This Moroccan chicken recipe is rich, tart, and sweet. The meat is incredibly moist and tender, and bursting with traditional Moroccan flavors.
Moroccan food is one of my favorite cuisines. If you’re not too familiar with it, then this Moroccan chicken dish is the perfect way to get you started. And if you are familiar with Moroccan food? Well, I promise you that this will quickly become one of your go-to recipes!
This chicken dinner has a little bit of everything. The thigh meat is so juicy and practically falls off the bone. The meat is stewed with sweet flavors like dried apricots and prunes, but it’s also incredibly rich from lots of tomato paste and olive oil. The seasoning is strong, and the dish is balanced out by lots of acid from wine, lemons, and olives. You’ll be blown away by how much flavor is in this dish, even though it’s still super easy to make.
What You’ll Need
Here are all the ingredients that you’ll need to make this rich and acidic chicken dish. Make sure to look at the recipe card at the bottom of the page to find the exact amounts for each ingredient.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Tomato paste
- Pepper – Always use freshly ground black pepper when possible.
- Ras el hanout
- Chicken thighs – Use bone-in, skin-on thighs.
- White wine
- Dried apricots
- Green olives
- Slivered almonds – Make sure to use almonds that are unsalted and unseasoned.
What is Ras el Hanout?
Ras el hanout is a spice blend that is a staple in Moroccan cooking. It’s made up of tons of different spices, often 20 or more. It has warm spices like cloves, cinnamon, mace, and allspice, fiery spices like chilis, pepper, and hot paprika, and many others, like fenugreek, turmeric, and ginger. I strongly recommend getting some for your pantry if you don’t already have some.
How to Make Moroccan Chicken
Here’s how to make this juicy chicken dish. It's super easy!
- Mix the spices. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, and ras el hanout to a bowl and stir to combine.
- Make the wet rub. Add the tomato paste and the olive oil to the spice mixture and stir until well combined.
- Season the meat. Massage the wet rub on the chicken, making sure to coat it thoroughly and evenly.
- Brown the meat. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place the chicken skin side down in the pot and sear until the chicken browns, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until the other side browns, another 3-4 minutes.
- Deglaze. Pour the white wine into the pot to deglaze.
- Juice the lemon. Juice the lemon quarters over the chicken, then add the rinds to the pot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Put the olives, dried apricots, and prunes into the dutch oven, and stir to combine them.
- Simmer. Put a lid on the dutch oven, turn the heat to low, and let the Moroccan chicken simmer for 1 hour.
- Serve. When the chicken is done simmering, serve it. Ladle the fruit over the chicken, and garnish with slivered almonds.
Tips for Success
Here are some of my favorite tricks and tips when making this sweet and tart chicken dish.
- Really brown the meat. Browning the chicken in this dish is necessary to maximize flavor. If your chicken isn’t properly browned, then the recipe will be lacking in flavor. Make sure that your pan is hot enough to sear the chicken … you should hear a nice sizzle when you add the meat to the pot. Be sure to cook it long enough on each side that the chicken gets a good brown color.
- Don’t crowd the chicken. When browning the meat, make sure that the pieces of chicken aren’t crowded. If they are, they won’t get a good sear. If you have too much chicken to brown without crowding, then sear the meat in batches.
- Cover the fruit. Make sure that the dried apricots and prunes are covered in the liquid when you simmer the dish. That way they’ll soften up, and impart more of their flavor into the chicken.
My favorite way to serve this juicy chicken is on top of a bed of rice. I recommend Cilantro Lime Rice, Instant Pot Coconut Rice, or Curry Cauliflower Rice and Quinoa. You can also serve this chicken next to some other traditional Moroccan recipes, such as Moroccan Quinoa Salad and Moroccan Chickpea Stew.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Chicken
Moroccan chicken will last in the fridge for 3 days, just make sure to store it in an airtight container. Reheat in a 350F oven for 12 minutes, or in a microwave in 30-second increments.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Yes, this is a great recipe to freeze! Let the dish cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months. Defrost or thaw completely before reheating.
More Easy and Healthy Chicken Recipes
This recipe will not only satisfy your taste buds but your body, too. It’s as healthy as it is delicious! If you liked it, then check out some of my other go-to healthy chicken recipes.
- Chicken Pad Thai
- Healthy Curry Chicken Salad with Quinoa
- Chipotle Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Grilled Chicken and Avocado Panini
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Ras el hanout
- 6 large chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 large lemon , quartered
- 1.5 cups dried apricots
- 1.5 cups prunes
- 1 cup pitted green olives
- Toasted slivered almonds
- In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, and ras el hanout.
- Whisk in the olive oil and tomato paste to form a wet rub.
- In a large mixing bowl, rub the chicken with the wet rub, making sure to distribute it evenly.
- In a dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Place the chicken skin side down in the dutch oven (you should hear a sizzle, otherwise the oil is not hot enough), and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the skin has browned. Flip the chicken over and brown the other side for 3-4 minutes.
- Pour the white wine over the chicken to deglaze the pan.
- Squeeze the lemon quarters over the chicken and drop the rinds in the dutch oven.
- Add the dried apricots, prunes, and olives to the mix and stir to incorporate (you want most of the dried fruit to be submerged in the cooking liquid).
- Cover the dutch oven, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.
- To serve, arrange 1 chicken thigh directly on a plate or over rice and ladle the dried fruit, olives, and rind over the chicken. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the whole chicken, and finish with slivered almonds.
- Do not crowd the meat when browning the chicken. Cook in batches if necessary.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for 4 months.
- Reheat in a 350F oven for 12 minutes, or in the microwave in 30-second increments.