Cooked with onions, garlic, lemon, and olives and seasoned with bold spices, this Moroccan chicken is incredibly flavorful.
Ready in about an hour, the reasonable time investment in this recipe is well worth the delicious results!
Chicken is tasty and affordable, and everyone around here likes it. Many of my chicken recipes are simple. Crispy chicken thighs, grilled chicken breast, Greek chicken, pizza chicken - you get the picture.
But when I want to make something truly remarkable, company-worthy, but also perfect for a family dinner, I make this Moroccan chicken. It's incredibly flavorful, and despite its complex flavor profile, it's not difficult to make.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this Moroccan chicken recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- To season: In addition to salt and pepper, I use paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
- Chicken: I use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in this recipe.
- Oil: I use olive oil. It's my favorite oil to cook with.
- Aromatics: Onions, garlic, and ginger.
- Chicken broth: Homemade chicken broth if you have some, but store-bought is fine, too.
- To finish: Lemon slices, pitted green olives, and chopped cilantro.
- Add ½ teaspoon of coriander to the spice blend. I like the flavor it adds to the dish.
- Sometimes, I add ½ teaspoon of dried thyme.
- Replace the paprika with smoked paprika. This is nontraditional but excellent, in my experience.
- Cook the chicken and onions in ghee instead of olive oil. The ghee adds richness and a slightly nutty flavor.
- Use Vidalia onions, a sweet variety that works well in this recipe.
- I often use Meyer lemons, which are milder and sweeter than regular lemons.
Moroccan Chicken Instructions
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here's an overview of the steps for making this recipe:
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides.
Brown the chicken in olive oil on both sides.
Remove the chicken to a plate and cook the onions in the same pan. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices.
Add the broth and use it to deglaze the bottom of the pan - scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any tasty bits stuck to it.
Add the chicken back to the pan with lemon slices and olives.
Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, for 20-30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Depending on the size of your saucepan, you might need to brown the chicken pieces in two batches. I use a fairly small Dutch oven to make this recipe, so I brown four of them first, then the remaining ones.
I don't recommend that. Thighs are fattier and juicier. Chicken breasts will be drier and not as flavorful. You could use chicken drumsticks, but thighs work best in this recipe.
Yes, but you'll need to brown and cook them for a shorter time. Brown them for 2 minutes per side and cook them for 20 minutes, then check to see if they're done. Their internal temperature should reach 165°F.
In addition to salt, Moroccan cooking typically utilizes cumin, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne pepper.
This is a saucy dish, so you'll want to serve it on top of something to absorb those yummy juices. The traditional bed for Moroccan chicken is couscous, but I often go with one of the following:
- Cauliflower rice
- Mashed cauliflower
- Zucchini noodles
- Spaghetti squash noodles
- Sauteed spinach
- Hearts of Palm pasta
You can also serve this dish on top of raw baby spinach leaves. The hot cooking juices will wilt the spinach just enough to lightly cook it.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with serving it with no sides at all, in which case I serve two per person in shallow bowls with soup spoons in addition to knives and forks, as shown in the photo:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to four days. Reheat them gently, covered (to prevent splatters), in the microwave at 50% power. You can also freeze the leftovers for up to three months.
More Chicken Recipes
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 pounds chicken thighs bone-in, skin-on (6 thighs)
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 teaspoon of any other salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- ½ cup green olives pitted
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- Combine the spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, in a single layer (work in batches if necessary). Cook them until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces over and brown the other side for about 3 more minutes. If the pan becomes too hot, reduce the heat to medium. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, for about 5 minutes. If the pan becomes too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- Add the minced garlic, ginger, and spice mix. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the broth, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits.
- Add the chicken back in, skin side up. Nestle the lemon slices and olives around the chicken pieces. Bring the mixture back to a steady simmer.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, for 20-30 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Add Your Own Notes
Nutrition per Serving
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