Enjoy a festival of flavors with this Moroccan chicken recipe. Chicken breast marinated in aromatic spices, cooked to perfection – and served with delicious couscous – makes this the perfect meal!
One can never have enough chicken recipes and if you’re looking for an addition to your collection, this Moroccan chicken is a true gem. Like harissa chicken and saffron chicken, this spiced chicken with couscous is also packed with so much flavor.
Moroccan chicken with couscous
My goal is to bring you more recipes from the other side of the world where I come from. I love to share some chicken recipes with you and show you how simple it is to make delicious main dishes like Zereshk Polo or Mediterranean chicken recipe that are like nothing you’ve tried before yet feel so familiar and homey. The simplicity and warm flavors and spices in this Moroccan chicken recipe make this dish perfect for any day and any occasion.
Moroccan chicken marinade
This Moroccan chicken recipe is made with an amazing marinade that has seven spices that combine very well together to make a tasty marinade. It’s full of flavors that work so well together and is perfect for a family meal or a friendly dinner. The spices used to make this chicken marinade are:
It’s always best to have fresh spices at hand. While some might think that spices never go bad, they usually lose their aroma and flavor after a few months. So it’s a good idea to clean up and organize your spice drawer every now and then to make sure the spices are fresh and aromatic. Check out The Kitchn for practical ideas to store spices.
How to make Moroccan chicken with couscous
To make this tasty and easy Moroccan chicken, you need a spice mix. You can either buy the Moroccan spice mix from a spice shop or make it at home. Spare one teaspoon of the Moroccan spice to add to couscous and mix the rest with some olive oil to make a paste.
Rub this paste all over the chicken breasts and let them marinade for about 30 minutes. Sear the chicken breasts in a skillet and then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes depending on their size. Once they’re fully cooked, cover them with aluminum foil for ten minutes and then slice them.
How to make grilled Moroccan chicken
Slice the chicken in half lengthwise and mix with the Moroccan spice marinade. Let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes at room temperature or up to to 8 hours in the fridge. Once the grill is hot, place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook for about 8 minutes on each side until fully cooked.
Moroccan couscous recipe
Making Moroccan couscous is very simple as it’s a one pot dish. Saute onion and garlic with some extra virgin olive oil, then add in diced carrots and the Moroccan spice you saved and stir well. Next, add in the raisins and couscous and give it a nice stir. Lastly, add some water and bring it to simmer, and let it cook for about 30 minutes until the couscous is soft but not mushy.
To give this Moroccan dish some acidity, I always add some lemon juice to the couscous right before serving. Also, adding some chopped parsley in the end would make the dish very presentable and beautiful in addition to adding some bright color.
Additions to Moroccan couscous and chicken recipe
You can add other ingredients such as green olives or dried apricots to this recipe. Using dried fruit is very common in Moroccan cuisine and using them along side this chicken and couscous dish would give it even more flavor. I love the addition of raisins as seen in this recipe because they become juicy and combine well with the Moroccan spices.
What to serve with Moroccan chicken
This North African chicken recipe is so versatile, you can serve it with white rice, couscous or bulgur. If you would like to serve it with a cold side dish, I suggest Mediterranean Couscous Salad since it pairs very well with the chicken.
What to do with the leftovers
You can make a Moroccan chicken sandwich with some greens, red onion and sliced tomatoes. To make Moroccan chicken salad, serve the chicken on a bed of romaine lettuce with some fresh tomatoes, red onions, olives and cucumbers and drizzle with some olive oil and lemon juice.
Can I freeze this recipe?
Yes! The best way to freeze Moroccan chicken is to freeze the marinated chicken breasts. When you make the Moroccan spice marinade, spread it all over the chicken breasts, place them in a ziploc bag and freeze.
Once you’re ready to cook, thaw the chicken breasts in the fridge overnight and proceed with the recipe: sear the chicken and then bake it in the oven until fully cooked and serve with couscous.
Notes and tips to make Moroccan Chicken:
- You can marinade the chicken breasts with Moroccan spice and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- The amount of cayenne in this easy Moroccan chicken recipe is enough for the chicken to have a mild heat. If you prefer the chicken to be spicier, add 1/2 tsp cayenne to the original recipe.
- Both golden raisins and dark raisins can be used in this recipe.
- You can make a larger batch of this Moroccan spice and store it in a jar to have at hand. You can use this spice with breakfast eggs, in rice dishes, or any kind of meat dish for more flavor.
- Once the couscous is cooked, fluff it using two forks. Hold two forks and gently bring the bottom grains to the top and repeat until all the grains have been moved. This helps prevent the couscous from sticking together.
Moroccan Chicken and Couscous
Moroccan Spice Blend
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Cardamom
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 2 tbsp Moroccan Spice Blend
- 1/8 cup Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 large Yellow Onion Diced
- 4 cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 Carrots Diced
- 1 tsp Moroccan Spice
- 1/2 cup Raisins
- 1 1/2 cup Coucous
- 2 cups Water
- 1/3 cup Parsley Chopped
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
Moroccan Spice Blend
- Place all the spices in a large bowl, stir using a small spoon.
- Take one teaspoon of the spice blend and save it for the couscous. Two tablespoons of the Moroccan spice blend will be used for the chicken.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Coat a baking sheet with non stick spray. Set aside.
- Mix two tablespoons of the Moroccan spice blend with the olive oil until it forms a paste.
- Spread the paste over the chicken breasts on all sides. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, sear the chicken breasts in the pan, 3 minutes on each side. Place the chicken breasts on the baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until fully cooked. Take them out of the oven, cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let them sit for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until golden.
- Add carrots and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add Moroccan spices and stir well. Add raisins to the vegetables.
- Add couscous and stir well so it's incorporated with the vegetables and spices.
- Add in water and bring it to boil. Lower the heat, cover and let it cook for 20 to 30 minutes until it's fully cooked. Fluff the couscous using two forks.
- Add lemon juice and parsley to the couscous.
- Serve the couscous with sliced Moroccan chicken.
- You can marinade the chicken and refrigerate it for up to a day, and proceed with the steps when you're ready to cook.
- You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe as well. Cooking time may vary. Make sure the chicken has cooked completely before serving it.