How To Make Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine is one of the signature foods of Morocco. It has its own twist depending where you are…you can have this meal with vegetables, olives and lemon or even french fries!

Here is our recipe for chicken tagine with olives and lemon.

What You’ll Need

  • Whole Chicken
  • 2 or 3 large onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/3 c of Oil
  • Approximately 2 c water
  • tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric (or saffron/colorant if you have it)
  • Olives


Step 1: Preparing the Chicken

To make chicken tagine the Moroccan way, you would start with a whole chicken with bones and skin on. They usually buy their chickens freshly killed at the butcher…what an experience! If you want to cheat, you can use boneless and skinless chicken breasts and thighs, but they won’t taste quite as good. Having the bones in makes a difference!

Take all the skin and fat off of your chicken. Cut into 4 pieces.

Take one lemon and cut it in half. Dip the lemon into a pile of salt. Scrub the chicken all over with this lemon until any layer of film/leftover skin has come off of the chicken. If you are using boneless/skinless chicken, you can skip this step, but still remove any fat on the chicken.

Set chicken aside.


Step 2: Preparing the Sauce

Take 2-3 large onions. Peel and slice them into moon shaped slices. Note: It is important that you do not dice the onions! Long thin slices will make the best tagine.

Put these onions in the bottom of a large heavy pot.

Add 1/3 cup of oil.

Add the spices: salt, ginger, tumeric, minced garlic and black pepper. The tumeric is just for color. If you have saffron, that would be better!

Take chicken and rinse it very well so that all the salt comes off. Add chicken to pot.

Step 3: Cooking the Tagine

Cook the chicken with all the other ingredients in the pot until lightly browned. Then, add two large mugs of water (approximately 2 and a half cups). You should have the chicken barely covered with the water.

Cut a tomato in half and grate it. Add to the pot. Cut a whole lemon into quarters (leave the peel on) and add it to the pot as well.

Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked. If the chicken is falling off of the bone, remove chicken and cook down the sauce for at least another hour and a half until it thickens.

Step 4: Serving the Tagine

Right before serving, sprinkle olives (or french fries) on top of the tagine. Pink olives are what Moroccans use, but if those are unavailable, green olives are a fine substitute. Garnish with chopped lemon. Serve in a large dish and eat with khobz!

We hope you enjoy this delicious Moroccan meal! Let us know if you try it out and what you think!