Baked to juicy and caramelized perfection, this easy 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.
Sweet & Tangy Baked Chicken Marbella
Topped with golden caramelized goodness, this easy Chicken Marbella is a great weeknight dinner full of sweet, briny, and savory flavors. Prepped ahead for a speedy meal the day after, all you will have to do is pop it in the oven and get ready to serve it.
Packed with olives, capers, and prunes, this recipe is an explosion of flavors from start to finish. Marinated in olive oil and red wine vinegar for super tender chicken, every bite is juicy, tangy, and caramelized, thanks to the brown sugar. With thinly sliced onions and garlic, this chicken’s cooking juices are so tasty, always waiting for me to sop it all up with a piece of crusty bread. 🙌
On the table in about an hour, it’s an impressive dinner that doesn’t require much more than marinating and baking. Loaded with elegant flavors, you’ll love how surprisingly effortless this baked chicken Marbella is, where time is the main ingredient.
What Is Chicken Marbella?
Chicken Marbella is a Jewish-American recipe from The Silver Palate cookbook that has nothing to do with Spain. (FYI: Marbella is a city in southern Spain, situated on the Mediterranean Sea). It is a baked chicken dish full of sweet, salty, and savory ingredients, creating a complex flavor profile. Despite the fancy flavors from the combination of ingredients, it’s an easy dinner to put on the table.
Check your pantry for some olives, prunes, and capers. Don’t forget to scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
To Make the Marinade
- Olive oil – You can also use avocado oil or coconut oil. Try not to use vegetable oil or canola oil.
- Shallot – You can substitute for 2 thinly sliced large garlic cloves.
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Pitted green olives
- Olive brine
- Capers – Feel free to leave them out or substitute them for green olives.
- Caper brine
- Pitted prunes
- Dried oregano – If you’re not a fan of its potent herbiness, you can substitute it for 1/4 cup of chopped parsley.
- Red wine vinegar
For the Chicken
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks – Boneless chicken will work too, but it dries out faster so keep an eye on it.
- Salt and black pepper
- Onion – White or yellow.
- Garlic cloves – Don’t use garlic powder for this.
- Bay leaves
- Light brown sugar – Dark brown sugar works too. No white sugar, please.
- Dry white wine
- Low-sodium chicken broth – Veggie stock and regular chicken broth are fine, just reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Fresh orange juice – Try not to use boxed juice.
How to Make Chicken Marbella
This easy chicken recipe is all about marinating and baking. That’s it!
- Make the marinade. 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 to 8 hours.
- Prepare the oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the baking rack on the lowest rack.
- Assemble the chicken. 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.
- Add the onion. Place the sliced onion and quartered garlic in the spaces between the chicken. Add the bay leaves. Sprinkle the chicken with the thinly sliced garlic.
- Add the wine. Top the chicken thighs and drumsticks with brown sugar. Please don’t skip it because it will caramelize and help the skin turn a nice golden color. Pour the wine, chicken broth, and orange juice from the side.
- 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.
Tips for Success
Improving this chicken Marbella’s flavor just got a whole lot easier with these simple 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.
What to Serve with Chicken Marbella
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. I particularly love it with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes like my Mediterranean White Bean Salad and Crispy Baked Falafel.
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
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.
- 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.
Serving: 10 ounces | Calories: 882 kcal | Carbohydrates: 24 g | Protein: 41 g | Fat: 68 g | Saturated Fat: 15 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 37 g | Trans Fat: 0.2 g | Cholesterol: 236 mg | Sodium: 1383 mg | Potassium: 731 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 16 g | Vitamin A: 358 IU | Vitamin C: 11 mg | Calcium: 76 mg | Iron: 3 mg | Net Carbs: 22 g
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.