Grilled Moroccan Chicken

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The spices in this grilled chicken recipe are reminiscent of ras el hanout, a North African spice blend that usually contains over a dozen spices.

Plates of grilled Moroccan chicken.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

First posted on this site in 2012, this grilled Moroccan chicken is an oldie but a goodie! The spices used in the marinade echo the flavors of ras el hanout, a North African spice blend that contains over a dozen spices, like cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom, allspice, fenugreek, and more. Not only is this dish a hit with the whole family – yes, even the little ones – but it’s also a breeze to prepare. The bonus? Minimal clean-up! Pair the chicken with plain couscous or my warm couscous salad with apricot vinaigrette.

What You’ll Need To Make Grilled Moroccan Chicken

Chicken ingredients including spices, olive oil, and garlic.

Step-by-step instructions

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 to a meat mallet.

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

Bag of spices in a bowl.

Mix well.

Spice mixture in a bowl.

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 at least 5 hours or overnight.

Bag of spiced 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.

Grilled Moroccan chicken on a wooden board.

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

Plates of grilled Moroccan chicken.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

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Grilled Moroccan Chicken

The spices in this grilled chicken recipe are reminiscent of ras el hanout, a North African spice blend that usually contains over a dozen spices.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes, plus 5 to 6 hours to marinate the chicken


  • 1½ to 1¾ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or chicken tenderloins)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  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 a 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 in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  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

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  • 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, 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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  • I made this Moraccan grilled chicken and my family thought it was very good. The flavor in the couscous paired with the chicken was so yum. Thank you for another great recipe.

    • — Jeanne White on April 21, 2024
    • Reply
  • Seriously one of the best chicken we ever had. Restaurant quality by far. Serve this if you want to impress.

    • — ChiRosy on November 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was so good! Thanks, Jen

    • — B on October 3, 2023
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  • I made this for a family dinner and it was a total hit. My adult daughter said it was the best chicken on the grill she has tasted. I also did the couscous with the apricot vinaigrette and that was a hit too….great flavor combo. Love your recipes Jenn!

    • — Sharon on September 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’m back to make this recipe for a 3rd time because it is so easy and delicious! My 7-year-old acted like he was eating breaded chicken tenders from a restaurant, saying he could eat these every day! My whole family loves this chicken. THANK YOU!

    • — Marie Collins on September 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was so simple and delicious. We made it with boneless thighs instead of breasts since that’s what we always eat. Also made the apricot couscous you suggested, also so yummy. Thank you for two delicious recipes.

    • — Becky on September 6, 2023
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  • One of the best things I have eaten in a long time. So flavorful, tender, delicious. I used boneless chicken thighs because that’s what we eat most of the time. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

    • — Becky on September 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • An instant family favorite!!! Not only was it incredibly fast and easy to make but it was absolutely delicious. I substituted chicken thighs and increased it to 2.5 lbs for our multigenerational family of 7. There wasn’t a bit left and the grandkids almost licked their plates!! I served it with the apricot couscous along with a tossed salad dressed with your Basil Vinaigrette. My son-in-law called it a “fine dining experience!” Of course, everyone wanted the recipes!

    • — Joan on September 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • I just made the GRILLED MOROCCAN CHICKEN and Apricot Couscous…. Love both recipes.

    • — Grace on August 30, 2023
    • Reply

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