Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives

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This post is kindly sponsored by Pacific Foods, but the recipe, photography, video, and opinions are 100% ours.

If you’re looking for something new and delicious to do with chicken, then you’ve come to the right place.

Moroccan cuisine is steeped in history, tradition, and, in our opinion, incredible depth of flavor and texture in so many ways. This recipe is no exception. The spices, the broth, the preserved lemons, olives, and perfectly cooked chicken all come together to make a truly magical dish.

An overhead view of a large silver skillet filled with chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives next to a bowl of couscous and a grey napkin.


In most Moroccan kitchens, this dish would be made with an actual tagine, which is a pottery cooking vessel consisting of two parts: a circular base unit that is flat with low sides and a large cone, or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. (See video for visual reference).

For those who don’t own a tagine, you can still get wonderful results in a nice, large skillet or saucepan.



We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Most recipes are only as good as the quality of ingredients that comprise the dish.

For this recipe, we stick with traditional Moroccan ingredients, such as saffron threads, turmeric, coriander, plus others.

Using a top-notch broth or stock is critical, too. This is why we always use Pacific Foods. More on that in just a bit.

EXPERT TIP: Saffron threads, turmeric, and coriander can be found in the spice section of most well-stocked supermarkets, gourmet food markets, or online.

A hand sprinkling saffron threads into a glass bowl of chicken broth next to a box of Pacific Foods chicken broth.

Preserved lemons are very common in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cooking, and we flip for them.

They are lemons that have been liberally pickled in salt and lemon juice for at least 1 month.

EXPERT TIP: We don’t recommend skipping the preserved lemons in this recipe. You know how fresh lemon brightens so many dishes. These preserved lemons go even further. They are not difficult to make at home, but you need to give yourself at least a month. We always order ours online and keep extra on hand. They will stay perfectly good for months on end.

Slicing them and browning them in your skillet is an amazing start to this spectacular dish. Set them aside once they are nicely browned.

Seared slicked preserved lemons in a stainless steel skillet.


We always go with chicken thighs when making a dish like this.

The dark meat is so flavorful and remains extremely tender during the braising process.

EXPERT TIP FOR THE CHICKEN: Bone-in, skin-on always delivers exceptional taste. Searing the pieces, skin-side down, will get the skin super crispy and will deepen the flavor of the dish.

EXPERT TIP FOR THE CHICKEN BROTH: The chicken will finish cooking when braised in the Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Bone Broth with Sea Salt. We love going with this particular broth because it is slow-simmered with organic chicken bones, vegetables, vinegar, rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt that deliver a savory bone broth full of naturally occurring collagen.

6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs that have been seared in a large silver skillet, skin side up.

After removing the seared chicken thighs from the skillet, it’s time to really amp up the flavors of this amazing Chicken Tagine.

Cook the onions and garlic until nice and translucent.

Now, stir in the spices and get ready for an amazingly delicious smell to emanate from your kitchen.

A skillet filled with sautéed onions and Moroccan spices with a wooden spoon in the middle.


Chicken tagine is traditionally served over herbed couscous.

Place one or two of the cooked chicken thighs over a bed of couscous and then ladle the sauce with lemons and olives all over it.

This dish is stunning in presentation, and just wait until you take that first bite.

A white dinner plate with a serving of chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives over a bed of couscous, all sitting next to a skillet filled with the chicken tagine.


Let’s say it again: Going with high-quality ingredients takes this dish to amazing culinary heights…in your very own kitchen.

Pacific Foods uses time-honored recipes and just a few simple ingredients, showcasing each ingredient’s true flavor and inherent nutrition. There are no additives or preservatives in their food.

They like to say: “We’re out to Nourish Every Body.” And we couldn’t agree more. Some of our other favorite dishes that star Pacific Food’s amazing array of products include our Gourmet Beef Stroganoff, Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Cranberries, and Air-Fryer Cordon Bleu Loaf with Mushroom Sauce.

A large silver skillet filled with chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives, next to a bowl of couscous and a box of Pacific Foods organic chicken broth.

We love this Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives beyond words.

Unbelievably flavorful and you truly feel transported to a magical place with every single scrumptious bite.

The recipe is best served right off the stove, but it is still incredibly delicious gently reheated the next day.

A white plate filled with chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives with a fork resting on the plate.

Ready to do something truly special with those chicken thighs you have on hand? Go for it!

And when you make this spectacular dish, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and hashtag #howtofeedaloon!

A white plate filled with chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives with a fork resting on the plate.

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives

This dish is truly something special. You can cook it in a traditional tagine cooking vessel, or in a large skillet, and have excellent results. Serve over prepared couscous. Divine.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Moroccan
Keyword: chicken entree, how to make chicken tagine, Moroccan cuisine recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4
Calories: 633kcal


  • Tagine, or a large skillet/saucepan with a tight-fitting lid


  • 1 tbsp saffron threads
  • cup Organic Chicken Bone Broth
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 6 chicken thighs bone-in, skin on
  • 2 preserved lemons sliced
  • cups onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • cups green olives pitted
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • ½ cup cilantro fresh, chopped
  • ¼ cup pistachios roughly chopped (optional)


  • Use your fingers to crumble the saffron threads into the chicken broth and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
  • On a platter, season the flour with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Dredge the chicken through the seasoned flour until fully coated.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Sear the lemon slices until browned slightly on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken, skin side down, until golden and crispy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate. (The chicken will not be fully cooked at this point).
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir into the onions the paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and ½ tsp salt. Stir until combined and very fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the stock-saffron and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
  • Place the chicken, skin-side up, throughout the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and stir in the reserved lemons, olives, lemon juice, zest, and cilantro. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  • Serve over couscous and garnish with remaining cilantro and chopped pistachios.



Chicken breasts can be substituted for the thighs, though you'll lose some of the flavor if going with skinless.  If using large skin-on, bone-in breasts, you'll need to increase the braising (simmering) time to 35 to 40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
All the spices in this dish can be found in the spice section of many well-stocked supermarkets, or at gourmet food shops, or online.
Although you can make preserved lemons at home, you'll need to start about a month in advance.  We find ordering them online is easy and the quality is good.
This dish is best served right off the stove, however, warmed leftovers are still really good.  
Searing the lemons and the chicken can all be done in advance, however, the chicken will lose some of the crispiness on the skin the longer it waits.  Be sure to simmer the seared thighs skin-side up. 


Calories: 633kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 1375mg | Potassium: 614mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 957IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!


  • We just got back from Morocco. I liked your version of making the tagine, although it’s quite different from the one we made at cooking class we had at our hotel, which had potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans and peas also added to the tagine. I’m going to try your recipe.

  • Hi! Any idea how I can scale the recipe for a crowd? I’d like to make it using about 6 lbs of chicken thighs, skinless and boneless. Thanks

    • Hi Yasmin! So sorry for the delayed response! You could triple the recipe with all ingredients and be in good shape. You could easily serve in a large chaffing dish or a couple of platters with the sauce poured all over the chicken. Please let us know how it turns out and if you have any other questions! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Omg! I made this dish for my family,
    It was so delicious. I received a call the next day from my daughter in law
    At 11:00 am and she was eating the leftovers! She loved it so much, now she wants me to make it for her parents, so happy to do!
    Thank you so much for making me the star cook of the family.
    Btw I was able to purchase the fermented lemons and the olives on Amazon. But I am starting my own batch of fermented lemons at home.

    • Hi Dawn!! Woo hoo!! We LOVE that you not only found the fermented lemons but that you are now MAKING YOUR OWN!!!! You are our kind of kitchen rock star!! And we LOVE that you daughter-in-law loved it so much, too!! WIN!! Thank you so much for letting us know!!! Please stay in touch!!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • This was very fun to make and turned out delicious. I was a little concerned about the preserved lemons. Once I seared them and set them aside, the recipe never followed up on when and where to use them! I just placed them on top of the chicken while it simmered. Did I miss something?

    • Hi Jane! We understand about the preserved lemons. That’s ingredients we don’t cook with often, but they’re so yummy, right? And so so sorry about leaving when to put them back in the pan in the instructions. Your placing them on top at the end is 100% correct! Thanks for letting us know, we’ve updated the recipe! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Made this recipe saffron, preserved lemons, olives, chopped pistachios and all and man was it worth it! Absolutely delicious and I agree with Kris that the pistachios add a fun crunch / great texture to the dish! I served it over lightly minted couscous. Thanks for another great recipe y’all! 🙂

    • Hi Emy!!! Sorry for the delayed response here!! We are so so so glad you enjoyed our tagine recipe! We love it so much, too! And thank you very much for letting us know and for the great review!!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Hi Kris .. I am not having a problem with viewing your recipes or videos .
    You said you put a link on your web page for the preserved lemon and bone in chicken broth where we could get it .. That is what I am looking for . Thank you Vera

    • Hi Vera! The links are in the body of the post, but no worries, I’ll include them here. Let us know if you have any problems with them or if you have any other questions! Click here for the tagine. Click here for the preserved lemons.

  • Hi Kris,

    When you say green olives, are you referring to green spanish olives or just green olives?

    • Hi Marie! Honestly, whatever is your favorite type of green pitted olive. Spanish olives are our favorite, but olives have been one of those ingredients that are still kind of hard to find at the markets, or at least the full variety. Let us know if you make the dish and what you think! Kris & Wesley

  • Hi Chris,
    I love your recipes . and I watch them all ,,
    What I want to know is how do I get to your web site ?? I tried but I always come back to this .. so please help …

    • Hi Vera! Thank you so much! We are so sorry you’re having problems viewing the recipe. If you click on our “How To Feed a Loon” logo at the top right of your computer, it will take you to our homepage. You can also click on “Recipes” to see a list of recipe categories, such as: TexMex, Desserts, or Thanksgiving. If you’re still having a problem finding anything, let us know and we’ll help to figure out what the problem is!! Thanks again, Vera!! Best, Kris & Wesley

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