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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.

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

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.

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 at least 5 hours or overnight.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

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 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

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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Comments

  • Outstanding recipe! The timing was spot on and the Apricot Couscous Salad as well as some grilled asparagus, the perfect accompaniments. This meal really comes together quick, we loved it!

    • — Margaret F on August 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • If I already have ras el hanout, can I use that instead? If so, what measurement do you suggest? I’ve made this recipe many times, and it’s well-loved by all who try it. But since my spice drawer now includes ras el hanout, I’m curious to try it out in this recipe.
    Thank you!

    • — Yvonne on August 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Yvonne, I’ve never made this with raw el hanout, but I think it would work. I’d suggest 1 tablespoon + 1.5 teaspoons. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on August 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • While this required a lot of spices, it was worth it for the complexity of flavors it created. Pounding the chicken thin resulted in a fast sear on the hot grill with beautiful char marks. Delicious and something we will be making again soon. Delicious!

    • — Joe B. on August 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • The Grilled Moroccan Chicken and Spiced Couscous is absolutely delicious! I’ve made it numerous times and friends and family always give outstanding reviews. It is tender, juicy, aromatic and a delight to the palate.

    • — Linda on August 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this tonite with the recommended Couscous
    Followed recipie exactly

    YUM-Yum -Yum !!!!
    I WILL be making this again
    Thank You

    • — John on August 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Fantastic recipe. The chicken had so much flavor and the couscous with the apricot sauce is perfect with it!

    • — Cathy on July 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this the other night with Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette for my husband and myself. Used chicken tenders. Couldn’t stop eating it. We ate all the chicken and had only a handful of the couscous left! Absolutely Divine!!!
    With regard to the Moroccan Chicken, didn’t have ginger but still turned out wonderful.
    With regard to the Couscous Salad only had 4 tablespoons of the Apricot preserves but again turned out wonderful!

    • — Phyllis on July 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • I was looking for a new, fast chicken recipe today and hit the jackpot with this one! The aromatic spice blend was and the preparation couldn’t be easier. This is definitely going into our regular rotation!

    • — Sheri on July 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe was the first recipe I have ever made of yours. Served the chicken with the couscous salad with apricot vinaigrette. Absolutely delicious! This is definitely a keeper. I used chicken tenderloins instead of chicken breasts. I found the tenderloins easy to cook. The couscous salad was easy to make and perfect to serve with the grilled chicken. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

    • — Christine Semsack on July 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • I prepared this as kebabs with bell pepper and mushroom – on the grill for an easy weeknight dinner, and served it over cilantro lime rice for an absolutely amazing dinner. Real restaurant quality eats ! Thank you Jen!

    • — Al on July 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hello from Greece!

    What an amazing recipe, easy to make and with a super delicious result!
    It leaves the chicken so so tender with excellent taste and smell.
    I used my oven’s grill indication and turned out EXQUISITE!

    Thank you!

    Lena Charitou!.- x

    • — Eleni Charitou on June 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Another hit! Paired with the suggested warm couscous salad. Everyone enjoyed (even the picky eaters). So easy to prepare ahead and pull it together for dinner.

    • — Heather on May 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Another culinary victory! I made the Grilled Moroccan Chicken with the recommended Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette for me and Mom for our Easter Sunday dinner. Mmm mmm good. We’ve added it to our list of favourite recipes.

    • — Jeremy Webster on April 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • I recently travelled to Morocco and brought back some ras el hanout. Would the measurement equal all the spices you use or do you think I would need to adjust downward?

    • — Cathy on March 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep I think the measurement would be equal – I’d love to know how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on March 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • I loved this with chicken. Has anyone tried it with salmon?

    • — Faye M on March 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Didn’t have time to marinate more than 10 minute but still turned out great. I broiled as we ran out of propane and was still tasty. Definitely will make it again on the grill!

    • — Elizabeth on February 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • We made this using a whole chicken on the rotisserie on the Kamado Joe grill and served it with the Middle Eastern Chopped Salad from the book. So flavorful and delicious! Thanks for the recipe, Jen!

    • — JoJo on October 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Can this be cooked in the oven?

      • — Fern on August 24, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Fern, For indoor cooking, I’d use a grill pan on the stove as opposed to the oven. Heat it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the marinated chicken breasts and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side without touching, until the chicken develops nice grill marks. Using tongs, flip the chicken over and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until cooked through. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on August 24, 2023
        • Reply
  • I ADORE this recipe on the grill. Do you think it would work in the oven?

    • — Catherine on August 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • …I meant to rate this wonderful recipe FIVE STARS (…’cuz it truly is!!!)

    • — Linda O. on July 31, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh my – this chicken is a flavor explosion! I used skinless & boneless chicken thighs and baked the chicken in the oven because I don’t have a grill. This recipe will definitely make its way into my rotation; it’s so delicious, aromatic, and a bit different. I paired it with the Cilantro Lime Rice, also on this site. It was a fantastic dinner — one that I will definitely make again. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Linda O. on July 31, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this for the first time last night (along with the apricot vinaigrette couscous). My non-adventerous-eater spouse was leery at first, but after a few bites declared how yummy it was! (I loved it from first nibble).
    This was one of the very few times a recipe came out looking exactly like the picture, which I attribute to the *excellent* preparation instructions. The only deviation I made from the recipe was to slice the chicken breasts into 1/2” thickness, because we really don’t mind if the very tip is well-done.
    The recipe was a lot of fun to make! I felt a bit like an alchemist measuring and mixing all the spices (my spouse asked “isn’t that a lot of work?” to which I replied “fun isn’t work!”)

    • — Tex G. on July 31, 2022
    • Reply
  • Also made Kebabs, but used boneless thighs instead. I also substituted the sugar for Monk Fruit sweetener to keep it less carbs, however I used half as much since MF tends to taste sweeter. I then made a brine (by adding hot water to spice mix and then iced down after dissolved) instead of marinade and let sit overnight. Went one step further, simmered brine until all water was gone leaving a spice muck behind (be careful that it is not too salty) after which I added oil to heat and “toast” a bit. Then brushed on while cooking.

    • — David West on July 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Has anyone ever used this same recipe but with steak?

    • — Bee on May 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi there–if I missed this, forgive me, but is there a way to do this in the InstantPot? If anyone knows, I would appreciate your experience/input with it. Thank you!

    • — Ali on May 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Ali, I don’t have enough experience with an instant pot to tell you confidently whether or not this would work in one, so you may want to take a peek at these tips. It looks like they could be useful. Sorry I can’t be more helpful (but maybe someone else can weigh in).

      • — Jenn on May 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Followed recipe closely. The taste was great. Wings were moist and tender. The family loved them. I will definitely make it again.

    • — Beck and Bulow
    • Reply
  • The first time I made this recipe, I literally cried when I tasted it–the flavors and texture are that exquisite! It’s become our family’s favorite meal, and we especially love pairing it with the Zucchini with Feta, Walnuts, and Dill. Thank you Jenn for bringing joy to our table!

    • Hi, can I use boneless chicken thighs? If so- do I need to hammer the meat? Thank you.

      • — Heather on August 19, 2022
      • Reply
      • Sure, Heather – and no need to pound them. Enjoy 🙂

        • — Jenn on August 20, 2022
        • Reply
  • I found this recipe a few years ago and after trying it with the chicken breasts I made a quadruple batch of the marinade and cubed a a few pounds of chicken breasts and made Kabobs with with them and they were fantastic!. We were having a cookout for my daughter’s birthday party and everyone loved them. It’s great on pork chops and pork loin too.

    • Hi
      I was wondering if you could bake this in the oven instead of a grill. If so what temp and for how long ? Thanks in advance

      • — Pat on August 13, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Pat, If you want to make this indoors, I’d use a grill pan. Heat it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the marinated chicken breasts and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side without touching, until the chicken develops nice grill marks. Using tongs, flip the chicken over and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until cooked through. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on August 14, 2023
        • Reply
  • DELISH! A definite keeper! I used chicken thighs instead of breasts and fried the thighs instead of grilling. The oil in the marinade was enough to fry the thighs. I accompanied it with your Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette. The flavours were YUM! YUM! YUMMM! Can’t wait to try another recipe! BTW your French Apple Cake is also a keeper! 🙂

  • Very delicious and flavorful. After heating the grill very hot, I grilled with the lid open, to prevent drying. Served with a pilaf of basmati, peas and corn cooked in a light stock. Terrific dinner.

    • — disinterestedwisdom
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I plan to make this for dinner tonight. Just one clarification: are you using fine sea salt or kosher salt in the recipe?

    • Hi Robin, You should use regular/sea salt. (When a recipe of mine says salt in the ingredient list, I am referring to regular/table salt. If it calls for something else like kosher salt, I will specify that in the recipe.) Hope you enjoy the chicken!

  • Made this last night for the first time – delicious!! I was rushed and the chicken only marinated an hour, but was still flavor packed and juicy.

    • — Caly Konschewitz
    • Reply
  • My grocery store has ras el hanout ; how much should I use ?

    • Hi Carrie, I’d use 2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon. Hope you enjoy!

  • Made this dish and Rice Pilaf with Carmalized Onions,Cherry and Pistachio for a Moroccan themed dinner party. WOW! Everyone raved about the meal. Seconds all the way around the table. Chicken well seasoned and tender. So quick to grill!

    • — shelley osborne
    • Reply
  • Another terrific recipe! My new favourite recipe site. Love cooking flavourful, easy, and quick these days. Well done, Jenn. Many thanks for all your great recipes.

  • Hi Jenn
    Would you be able to include the metric measurements please.
    Thank you!
    Claire.

    • Hi Claire, I just added them. Hope you enjoy the chicken!

  • I made this tonight for dinner and it was great. Family loved it too. I followed your grilling directions and it was very tender. Will try the couscous recipe next time.

  • My son is quiet and reserved and never gets excited about anything. He spoke up and said next day to his brother who missed dinner “you missed a very good chicken last night, I couldn’t stop eating it”……I was thrilled and immediately added it to family favorite recipe!!!! THANK you for making me look like a good chef…

  • I made the chicken last night and it was wonderful. I also made the recommended side-dish – couscous – using Israeli couscous. Alone it tasted too sweet, but once combined with the chicken it was perfect.

    • I made the chicken and couscous recently for the second time for a large crowd and once again got rave reviews. I’m a fan!

      • — Linda Shear on March 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I don’t have a bbq. How can I make this in my oven? Thanks.

    • Hi Linda, I’d broil it. Set your oven 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!

  • Hi Jen! I don’t have a grill, can you make a recommendation for broiling instead? Thanks!

    • Hi Jocelyn, I’d set your oven 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!

  • I’ve made this recipe and I thought it was excellent. My husband loved it also. The spices were great it was so easy to make and it was so quick once you put it on the grill. I even made the couscous with the dried apricot and scallions scallions. I have shared it with several friends and also shared your website. Keep coming back to your recipes again and again.

  • Really enjoyed this recipe – easy to make and delicious. The only reason I gave it a 4 is because Jenn’s Grilled Tequila Chicken Breast recipe is my absolute 5 rating – try that too – my husband and I loved it. Both great weeknight meals.

  • I thought this was fairly good! Disclaimer, I did dice chicken thigh and added the spices near to the end of the cooking process. My only issue was it was quite bitter on its own, (before I added it to veggies and couscous) which I think might be due to excess cumin or 2 teaspoons paprika. I would recommend cutting down the cumin to 1/2 a teaspoon and the paprika to 1 teaspoon, but overall good job!

  • This is amazing!! I added a 1/4 tsp cardamom to the mix, which is a minor tweak… But this will def be a saved recipe!

  • Hi Jenn!
    Was wondering if this recipe could be frozen after being made? Would it hold up ok? This is one of my husband and my favorite recipes and I am trying to cook and freeze some meals for after we have our baby next month.
    Thanks!
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah, I haven’t frozen them myself, but I think you could. Also, a number of readers have commented that they’ve frozen the raw chicken in the marinade which would also save a few steps. Hope that helps and congrats on your upcoming arrival!! 🙂

    • We pound out the chicken add the marinade and freeze, then thaw overnight and cook up on the BBQ with no issues! We also like to use this marinade on pork tenderloin. Grab a 4 pack of tenderloin from Costco, do two of them up in this marinade and two in the marinade from Jen’s best grilled chicken breast recipe (lemon, garlic and herbs) and you have 4 easy suppers ready to go. The hardest part is remembering to put them in the fridge the night before to defrost, lol. Then come supper time, 20 minutes on the BBQ, let it rest for a few minutes, and you have the best pork tenderloin!

  • This was absolutely delicious! I paired it with the apricot couscous and it was fabulous – thank you! LMRM

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier
    • Reply
  • This turned out so delicious!! I Love all the flavors, thank you.

  • My husband loves this recipe! We have made it over and over again, It is a favorite in our houes! Thank you, I never hesitate to recommend your recipes to friends and family, always a winner!

  • This is my favorite go-to recipe that my family loves and is impressive enough for guests. We visited Morocco in 2018 and it reminds us of our time spent there. It is also great served room temp for a picnic dinner at the Hollywood Bowl.

  • This chicken turned out perfectly. Wasn’t able to grill it on the bbq but cooked it in a cast iron pan on the stove. Will definitely be making it again!

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