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Moroccan Chicken Tagine

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Moroccan Chicken Tagine

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Chicken tagine is a traditional Moroccan dish of chicken pieces braised with spices, garlic, onion, olives, and preserved lemons. It’s company-worthy yet easy to throw together.

moroccan chicken tagine

Chicken tagine is a traditional Moroccan dish of chicken braised with spices, garlic, onion, olives, and preserved lemons. It’s a company-worthy dish yet easy enough to throw together on a not-too-busy weeknight. The word tagine refers to the shallow clay vessel with a cone-shaped lid in which the dish is traditionally cooked, but you don’t need one to make it. I use a large cast-iron braiser; a wide Dutch oven or heavy covered skillet will work, too. This recipe, tweaked a bit from Cook’s Illustrated, does not call for preserved lemons, a specialty ingredient that can be difficult to find. Instead, lemon zest and fresh lemon juice add tart brightness to the dish. Serve the chicken on a platter or individual plates over a bed of couscous.

What you’ll need To Make Chicken Tagine

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

While you can use a whole cut-up chicken for chicken tagine, my preference is to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs only, similar to my coq au vin recipe. The thighs provide a good amount of meat and remain tender even if slightly overcooked, and the bones and skin add depth of flavor and richness to the sauce (though the skin is removed midway through cooking). Sometimes, I pull the meat off the bone before serving — makes it easier and more appealing for the kids to eat — but serving the chicken on the bone is traditional.

How To Make Chicken Tagine

To begin, combine the spices in small bowl.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Mix well and set aside.

Zest the lemon. Combine 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest with 1 minced garlic clove; set aside.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Season both sides of chicken pieces with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown the chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over and brown the other side, about 4 minutes more. how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Transfer the chicken to a large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and add the onion.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Cook, stirring occasionally, until they have browned at the edges but still retain their shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add a few tablespoons of water if the pan gets too dark).

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Add the remaining minced garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spices and flour.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Stir in the broth, honey, remaining lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Add the chicken (with any accumulated juices) back in, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Scatter the carrots around the chicken, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes more.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Add the olives, garlic-zest mixture, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Stir to combine and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

how to make moroccan chicken tagine

Serve with couscous.

moroccan chicken tagine

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Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Chicken tagine is a traditional Moroccan dish of chicken pieces braised with spices, garlic, onion, olives, and preserved lemons. It’s company-worthy yet easy to throw together.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat (see note)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and cut into ¼-in-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick coins
  • ½ cup Greek cracked green olives, pitted and halved (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside. Zest the lemon. Combine 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest with 1 minced garlic clove; set aside.
  2. Season both sides of chicken pieces with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pan over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown the chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over and brown the other side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have browned at the edges but still retain their shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add a few tablespoons of water now and then if the pan gets too dark). Add the remaining minced garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spices and flour and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, honey, remaining lemon zest, and ¼ teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the chicken (with any accumulated juices) back in, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes more.
  5. Stir in the olives, reserved lemon zest-garlic mixture, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice; taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Serve with couscous.
  6. Note: Don't fret too much over trimming the chicken thighs. The skin gets removed midway through the cooking process and most of the fat will cook off and get drained. I usually just take kitchen shears and quickly snip off any excess skin or fat. Cracked green olives are olives that have been ‘cracked’ or split open before curing, allowing the brine or marinade to penetrate. You can find them in your supermarket’s olive bar, or substitute any green olive that you like.
  7. Make-Ahead: After you have completed the step of cooking the carrots, the dish can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. To serve, gently warm on the stove until the chicken is heated through, then proceed to the step where the olives and remaining ingredients are added.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 chicken thigh
  • Calories: 367
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 47 g
  • Sodium: 794 mg
  • Cholesterol: 215 mg

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.

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Comments

  • I am not the best poultry/meat cooker – more of a veggie person and baker. However, I made this dish tonight and it was spectacular. I stuck to all the instructions but I wanted to make sure I didn’t overcook the chicken. I cooked everything according to the instructions until I needed to simmer the chicken 10 mins before adding the carrots. I put it in the fridge while guests arrived and mingled and 30 minutes before serving I brought it to a simmer, added the lemon and garlic zest, cilantro and olives and the cooked on low heat for another 10 minutes. Such fresh and wonderful flavors- thank you so muchl

    • — Kim Furzer on December 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is fabulous Jenn!! I ran out of carrot so I subbed in dried figs and fresh cranberries! Finished in the oven covered! Delish!!

    • — Mindy Halpern on November 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can I freeze this and so make ahead for a party?

    • — Sarah Bailey on November 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sarah, yes it should freeze well. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • So tasty, followed the recipe almost exactly but half the quantities as was for two people. Used Italian parsley instead of the cilantro (my wife doesn’t like it) and added a few blobs of natural yoghurt to garnish/finish it.

    • — Ben Matthews on November 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best dish gets compliments from all guests, the smells, taste and the warm spice deck is killer. Love the flavor layering and the vegetables make it a healthy food. Love the single pot cooking style. The spice deck is also very easy to modify depending upon taste and spice level desired.

    • — Bob Pierce on November 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is one on my best dishes, it always impresses my family as well as guests. The warm spice deck coupled with the flavors developed in the pot are just wonderful. I sometimes make with and without skin and it turns out great. I will change the spice deck from time to time to get more flavor on one spice or another. I am amazed how the onions almost disappear depending on how I chop them, but the carrots are always a hit although the cook times vary depending on thickness of carrots. Keep these coming this is a 5 star dish

    • — Robert Pierce on November 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this with bone in chicken breasts. I did the first part in an Dutch oven browning the chicken and then the onions. I did the second part carrots, sweet potatoes and white potatoes in an Emile Henry Tangine for 60 minutes at 325. Wow, this was so delicious thank you for the wonderful recipes.

    • — Bob F on November 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi, would it be possible to add potatoes along with the carrots?
    If so what adjustments if any would be needed? Thanks

    • — Adris Khan on November 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Adris, I think you can add some diced potatoes without any other modifications. I’d love to hear how it turns out with the addition of potatoes!

      • — Jenn on November 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • Thank you so much for this recipe! Not only it became a regular dish at my home, but also my favourite one! I have just come back from Morocco and you should see my disappointed face when I realized that none of the tagines I tried there beats your recipe 🙂

    • — Sandra on October 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • Excellent. Used boneless thighs and served over couscous.

    • — Annie on September 24, 2022
    • Reply
    • Delicious. Served over rice.

      • — Barbara on October 24, 2022
      • Reply
  • Jen, I’ve made this several times because we absolutely love it! I typically add dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, dried cherries- whatever I have open) I use kosher chicken cut-up pieces and never add salt, and always use quinoa flour instead of the flour. Scrumptious!!! Friends and family always love this and I refer them to your wonderful recipes. Thank you for sharing these with us. You are a fabulous chef!

    • — Ana on September 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • This tagine is delicious! We had it with brown rice and peas. Made it for my Mum’s bday and she loved it. 10/10 will make again :))

    • — Gabrielle on July 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Did it take a long time to cook the thighs?

      • — Serenity on July 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • Very tasty recipe!

    I doubled the spices and garlic. I also cooked the chicken at the browning stage three times as long as directed.

    Next time I will use half the honey.

    • — Michael on July 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Have made this for friends & family 3 times now – keeps getting better and better! Love it! I add celery, red peppers and olives. If anyone has ideas of different ingredients to add let me know! Love exploring new flavour combos!

    • — Marie Verheul on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • I like both smoked meat and Moroccan food. Once I found this recipe, I decided to combine the two. Prior to smoking the chicken, I brined it the night before in a cup of Kosher salt (about 14 hours). I put the chicken on the smoker (I used apple wood for the smoke and did not rub the chicken with any spices) until internal temperature got to 165F. The smoker was set between 225-250F and it took a little over four hours to get the chicken to 165F. Once I pulled the chicken off, and while it was resting, I began Jenn’s recipe at the sautéing the onions step. While the onions were cooking, I cut up the chicken. From there, I followed it per the directions. It was a wonderful blend of both juicy smoked chicken and spices. This came out fantastic and I will definitely make it again!

    Thanks so much Jenn for the great recipe!

    • — Matt on May 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wanted chicken dish for family weekend meal, cooked this dish today, is delicious! My family love it! I followed the full recipe, not adding or taking out, perfect recipe, very easy to follow, not time consuming, we love spices and cilantro in chicken/meats dishes. Definitely cook this dish again, Thank you very much!

    • — Angeline on May 22, 2022
    • Reply

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