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Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Harissa

Chicken tagine with preserved lemons and harissa a simple dish with Moroccan influences that has earthy sour notes and a little spice.

This recipe produces the most beautifully juicy and succulent chicken that cooks in under an hour.

Overhead chicken tagine with preserved lemon served with bulgur wheat.

Chicken Tagine With Dried Apricots.

I love North African flavours, whether it be a classic Moroccan lamb tagine, Lebanese-influenced fasolia or a more left-field duck tagine!

This easy chicken tagine recipe is influenced by Moroccan and Tunisian influences.

The preserved lemons give it a wonderfully bold citrus flavour without being too astringent. The rose harissa paste gives it a hint of spice along with tones of cumin and a floral vibe.

The cooking could not be more simple! A quick marinade is knocked up and massaged into the chicken.

Then when you are ready it is a simple case of getting a little colour on the chicken in a combination of butter and olive oil.

Finally, everything is layered up and the chicken cooks for 30-40 minutes.

Moroccan Chicken tagine with preserved lemon cooked in a tagine pot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use a tagine?

No, you can cook this in a small skillet or frying pan. But you do need a tight-fitting lid to keep the juices in the pan.

What size tagine do I need?

For two people I use a 20cm tagine made by Staub. It is glorious and also features in my sweet potato tagine recipe.

You could use anything up to 22cm for two people, if you wanted to cook for 4 increase the pot to 28cm.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

You really need to let the chicken sit for at least an hour, but if you wanted you can leave it for up to 24 hours.

What are preserved lemons?

As the name suggests they are regular lemons that are preserved in salt. The preservation process eliminates much of the bitterness and mellows the sourness, you can also eat the pith and rind.

They also feature in my lemon chicken tray bake and chickpea tagine if you are looking for something to do with those that you have leftover.

You can make homemade preserved lemons really easily. Although I usually buy mine, I use the Belazu brand.

Do I have to use rose harissa?

No, you can use any type of harissa. I usually use the same Belazu brand that produces the preserved lemons that I use.

Overhead chicken tagine with preserved lemon cooked in a tagine pot.

Serving Suggestions.

I like to keep the sides for this spiced chicken tagine with preserved lemons recipe really simple!

The images here show it served with a simple herby bulgur wheat.

It works equally well with buttered couscous as well as a classic tabbouleh salad.

Whilst we are on the topic of salads, this carrot salad would also make a great pairing as would this Moroccan green leaf and orange salad.

If you want something a little more hearty add some batata harra which are spicy Lebanese potatoes.

Close up Moroccan influenced vegan vegetable tagine with squash and courgette.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Small shallow bowl large enough to hold 2 chicken legs.
  • Grater.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Small 20-23cm tagine.
  • Quick read meat thermometer (optional but recommended).
Moroccan Chicken tagine with preserved lemon and harissa cooked in a tagine pot.
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This simple spiced Moroccan Chicken Tagine with preserved lemons and harissa pasta features perfectly cooked juicy chicken legs in a wonderful sauce.


  • 2 Chicken Legs
  • 1 (150g) Medium Onion
  • 3 Small Preserved Lemons
  • 25g (1 Tbsp + 2 Tsp) Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 50-75ml (¼-⅓ Cup) Chicken Stock

For the Marinade:

  • 1 (150g) Medium Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Rose Harissa
  • ½ Tsp Dried Thyme
  • Freash Coriander to Garnish


  1. Place the chicken legs in a shallow bowl.
  2. Grate the onion for the marinade and place it in a dish.
  3. Peel the garlic cloves and place them on a chopping board and bash them with the side of a knife and add them to the grated onion.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients for the marinade to the bowl with the grated onion and mix them all together.
  5. Pour the marinade over the chicken legs and massage it into them, before transferring them to the fridge for 1-2 hours.
  6. Top and tail the second onion, then cut it into 8 wedges and break them into individual petals.
  7. Cut the preserved lemons in half and then slice them into 3-4mm thick slices.
  8. Heat the base of your tagine pot over a medium high heat and when it is hot add the butter and olive oil.
  9. Remove the chicken legs from the marinade and wipe off any excess coating.
  10. Sear the chicken legs in the butter and oil mix until golden on both sides, then remove to a plate.
  11. Turn the heat under the tagine to low and add the onion petals, followed by any leftover marinade.
  12. Nestle in the chicken legs, sprinkle over the preserved lemon slices and pour over the chicken stock.
  13. Add the tagine lid and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken has reached 73°C or 165°F.
  14. Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander to serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 848Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 356mgSodium: 1295mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 66g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Monday 8th of October 2018

Sounds like this is such a flavorful dish! Love the addition of apricots in this.

Brian Jones

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Cheers Demeter


Monday 8th of October 2018

I've got to try this cooking method. i've never cooked in a tagine before, so I'm glad I can make recipes without having to buy one. I am loving all the wonderful flavors here!

Brian Jones

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Enjoy Danielle :)

Sandhya Hariharan

Monday 8th of October 2018

I am loving the twist of Dried Apricots and Almonds on your Chicken Tagine.

Brian Jones

Thursday 11th of October 2018

I love these ingredients in savoury dishes they work so well!


Monday 8th of October 2018

What a delicious looking dish! Love that apricot flavor. Will be trying this soon!

Brian Jones

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Thanks Kim

Jacqueline Debono

Monday 8th of October 2018

I love tagine and even have 2 tagine dishes I bought in Morocco. Sadly I rarely make it. This looks yummy. Gonna add it to my meal plan this week!

Brian Jones

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Enjoy Jacqueline, I keep meaning to buy myself a new tagine pot but never get round to it.

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