Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives

This recipe shines with preserved lemons. If you don't have access to any, you can use thin slices of regular or Meyer lemon, and you'll likely need to add quite a bit of salt to the dish at the end.

If you use a tagine, you will likely need to soak it in water over-night before subjecting it to the heat of the stove. Doing so will help keep the tagine from cracking.

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces (or 3-4 lbs of just chicken thighs and legs, the dark meat is more flavorful)
  • Salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • The rind from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, rind cut into thin strips (if you don't have preserved lemon, use whole thin slices of regular lemon)
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1 Marinate chicken in spice rub: Combine all the spices—paprika, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper—in a large bowl.

Pat dry the chicken pieces and put in the bowl, coat well with the spice mixture. Let the chicken stand for one hour in the spices.


2 Brown chicken pieces in tagine or skillet: If you are using a clay tagine (if you have one, you must soak the bottom in water overnight before using), place it on a heat diffuser on the heating element to prevent the tagine from cracking, and place the olive oil in the tagine and heat it on medium heat.

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If you do not have a tagine, you can use a thick-bottomed, large skillet with a cover. Heat the olive oil in the skillet on medium high heat.

In either case, sprinkle the chicken pieces very lightly with salt (go easy on the salt, the olives and preserved lemons are salty) and place skin side down in the tagine or skillet for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.


3 Add garlic and onions, cover and cook: Lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and onions over the chicken. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes.

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4 Add lemon, olives, raisins, water, then cover and simmer: Turn chicken pieces over. Add the lemon slices, olives, raisins, and 1/2 cup water.

Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and quite tender.

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5 Stir in parsley, cilantro: Mix in fresh parsley and cilantro right before serving. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with couscous, rice, or rice pilaf.

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  • Yvonne

    I’m Moroccan. I use this basic recipe but I add a can of Rotel tomatoes. It makes it juicier. I also frequently cut up a yam and add it. For Shabbat, I put clean eggs on top as you would for a chamin (cholent). You can also make this recipe using fish instead of chicken. Use a firm fish. I use tilapia.


  • Ro

    I “fell in luv” with Mediterranean cooking when traveling thoughout Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Later, when placed on a lo-sodium diet, I learned to appreciate the spices associated with Mediterranean cuisine which does not rely on salt and MSG. However, I found the clay based tagine too “cumbersome/labor intensive” to use. I, fortunately, discovered that LeCresuet (sp?) and Emile Henry cookware manufacture tagines that can be placed directly on a cooktop. The cooking process is similar (with what I call the funnel top) and the ease of the cookware use outweighs the care clay cookware requires.

  • Paul

    1) confession – haven’t cooked your version
    2) thanks for reminder that oven can perform more tagine-like slow, even braise
    3) thanks for dry rub tip which I’ll build into my version
    4) agreed re preserved lemons as special to dish – suggestion: since you suggest authentic preserved lemons…try building in authentic ras el hanout spice blend – available in same shops/websites

  • Jenlah

    Easy, simple to follow !
    And of course came out awesome … I had it with fries and used Moroccan bread to absorb all the gravy …

  • Mixy

    Can you add a tin of tomatoes? Or would it spoil the recipe authenticity?

    If not using preserved lemons, would you add the lemon juice?

    Thanks !

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mixy, I would not add tomatoes to this recipe. If you don’t have preserved lemons, just use some thin slices of regular lemons. You’ll probably need to add more salt.

      • Mixy

        Thanks for your reply!

        Bye bye tomatoes so!

        When you say “thin slices of regular lemons”, I guess you mean the slices of the lemon peel? Not the whole lemon?

        thanks again

        • Elise Bauer

          Hi Mixy, either just the peel or with the flesh, it depends on how much lemon flavor you want. BTW, you could try thinly slicing some lemon, tossing it all with salt and letting it sit for an hour or two (or day or two) before cooking the dish (rinse off the salt before adding). I haven’t tried doing this, but I think it might work better than just plain lemon slices. The preserved lemon is such a wonderful flavor, that anything that gets you closer to it is worth a try in my opinion.

          • Mixy

            Just cooked it with lemon peel. It was amazing. Thanks for the recipe and the guidance

            Next time, I will try to find preserved lemons! I am sold with the idea!

            One final question: if you have cumin seeds as opposed to ground cumin. Would you grind it or throw the seeds into the pan?


          • Elise Bauer

            HI Mixy, I would grind the cumin. If you want to take it a lovely step further, toast the cumin lightly (until very fragrant) first, then grind.

  • samantha

    i have a glazed pot. do i still need to soak over night? the only instructions it came with is that it didnt need to be seasoned. ive searched for info, not much luck. thank you.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Samantha, if it’s completely glazed all over, and the instructions say you don’t need to season it, then I assume you don’t.

      • samantha

        thanks so much for the reply.

  • Deserae

    This is amazing! I served it with cauliflower rice cooked with raisins and slivered almonds. Great recipe! Delicious!

  • Changiz

    This was amazing, thanks for the instructions.


  • Linell Griffin

    I just purchased a tagine and am looking forward to cooking this recipe. My question is, will I need a diffuser every time I use my tagine?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Linell, yes, I’m pretty sure you will need to use a diffuser every time, as well as soaking the tagine in water before hand.

  • Jane

    I made this over the weekend. My tag is small so I used 3 thighs and your recipe is terrific even reduced in portion! I am going to share it in my blog this friday! Thank you!

  • Jody

    I used 1.5 T of Frontier Tagine Seasoning along with the same amount of paprika and a pinch of cayenne, instead of the other spices. It came out delicious! The lemo, olives, and dried fruit make it. My husband is picky, and loved it!

  • PaulH

    I would heartily recommend anyone who is serious about Moroccan cooking preserve their own lemons. The process is very easy and ingredient light, and trust me there is no bitterness, in fact the reverse, they are very sweet.

    As for the pulp, I would use!! The lemons I preserve are in fresh squeezed lemon juice and the pulp takes on a wonderful salty sweetness after full desiccation.

  • deepali

    I found this recipe while looking for one I saw Jamie Oliver make on TV. Since so many recipes here have served me well over the years, I thought I’d try. I made a few changes – cut the turmeric in half and added a pinch of saffron, added some fennel seeds, and used dates instead of raisins (never been a fan of raisins). It was delicious and so yummy!
    I made my own preserved lemons from the recipe here, and did rinse them, but didn’t remove all the pulp. My boyfriend found it a bit too sour, so next time I’ll be sure to use just the skin.
    I actually used a tagine we bought in IKEA – it’s got a nonstick bottom, but the traditional ceramic cone lid. It browns the meat well and the lid is heavy enough to keep all the steam in. I’ve actually used the bottom for other things as well.

  • Hedi

    My husband and I just had this tonight (made last night). I didn’t even use the right olives (canned green), raisins (brown) and lemon (regular, not preserved) and it was still utterly delicious and so authentic. We had this over couscous which caught all the yummy sauce. I think the spices really did it. The chicken was so tender and juicy, it was falling off the bone. I used a Le Creuset dutch oven instead of the questionable tagine I bought over in Morocco. Dinner made us reminisce about that trip many years ago and all the delicious food we had there. Thanks for this amazing recipe! I will definitely be making it again (with more authentic ingredients next time). I read another poster’s comment about how in Morocco they do not include dried fruit with olives. Thinking back, I seem to remember this was the case, but I think the addition of raisins adds a nice, subtle sweetness to the dish. I have also used raisins and olives with chicken in an excellent empanada recipe from Gourmet magazine but that’s entirely different.


  • Arjay

    We have tried this and it is delicious. Thank you for this recipe.

    Looks great! So glad you liked it Arjay. ~Elise

  • Amber

    I love this recipe. I decided to make preserved lemons just so I could make this recipe after I saw it on your website. I made two jars of preseved lemons with the meyer lemons from my Aunt’s tree in Berkeley, CA. I have been using them in all kinds of cooking. I have made this recipe twice, each time with small additions that worked out great. The first time I added artichoke hearts- yummy. The second time I made it (last night) I added a couple squeezes of fresh orange and fresh lemon juice to the sauce and a small handfull of slivered almonds- delicious. My whole family loves this one, it will be a new staple in our house. And I love the variations that can be created.

  • Susan

    Do you need a heat diffuser if using a ceramic top electric stove top?

    Great question, I don’t know. Possibly. Though I don’t know if you can use a heat diffuser with a ceramic top. You might want to consult your users manual regarding what kinds of cooking pots you can use on that surface (I know that certain cast iron pans can be problematic on ceramic stove tops). You might just want to put the tagine in the oven. ~Elise

  • amanda

    oh elise! im so excited that you have updated this and pulled it back up again! this is one of my top three recipes form your site that i have ever made, if not my number one. i have a half gallon of preserved lemons i made a while ago, and this is mainly what i use them for. i can get chicken legs from a local farm for .69 cents per pound if i buy 10 or more, so we make this a lot. its to die for.

    curious- i just got myself a bram to play with and have been having amazing results baking my mediterranean and north african dishes. ive been thinking of investing in a tangine for a while, but frankly this dish is the only thing i would probably use it for and i dont know if i can justify the square footage in the kitchen for one meal. i wonder if it would work in the bram? maybe i should experiment. regardless, you really should get yourself some of these things! they are cheap and everything ive put in them has turned out wonderfully!

    Hi Amanda, it sounds like a worthy experiment. If you try it in your bram please let us know how it turns out for you! ~Elise

  • Sue

    I have admired tagines for a long time but hate to add yet one more large item to my cabinet. Did it make much difference? It sounds like flavors might be more intense, with less water.
    Does it work to use Meyer Lemons for the preserved lemons?

    I think using the tagine makes a big difference. My mother swears by her Romanoff clay baker, same concept. As for the Meyer lemons, those are the only lemons we use for making preserved lemons, as we have so many growing on our trees. They are more mild and the rind is less bitter. ~Elise

  • David Bowman

    Hi Elise, Thanks for offering such a an interesting recipe. I have never tried anything like this before, but love to cook, and it looked great. After reading all the positive reviews, I could hardly wait to make this recipe.
    I did use fresh organic lemon slices, but everything else was by the recipe, and I was so dissappointed in the end result. I thought the recipe was just okay, and I will definately not be making this again. The spices were all fresh but were masked by the rest of the ingredients.

    Glad there were so many positve comments regarding this recipe, wish mine could have been one of them.

  • Barbara

    I made this for dinner last night and followed the recipe almost to a “T”. I did use lemon slices instead of preserved lemon and used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. This was out of this world delicious. I will definitely be making again. My tagine is the Emerilware one but I understand it is no longer made. It works perfectly without any leakage.

  • Kate @eatrecyclerepeat

    I love Moroccan food, and this looks perfect! I bought my mom a Romertopf clay oven for cooking because absolutely cannot stand dried out food. I think it was because she worked in a restaurant. Now I’m thinking of borrowing it to try this recipe out, though it isn’t the same shape as a tagine…

  • Sonali Pradhan

    the moroccan chicken looks n sounds very very delicious…..Like the clay Tagine you have used, in south Indian cooking, we use clay pots for cooking fish!!!I’ll try this recipe in my clay pot ….can I replace the preserved lemon with just lemon in this dish ???

    As mentioned in the recipe, you can replace the preserved lemon rinds with slices of regular lemon. ~Elise

  • randi

    Used my tagine for the first time yesterday and made this. The chicken was divine and the house smelled so good. I loved the preserved lemon in here. Definitely add the chopped toasted almonds as was mentioned above.

  • Judith

    In my experience it’s not absolutely necessary to use a tajine. (I don’t like kitchen equipment that is only used for one purpose because I have a small kitchen.) I made this in an All-Clad saute pan using dried apricots instead of raisins, canned pitted green olives from Trader Joe’s instead of Kalamatas, and chicken leg quarters. I used home-made chicken stock (made with leeks, carrots and left-over roast chicken bones) instead of water and served it with TJ’s quinoa and some peas. It was awesome! My 14-year old (who is now eating 5 meals a day) ate 2 legs and a thigh, and is looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I suggest NOT adding any salt (I had Moroccan preserved lemons on hand). I found it slightly too salty for my taste and will rinse everything better next time. The men thought it was great. For more great tagine recipes, check out Claudia Roden’s Book of Jewish Food.

  • Warren

    I am sorry to say that I do not like olives. I have tried and tried over the years, but to no avail. Any suggested substtitutes? will it still be as authentic without?

    If you don’t like olives, I would just make it without. ~Elise

    • Henri

      I usually don’t like olives either, but our friends made this dish when they had us over and I can’t wait to make it myself. It was outstanding! This was the recipe they told me they used.

  • Dan

    This looks like an excellent recipe – it reminds me of one that I use myself. I’d love to try this one. Re: the olive oil – it’s not mentioned in the method, only in the ingredients, but I’m guessing it goes in the tajine before browning the chicken, and not with the chicken and spices as it marinates?

    I’ve never had the guts to use my tajine on the stove top. I think I’ve got to get myself a diffuser and get over the fear of cracking the pot.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Arrg. Here I go through the recipe in painstaking detail to make it more clear, only at the end to omit the obvious! Yes, thank you for pointing it out. The oil goes in the pan or tagine at the beginning. Corrected now. ~Elise

  • Katherine

    I’ve tried a few Moroccan chicken dishes but this is the best one by far. I used skinless/boneless chicken thighs, preserved Meyer lemons that I made a few months ago, did half green olives and half Kalamatas and added a bit of chopped up apricot along with raisins. It was amazing. And the smell in the house while it cooked, ummmmm….. this is a keeper for sure. Next time I may top with some almonds at end. My husband loved it too! Don’t have a tangine, used my Staub dutch oven.

  • bojana

    great recipe. thank you.
    i loved the spicyness and the lemony taste from the preserved lemons.

  • Weiwen Ng

    I added a pinch of saffron to this in place of the tumeric, and I used artichoke hearts in place of the raisins. It was good. Very good.

  • Carla

    Elise, Thank you for this recipe! I first tried it soon after you posted it, and have made it many times since then. It is one of my (and my husband’s) favorite meals! I thought I should let readers know it works fine in a skillet, with regular lemons, and minimal advance work. I don’t own a tagine, so I make it in a large deep skillet with a lid. I rarely remember to spice the meat in advance. So I just mix up the spices (LOVE these spices!), coat a whole bunch of chicken drumsticks, and start cooking. I have experimented with the lemon addition. Sometimes I cut thin slices of fresh lemon. Other times I cut fresh lemon peels (I use a zester or sharp knife to do this to a whole lemon, resulting in a poor naked lemon remnant). I like the peels best, because they taste surprisingly sweet after cooking. Yum! Thanks so much for sharing this. I hate to think that people may see that it’s a tagine recipe and never bother to try it. Although my modifications may make it less than authentic, it is delicious!


  • Sasha @ The Procrastobaker

    I made this gorgeeouuss dish this week, with a few mini alterations and scaling it down, but kept pretty much to your recipe :) It was truly lovely and thank you so much for sharing this and all the other wonderful recipes on this site

    Heres the post about it if you fancy taking a look at all :) Thanks again!

  • Leslie Woodbridge

    This is a fantastic recipe, I used boneless leg meat which I found at our local store, fantastic! The first time I made this I made it exactly to recipe and it was wonderful. I made it again last night and added some slice sweet potatoes and a couple of tablespoons of greek yogurt at the end and wowsa that was incredible. Thanks for the wonderful recipe this is perfect to bring to a potluck, especially if you make this with thighs or leg meat, stays really most and just improves with time.

    Oh and the best thing is it is so low in calories, just a bit of olive oil and as I used skinless boneless leg meat it has to be the most delicious meal that is naturally low in fat and calories BONUS!

  • Scott Benes

    This is a fantastic recipe. I don’t have a tagine, so instead I used my Lodge cast iron covered skillet and it worked out perfectly. The chicken just falls off the bone. I’ve made this several times for my family and we all love it just the way it is (although I must admit I left the raisins out). It goes great with a rice pilaf, has a nice exotic flavor and is pretty easy to make. I recommend this to anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

  • TMK

    One thing I would note is that when I lived in North Africa, this was always made with kalamata olives. It adds a slightly different flavour.

  • Holly

    A beautiful recipe. Thank you so much. I made the moroccan chicken to key and found the recipe very easy to create such warm complex flavours.
    Also to note this was the first recipe used in my Tagine (scanpan) !
    Thanks again.

  • Tracy

    Hi Elise – Thank you for this recipe. It was more delicious than I even imagined! Instead of raisins I used diced prunes, and with no preserved lemon I put in thinly sliced meyer lemon. I will definitely have to try it with real preserved lemon next time. I served it over cous cous with pine nuts, garlic and parsley. It was the perfect comfort food for me and my fiance and it going into the keeper file! Thanks for consistently maintaining such high quality recipes on your site.

  • onakatiya

    I want to thank you for this excellent savory recipe. I went looking for it after tasting a similar dish at the buffet and my local food coop. It is now my new favorite way to make chicken. Fantastic complex flavors that are different than the usual. I substituted a half of a large lemon sliced for the preserved lemon – cheaper and just as good. I used a large stew pot instead of a tagine – worked fine. This recipe would work in a crock pot too with a little more liquid to reduce off. I happen to have some left over apricots/dried cherries and raisins from a holiday project so i used these along instead of the raisins – worked great!!

  • Stacy

    I love this recipe. I have made it a few times, as I really enjoy tangine cooking. I use the large size tangine, as others were too small, but work great for the couscous. I sliced the onions verses chopped to give them more of a carmelized flavor. I bought my tangine at and found her prices to be the best around. Make sure to get a tangine that is for cooking not serving, and get a diffuser if you are cooking on electric verses gas.

  • Aimee

    This recipe is the closest to my mother-in-law’s chicken and olive tagine that I’ve found. My picky Moroccan husband even gave me several compliments on how good it was.
    My only changes were to omit the raisins and add some peeled and quartered potatoes.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • John

    I have read all of the comments as well as the original recipe (and other people’s suggestions) with interest. I live in Morocco and know this dish very well. Chicken and olive tajine with preserved lemons is a favourite dish of mine.

    I’m sure everyone can sense a “however” coming along. Let me say at once that I have had this dish in Morocco many times, cooked by many different people. I have NEVER been served this dish with any sort of preserved (or other) fruit. Many Moroccan meat dishes contain fruit. These are in their own category. This recipe does not belong to that group of dishes. As a general rule, dishes with olives would not contain fruit. I’d go so far as to say that the addition of any sort of fruit to this dish would spoil the flavour for me.

    Secondly, it is more usual simply to slice or quarter the preserved lemons (and they have to be preserved lemons) without discarding the pulp and to cook the meal with these slices of lemon on top of the rest of the ingredients. The salt and lemon flavour percolates through the dish that way into the other ingredients and into the sauce. At the end of cooking, the lemon slices are usually discarded, although some people like to retain a slice on their side of the communal plate to dip their bread in before using each piece to pick up a piece of meat or vegetable. In this way, they get an extra burst of lemon with the mouthful. Preserved lemon slices aren’t a vegetable to be eaten whole; they’re a flavouring, an extra spice, if you like.

    Thirdly, I prefer this meal cooked with the reddish purple olives that one can get in any souk in Morocco. Green olices are good, but the red ones are better in this particular dish. Don’t add any salt to the ingredients – you’ll get high blood pressure! There’s plenty of salt in the preserved lemons and the olives.

    And fourthly, a couple of variations that I particularly like. Maybe the first of them isn’t authentically “Moroccan”, but it’s a nice addition. I like to add some thin-cut chips to the dish as an extra. Serve the basic meal on the communal plate and cover it with non-salted chps. These can be picked up with pieces of bread, making sure that a nice lump of chicken gets picked up too or some of the sauce. It’s unusual to eat with fingers in Europe, but I wouldn’t consider eating this meal with a fork. Or the dish can benefit greatly from the addition of some carrots and/or sweet potatoes added in 30 or 40 minutes before the end of cooking time. Moroccans don’t care to eat the insides of carrots, so to be really authentic, you’d need to remove the lighter-coloured part of the carrot in the middle, which is a lot of work.

    Please let me have your views.

  • Rohini Thomas

    This curry is superb! I made it in a Chinese clay pot and the flavours are just magnificent.

    I didn’t marinate the chicken for an hour as I hadn’t read that part of the instructions, but it got a good 20 minutes. Next time (and there will be a next time!) I’ll marinate it for longer.


  • JT

    PS Those raisins are Out-Of-This_World! Never tated anything like them. YUM.

  • JT

    UmmmUmmmGood! I’ve been wanting to create this for sooo long. Not realizing the chicken should sit an hour in the spices – this is now being made ahead for tomorrow night. (So much for speed reading a recipe. LOL.) However, I’ve just tasted the sauce (I’m in the last 30 minutes of cooking). Fab!!!! Something tells me this dish will be even better tomorrow night. Elise – again – thank you for another wonderful recipe. JT

  • ems

    I made this for dinner tonight in a skillet with currants and lemon slices. It was fantastic! I also made the Apricot-Almond Couscous linked to by interessant, and together they were a very delicious meal. I’ll be making them again! Thanks for the recipes.

  • Christy

    I made this last night, my first tagine adventure after buying one at Sur La Table!

    I used half the chicken (just 2 people) but kept most of the spices at the levels (or juuuuust below) listed in the recipe. We felt this was a good spice level, though it could have used even more preserved lemon (I used the peel of a whole preserved lemon, didn’t halve it) and, I think it could use some chili or hot paprika.

    I’d *definitely* make this again, loved it!

  • xta

    I made this with chicken breast cut up. Also used one thinly sliced meyer lemon. I’m sure the original is even better but this was delicious! Such a unique flavor. I served it over quinoa and for dessert made Garrett’s lemon mascarpone blondies. Thanks as always!

  • AZ

    I cannot thank you enough for such a simple, yet amazing, tagine!

  • VickyB

    Hi there
    Just wanted to say thanks for this recipe – we cooked it for a dinner party for inlaws who do not generally eat what is put on their plate and most of it got eaten… have just made again just for the 2 of us and it’s just as yummy as I remembered… I have not used preserved lemons – couldn’t get the first time and it worked fine – we just use lemon zest (1 lemon) in the chicken and the juice of the lemon in the cous cous – thanks again – it’s a keeper!

  • Shakeitha

    I think that this dish is great the way it is. My husband is from Morocco and it has been an experience cooking for him being that I am American and I am used to eating and cooking food different then what he is used to. After we finished this dish one night for dinner I felt like superwoman because I can tell that he really enjoyed it.I am very happy that I found this web site because my husband does not have to go to his sisters house or wait for his mother to visit the country to get a home cooked Moroccan meal.

  • sasha

    thank you, thank you….

  • Jasmine

    SUPERB. I made this recipe yesterday & it was one of the most delicious recipes I have ever cooked in my entire life. The blend of spices gave the chicken a very rich flavor. All in all EXCELLENT. I’m an Arab who is obsessed with Moroccan dishes & this will definitely be a staple in my kitchen especially when we have people over. This will make an excellent master dish look & taste wise. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • dick

    I have been making tagines lately in my ceramic tagine. I find that I need no more than 1/2 cup of liquid and that is almost too much. It comes out just fantastic.

    I made one tonight with carrots, onion, broccoli, prunes, chicken thighs, olives and lemons. I also added a touch of cilantro at the end along with some grape tomatoes. Not only was it beautiful but it was really delicious. The spices you show here are the ones I used to marinate the chicken. Really works great and I find that I can just mix and match all kinds of veggies and they all seem to work well. The other good thing about it is that they warm up well the next day and are just as good if not even better.

    The other thing that I noticed from my reading of various Moroccan recipes is that I put the veggies on the bottom and then put the meat on top of them. Also put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of the tagine before I add the rest of the stuff in.

    I cook them on the stove using a heat diffuser and have the burner about as low as it will go and it works just fine. Mine also says you can cook them in the oven but I haven’t tried that one yet.

  • Lulua

    I must say this recipe was HEAVENLY, my visitors were stunned, it was just simply amazing, I honestly added more spices – being an Arab I simply love spices-

    I cooked it using a tagine that I had as a birthday gift from my Moroccan friend.

    Thank you so much!

  • jacquie van wagner

    Dried fruit is imperative: it adds flavor and the pectin adds body to the sauce. Try slicing/chopping dried apricot if hubby won’t eat raisins. Although I ditto the other comment – don’t tell him.

  • Randy

    Just brought one of the Le Creuset Tagines. I can
    see it headling for under the cabinet. Its messy
    and really cant tell any difference if cooked
    in a Le Creuset casserole. Main complaint is how
    the liquid just boil out all over the stove. You
    can put the meat in dry, add no liquid and you
    still have a big mess to clean up .. Very
    disappointed will not recommend !!!!!

  • Leah

    I made this this week but used all bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and it was just fabulous. I will definitely add this to my regular rotation!

  • Trudi

    Great recipe. I added a tin of tomatoes and some almonds as well for a bit more flavor.

  • Sarah

    I made this for dinner tonight in my trusty old iron skillet and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY. I used fresh ginger instead of ground, fresh lemon and added a 1/2 tsp of chili powder to the spice rub. I’m just disappointed that I forgot to add the cilantro at the end – everyone loved it anyways.

  • Candy

    I made this for a dinner party last weekend, served it with couscous and doubled the recipe as the crowd was large. No leftovers! Found the preserved lemons at a Persian deli here in Minneapolis. Yes, will make this again and again.

  • lilCook009

    I just made this. It was amazing, even though I made it with fresh lemons.

  • Allyson

    Do you think I can use a clay pot?

    Actually, I think you probably could. You might want to brown the chicken pieces first on a skillet, then continue with the recipe, but perhaps in a 350°F oven instead. I’m pretty sure that clay pots are supposed to be used in the oven. ~Elise

  • Rosie

    A couple of comments – I have a le creuset tagine and it is AWESOME. The boiling over issue is a result of using too much liquid. The tagine does not require much liquid in order to cook the food properly. I don’t add any liquid at all to most recipes. I don’t like the traditional clay ones as they retain the smells and previous flavors of past meals. I know this is the point of them, but it’s not something I want – I cook too many different types of dishes. So don’t rule out the LC tagines – just follow the instructions and don’t over-fill. Because the base is cast-iron, a diffuser is really not necessary.

    As for the raisin issue – my husband and I also dislike raisins. I usually substitute dried apricots, craisins, or dried figs.

  • Paul Shipman

    Elise, this was terrific! I keep plugging your site to my friends when they rave about what I prepare. Your recipes are wonderful.

    Like Jaden, I used my Le Creuset dutch oven and an old cast aluminum dutch oven (doubled the recipe). Our local Whole Foods has preserved lemons and that’s what prompted me to try this. Never did it without them, so I have no comparison, but they were wonderful. Their perfume is so intense, it really adds to the presentation (and the preparation). I found this dish looked, smelled and tasted amazing, yet was fairly simple to prepare – a home run in my book.

    I’ve already directed people to the recipe on your site and have printed a fresh copy for my “must make again” folder.



  • Jaden Hair

    Hey Elise,

    We LOVED this recipe tonight! The flavors were incredible and everyone in the family had seconds.

    Didn’t have a Tagine, but used my Le Creuset dutch oven. I also didn’t have preserved lemons, so I included sliced lemons + capers. We will definitely have this again and again.

    Maybe it will inspire husband to buy a Tagine for me?!?

  • Katie

    I lived in Morocco for almost 3 years and this is, hands down, my favorite chicken tajine! Although in Morocco, I never had this particular dish with raisins, and the olives used were the red/pink olives. When I make the dish I still only use the red olives (Kalmatta olives if that’s all that is available) and cook it in a pot before transferring to a warm tajine.
    Also try the chicken with almonds and prunes – another yummy chicken tajine!

  • At Home with kim vallee

    I am looking to replace my clay tagine because I want one that can go directly on a gas flame. I was almost sold on Emile Henry. I taught Le Creuset was too small to entertain larger groups. Now that I read your comments, I will definitely opt for the 2.6 qt (32 cm) Emile Henry. Thank you all for helping me.

  • Denise

    I have recently purchased a Le Creuset tagine and have used it twice without the problem you described. When using mine for the first time, I wanted to make sure that it was simmering very slowly so I stacked two burner grates on top of each other so that there was osme distance between the tagine and the flame. I placed the grates on the smallest burner and set the flame as low as it would go. This system is working very well. I don’t have any spattering at all.

    Maybe your tagine is filled too close to the top and that is causing the liquid to spatter out. Hope you are able to solve your problem. I’m having fun with my new toy!!


  • Seagee

    I made this tonight, and it turned out great. A word to the wise though – it really only needs ONE preserved lemon – I added an extra half, thinking that if one was good, more would be better, but it was a bit too lemony. Next time I’ll try with just plain lemons to see how different the flavor is.
    Thanks for the info on the tagines – I was planning on buying one, and now I’ll get the Emile Henry one.

  • Allison

    Nice recipe – I made it in an Emile Henry tagine, over a heat diffuser, and it worked perfectly. I didn’t find the preserved lemons, so I just added extra salt when I put in the olives and raisins, as well as a generous spray (about 1/8 cup) of lime juice with the water. Also, I added cayenne pepper to the rub. FYI, heat diffuser doubles as a nice flat-bread warmer.

  • EdwardWP

    I’m late answering your comments Maureen, sorry but I just now saw your plight. I think the answer is the brand of your Tajine. I don’t like Le Creuset Tajines they seem to leak around the top of the bowl and the liquid runs down the outer bowl and spatters when it hits the higher heat outside of the vessel. I had one and finished up giving it away and was given an “Emile Henry” French Tajine for Christmas. I can’t believe the difference. Sorry but it’s the simple truth “Emile Henry” is just the best in this type of cookware.

  • Aunt Kitty

    If I may: I’ve been doing Morroccan food for many years (decades even). I’ve broken several tagines.

    Preserved lemons: If you haven’t used them, you should. Much better. Much. Sorry, but it’s true. They are easy enough to make, but… YOU MUST USES ORGANIC LEMONS. Why? because lemons are sprayed with all kinds of poisons on the assumption that you are not eating the peel. Your choice, but I would never eat the peel of any commercically grown citrus.

    Raisins/currants? no matter. But dried fruit is a key part of Morroccan food. If hubby doesn’t like raisins, don’t tell him they’re in there. He won’t know until he eats it. Prunes are even better. Not so much with chicken, but if you’re making a lamb tagine, you MUST use prunes (although, I suspect hubby isn’t much of a lamb eater either, right?). I know, Americans think of prunes as some sort of late-night television joke, but prunes are considered super food in the Mediterranean (and they are right). Don’t dismiss them just because some moron comic makes prune jokes. Most americans can use a bit of fiber in their diets in any case.

    NO HOLES in the tagine. I’ve never ever seen an authentic tagine with holes. Defeats the purpose. Emil Henry is a great tagine. I bought one a year or so ago and I love it. You can put it on direct heat (low heat) and it won’t crack. Trust me on this. I’ve killed several authentic tagines. You do not need (or want) high heat.

  • Jennifer

    My husband is not crazy about raisins. Would this dish be the same if the raisins were omitted?

    Note from Elise: Skip the raisins if you must, but they do add a nice balance of sweetness to the tartness of the lemon.

    • Marie

      I purchased a Emile Henry tagine a few weeks ago. This is the second recipe I’ve tried. This recipe came out very nicely. I added a mix of yellow raisins and currents. I would agree you need to add some sweetness so if you don’t like raisins, try another dried fruit (apricot,current,fig) I also added some left over chopped tomato ( a few tablespoons) which imparted some richness to the broth. Also used chicken broth instead of water. I did not alter the spice mixture which I think was just fine. A very easy dish worth trying.

  • Pam

    I made this last weekend and it was wonderful! I didn’t have the preserved lemon so I used the lemon slices as you suggested. I used Thompson raisins (organic, bulk) and the flavors were heavenly. I also used only thighs and legs but will probably try it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts next time. I don’t have a tangine so I used my heavy, flat skillet. Thanks for a great recipe and a great website!

  • Melanie

    I’m a 32 year old from Sydney, Australia, and tried this recipe for the first time last Saturday night when I had to feed 9 adults. I made another dish as well for variation and so there was enough to feed everyone.
    The chicken was the hit of the night – I was unable due to time restrictions to purchase preserved lemon and substituted fresh lemon slices. The combination of all the ingredients was delicious – and I actually added currants not raisins.
    The chicken was simply marinated in the dry spices in the morning for 5 hours, then cooked in an electric frypan, on a very low, slow heat for a couple of hours.
    Impressive? I can certainly say, YES!!
    This was a fabulous, slightly spicy recipe and I am looking forward to making it again soon.

  • miranti

    I made this dish first with original recipe and found the spices too overwhelming, so tried it the second time with adjusted seasoning and yielded more subtle result. (Note: I cooked this with a skillet not a tagine.)

    Here goes the altered recipe for same amount of chicken :
    1 teaspoons paprika
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon tumeric powder
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/8 teaspoon (about only a pinch) ground cinnamon
    3 whole cloves (ground)
    1/2 teaspoon of salt
    1/2 inch grated fresh ginger
    dash of extra virgin olive oil
    note: combined all ingredients above and marinate chicken with spices for one hour or over night

    4 cloves garlic, sliced
    1 onion, sliced
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup chicken stock

    The peel from 1 1/4 preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, peel cut into thin strips
    1/2 cup green olives, pitted, halved
    1/4 cup raisins

    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro & fresh flat-leaf parsley

    1. heat a dash of olive oil, brown chicken on both sides, take off from pan and reserve.

    2. add onion and garlic, sautee til savory for a few minutes, add water, chicken stock and a pinch salt and a bit of sugar to taste. add chicken pieces. bring to a boil, lower heat then simmer for about 15 minutes.

    3. add olives, raisins and preserved lemon, simmer again til chicken is tender (turn chicken over a few times)

    4. garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley, serve

  • Jackie Steele

    I made this for my “family” dinner -usually 8-10 people- last night (my husband’s entire family gets together on Sunday’s for dinner and we each take turns making dinner and it was my turn)…I made some slight changes to it (ie. I used some white wine to deglaze the skillet and cooked it in my crockpot) but it was DELICIOUS!!! and there were NO LEFTOVERS!!

    This is definitely going into my computer recipe database to make many, many, many more times…Thanks for all your GREAT recipes.


  • Beth - Zen Foodism

    Does anyone know definitively if tagines are supposed to have a hole in the top of the lid or not?

    I recently went to a cooking class and my instructor said no. She uses (and loves) the Emile Henry tagine. But then on (or maybe elsewhere, I can’t quite recall…) I read that traditional tagines must have holes, otherwise the steam stays in and gets the food too soggy.

    Just wondering… THANKS!

  • Christelle

    If you want more vegetables in your chicken tajine, you may want to add a bag of frozen petite peas as well as a bag of frozen artichokes when you add your water and lemon.

  • singer612

    This was delicious! We didn’t have a tagine, so just cooked it in a big skillet, nor did we have preserved lemon, but the thinly sliced fresh lemon was fine. No one wanted the sauce to go to waste–we were sopping it up with slices of baguette!

  • interessant

    This is such a strange coincidence. I discovered tonight and added some of my favorite bookmarks which included the Republic of T. Then I clicked on the link to see who else had bookmarked the page and you were at the top of the list. So I checked out your bookmarks. I’m into cooking so I clicked on your cooking blog link.

    The coincidence is that I bought my first tagine about 3 weeks ago, although I’d never had Moroccan food. I researched recipes and the first dish I tried was Moroccan Chicken and Olives. I loved it! I used a recipe from Food Network. Yours is similar and probably just as good, but you may want to try the accompanying recipe for cous cous with apricots. Here’s a link to both recipes:

    I’ll enjoy checking out your blog and will add it to my list as cooking is my main passion and it appears you and I have something in common there.

  • maureen

    Did you have any problem with your tagine? I bought one of the expensive Le Creuset ones, used a diffuser under it, and still had liquid spitting all over my stove. As the condensation came down the cone it would collect on the edge of the base and then bubble and spit everywhere. I used a diffuser and very low flame and still this would happen. Someone suggested using the oven and tried this and it happened there too. Any suggestions?

    Hi Maureen,

    In searching around online for information about tagines I found several negative comments about the Le Creuset tagine. Basically the problem is as you stated – the tagine boils over. It appears to be a design flaw in that product.

    My new clay tagine gave me no problem, though it does take some care. You have to “cure” it by soaking it in water for several hours, and then letting it dry out for a day. This needs to be done every few months if you haven’t been using it. You also cannot let it get exposed to rapid changes in temperature. It must be slowly heated, and then slowly allowed to cool. But it does appear to work well. ~Elise