Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (2024)

Published . Last updated By Elizabeth Lindemann &nbsp&nbsp/&nbsp&nbspThis post may contain affiliate links.

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4.98 from 38 votes

Chicken Marbella is a classic recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook packed with sweet and salty Mediterranean flavors. Here is an updated version, made with chicken thighs, with a few other changes. The best part about Chicken Marbella is that it’s prepped and marinated the day before, so all you have to do when you’re ready to cook is bake it!

Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (1)

Chicken Marbella was made famous from the Silver Palate Cookbook and was popular in the early 1980s. It made a resurgence with the help of Ina Garten and other celebrity chefs, and honestly, it’s one of the best chicken recipes I’ve ever tried!

What I love about Chicken Marbella, besides the INCREDIBLE flavor, is the fact that it’s prepared ahead of time the previous day. It marinates overnight, then everything is baked when you’re ready. It’s also delicious served at room temperature, which makes it perfect for parties or picnics.

And the favor!! Sweetness from prunes and brown sugar, salty brininess from the olives and capers, tons of oregano, and white wine added before baking? Your kitchen will smell amazing and your taste buds will thank you.

Be sure to check out the video tutorial for Chicken Marbella in the recipe card below!

An Updated Chicken Marbella Recipe

This recipe is updated from the original Silver Palate Cookbook recipe. Here’s what I did differently:

  • I used chicken thighs instead of a whole quartered chickens. I love chicken thighs because they are cheap and tasty and easy to handle. And using the same cut of chicken results in even cooking without worrying about the timing for the different parts.
  • The recipe is halved, for fewer people (the original was for a crowd and fed 10-12).
  • I used smashed garlic cloves instead of minced. This cuts down on prep and also tones down the garlic flavor, infusing it but not overpowering the dish.
  • There is less sugar in this version – with the sweet prunes and white wine, you don’t need too much brown sugar!
  • The olives and prunes are halved/quartered, so they are disbursed throughout the dish and you can get some of everything in every bite.
Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (2)

Ingredients in Chicken Marbella

  • Chicken Thighs – bone-in, skin-on. Other cuts of chicken are fine – see recipe notes for more on this.
  • Garlic Cloves – smashed and peeled.
  • Dried oregano – or fresh.
  • Red Wine Vinegar – apple cider vinegar will also work.
  • Dried pitted prunes – you could use a similar dried fruit like raisins and/or apricots if you like.
  • Green olives – I used Castelvetrano, which are my favorite. Other kinds of olives will work just fine.
  • Capers – and a little juice from the jar.
  • Brown Sugar
  • White Wine – you can use chicken broth instead if you like, preferably with a little bit of grape juice or apple juice for added sweetness.
  • Parsley and/or Cilantro – you can omit this if you don’t have it.

How to make Chicken Marbella with Thighs

  1. In a large bowl mix the marinade. Mix together the smashed garlic cloves, oregano, prunes, olives, capers and caper juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and mix well to coat.
  3. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight. If you think of it, you can stir it around a few times here and there, but it’s not a big deal if you forget to do this.
  4. The next day, prepare to bake. Add the chicken thighs to a baking dish and spoon the rest of the marinade/olives/prune mixture on top. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with brown sugar. Pour the white wine around the chicken thighs (but not on top, so you don’t rinse off the sugar and toppings!).
  5. Bake, then transfer to a serving platter, and reserve the juices in a gravy boat.
  6. Finally, serve – I like serving Chicken Marbella on top of rice with crusty bread for sopping up all the delicious juices!
Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (3)


Can I use boneless thighs for Chicken Marbella?

Yes! It may need less cooking time. You can use other cuts as well. See recipe notes for more on this.

What about boneless, skinless breasts?

Yes… with caution. Breasts tend to overcook easily and be dry, so keep an eye on the cooking time.

Can I make this lower in fat?

Yes! Trim some of the fat off the chicken thighs (any fat or skin pieces that flap over the back can be trimmed off, leaving the skin on top intact for best flavor). I also recommend skimming the fat off the juices after reserving them in a gravy boat.

Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (4)

Other Chicken Thigh Recipes

Chicken thighs are such a cheap and delicious protein to cook. Here are some of my favorite recipes that use chicken thighs:

  • Spiced Chicken and Rice with Apples and Raisins
  • Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms
  • Honey Buffalo Chicken Thighs
  • Slow Cooker Greek-Style Chicken Thighs and Green Beans
  • Oven BBQ Chicken

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Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (5)

Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe)

Chicken Marbella made with chicken thighs is a twist on the classic recipe from the Silver Palate cookbook. Just mix chicken thighs with a marinade, let it sit overnight, then bake in the oven the next day for an elegant, flavorful meal that's easy to prep ahead of time!

4.98 from 38 votes

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Course: Chicken

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes minutes

Marinating Time: 1 day day

Total Time: 55 minutes minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Calories: 704kcal

Author: Elizabeth Lindemann


  • 12 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs preferably air chilled (see notes)
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled and crushed (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper plus more if needed
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup pitted prunes quartered or roughly chopped
  • ½ cup pitted green olives halved
  • ¼ cup capers (plus 1 tablespoon of the juice)
  • cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white wine or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup parsley and/or cilantro finely chopped

US CustomaryMetric


  • In a large bowl, mix together the chicken thighs (12), crushed garlic cloves (8), dried oregano (2 tablespoons), kosher salt (1 teaspoon), black pepper (½ teaspoon), red wine vinegar (¼ cup), olive oil (¼ cup), chopped pitted prunes (½ cup), olives (½ cup), capers (¼ cup), and caper juice (1 tablespoon). Cover and refrigerate overnight. If you think of it, stir it around a couple of times as it marinates, but don't worry about this too much.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using tongs, place the chicken in a baking dish (approximately 9" x 13") in a single layer. Spoon the marinade on top of the chicken. Sprinkle the brown sugar (⅓ cup) evenly on top of the chicken. Pour the white wine (½ cup) around the chicken pieces (being careful not to pour over the chicken so the marinade and brown sugar aren't rinsed off).

  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked (see notes).

  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and solids from the marinade to a serving dish. Sprinkle the chopped parsley and/or cilantro (¼ cup) Spoon a little of the juices on top of everything. Optional: pour the rest of the juices into a gravy boat or similar serving dish to pour over individual servings as needed. I recommend skimming some of all of the fat off.

  • Serve immediately or allow to cool a bit to room temperature. See notes for more about making this ahead of time.



  • Other cuts of chicken may be used.The original recipe from the Silver Palate cookbook uses quartered whole chickens(use 2 chickens for this recipe). Split chicken breasts(8 bone-in, skin on) may also be used, or drumsticks mixed with thighs. Boneless skinless thighs may also be used and may need less cooking time. Boneless skinless breasts can work here, but are easy to overcook and dry out, so keep a close eye on them.
  • I recommend air-chilled chicken because it has less water in it, which can dilute the marinade and the flavor of the chicken. You can usually see this labeled on the package or ask at the butcher counter. It’s a bit more expensive, because you aren’t paying for the extra water weight of the water-chilled chicken. If you don’t buy air chilled chicken, you can place your chicken pieces on a wire rack nestled in a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt on both sides, and let it sit uncovered in the fridge for 4-24 hours before using it for this recipe. This will draw some of the water out. If you do this, use less salt in the recipe.
  • If you like, you cantrim and discard some of the fat/flaps of skin off the chicken thighs before adding to the marinade using kitchen shears.
  • Chicken thighscan come in different sizes, so anywhere between 8-12 is good for this recipe for 4-6 servings. Don’t overthink this – use more if you are unsure, because the leftovers of Chicken Marbella are delicious!
  • To peel and crush garlic cloves,place the side of your knife on top of the clove and use the side of your hand in a fist to punch the knife down (carefully!). You can also use the heel of your hand to smash down directly on the garlic. The clove should smash, and the peel will come right off. No need to chop the garlic beyond crushing it for this recipe.
  • Nutrition informationis calculated using an automatic API and calories/fat will decrease if fat is trimmed off of chicken thighs before cooking and sauce is skimmed at the end. Please see nutrition disclaimer below for more.
  • Chicken thighs are technically fully cookedat 165 degrees F, however, can benefit from being cooked a little longer to a temperature closer to 185-195 degrees F. I love my Thermapen for getting super fast, accurate temperature results.
  • Bay leavesmay be added to the chicken marinade mix if you like – the original recipe required 6 of them.


Calories: 704kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 947mg | Potassium: 665mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 584IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition Information Disclaimer

The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools:

Very Well Fit Nutrition Information Calculator

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Did you make this recipe? I'd love to hear how it went! Comment and rate it below :-)

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  1. Mindy Beth

    Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (6)
    Impossible to just print recipe!!!!!


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      Click “print” at the top of the post or in the recipe card and it will open a new window with a printable format. From there, you can print.


  2. Molly Sick

    It’s one of our favorites, but every time I make it, the chicken skin (which we love) doesn’t have a crispy texture. Am I doing something wrong? I don’t want to remove the skin because I don’t want to lose the moistness. Would a quick broil at the end be okay?

    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      With the long marinating time, this recipe doesn’t result in very crispy chicken skin. Broiling would be a great thing to try, though I haven’t tried with this recipe myself! I would caution you to keep an eye on it – with all the sugars in the marinade, it may burn easily. Hope that helps!


  3. Miri

    Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (7)
    The best recipe delicious!!!!


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      So glad you liked it!


  4. Mona

    Oops, I forgot to add, I also cut the brown sugar by half so as not to be too sweet.


  5. Mona

    Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (8)
    I made this last night and it was amazing!!! We devoured all of it between 3 people. Do not be deterred if using boneless skinless chicken thighs as this is what I had. I marinated it for 3 hrs and since I only had 2 lbs I dropped the oregano and salt down by half but left the rest of the recipe as is. Lots of yumminess in every bite!


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      So glad you liked it! Love that you used boneless skinless thighs and thanks for sharing your adjustments.


  6. Marian Cacis

    this has been a favorite for me since forever …..i am now 69, and it as good as it was the first time…LOVE this, and especially love the abridged version!!


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      So glad you liked it!


  7. Yvonne

    I’m so excited to try this recipe and it’s currently marinating overnight. Unfortunately I didn’t read the instructions clearly and mistakenly put the sugar and white wine in the marinade instead of adding just before cooking! Argh! I’m still crossing my fingers that this mistake won’t change the overall flavor too much. 🤞😬


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      I think it will come out just fine! Hope it turned out well for you :-)


  8. Mary G.

    I use the flat side of a meat tenderizer mallet to smash the garlic. I put a piece of plastic wrap over the garlic cloves and smash them with the mallet. If you keep smashing, you get a nice puree too. The plastic keeps the garlic from flying away when you smash it.


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      Love this tip! Thank you! One other thing to add – the more you smash it, the stronger the garlic flavor. So for anyone reading this – if you are sensitive to garlic, give it a more gentle smash. If you love garlic, whack it a good bit!


  9. Sue

    Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (9)
    I’ve made the original version of this numerous times, to many raves. However, this “updated” version is missing one crucial ingredient. Bay leaves. Was this intentional, or a mess up? It adds a lot more depth to the flavors.


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      Thanks for this feedback! It was intentional – in updating the recipe, I was hoping to simplify it, and personally, I never find bay leaves add much flavor to things. It’s interesting how different people are sensitive to different flavors! That said – feel free to add bay leaves if you want to. I’m going to go ahead and add a recipe note that mentions this as well. Thanks!


  10. Lhr

    What about the olives???


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      Ah, good catch! Add them to the marinade with the capers, etc. I’m fixing the instructions now. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention!


  11. Ann

    I want to serve this for 2 events, 2 nights in a row. Can I leave half of the chicken in the marinade for two days?


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      Sure! That will work just fine.


  12. Michelle Hiller

    Hi Elizabeth – so if I did want to make this recipe for a crowd, should I just double the quantities? It looks delicious!


    • Elizabeth Lindemann

      Yes, just double it! You can use the slider in the recipe card by hovering over the number “6” in the servings and changing it to 12, and the quantities should update automatically, both in the ingredient list and in the instructions. You’ll need a large baking pan for this, or two different ones! Hope that helps and hope you like it :-)


      • Michelle Hiller

        Thank you for replying and showing me that feature in the recipe. I’m looking forward to making it.

    • Leah

      Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (10)
      Delicious recipe! I marinated for 2 hours and it was great! Making this again tomorrow


      • Elizabeth Lindemann

        So glad you liked it!

Chicken Marbella (Updated Silver Palate Recipe) - Bowl of Delicious (2024)


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