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Traditional Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe

Traditional Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe

Moroccan Tagine is a classic North African dish that uses dried fruits, vegetables, preserved foods and meat, in combination with aromatic spices. Moroccan cuisine is distinguished by its European, Arabian, and Berber influences.

Although lamb and beef are eaten, chicken is the most preferred meat for preparing the traditional Moroccan Tagine recipe. This recipe utilizes traditional Moroccan spices and ingredients – chicken, dried apricots, almonds, raisins, squash, honey, a selection of spices, and of course, harissa (fiery Moroccan chili paste).

The best part is that you can prepare it as a vegetarian as well. The term ‘tagine’ is the name of the cooking vessel used for making the dish – traditionally, a clay pot. 

This recipe of the traditional Moroccan Tagine will undoubtedly delight your gastronomic senses.

Moroccan Tagine Recipe

Moroccan Tagine Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Get a taste of Morocco with this classic, traditional tagine recipe.


  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Ground cinnamon - ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder - 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 2 tsp
  • Grated ginger - 1 tsp
  • Large yellow onion (diced) - 1
  • Water - 3 cups
  • Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) - 1 can (drained)
  • Slivered almonds - 1 cup
  • Raisins - ½ cup
  • Dried apricots (chopped) - ½ cup
  • Honey - 1 ½ tbsp
  • Harissa - 1 tbsp
  • Small preserved lemons - 4
  • Garlic - 4 cloves
  • Butternut squash - 4 cups (peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes)
  • Couscous - 2 cups
  • Chicken breast (diced) - 2
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste


    1. Heat olive oil in your Moroccan tagine pot. Add diced onions to the pot and sauté for about five minutes till it turns translucent.
    2. Next, add grated ginger and minced garlic to the pot and sauté for another two minutes. Once the mixture starts giving aromatic flavor, add diced chicken breast and stir the mixture for about one minute to let the extra water from chicken evaporate.
    3. Next, it is time to add your spice mix to the pot. Sprinkle coriander, cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric powder and stir to combine. sauté the mixture until the chicken cubes are no longer pink.
    4. Once all the ingredients are perfectly combined into the chicken, it is time to add almonds, raisins, honey, harissa, chickpeas and 1 cup water to the pot. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Reduce the heat and stir for a minute before covering the pot to simmer it for 10 minutes.
    5. When it forms a partially thick gravy or stew, it is time to add the butternut squash and the lemons to the mixture. Stir the mixture properly to combine the ingredients, and return to simmer.
    6. Cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for another 25 minutes, or until the butternut squash turns fork-tender.
    7. Remove it from heat and garnish with dried apricots and slivered almonds. You can also use freshly chopped coriander leaves for garnish.
    8. The dish is best served with couscous. To prepare couscous, take a saucepan, add two cups of water and bring to a boil.
    9. Once the water is boiled, add bouillon cubes and butter and stir until the ingredients are dissolved. Make sure that the water is still boiling.
    10. Next, to the mixture, add the couscous and stir properly. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid. Let it sit there for 10-15 minutes. Your couscous is ready. Fluff it with a fork and serve with your chicken tagine.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 571Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 246mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 12gSugar: 24gProtein: 25g

Important Notes: 

  • For vegetarians, instead of chicken, you can use an extra can of garbanzo beans and 3 extra cups squash 
  • If you do not have butternut squash, you can use alternatives like pumpkin or sweet potato 
  • If you cannot find preserved lemon, you can use 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (it is not the same thing, but you will get by)
  • You can use agave syrup as an alternative to honey 
  • Harissa is what gives the Tagine its specific taste. However, if you prefer less spicy, you can substitute it with other red chili paste.
Cooking Moroccan Tagine

That’s it! This is how you can prepare the traditional Moroccan Tagine recipe. The best part about this recipe is that it is adaptive. Meaning, you can prepare it with other ingredients as well, like with lamb or beef. You can experiment with different spice mixtures and dried fruits and you can also prepare it completely vegetarian.

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