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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.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

I love Moroccan food, especially how dishes often combine spicy, savory, and sweet flavors, and that’s the idea behind this grilled Moroccan chicken. The spices in the marinade are reminiscent of ras el hanout, a North African spice blend that usually contains more than a dozen spices, like cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom, allspice, fenugreek, and more. This dish is a real family pleaser – even small children seem to love it – and the best part is that it takes just minutes to prepare (and there’s barely any 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

how to make grilled moroccan chicken

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


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.

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 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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  • Thank you for your wonderful recipes and cooking tips. I need to broil the chicken rather than grill it. My broiler has a choice of Lo or Hi. Which do you recommend, how long and how far from the heat? Thanks very much!

    • Hi Phyllis, I’d broil on high about 4 inches from the heat source. Hope that helps!

      • Hi Jenn! I don’t have a grill. Can I use a skillet + oven method for this recipe?

        If so, any recommendations on timing?


        • Hi Amy, you can make it a bit easier on yourself and just broil it. I’d 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!

  • Really delicious and a nice change from typical marinades. Next time, I would cut the salt to 1/2 Tsp as 1 Tsp seemed to be too much.

  • thank you

    • — Saffron Morocco
    • Reply
  • WOW, BIG FLAVOR!!!!! I used my cast iron skillet, inside, on medium high to get some char marks, then once all the chicken (5 cutlets) were charred, I turned it to low, added them back and put a lid on it. It only took about 10 more minutes till they were completely cooked through. They were excellent and both kids, including the one who doesn’t like spice, liked it a lot. I served with pita bread, that I drizzled with garlic butter and threw in the oven at 400 for a couple minutes, Middle East salad from TJ’s and I made a Middle East yogurt to boot. I will def put this on rotation. I’m so grateful to you for these recipes, and I love the bag idea = less cleanup! Thank you.

  • My family’s new favorite chicken recipe! Flavor packed. We make it with the recommended couscous. Stick to the recipe. It is perfection! Good idea to double down on everything. It disappears very fast!

  • I made this for my sister’s Moroccan themed baby shower after scouring the internet looking for Moroccan dishes. The chicken was perfect and many of the guests were wanting to know how I made it.

  • Made this recently for company, one of whom can’t eat gluten, soy or dairy. Was so easy and delicious. Served it with the carrot chickpea salad on this site which was equally yummy. Thanks Jen for all your wonderful recipes. Yours is the first site I go to when looking for new recipes.

    • So glad everyone enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Do you use sweet paprika or smoked?

    • Sweet (typically if a recipe requires smoked paprika, I will specify that). Enjoy the chicken! 🙂

  • Have you tried this marinade on lamb? Do you think that would be good?

    • Hi Joanna, I haven’t tried this with lamb, but I think it would work nicely!

    • Defrosted chicken legs & thighs. Do you think the recipe will work? Am a BIG fan of yours!!

  • This was delicious and easy using chicken tenders. We make a lot of moroccan tagines so love the flavors. This recipe was a lot easier and great for a quick dinner on the grill. Putting this into our “go-to” for ourselves and for company. A winner!

    • — Susan, New Mexcio
    • Reply
  • This is my family’s favorite recipe. It is a tried and true recipe. The chicken always comes out moist and flavorful. All of the spices marry perfectly together to make boneless, skinless chicken the best! This chicken pairs well with saffron rice and steamed green beans.

    • — Gretchen Hudson
    • Reply
  • This chicken was the best if I could give more than 5 stars I would, Thank You

  • Yum, I loved this! Chicken turned out great with amazing flavor.

  • This might be the best chicken breast I’ve ever had in my life. I served it with the Apricot Couscous and Greek yogurt lemon sauce. I love finding a new recipe to keep forever.

  • This was amazing! Two days later hubby asked to have it again. Fit in with my WW also.
    Paired it with Moroccan chickpea stuffed acorn squash.
    This recipe is a must try…easy, flavorful and healthy!

  • Jen, I love all your recipes, yours is my go to website. I want to make your Morrocan Chicken but wonder if I can use boneless chicken thighs instead of boneless chicken breasts. Would the cooking time be the same?
    Thanks, Nancy

    • Hi Nancy, so glad you enjoy the recipes! Yes, you can use boneless thighs here. Cooking time may be just a touch longer, but keep an eye on them. Enjoy!

      • Can the chicken be marinaded overnight? Your recipes have gotten me out of my cooking slump! Thank you

        • Sure, Alice – and so glad you’re feeling inspired by the recipes! 😊

  • Hi, Jenn. Love your blog, but unfortunately, this recipe disappointed. We were sad. Just bland. Could’ve used a sauce. I had barely a lb. of chicken thighs so I cut back the spices by 1/2. Did not have cayenne. Used garlic powder instead of raw garlic. Browned and cooked in an iron skillet so it was tender but kinda flavorless. My bad, I think. I’ll keep trying other recipes. Thank you! Lisa in Indy

  • This is phenomenal. I marinated the thighs for 2 days and they were terrific. My husband ate 3 skewers – I have never seen him go so wild for chicken before!

  • Can this be marinated overnight vs 5-6 hours?

    • Yep – hope you enjoy!

  • This recipe was so delicious that my picky kids even wanted to eat it again. I didnt even need to marinate for more than an hour and still had a wonderful taste. I use this for gyros. Get some pita bread, yogurt sauce and this! So easy and delicious!

  • I forgot – I would, of course, use boneless skinless thighs.

  • I would like to try this marinade with chicken kabobs using thighs. Sound like a plan? I certainly appreciate you and your work. Love your cookbook. Many thanks

    • Hi Ramona, I think that would work beautifully. You might also check out my Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs, which are made with chicken thighs – they are wonderful! (And glad you love the book 🙂 )

  • Hi Jenn! How do you think this recipe would work with boneless thighs under the broiler? Thank you!

    • Yes, Carol, I think that will work. I’d use the broiling instructions from this Broiled Spicy Chicken Thighs recipe (although you obviously won’t need to add a glaze at the end). 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

  • This recipe is FANTASTIC! My friends rave about it every time I make it. My only caution – do NOT make this on an indoor grill pan! (Unless you enjoy visits from you local fire department!!)

  • Delicious and easy! I doubled the recipe and used boned breasts and thighs. Cooked under broiler instead of grill Next time I will use half the salt. My husband is already asking when we can have it again

  • I used this recipe but sliced the chicken and stir-fried it instead of grilling. The meat was tender and the spice mix was delicious. I’ll be making this one again!

  • Very good. I had planned to use the outdoor grill, but it looked like rain so I used a George Forman grill, heated it for 10 minutes, then put the chicken on and cooked it with the lid down for 7 minutes. I was perfectly cooked, tender and juicy.
    Always on the lookout for good chicken recipe. Plus, the spices are what I always have on hand. Will make again.

  • Hi Jen! I have a grill pan instead of a grill. Is there a trick to cover a grill pan instead of just closing the lid to a grill? I want to make sure the chicken stays moist. Also, can the chicken be kept marinating in the fridge for more than 5-6 hours or will that affect the texture? Thanks!

    • Hi Elizabeth, You can invert another pan over the grill pan, but I’m not sure it will make much of a difference. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. And it’s fine to marinate longer — there’s no acid in the recipe so the texture won’t change. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Thanks so much!!

  • This is a winner and keeper!!! So easy and absolutely delicious, my family of 4 love this dish. Moist chicken full of flavor with minimal prep and work!! The combination of spices is perfect!

  • Wonderful recipe Jenn!
    Thank you so much.

  • I’ve never left a review in my life, and I pride myself on being a damn good cook….so….this recipe is soo full of flavor (I cooked in iron skillet) and amazing because the ingredients are common and readily on hand. Paired this with Persian cucumber salad, basmati rice and naan. Amazing amazing. Cheers

  • Jenn, this is by far a FABULOUS recipe that my family never tires of and is requested almost WEEKLY by my daughter. Things that I changed are just minor, like not using all the salt (we are watching the sodium) using chicken tenders instead of breasts and I don’t have a grill, so I just pan fry until dark golden brown in my Le Creuset no stick skillet then finish in the oven. The aroma from the spices while cooking is EUPHORIC….REALLY!!!! It is truly HEAVENLY. … And served with Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette, another WINNER from your website, and fresh steamed green beans or salad, it is an OUTSTANDING meal I am sure everyone would truly enjoy!! Big THANKS and TEN STARS to you, Jenn!!!

  • I have made this a few times. It is more intensely flavored than the Middle Eastern Chicken Kebob recipe. It is very good and avoids the boring chicken situation at summer BBQs. I serve with the rice pilaf recipe from this site and I have had leftovers in a naan sandwich with yogurt and plain shredded cabbage.

  • This recipe will become a new family favorite for many years to come. This is one of the most favorable chicken dishes I have ever had. I make the recipe as stated. It is so easy to make two batches for lunches and it goes well on salads.

    • — Matthew Hansen
    • Reply
  • Made this yummy dish today for supper. EASY & very, very flavourful. My hubby thought it was delicious as did I. The spices really work nicely together. Not spicy for our family. I added the cayenne & my kids 2 & 6 ate it no problem. This was a perfect accompaniment to your cous cous salad with apricot. Such an easy weeknight meal that tastes awesome!!!

    • One more thing….I was apprehensive while making marinade that it wasn’t going to be enough/flavour wasn’t going to be strong enough but it was perfect!!!

  • Perfect – loved this. Followed the recipe and had tasty chicken. Served with Moroccan-style roasted veggies. Yummy!

  • Amazing and super easy! I simplified by making the marinade and letting my chicken breast thaw in the marinade and simply baked in the oven for an hour. Flavourful, moist, and great in our lunches the next day. This ones is a keeper at our house. Thank You Jen.

  • Love this recipe! Comes together quick and is very flavourful. I made this up at the cottage this summer for a big crowd with your basmati pilaf and roasted veggies on the BBQ and it was a huge hit. Lots of compliments from the adults and all the kiddos (even the notoriously picky ones!). Thank you again Jen for being my go-to girl for recipes every.time.now! You have never steered me wrong!

  • Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for your great blog, I’m having great success with the recipes I have so far tried. Some while ago I had an op which damaged part of my brain causing random memory loss. After enjoying cooking for many years I just couldn’t make things work out but the clear and easy way you present your web site helps me tremendously. Thank you so much I’m starting to feel much more confident now.

  • Made this yesterday and while it tasted fine both me and my husband were desperately thirsty a few hours later and had a very restless night. We are used to spicy food so not sure why this would be

  • Does the recipe call for ground ginger or fresh minced ginger?

    • All the spices are ground, Kristen. Sorry about that – recipe has been updated :).

  • Is there another way to cook this other than a grill? (I know it’s called Grilled Moroccan Chicken)

    • Sure, Deborah — you could broil the chicken in the oven.

  • This chicken is MARVELOUS !!! And the spice blend is so MYSTERIOUSLY AMAZING and DELICIOUS!!! Served with Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette from this website, it is OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! THANKS JEN!!!

  • Yummy! Added the juice of a lemon and a kick of crushed red to amp up the heat. Used b/s-less chicken thighs cut into thirds and skewered. Served with couscous with a spoonful of harrisa stirred in and grilled veg. A keeper!

  • This is amazing! I’ve started using up spare chicken breasts by mixing them with this marinade and freezing them in vacuum sealed bags. It’s such a good way to make sure the extra chicken doesn’t go to waste, and you can take it out of the freezer the night before for a delicious, quick dinner!

  • Thanks for the recipe.
    I cut up chicken into large cubes.
    Mixed chicken with marinade in a glass bowl and refrigerated for s couple of hours. Skewered chicken and grilled.
    Served with couscous and asparagus.
    It was wonderful and took very little time.
    Will make it often.

  • This is so easy and the family loves it. Great to freeze the chicken pieces before cooking and thaw when needed. Thanks from my family!

  • What would you advise to make it very spicy?

    • Hi Angie, you could easily double the cayenne pepper here to up the heat a bit.

  • I have made this recipe numerous times. I’m a vegetarian but have a husband/child who are not. It smelled so good that I tried a tiny bite! Oh… the flavor. My husband said it was so good that I had to serve it for a Progressive Dinner Party in our neighborhood. I did – huge success. I served it with a Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine.

  • Thank you Jenn, this dish is a real family favourite – it works well with chicken thighs too.

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