Grilled Moroccan Chicken

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Easy to make and full of flavor, this grilled Moroccan chicken is a family pleaser.

Moroccan Chicken

This Moroccan chicken is an easy and incredibly flavorful way to prepare boneless skinless chicken breasts. I can’t claim it’s one hundred percent authentic, but the spices make it taste decidedly Moroccan, and it also goes wonderfully with couscous. You might think it sounds too exotic-tasting for picky eaters, but even small children seem to love it. The best part? It takes just minutes to prepare and there’s barely any clean-up.

What You’ll Need To Make Grilled Moroccan Chicken

how to make grilled moroccan chickenAs you can see, the recipe relies on many spices, such as paprika, cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger, ground turmeric, ground cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

How To Make Grilled Moroccan Chicken

Begin by pounding the chicken breasts to an even 1/2-inch thickness.

how to make grilled chicken

This both tenderizes the meat and ensures even cooking. Left in their natural shape, the thin side of the fillet dries out while the thicker side finishes cooking.

pounded chicken

Next, make the marinade by combining the olive oil, spices, salt, garlic and sugar in a bowl or directly in a sealable plastic bag.

spices

Mix well.

how to make grilled moroccan chicken

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.

how to make grilled moroccan chicken

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.

how to make grilled moroccan chicken

Grill just a few minutes per side for perfectly tender chicken breasts.

Moroccan Chicken

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Grilled Moroccan Chicken

Easy to make and full of flavor, this grilled Moroccan chicken is a family pleaser.

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 ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground 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.

Pair with

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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I have made this recipe numerous times with chicken but used the marinade for pork tenderloin tonight. Equally as good! Served it with the Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette. Yum, yum.

    • — Margaret on January 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi, I would love to try this recipe, but I only face chicken drumsticks. Can this work and how long do I need to grill if I use the legs instead of chicken breasts? Thanks. I love your recipes and they always turn out delicious.

    • — JC on November 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi JC, Chicken drumsticks will definitely work. I’d follow the grilling instructions from this recipe.

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2020
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  • Eating home during these days, we are always looking for different recipes to try. This was so quick and easy to make with really nice flavors. I marinated the chicken the night before and used a grill pan. A bit smokey but turned out delicious. Will be making again soon.

    • — LisaR on November 13, 2020
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  • Jenn – my mom has been making your recipes for as long as I can remember while I lived at home. I moved out and hosted my parents for dinner for the first time and I knew that if I wanted to impress my mom I had to make an all-Jenn menu. I made this chicken, the cous cous salad, and your grilled asparagus salad with lemon and feta. It was such a hit! Everyone LOVED the meal and it certainly impressed. My family truly cannot thank you enough for your recipes, you are the absolute best there is!

    • — Cori on September 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • How nice, Cori — I’m sure your parents LOVED coming to your place for a meal prepared by completely by you!!

      • — Jenn on September 28, 2020
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  • A definite winner! Hands down an easy yet flavorful chicken. Loved the flavors (even at only 2 hrs marinade)….we were pleased.
    Will definitely make again!

    • — SunshineMama on September 2, 2020
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  • Oh my gosh!!!! This is the BEST chicken dish I’ve ever had. My husband and I were literally jumping up on our seats because of the burst of flavors!!! Thank you so much for this recipe!!
    It tasted like a dish from restaurant!! I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. Thank you!!!!

    • — Kavita Shanbhag on August 22, 2020
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  • I made this Moroccan Chicken for my family and it has become a regular on our dinner menu. So much flavor and so easy to make. I shared this recipe with my sister in law and at our family get together we decided to serve the chicken on pita bread with thinly sliced red onions, cucumbers and grape tomatoes. It was so good!

    • — Tiffany on August 16, 2020
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  • Delicious! We did with chicken thighs on the grill. Loved it. I had seen a similar recipe spice-wise that called for the chicken to be sauteed with sour cream and evaporated milk. I was going to try doing in pan and finishing with coconut milk perhaps next time, to create a little yummy sauce for rice. Thoughts?

    • — Siobhan on July 23, 2020
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    • Glad you enjoyed it! And what you suggested sounds like a nice twist on it. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on July 24, 2020
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  • Excellent! Used skinless boneless thighs because we prefer them. Served with grilled peppers and onions and grilled naan. This will part of the regular rotation as long as grilling season lasts.

    • — Kathie Briggs on July 21, 2020
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  • Best chicken recipe ever! Made it 3 times already and we loved it. Served it with baked potato or basmati rice (Jenn, thanks to you I finally learned how to cook Basmati rise). I also made a salad with your Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (no more store bought dressings for me!).

    • — Kinga on July 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe has become a twice a month recipe for me. My whole family loves this always-moist, flavorful chicken. I serve it with mujadara as a side. When my husband ate this for the first time he declared that I was to only make this kind of chicken from here on out. Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!

    • — Stephanie on July 15, 2020
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  • Absolutely delicious! I served this for a family supper to rave reviews. Such a wonderful blend of warm spices.

    • — Mark Watson on July 14, 2020
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  • This was fabulous! I live in an apartment and cannot have a grill so I used a panini press to cook the chicken. Pounding the breasts ensured even cooking and seemed to “stretch” two breasts to be enough for 3 adults (with other sides). Marinated the chicken all afternoon and it was tender, juicy and so flavorful. Wow! Will be in my regular rotation!

    • — Julie on July 6, 2020
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  • Love this one. One of my favourites on the site.

    • — Judy on June 30, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn, I wonder what was my mistake as the chicken breasts I had flattened to the required thickness returned to their original size or close to it..Hence, they had to stay on the grill for more than 10′. What do you think?
    We loved the taste but as u can imagine it was dry.
    Thank you for your advice.
    Love all of your recipees I have done before.
    Josee

    • — Josee on June 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Josee, It’s normal for them to plump up on the grill. I’m guessing they just cooked a bit too long. Next time, try pounding them just a bit thinner.

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn, another delicious chicken recipe! Thanks so much. Can this be frozen in the marinade to thaw and BBQ in the summer? It would be a great make-ahead and so convenient for summer. Thanks in advance! 😊

    • — Corinne on June 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! Sure, it would be fine to freeze the chicken in its marinade. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this for lunch today and we all loved it. My daughter said, “this is delicious – let me guess, this is a Jenn Segal recipe!” Served it with the suggested warm couscous salad and that was also a hit. Thank you!

    • — Rachel on June 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • All I can say is WOW! Bursting with flavor that was a real hit with our group. Super juicy and tender even with reheating leftovers. Made this in a 7 pound recipe for our friends, and they all raved. Definitely putting this in rotation. Thanks!

    • — Mike Colombo on June 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • This chicken is delicious! After I made it my son said it needs to be my go-to recipe for grilled chicken. It was moist, tender and very flavorful! Thank you!

    • — Darlene on June 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi; thinking of spatchcock a 2kg chicken to cook on the bbq. What quantity marinade would I need for this?

    • — Claire on April 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • I’d suggest doubling it. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 28, 2020
      • Reply
    • I did this. Doubling the recipe and it worked fine. If you spatchcock, your chicken will rock.

      • — Stacy R on May 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • My family loves this moroccan chicken. We moved last year and have yet to purchase a grill. This will be one of the first things I make when we finally get a grill.

    • — Nocatee girl on April 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • do you recommend these ingredients for baby back ribs?

    • — Sandra B on April 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandra, I’ve never tried it, but I think it should work. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen – another absolutely delicious recipe – trying it on Saturday night (might even get properly dressed and put my lipstick on). I love your idea of ‘procrastibaking’ – there is definitely a lot of that going around these parts, though our flour shortage is keeping things interesting.

    Please could I make a heartfelt request – could you please discourage people from using single-use freezer bags or ziploc bags for marinades. It’s just another thing to add to the great pile of non-recyclable plastic – polythene cannot be recycled and much of it ends up in the oceans. A plastic or ceramic container does the job perfectly (use a plate if you don’t have a lid) and it can be washed up and used a squillion more times.

    Lots of well-known chefs encourage people to use polythene for tasks like bashing up biscuits for cheesecake and for meat/fish marinades – yes, it’s easy and saves us the 20 seconds it would have taken to wash it up, but at a much larger long-term cost.

    Whenever I see it in a recipe, I write to the author and ask them to reconsider.

    Thanks again for sharing all your lovely recipes.

    • — Jayne on April 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jayne, Thanks for your input regarding the ziploc bags for marinades. For future recipes, I will provide both the option of a bag and a bowl. And hope you enjoy the chicken on Saturday (your comment about putting lipstick on made me laugh)! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • My husband made this for dinner tonight using chicken thighs. It was AMAZING!! The flavor was outstanding. This recipe is definitely a keeper!!
    Thank You!!

    • — Kelli Frost on April 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • Will the chicken be as tender if I buy chicken cutlets rather than pounding the chicken myself?

    • — L on April 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • My wonderful food writer friend sent me this recipe and we looooved it. Served with rice and asparagus. Started rather late, so it only marinated for 90 minutes. No problem! So, so good.

    So good, in fact, today I mixed up an extra-large batch of the marinade and have four chicken leg quarters marinating in the fridge for tonight’s dinner. I have no doubt it’ll be delicious.

    AND, (let me repeat myself), so good, in fact, I just ordered the cookbook. Thanks!

    • — Gayle C on March 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • 🙂 Thanks for your support with the cookbook!

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2020
      • Reply
      • This came together quickly and easily. The taste was great! Will definitely cook this again. Thanks Jenn! Another ‘what to cook for dinner?!’ crisis averted.

        • — Cat on April 26, 2020
        • Reply
  • Excellent. Used chicken thighs and threw red peppers on grill at same time. Also loved the couscous recipe….a keeper.

    • — Anne on February 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Is it okay to marinate for longer than 24 hrs? I was planning to cook this for dinner tonight, but plans unexpectedly changed. Now I’m wondering if I can make this tomorrow or the next day. The chicken was bought the day before and should still be good. Thoughts?

    • — Michelle on January 31, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Michelle, that should be fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 2, 2020
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      • Thank you! We had it the next night and it was great!

        • — Michelle on February 3, 2020
        • Reply
  • I made this for my picky 10 year old son who prefers real food and not sandwiches in his school lunches. I have been making him grilled chicken breasts lately. I wanted to try this recipe so he wouldn’t get bored of the rub I was using. My son liked this marinade very much. Lunch tins came back empty two days in a row. In order to reduce plastic waste I purchased thin sliced chicken breasts (no flattening the chicken required) and I marinated the chicken overnight in a glass food container with a snap seal lid. Shaking occasionally.

    • — Katrina on January 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! My husband is Moroccan and he loved it!!

    • — Carole on January 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can the chicken be pan or oven cooked? Thank you

    • — Patsy on January 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Patsy — I’d broil it. Set your rack about 4 inches from the heat source and broil for the same amount of time specified for the grill (flipping once). Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • YUM!

    • — Teri on January 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is one of the best ways to prepare grilled chicken. The flavors are amazing and it couldn’t be any easier. Guest always ask me for the recipe. Serve with some crusty bread and a big salad. It can’t get any easier than that. One of my favorite grilling recipes.

    • — Peg Reiter on December 27, 2019
    • Reply
  • Fabulous flavors and once the spices have been blended, it pretty easy to marinade and cook! We make this chicken and use it in so many ways. We even found it is incredibly tasty in Banh Mi Sandwiches. Thank you Jenn for sharing this recipe with all of us!

    • — Choi on December 14, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made the chicken and the couscous salad and they both came out perfectly. My husband aid he would have been thrilled to get this meal at a restaurant. I can’t believe how easy the couscous was to make. Thanks Jen.

    • — Patricia mccarthy on October 2, 2019
    • Reply
  • This recipe is just another reason why when I’m looking for dinner ideas, your website is the first, and usually the only, site I visit. Thank you!

    • — Teresa on August 27, 2019
    • Reply
  • Best. Chicken. Ever. I took this recipe to a BBQ at a friends house, it disappeared almost immediately, huge hit with everyone (even the kids!). I make it for myself at least once a week, prep it before work and its good to go on the grill by the time I’m home.

    Question, any ideas/recommendations on modifying this marinade for use with beef? Or is this intended primarily for poultry?

    • — Mike on August 7, 2019
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed it, Mike. I think it’d work well with beef, no adjustments needed. Please lmk how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2019
      • Reply
  • LOVE your recipes. Looking to make the Moroccan chicken and pair with the apricot couscous for a luncheon. Can the chicken be served sliced, and at room temperature and/or chilled? I don’t want to be grilling with guests. Thanks!

    • — Chriss on August 6, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Chriss, You can definitely make the chicken ahead and slice it. I’d serve it at room temperature. You might want to make extra apricot dressing for drizzling over the chicken, as it won’t be quite as moist as it is fresh off the grill.

      • — Jenn on August 6, 2019
      • Reply
      • Jenn, You’re the best! I will do that. I made the apricot couscous today- I was just so eager to try. It’s amazing as are all of your recipes I have made. SO glad I found you. Chriss

        • — Chriss on August 6, 2019
        • Reply
        • 💕

          • — Jenn on August 7, 2019
          • Reply
      • Chicken is amazing! I grilled ahead of time and served it sliced on a big platter with the “Warm couscous salad with apricot vinaigrette” underneath. I did make extra apricot dressing to drizzle as Jenn suggested over chicken. Also added some extra scallions and almonds on top for garnish. Rave reviews from the ladies at my luncheon. It’s a winner no matter how you serve!!

        • — Chriss on August 23, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi! I was wondering if a grill pan would work as a substitute instead of a grill in this recipe?

          • — Rach on April 22, 2020
          • Reply
          • Sure! Hope you enjoy. 🙂

            • — Jenn on April 23, 2020
  • Hi, Jenn! Thanks so much for the delicious recipe! I made the Moroccan chicken with the apricot vinaigrette couscous, and it was a hit with my boyfriend. I made the late summer plum cake too, and it was so yummy with vanilla ice cream, he almost ate the whole cake. The detailed instructions and pictures are especially helpful! I bought your cookbook and can’t wait to try your other recipes.

    • — Nhi on July 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • 💕

      • — Jenn on July 29, 2019
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! Loved by my kids aged 3 to 9 years. I will definitely make it again with double the amount.

    • — Laura on July 24, 2019
    • Reply
    • Question regarding paprika, what type/brand do you use? I understand there are several varieties….I have a well known spice brand label in the cupboard, should I be trying something better? I’d appreciate your opinion, thank you.

      • — Mary on June 12, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Mary, I just use McCormick’s brand paprika which is what my store carries. (You don’t need smoked or hot paprika for this.) Hope that clarifies!

        • — Jenn on June 13, 2020
        • Reply
  • I made this yesterday and it was wonderful!! I let the chicken marinade for 6 hrs and can only imagine the additional flavor that it would have had , had I gone the full 24 hrs as some readers suggested. Per your recommendation, I served it with the warm couscous salad with apricot vinaigrette. The salad, on its own was a bit too sweet but when pared with the chicken ….
    What can I say, yet another winner! Thank-you.

    • — Diana Hubbard Replyuk on July 16, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this for dinner guests. I marinated the chicken breasts for 24 hours. It was absolutely delicious! It was moist, had a great flavor and everyone went back for seconds. I will be making this again. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • — Lucy Richardson on July 13, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight and boy was it delicious! My 16 year old picky eater even loved it. I accidentally dumped a bunch of sugar in, and despite trying to retrieve it out, I’m sure I ended up with much more than called for. The sweetness was really nice though and I’d probably do it on purpose next time!

    • — Naomi on July 9, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi. I’m marinading these tonight for tomorrow. How do you think these would work on skewers as shish kabobs? Same result? Thanks for your advise in advance.

    • — Colleen on July 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Colleen, It will be great. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 3, 2019
      • Reply

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