yet surprisingly easy to make at home.

The first time I whipped up Chicken Marbella for my fam, I was in a mad dash, juggling work deadlines and my daughter’s dance class. I needed something that felt homemade but didn’t eat up my whole evening. As the chicken marinated, the smell of olives, capers, and prunes filled the kitchen, and it was like a little moment of peace in the chaos. When it came out of the oven, all caramelized and gorgeous, I decided it would be my go-to for dinner guests, too, when I need a bit of gourmet magic!

What Is Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella is a classic dish that hails from the legendary “Silver Palate” cookbook. It’s been a favorite for decades because of its amazing flavor combo. Imagine chicken marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, capers, prunes, and green olives, then baked with a sprinkle of brown sugar and white wine. The result is tender, juicy chicken with a caramelized, slightly crispy exterior and a flavor explosion that’s savory, sweet, and tangy all at once. It’s perfect for both busy weeknight dinners and special occasions. Trust me, once you try it, you’ll be hooked!

What You’ll Need

To make this easy chicken Marbella recipe, you’ll need a few simple ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store. Please scroll down the page to the recipe card for precise measurements and full instructions.

For the Marinade

  • Olive oil: Helps the marinade penetrate the chicken. You can also use avocado oil or coconut oil. Don’t use vegetable oil.
  • Shallot: Adds a subtle, sweet onion flavor.
  • Salt & black pepper: A simple seasoning that enhances the flavors.
  • Pitted green olives: Olives provide a briny and savory flavor and contribute a Mediterranean flair.
  • Olive brine: Intensifies the olive flavor.
  • Capers: Bring a tangy, salty punch.
  • Caper brine: Adds an extra layer of tanginess.
  • Pitted prunes: The fruit contributes a sweet contrast to the saltiness.
  • Dried oregano: Adds that perfect touch of herby goodness.
  • Red wine vinegar: Provides a bit of acidity to balance the flavors.
Ingredients for easy chicken Marbella.

For the Chicken

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks: The bone and skin keep the chicken juicy and flavorful. Chicken breasts are also okay.
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper: For seasoning.
  • Yellow onion: You can also use a white onion if that is all you have.
  • Garlic cloves: I use fresh garlic for a rich garlic flavor. Avoid using garlic powder.
  • Bay leaves: To add a subtle, sweet aroma.
  • Light brown sugar: Caramelizes during baking, adding a sweet, slightly crunchy topping.
  • Dry white wine: Adds a bright, acidic flavor and helps deglaze the pan.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: Keeps the dish moist and adds flavor. You could also use veggie stock.
  • Fresh orange juice: Brings a fresh, citrusy sweetness.

How to Make Chicken Marbella

If you’re ready to create this delicious chicken recipe, follow these step-by-step instructions to make a gourmet meal that will impress everyone at the dinner table!

  1. Make the marinade and mix the olive oil, shallot, salt, black pepper, green olives, olive brine, capers, and caper brine in a large mixing bowl. Add the prunes, dried oregano, and red wine vinegar. Add the chicken, toss it until it’s completely coated, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for 1 to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the baking rack on the lowest rack.
  3. Remove the chicken from the fridge and place it in a large baking dish. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the marinade.
  4. Add the onion and quartered garlic in the spaces between the chicken. Add the bay leaves. Sprinkle the chicken with the thinly sliced garlic. Top the chicken thighs and drumsticks with brown sugar. Pour the wine, chicken broth, and orange juice from the side.
  5. Bake it. Cook in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Baste it with its cooking juices and serve.
overhead shot of caramelized chicken Marbella in a baking dish.

Recipe Tips

  • Marinate it overnight. This will help the flavors come together a lot better, so let it marinate if you have enough time to plan ahead.
  • Use foil. Line the baking dish with foil for easy clean-up.
  • Reduce the prunes. If you’re not sure you’ll love how sweet this dish might turn out, add prunes to taste. 2-3 tablespoons of prunes should be enough to give you a light start to sweet and savory dishes.
  • Add more wine. Adding 1/4 cup more white wine to the chicken before baking will produce a less sweet, slightly saucier dish.

Serving Suggestions

This easy chicken Marbella pairs well with all your favorite sides and appetizers, as long as they’re not on the sweet side or too heavily spiced. We start with a bulgur salad or a chickpea salad. As for sides, I particularly love it with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes like my Mediterranean white bean salad and crispy baked Falafel.

You can also serve it with my roasted artichokes, Lavash bread, and creamy garlic mushrooms with bacon.

overhead shot of caramelized chicken Marbella in a baking dish.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Once cooled, store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Reheat it in the microwave for 2 minutes or until warm. You can also reheat it in a pan set over medium heat for 6 to 10 minutes.

More Baked Chicken Recipes

ENJOY!

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5 from 5 votes

Chicken Marbella

Loaded with wine, olives, capers, and prunes, this easy chicken Marbella is a juicy dinner that packs a sweet and briny punch in each bite. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Marinating Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

For the marinade:

For the chicken:

  • 2.5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
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Instructions 

  • Mix the olive oil, shallot, salt, black pepper, green olives, olive brine, capers, and caper brine in a large mixing bowl. Add the prunes, dried oregano, and red wine vinegar; stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken and toss it until it's completely coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the oven rack in the bottom position.
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge and place it in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Season it with salt and pepper to taste, and pour in the marinade.
  • Place the sliced onion and quartered garlic in the spaces between the chicken. Add the bay leaves. Sprinkle the chicken with thinly sliced garlic.
  • Top the chicken thighs and drumsticks with brown sugar. Pour in the wine, chicken broth, and orange juice from the side.
  • Pop the baking dish into the oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer to check for doneness – chicken is cooked through when its internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
  • Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a platter, baste it with the cooking juices, and serve warm.

Notes

  • Chicken: We’re using bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks. While you certainly can use skinless, boneless chicken breasts, I highly recommend trying this recipe as-is. You can make it your own the second time around. 
  • Brine: Use the brine from the jar of olives and the jar of capers. You only need a tablespoon of each.
  • Prunes: The original recipe calls for prunes, but you can also use dried apricots or dates. 
  • If time permits, marinate the chicken overnight. This will help the flavors meld together, producing juicier, more flavorful chicken. 
  • Reduce the sauce: Completely optional, but always a delicious idea. Transfer the baked chicken pieces to a platter and top with the prunes, olives, and capers. Then, pour the cooking juices into a skillet, place the skillet/pan over medium heat, and bring the juices to a boil; continue to cook until the sauce is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Strain it into a heatproof bowl and pour it over the chicken.
  • Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. 
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 10ounces | Calories: 882kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 37g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 236mg | Sodium: 1383mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 358IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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3 Comments

  1. Dalis Foglia says:

    I did not have orange juice, so I added more wine. So delicious…

  2. Fran says:

    I do not see the photo when I receive the e-mail. I have to click on the recipe in order to get the image. How come?

    1. Fran says:

      I cannot see the photo unless I click for the recipe.