Grilled Moroccan Chicken

5 stars based on 12 votes

grilled-moroccan-chicken-platter

This is an easy and incredibly flavorful way to prepare boneless skinless chicken breasts. I can’t claim it’s authentic, but the spices — an aromatic blend of cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, paprika and coriander  – make it taste decidedly Moroccan, and it also goes wonderfully with couscous. You might think it sounds too exotic-tasting for picky eaters, but I can tell you that even small children seem to love it. The best part is that it only takes minutes to prepare, and there’s barely any clean up.

Begin by pounding the chicken breasts to an even 1/2-inch thickness. This both tenderizes the meat and ensures even cooking.

Next, make the marinade by combining the olive oil, spices, salt, garlic and sugar in a measuring cup.

To avoid getting smelly garlic hands, use a garlic press to mince the garlic.

Place the chicken and marinade in a freezer bag, press the air out and then massage the marinade into the chicken until the breasts are evenly coated. Marinate in the fridge for 5-6 hours.

When you’re ready to eat, preheat your grill to high. It’s important that the grill is very hot — you want nice grill marks and char in the short amount of time it takes to cook these. Grill just a few minutes per side for perfectly tender chicken breasts.

Serve with couscous and a refreshing carrot slaw. Enjoy!

Grilled Moroccan Chicken

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or chicken tenderloins)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper and, using a meat mallet, pound to an even ½-inch thickness. (Skip this step if substituting chicken tenderloins.)
  2. Mix all ingredients except chicken together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Place pounded chicken breasts inside 1 gallon zip-lock bag. Add marinade to the bag, press air out and seal shut. Massage marinade into the breasts until evenly coated. Place the bag in a bowl in the refrigerator (to protect against leakage), and let the chicken marinate for 5-6 hours.
  3. Clean grill and preheat to high. Place chicken breasts on grill, spooning marinade over top. Grill, covered, for 2-3 minutes per side. Do not overcook.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 344
  • Fat: 19g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 40g
  • Sodium: 798mg
  • Cholesterol: 118mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Excellent recipe! I used chicken thighs (bones out and skins off) and added a couple of tablespoons of low fat youghurt to the marinade, then cooked them on the BBQ. Tasted amazing…

    - EM on August 16, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    The first time I made this dish I found the marinade a little too sweet so the next time I added extra garlic and cayenne and enjoyed the results.

    - Alicia on July 19, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is so easy with big flavor pay off.

    - Julia on July 18, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I’ve been trying to find a recipe that uses these great antioxidant spices. I love that you can prepare the marinade ahead and even though I’m a picky adult I like it.

    - TK on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I made these chicken breast with the carrot slaw as suggested and my husband and I loved them-my boys wanted a little more kick so I might increase the cayenne pepper next time!

    - Shawn on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great recipe…. very flavorful. This is the second time I made something from your website and it tasted GREAT! Thank you.

    - Lisa on July 11, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We loved this recipe! I served it to a large group of kids and adults along with your Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette. Both were fantastic. I really didn’t make any adjustments, although my measuring spoons were probably all heaping, so I guess I went a little heavy on all of the spices! But the flavors were wonderful. Thank you so much for such great recipes. I know that anything I try from this website is always going to be good:)

    - Christy Church Andrews on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have made this three times, and each time received rave reviews! It’s full of flavor without being too spicy. Be sure to pound the chicken cutlets to 1/2″ thickness. This tenderizes the chicken, makes it easy to absorb the marinade, and
    takes only 3 minutes each side.

    - Lynne Levine on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh my gosh, Jenn!!! My family absolutely LOVED this dish! They wanted every drop on the plate. After taking his first bite, my husband said, and I quote: “are you kidding me?” My family always loves everything that I make, but today it went up another notch. The chicken was so moist! 2 things I did differently, I don’t have a grill so I cooked it in a pan, and didn’t cover it and cooked it in the marinade. the chicken soaked up all the marinade because I only used 12 oz of chicken. I didn’t have turmeric (we’re on a REAL tight budget right now), so I used some very mild curry powder which has turmeric in it and everything else was the same. I paired it with orzo pasta with sauteed red bell pepper and carmelized onions in it. I stumbled across your website by accident, but I’m so glad I did. I like how you lay out all the ingredients for us to see and give us each step along the way. It makes it less intimidating. I can understand why you want only to cook for your family. My husband said he’d pay for me to go to chef school because he said I’d do well, but I don’t want to work nights and work hard for people who may or may not appreciate my cooking. My family really appreciated tonight’s dinner and my husband asked me, “does her site have desserts too?” haha, he’s already waiting for the next course! thank you Jenn!!! Thank you.

    - Michele on June 24, 2014 Reply
    • Michelle, thanks for your review. I was wondering if I could make these without a grill and your comments and suggestions were very helpful!

      - Geni on July 26, 2014 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Hi Geni,

        Great!! I’m glad! I really enjoyed this recipe. I’m making it again tonight for dinner…hahaha…..)

        - Michele on July 26, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn, this was fabulous! I’ve made four of your recipes and all of them will become regular items at my home. It’s so refreshing to have discovered a food blog by a REAL chef! Other food blog recipes are hit and miss, mainly because they aren’t trained cooks. Love your site!

    - Kerrie on June 22, 2014 Reply
    • Thank you, Kerri!

      - Jenn on June 23, 2014 Reply
  • This sounds fabulous…I’m going to use the marinade on a boneless leg of lamb. Have you ever had Houston’s couscous salad? It’s great and will be wonderful served with this…either with chicken or lamb as I’m going to make it.
    I just discovered this website and can tell I’m going to love it! I’m a real foodie and cooking is my passion.

    Thanks, Jenn!

    - Linda on June 9, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this with the warm couscous salad and both were easy and exceptional. I couldn’t believe the difference pounding the chicken made. It was so tender. I will definitely be adding this one to the rotation!

    - Ruth on June 7, 2014 Reply
  • This was absolutely delicious! I served it with the carrot slaw with cranberry recipe, also was very good. Will be making this again and again.

    - Karen on April 22, 2014 Reply
  • If I changed the sea salt to kosher salt would this be considered a kosher dish to serve at a seder??

    - Robin on April 3, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Robin, I believe almost all salts are kosher; you can tell for sure if it’s marked with a circled K or U on the label. And, yes, this dish would be kosher. You might also check out Chicken Marbella – I grew up having this dish every year for Passover. http://www.onceuponachef.com/2010/10/chicken-marbella.html

      - Jenn on April 3, 2014 Reply
  • I made these and the chicken kebabs over Christmas vacation for the first time (fun getting the grill hot enough when it’s 20 degrees outside) and everyone loved them. The consensus though was that they liked the Moroccan Chicken best and if I could do the kebabs that way. So I did and they were really good.

    I made basmati rice with garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric in it to go with the chicken. It made a great side for the chicken.

    - Jeff on March 9, 2014 Reply
  • I have made this several times with chicken breasts and we love it. So yesterday I made the spice and olive oil marinade and rubbed it under and over the skin of a whole chicken. After marinating for about an houir-90 min, I roasted it on my vertical roaster. Oh, my, it was fantastic! And imagine if I’d let it marinate several hours! The chicken was flavorful and moist and the skin, crispy. Divine!!!

    - Marlene on September 23, 2013 Reply
    • Great idea, Marlene…I think I will try that!

      - Jenn on September 24, 2013 Reply
  • This is my family’s favorite grilled chicken recipe. So easy and what great flavors!

    - Theresa on August 23, 2013 Reply
  • I baked some tilapia with this seasoning and really enjoyed it. Thanks for posting!

    - Deepti on July 21, 2013 Reply
  • Amazing! My whole family loved this, including my 6 year daughter who likes her food as plain as she can get it, nothing “spicy” as she puts it. Highly recommended, everyone wants it again!

    - Chris on July 5, 2013 Reply
  • I tried this recipe, would NOT change a thing. I also tried it with shrimp, delicious!! There is no need to buy any kind of barbeque sauce anymore-}:>)

    - dwana bull on March 14, 2013 Reply
  • We loved this marinade. I served it with tomato, corn and avocado quinoa salad.

    - Amy on March 12, 2013 Reply
  • I love this seasoning and usually make an extra seasoning packet to save for next time. I just tried this mix on baked haddock fillets and it was delicious!

    - Elizabeth on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • Easy, savory and make great leftovers for lunch. I often serve with Israeli salad

    - Sharyn on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • Yummy! Will try with shrimp next.

    - Mandy on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Made this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! There has not been one miss yet!

    - Pam on March 3, 2013 Reply
  • This is so easy and tasty! I am going to prepare the dry spice mix to have on hand and just add the garlic and oil as I need it. I think it would be goodman shrimp as well.

    - Marlene on January 24, 2013 Reply
    • I meant good on shrimp! Darn autocorrect!

      - Marlene on January 24, 2013 Reply
  • Made this with bonless chicken thighs..delicious.

    - Pat Rice on December 14, 2012 Reply
  • Big hit with the family! Very easy and it has a delicious flavor! I served it with lemon cous cous with dried cranberries and apricots and haricot verts. Definitely on our make again list

    - Theresa on October 18, 2012 Reply
  • Interesting recipe! Looking forward to trying this one!
    Do you think this flavor combo would go well on salmon fillets, to be grilled, and what about large shrimp on the grill?
    There are a few spices in here I don’t normally use, so not sure about the taste compatibility? I’d appreciate an opinion on this delimma!
    Thanks!!

    - Lorrae Barker on October 10, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Lorrae, I do think it’d work, especially with shrimp on the grill.

      - Jenn on October 10, 2012 Reply
  • Made the Grilled Moroccan Chicken, using my stove-top cast iron grill pan. Very happy with the dish – the chicken was moist and had great flavor. Removed and reserved a little of the marinade (before adding the chicken to the marinade) and drizzled it on the chicken at the table. Also served the Carrot Slaw with Cranberries, Toasted Walnuts and Citrus Vinaigrette, which was equally good.

    - Karen on October 6, 2012 Reply
  • Loved this recipe. Served it with wild rice and broccoli. I think it will become a weekly thing!

    - Beth on October 5, 2012 Reply
    • Wow Beth, that sounds like a perfect combination!

      - Rick Delaney on April 5, 2014 Reply
  • Agree with Liz. Make extra so you can put in your salad the next day and extra dry spice mix for the future. This is a great, versatile recipe that I have made many times-always with chicken tenders-you don’t have to pound them and they cook faster and stay moister.

    - Carolyn on October 4, 2012 Reply
  • Everybody in my family loved this recipe. It was extremely easy to throw together, and we served it with whole wheat couscous and a side salad for an extremely healthy meal. That knife set looks so much better than ours…

    - 91% Chocolate Lover on October 3, 2012 Reply
  • Loved the Moroccan chicken. Easy to make and my family loved it.

    - Jolie on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • I’ve made this several times now. Obviously, we love it. I mix the same spices into some mayo and make a great sandwich with the leftovers. I’ve used chicken tenderloins with this which cuts down on the prep time with great success. Thanks for another great recipe!

    - Charlene on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • so deliciously simple. even a 2 hour marinade gives great flavor. i agree with DavidB, goes well with a yogurt dipping sauce or some orzo/risotto. very flavorful; tenderized the chicken before also helps keeps it more moist. my Indian mother in law always uses a little yogurt in her marinades, too…tenderizes and makes the meat very moist.

    - Pamela G. on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • These were good but a little dry when I made these. I whipped up a yogurt dipping sauce (non-fat greek yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, and dashes of the same spices in the rub for the chicken) and that did the trick.

    - DavidB on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • NOM. NOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM! I made this last night. Super easy, extremely flavorful. I had to share the link with some colleagues today at work! One thing- I made it with fresh ginger because I didn’t see it specified in the recipe….(then of course I saw the powdered ginger in the picture). No matter, it was delicious.

    - Sheryl B on September 17, 2012 Reply
  • Made this last night with boneless chicken thighs. The flavor was amazing! Never try Moroccan dishes, but this just looked soooo good. My husband and I really loved it. I didn’t have tumeric so I used ground mustard (looked on web to see what I could substiute and that was a choice).Can’t wait to make it again and share with friends.

    - Pat Rice on September 10, 2012 Reply
  • it all sounds great, I can’y wait to try it.

    - John on September 8, 2012 Reply
  • Opps! I mixed up my cayenne pepper and paprika! Sure glad my husband likes it hot!

    - Lori Alter on July 2, 2012 Reply
  • This is just perfect. My family would reject anything called “Moroccan” so it will be called simply grilled chicken with herbs. Amazing. No changes needed. This will definitively be in the monthly rotation.

    - Regina Eberwein on June 29, 2012 Reply
  • My girlfriend is comming in from Calif. and I am making this dish. I’ll let you know how it turned out LuvYa!

    - Aunt Bubbie on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • Amazing flavor combination. Paired well with mashed sweet potatoes.

    - Elisa on June 26, 2012 Reply
  • My daughter find this for us recently when we visited her and it was delicious!

    - Linda on June 25, 2012 Reply
  • i made this on saturday and loved the flavor of the marinade, it was perfect. we also had the carrot slaw and some tater tots heated up on the grill. tater tots are totally underrated.

    - katya on June 24, 2012 Reply
  • Another wonderful recipe – thank you so much! I’m always looking for new chicken recipes, and this one is now one of our favorites!

    - Michelle on June 23, 2012 Reply
  • Love, love, Love, Made it just as given and I will make this again!

    - Cheri Hartman on June 22, 2012 Reply
  • We made this for Father’s Day dinner, and as suggested, served with couscous and the grated carrot salad, in addition to some grilled zucchini. The chicken turned out so tender and flavorful – love the hint of cinnamon! It was a big hit with Dad and the teens! (We had very few leftovers.) I don’t have a meat mallet, so I raided my husband’s workbench and used a rubber mallet wrapped in a plastic bag. This worked like a charm and I think is key to the tenderness of the chicken. Thank you for such an easy, tasty recipe – definitely will do again!

    - Liesel on June 22, 2012 Reply
  • I made this on Wed.—-it was delicous! I always grill boneless skinless chicken in the summer. Great recipe for a different flair. I found that if one replaces olive oil for grapeseed oil, you will have good flavor, good health benefits, and a better heat resistance , for the high heat grilling }:>)

    - dwana bull on June 22, 2012 Reply
  • I made this marinade the other day and I thought it was absolutely delicious. It’s a little spicy but also a little sweet so I think it had a nice balance to it. Although, instead of grilling it (I’m not a big fan of grilling, there’s too much smoke floating around for me) I baked it for about 45 minutes and then I broiled it for another 10-15 minutes to give more of a grilled look. My family really liked it which surprised me since they are pretty picky. I will definitely make this again someday.

    - Emily on June 21, 2012 Reply
  • The Moroccan chicken paired with asparagus Dijon salad was absolutely so scrumptious, it would have made the Iron Chef or Gordon Ramsey proud!!!!! Three days later I used the same recipe, only used beef shot ribs. My guests thought they were dining in a 5 ***** restaurant!!! Thank you for sharing this culinary delight.!!!

    - Joyce on June 21, 2012 Reply
  • Lovely marinade. Because I have small children who wouldn’t at this stage eat the chicken in large pieces, I cut it into slivers and stir-fried it, then added a sauce of pears stewed in cinnamon and rosé wine, pureéd it and added the sauce to the chicken stir-fry, making it a moist, fragrant dish that they would eat. Even my husband had seconds, and he’s quite fussy! Thanks for this wonderfully easy and delicious recipe!

    - Adrienne Warricker on June 21, 2012 Reply
  • made recipe as is…excellent..we will make again I served with carrot slaw..

    - Barb on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I’ve made this (with a similar recipe) before to rave reviews. This time, I used your recipe and just substituted pork chops (pounded, of course). The results were amazing and delicious! My family is already asking for it again next week. I will be making this again and again! Easy and so yummy!!

    - Emily on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Yum! Can’t wait to try this one next. So far every recipe i have tried on this website have been great!

    - Laura on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • This looks like a great recipe! Gonna try it tonight. Yum…Yumm

    - Yolanda on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I prepared this last night. Delicious and very flavorful. Made a double batch of chicken to slice and serve on salad tonight. Also made an extra “Moroccan Chicken Dry Spice Mix” to prep even faster next time. Thanks, Jenn!

    - Liz on June 20, 2012 Reply
    • Extra spice mix… What a great idea!

      - LaurieMac on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Made just as written… one of the best grilled chicken recipes I’ve ever used… will use again to make a chicken and pasta salad… served with couscous this last time.

    - Mike on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • can’t wait to try this.

    - kelly almasy on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Is there an alternative to cooking this (in the oven possibly) on those days that I am not up to firing up the grill?

    - Joanne on June 20, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Joanne, You could try an indoor grill pan.

      - Jenn on June 21, 2012 Reply
      • Would you suggest a George Foreman over pan-searing then finishing in the oven?

        - Arden on June 21, 2012 Reply
        • Definitely

          - Jenn on June 21, 2012 Reply
  • The chicken was so moist and tender. Not big cinnamon lovers, so I only used 1/8 tsp worked out great. Going to see how it baked in oven next time.

    - Jane Park on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • This was delicious and incredibly easy. Both of my kids (7 and 9) really enjoyed along with us. My suggestion: the longer you marinate the better! I left it all day and the flavor was fantastic. I also went very light on the cayenne (just a sprinkle) since I have kids; but i’m sure the extra spice would have made it even better.

    - Daryl Ellen on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I made this on Saturday and my boys LOVED it :) It was one that was saved and put in our recipe box :) Very easy to make in the morning, let it marinate and then grill that night! Thanks for sharing!

    - Alicia on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I added some lemon zest and thought the whole recipe was fabulous and exotic!

    - Christi on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I made this for Father’s Day and it was a huge hit! I served it with your carrot slaw (with walnuts & cranberries) and Ina’s moroccan couscous. All of the dishes went really well together – would definitely make again!

    - Kelly on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • The flavor of this marinade was delicious. Big hit with my family. Will definitely make this again. Thanks!

    - Chicago Judy on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Loved the spices in this.

    - Kathy on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I love the simplicity of this recipe and can’t wait to try it.

    - Kara on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • That you so much! I loved this! I made it exactly as you recommended except that I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breast. It’s easier to control the moistness of the meat with thighs. I did pound them as you suggested which made for some quick grilling. This recipe was so delicious, I’ve put it into my “YUM” file (only the best make the cut).

    - LaurieMac on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Don’t walk away; definitely, do not overcook.

    - Dorothy Ruffin on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Agreed, this has been terrific for summer grilling and a new family favorite. The tumeric and cinnamon are key, I think.

    - Amanda on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Love throwing in a ziplock in the morning, and then just throw on the grill. I like to grill romaine lettuce & peach halves to go with!

    - Cherie on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • This is the perfect recipe for the grilling season. I love how easy it is to marinate the chicken in the zip lock bag. The Moroccan flavor is wonderful, it is a fun and exotic recipe…definitely new flavors to me and I love it.

    - Amy Tong on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Always looking for good chicken recipes. This sounds like it could be a keeper.

    - Donna Bechtold on June 15, 2012 Reply
  • Thank you, Jenn!! I will do that Saturday!

    - Joyce on June 14, 2012 Reply
  • I loved this easy recipe that made the chicken taste like you slaved all day making! haha now, I’m wondering what you all think about using this marinade on beef short ribs.

    - Joyce on June 14, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Joyce, Glad you enjoyed. I think it’d be great on short ribs.

      - Jenn on June 14, 2012 Reply
      • What is a good substitute for cayenne pepper? Mother is allergic to cayenne.

        - Dana on September 8, 2012 Reply
        • Hi Dana, Just leave it out…you won’t miss it. Otherwise you can use a pinch of red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you want the heat.

          - Jenn on September 8, 2012 Reply
  • I love how easy this seems to make – but looks so fancy. Yum!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on June 14, 2012 Reply
  • Sounds yummy. I am going to experiment by adding some lemon juice and zest to the marinade and use it on a side of salmon.

    - tucsonbabe on June 14, 2012 Reply
  • Once again, you saved my day! Scrumptious!

    - Joyce on June 14, 2012 Reply
  • I’ve recently discovered that grilling with grape seed oil works better than with olive oil — in every recipe I try. Just wanted to share that with you. :)

    - laurie on June 14, 2012 Reply
    • What’s the difference between the two? Also, have you tried this recipe? Is 3 minutes per side really long enough? I thought you had to cook chicken up to about 160 degrees for it to be safe.

      Brenda

      - Brenda on September 8, 2012 Reply
      • Hi Brenda, When you pound the breasts thin like I do here, that’s all the time they need on a very hot grill.

        - Jenn on September 8, 2012 Reply
    • Olive oil is fine, as long as you don’t overheat it. If you need to cook with a higher temperature, switch to grapeseed oil.

      If you use too high a temperature with olive oil, it changes the composition of the oil and also the flavor, and it’s not good to do that to it.

      That doesn’t happen with grapeseed oil.

      - Pete Guaron on September 8, 2012 Reply

Add a Review or Question

Hungry for More?

Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter — where I share new recipes and seasonal menus for every occasion.

Your email address will never be used for any other purpose.
Curious? See a sample newsletter.