Chicken Marbella | The Recipe Critic


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Chicken Marbella is a flavorful dish with tender, juicy marinated chicken thighs baked in an irresistible marinade of garlic, prunes, capers, green olives, red wine vinegar, and seasonings. This is an absolutely incredible family dinner, perfect for serving a crowd!

Chicken thighs make any meal delicious with so much flavor and tenderness! If you’re a fan of chicken thighs, too, try this Pollo Asado Recipe, this incredible Greek Lemon Chicken, and this Roasted Honey Garlic Butter Chicken.

What is Chicken Marbella?

This delicious Chicken Marbella recipe is a MUST make! It’s a Jewish-American dish invented on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the late 1970s. It became popular in 1982 when it was included in “The Silver Palate Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. The combination of ingredients are subtly sweet with a briny flavor that’s mouth-watering delicious!

The tasty marinade with garlic, prunes, capers, green olives and other flavorings make already tender baked chicken thighs even more AMAZING. They are golden crisp on the outside and incredibly tender and moist on the inside. No dry chicken here! This recipe uses bone-in chicken thighs because the bone makes them extra juicy while they bake in the oven. This has definitely become a new family favorite!

Ingredients Needed

This chicken Marbella recipe has quite a few ingredients but they are simple and come together quickly. It turns out so delicious, you will want to make this dish on repeat! You can find the measurements below in the recipe card.

  • Garlic: Fresh garlic enhances the flavor of this meal in a major way!
  • Pitted Prunes: A signature ingredient in this recipe that adds natural sweetness and lovely texture.
  • Capers, Spanish Green Olives & Caper Brine: Blended together to add a salty, tangy brininess that is out of this world.
  • Olive Oil: The base of the marinade. We recommend using a good quality light olive oil.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Adds flavor to the marinade and also helps to tenderize the chicken.
  • Bay Leaves: Provides warm, complex flavor to the dish. Be sure to remove and discard before plating the meal.
  • Fresh Oregano: Offers a sharp, peppery taste.
  • Salt & Pepper: To bring out all of the flavors!
  • Chicken Thighs: Use chicken thighs with the bone and skin on for the juiciest and most tender chicken. 
  • Dry White Wine: Really brightens the dish, and the alcohol cooks off, so don’t worry about that.

How to Make Chicken Marbella

The marinade is easy to mix together, and then let the chicken marinate for at least an hour to soak in all of that delicious flavor. Then, everything bakes together until golden brown, reduce the sauce and serve everything plated together for a meal that’s sure to impress!

  1. Mix the Marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, prunes, capers and caper brine, green olives, olive oil, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Marinate the Chicken: Add in the chicken thighs, be sure each chicken thigh is covered. Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate for at least 1 hour, overnight is preferred.
  3. Prep for Cooking: Once the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan and pour all the marinade and wine over the chicken.
  4. Cook: Bake the chicken for 55-65 minutes uncovered, basting the chicken a few times while it bakes. When the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the chicken skins are a nice golden brown, remove the pan from the oven.
  5. Reduce Sauce: Remove the chickens from the pan, along with all the olives, capers, and bay leaves. Pour the rest of the liquid into a pot and bring it to a low boil. Reduce the liquid by half, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve: To serve the chickens, plate them with the olives and capers, pour the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and enjoy!

Tips and Variations

Here are our pro tips for baking the most flavorful chicken thighs you’ll taste, and making this recipe your own.

  • Chicken: Purchase chicken thighs that are all similar in size and shape. This will help the chicken cook more evenly, so that every piece is perfectly cooked.
  • Substitute for Wine: If you don’t want to use wine in this recipe, you can replace it with chicken stock or white wine vinegar.
  • Marinate: Be sure to marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour before cooking it, but overnight will give you the best results. It will intensify the flavors that much more.
  • Checking for Doneness: Using a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to make sure that your meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Serving Suggestions: Chicken Marbella goes well with mashed potatoes, couscous, or roasted vegetables!

Storing Leftovers

This baked chicken thighs recipe makes enough for 8 servings, which is great if you’re serving a crowd or just want some delicious leftovers for lunch or a ready-to-go dinner on another day. Here’s how to store leftovers, so they stay fresh for several days:

  • Refrigerator: Let everything cool completely before adding it to an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: It is best to freeze the chicken thighs and sauce in a flat layer in a ziplock bag with the air completely removed. It will keep for up to 3 months. When ready to bake or reheat, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To Reheat: Once thawed, place in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes or until warmed through.

Make it a Meal!

Add your favorite sides to make this a complete meal! Chicken thighs pair well with a variety of sides, like pasta, salad, potatoes and veggies. Here are a few of our favorite sides to bulk up this delicious meal!

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  • In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, prunes, capers and caper brine, green olives, olive oil, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper.

  • Add in the chicken thighs, be sure each chicken thigh is covered. Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate for at least 1 hour, overnight is preferred.

  • Once the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan and pour all the marinade and wine over the chicken.

  • Bake the chicken for 55-65 minutes uncovered, basting the chicken a few times while it bakes. When the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the chicken skins are a nice golden brown, remove the pan from the oven.

  • Remove the chickens from the pan, along with all the olives, capers, and bay leaves. Pour the rest of the liquid into a pot and bring it to a low boil. Reduce the liquid by half, stirring occasionally.

  • To serve the chickens, plate them with the olives and capers, pour the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and enjoy!

Keep leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Chicken Marbella goes well with mashed potatoes, couscous, or roasted vegetables!
If you don’t want to use wine in this recipe, you can replace it with chicken stock or white wine vinegar.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 459kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 19gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 715mgPotassium: 453mgFiber: 3gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 336IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.





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