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Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe with Preserved Lemons and Olives

This Moroccan chicken tagine recipe with preserved lemons and olives makes one of Morocco’s most quintessential tagines, alongside lamb tagine with prunes and almonds. Infused with intense citrus notes, thanks to umami-rich preserved lemons, the comforting Moroccan stew is traditionally eaten with crusty round bread called khobz. It’s also delicious with couscous, just don’t tell your Moroccan friends!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Moroccan
Servings: 2
Calories: 960kcal
Author: Lara Dunston


  • 2 tbsp virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 6 saffron threads or 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 chicken pieces thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander cilantro, chopped
  • 2 preserved lemons quartered, de-seeded
  • 1 tbsp preserved lemon brine from the jar
  • 12 green olives


  • In a tagine pot, a round-bottomed wok or Dutch oven with lid, heat the olive oil, then add the onions and sauté over low heat, stirring constantly until they are translucent, silky, and soft, then add the garlic, saffron (or turmeric) and ginger.
  • Add the chicken pieces, positioning them so that they are all lying flat (not layered on top of eachother), then season with salt and pepper, add just enough water to cover the pieces, and put the lid on to allow the chicken to simmer slowly on low heat.
  • Check the chicken periodically, turning the pieces over at around 15 minutes, then at 30 minutes or so, remove the lid to check if the chicken is ready – it should be moist, tender and practically falling off the bone.
  • Add the preserved lemon quarters and brine, fresh coriander and olives, then simmer for another 10-15 minutes without the lid to further reduce the sauce.
  • Serve in the tagine pot or if you used a wok or Dutch oven, transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with more fresh coriander. Serve with Moroccan bread or plain couscous.


Calories: 960kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 70g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 35g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 260mg | Sodium: 2003mg | Potassium: 869mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 616IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 4mg