a plate full of Chicken Marbella from the New York Times, recipe from Silver Palate Cookbook

The Original Recipe for Chicken Marbella

It’s no secret – we’re obsessed with Chicken Marbella. And while we love all the fun riffs on this recipe, you can’t beat the original recipe. So, let’s take a look at the recipe that started it all – the Silver Palate Cookbook’s recipe for Chicken Marbella!

a plate of Chicken Marbella, from the original recipe in the Silver Palate Cookbook

What is Chicken Marbella?

Chicken Marbella is classic dish made with chicken, olives, olives oil, prunes, wine and capers. As they say, the classic are “classic” for a reason. This recipe expertly balances sweet and salty notes and soft and crispy textures. While there are many different recipes for Chicken Marbella, this particular recipe is the original recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook.

Why is it called Chicken Marbella?

Given the name, Chicken Marbella , you might assume that the recipe is native to the Marbella region in Spain. However, this iconic recipe was actually created by two Americans, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. The duo managed a wildly successful gourmet take out shop and catering service, the Silver Palate, in New York’s Upper East Side. The creators found inspiration in ingredients typically used in Spanish and North African cuisine. The dish’s name honors the coastal Spanish town, Marbella. 

The creators of Chicken Marbella drew inspiration from ingredients used in Spanish and North African cuisine
a plate of Chicken Marbella from the Silver Palate Cookbook

What is The Silver Palate?

When Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso started the Silver Palate catering service in the 1970s, they offered three signature dishes; Baked Beef Tenderloin, Baked Ham and Chicken Marbella. Chicken Marbella quickly became their most popular dish and gained a bit of cult following. It was truly a matter of developing the right recipe at the right time. During the 70s and 80s, Americans were obsessed with Julia Child and French cuisine. Their recipe tapped into the international food craze, and helped introduce their catering clientele to various internationally-inspired ingredients and recipes. Capitalizing on their success, Sheila and Julee published The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982 – and the recipe for Chicken Marbella became a staple at chic dinner parties and fine dining restaurants across the Nation.

a serving plate of Chicken Marbella from the Silver Palate Cookbook

Chicken Marbella: The Original Recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook

The Silver Palate Cookbook
The classics are classic for a reason! Here's the original for Chicken Marbella from The Silver Palate Cookbook. This iconic recipe was created by two Americans, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. The duo managed a wildly successful gourmet take out shop and catering service, the Silver Palate, in New York’s Upper East Side. 
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Marinate Time: 12 hours
Course Dinner, Entree
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 682 kcal


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • ½ cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 head of garlic peeled and puréed
  • ½ cup fresh oregano chopped, or ¼ cup dried oregano
  • 2 tsps of salt
  • ¼ tsps freshly ground pepper
  • 2 chickens 3½ to 4 pounds each (1.5-1.8 kg), quartered
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight.
    ingredients needed to make chicken marbella
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180C). Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan; spoon the marinade over it evenly. Pour in the wine and sprinkle the chicken with the brown sugar.
    Pouring the marinade over the chicken
  • Bake until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow juice when pricked with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes, basting two or three times with the pan juices once the chicken begins to brown. (When basting, do not brush off the sugar. If the chicken browns too quickly, cover lightly with foil.)
    chicken marbella baking in the oven
  • Transfer the chicken pieces to a warm serving platter and top with the prunes, olives and capers; keep warm. Place the roasting pan over medium heat and bring the pan juices to a boil. Reduce to about ½ cup (120 ml). Strain into a heatproof bowl, add the parsley and pour over the chicken.
    a plate full of Chicken Marbella from the New York Times, recipe from Silver Palate Cookbook



Store leftovers in an airtight container.


Calories: 682kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 34gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 1156mgPotassium: 632mgFiber: 4gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 1967IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 103mgIron: 5mg
Keyword chicken, marbella, silver palate
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Try these delicious riffs on the iconic recipe!

You’d be rather hard pressed to find a chef who hasn’t tried their hand at this recipe, or created their own take. This recipe has inspired countless riffs, and these are a few of our favorites.

A black cast iron pot next to a bowl of Beans Marbella

Beans Marbella

Our vegetarian take on the iconic recipe takes inspiration from a Beans Marbella recipe in The New York Times. It’s full of California goodness- wine, beans, olives and (of course) prunes!

Our friends at California Grown also shared a recipe for vegetarian Beans Marbella. What can we say…obviously, great minds think alike!

short rib marbella recipe This Mess is Ours

Short Rib Marbella: A Modern Spin

This Mess is Ours‘s recipe for Short Rib Marbella uses beef short ribs instead of the traditional chicken. This switch brings a robust beefy flavor to the table and allows for a longer, slower cooking process, which creates a more tender and flavorful short rib.

Britney’s Pork Marbella

This Pork Marbella recipe from Britney Breaks Bread combines the richness of pork with the sweet and savory flavors of an olive oil marinade. The tender pork cooks to juicy perfection and lays on top of a bed of leeks, nestled with green olives, prunes, capers, and shallots.

Three plates of Sheet pan Chicken Marbella from This Mess is Ours with two glasses of white wine

Sheet Pan Chicken Marbella

All the flavors of the classic recipe in a fraction of the time. We’re absolutely obsessed with this recipe for Sheet Pan Chicken Marbella from our friend Meg at This Mess is Ours.

a plate of Chicken Marbella Meatballs from Weekend at the Cottage on top of rice, served with veggies

Chicken Marbella Meatballs

Fans of Chicken Marbella are sure to love this particularly creative take on the iconic recipe! These Chicken Marbella Meatballs from Weekend at the Cottage make a delicious appetizer or main dish.

a serving plate with Reba's Chicken Thighs with Olives and Prunes

Reba’s Chicken Thighs with Olives and Prunes

Chicken Thighs with Olives and Prunes is country music icon Reba McEntire‘s go-to recipe for casual dinner parties! She describes the dish as “foolproof, elegant and delicious”. Reba might not call it Chicken Marbella – but hey, if you know you know.

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