Chicken Marbella is an easy Mediterranean chicken dish that cooks on a sheet pan! It’s one of those super simple marinated chicken recipes that come out with so much rich complex flavor, it’s just lip smackin’ good.
The presentation is beautiful and sophisticated, making Chicken Marbella a great dish for special occasions. It’s got a deep aromatic flavor profile with sweet undertones that are just too legit to quit! This is the chicken that people keep eating long after they’re full because it just tastes so good! One taste and you’re hooked!
Let me show you why.
What I Love About Chicken Marbella Recipe
I love that Chicken Marbella is just so easy to make and it tastes so darn delicious! It’s a simple sheet pan chicken recipe that goes from the fridge to the oven and to the table. I absolutely love marinating chicken because it comes out so juicy and full-flavored it makes me giddy with excitement!
Here are some other great qualities to love about this recipe.
- Super easy to make
- Tangy sweet marinate
- Moist juicy chicken
- Beautiful presentation
- Cooks on a sheet pan
You’ll notice this Chicken Marbella recipe calls for marinating your chicken overnight in a homemade vinegar-based marinate. Vinegar is an acid that tenderizes meats and other foods by breaking them down slowly. There is actually a science to this process.
Don’t omit the salt in the marinate. It may seem like a little excess, but I promise your Chicken Marbella will not taste salty. The salt helps break open the cells on the surface of the meat so that it can absorb the marinade better.
You’ll also notice that you need to pour white wine around the chicken pieces on the sheet pan in this chicken Marbella recipe. Its always best to use a wine that you would drink but it doesn’t need to be expensive.
The wine serves to enhance and intensify the flavor of the food. If you start with an inferior wine that doesn’t taste very good on its own, chances are it probably won’t taste great in your dish, either.
Also, don’t pour the wine directly on the chicken. It needs to simmer near each piece. This will allow the alcohol to cook off while the wine itself reduces to something flavorful and exquisite.
The marinade for your Chicken Marbella recipe calls for a head of garlic. That’s the entire bulb with all the cloves on it. The garlic flavor won’t be overpowering because it will marinate overnight and then go into the oven. Roasting brings out the milder sweet flavors of garlic.
If you are purchasing your garlic in the grocery store, you are probably buying California Late garlic. These heads typically have 10-15 cloves on them, but they do range depending on a number of factors.
This chicken Marbella recipe also calls for 4 quartered chickens – about 2.5 pounds each. Keep in mind that this recipe does make 10 servings and you’ll be serving larger bone-in pieces of chicken.
You’ll also find capers hanging around in this dish and they are essential to the recipe. Capers are actually briny little edible flower buds from the Finders Rose plant. While they are totally bitter eaten straight from the bush, a long bath in a salty brine mellows them right out and turns them into little flavor bombs.
Capers are common in Mediterranean cooking, like this Chicken Marbella.
Storing your chicken Marbella is as easy as tossing it in an airtight container with a secure lid and sliding it into the fridge. It will also keep in a large gallon-sized Ziploc if that works better for your space constraints.
When I make this chicken Marbella recipe it seems to get gobbled up pretty quickly. Sometimes there aren’t any leftovers at all!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes!! This chicken Marbella recipe is great to have tucked away in the freezer for a ready-made dinner or drop-in guests. All those tangy Mediterranean flavors soak right in and come to life when you reheat this dish. Sometimes I make a double recipe just so I can put some in the freezer!
You can also freeze the chicken in the marinade and then thaw it to proceed with the recipe as instructed. Freezing it before cooking can also be a big help with meal prep. The marinade really seems to get deep into the chicken this way, too.
Make Ahead Tips
Making this chicken Marbella recipe ahead of time can really increase the convenience factor for you. The marinade can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for a day or two even before you marinate your chicken.
Some people say that it can be kept in the fridge for much longer because the red wine vinegar acts as a preservative, but I like to err on the side of caution with this. The olive oil and the garlic both run the risk of going rancid under peak conditions when stored for extended periods. It can be hard to spot when these changes have taken place, so I don’t let it go more than a few days.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Your Chicken Marbella recipe will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days if stored properly. Air and temperature are the biggest enemies here.
For best results keep chicken in an airtight container (or plastic Ziploc) and at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also best to reserve the two-hour serving rule, even if serving this Chicken Marbella at room temperature.
You can change this chicken Marbella recipe to suit your personal preference and it is so easy. It’s okay to use only certain cuts of chicken if that’s what you prefer. For instance, some will make this chicken Marbella recipe with only wings or drumsticks to serve as an appetizer. I’ve also seen it made with just chicken breast for those who prefer white meat.
People often substitute apricots for the prunes or black olives for green olives. You can dial back the amount of garlic in the marinade or even add a splash of balsamic vinegar to up the WoW factor. Parmesan cheese also makes a nice addition to the marinade and it tastes fantastic in the finished dish!
What Other Dishes Can I Use My Excess White Wine?
No doubt you’ll have some white wine left since this chicken Marbella recipe only takes a cup full. Using it in other chicken recipes just seems like the thing to do. Waste not, want not!
You can use your white wine to make chicken chasseur in all its classic French glory. The mushrooms and garlic are just elevated in the tomato and white wine sauce where chicken is the king of the dish. Want something that’s not a tomato-based sauce? Try chicken marsala instead. It’s an Italian-American inspired chicken dish that can be served with or without pasta.
For a specialty inspired a little closer to home (try Chicago), you can make chicken Vesuvio instead. It’s got those tasty potato wedges in it and the skin is just crispy bliss from the oven!
Can I Use Balsamic Vinegar Instead?
There’s nothing wrong with adding a splash of balsamic vinegar to your chicken Marbella recipe but a complete substitution may be a little much. If you love the stronger sweeter flavor of balsamic vinegar, making balsamic chicken breast or balsamic glazed chicken is the way to go.
I just love the slightly sweet, tangy flavor and the way it combines with chicken, so I often make honey balsamic chicken. It’s got a sweet-spirited flavor that is hard to resist and it’s a really simple recipe.
Can Pasta Be Added To This Recipe?
Pasta fans across the globe love chicken and creamy pasta sauce. If you’re a big pasta fan or you’re looking for an easy one-pot meal, try making Tuscan chicken mac and cheese or Tuscan chicken pasta. This is comfort food at its finest. Chicken gnocchi is another super creamy dish that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Can I Add Parmesan?
Oh yeah! Chicken parmesan is one of my favorite dishes. While it has an elegant presentation and a deep rich flavor it isn’t too hard to throw together. You could also take things in a completely different direction and make parmesan crusted chicken instead. It adds just the right amount of crunch with cheesy undertones.
Can I Add An Italian Twist?
Italian food is so rich and tasty, I love all the bold flavors. If you’re looking for an Italian twist, the Italian dressing chicken may be the way to go. Making Italian chicken gives you so many different serving options and it goes with just about anything you want to pair it with.
- 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 head garlic, peeled and pureed
- 1/4 cup dried oregano
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 cup pitted prunes
- 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
- 1/2 cup capers
- 3 tablespoons juice from capers
- 6 bay leaves
- 4 whole chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- In a large mixing bowl (large enough to accommodate all the chicken pieces), whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic puree, oregano, and salt and pepper. Mix in prunes, olives, capers, caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken, cover, and marinate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- On 2 rimmed baking sheets, arrange chicken pieces in a single layer; spoon marinade (including prunes, olives, and capers) evenly over chicken. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.
- Carefully place baking sheets in preheated oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting often. Bake until chicken is done, or an instant-read thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees.
- Transfer chicken pieces to a serving platter then top with prunes, olives, and capers. Spoon pan juices on top. Sprinkle with parsley
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More Mediterranean Recipes
Mediterranean recipes are chalked full of flavor and often touted for their amazing health benefits. The thing is that cooking the Mediterranean doesn’t have to be complicated. These recipes typically incorporate lots of healthy fats, fruits, and veggies to create bold flavors that come alive on the plate. Here are some of my favorite Mediterranean recipes for you to try.
- Greek Lemon Chicken – an easy midweek meal
- Chicken Milanese – the signature dish of Milan
- Chicken Scarpariello – beautifully braised chicken with an unforgettable sauce
- Coq Au Vin – Classic French wine-braised chicken and veggies
- Chicken Provencal – An easy dish with fresh tomatoes and herbaceous flavor
Chicken Marbella is an easy dish with bold vibrant flavors that you can’t help but love! The tasty homemade marinade seasons the chicken and tenderizes it to a moist succulent state that practically bubbles over with flavor. Cooking the chicken Marbella on a sheet pan in the oven keeps everything super simple and makes it doable on busy weeknights when you want something special.
This chicken Marbella recipe is so easy and versatile, it’s a popular favorite at my house!
The recipe doesn’t state this in the directions, but the prunes and capers are baked along with the chicken pieces, correct? Otherwise they would be contaminated by the marinade from the raw chicken and that would be dangerous. I didn’t make this yet.
You’re absolutely right, Ruth. Thank you I’ll amend the recipe ASAP!
What sides do you serve with this? I think a friend served it with potatoes and carrots roasted along with it. She never would remember to give us her recipe, so THANK YOU!
Hi, Sheila! Those are perfect side dishes! I have a lot of potato recipes, and other side dishes you can try. 🙂