Moroccan Lemon Chicken


I’m completely bonkers when it comes to lemons. They’re easily my favourite fruit and the zestier the dish, the better in my opinion. Add generous helpings of garlic, chilli and spices to the mix and you have an irresistible combo.

Now that there is the suggestion of cooler days ahead, it’s the perfect time to start making these sorts of dishes again. Spicy, hearty and comforting.

Moroccan dishes usually call for preserved lemons, which lend a lovely flavour all of their own, but this works really well with fresh ones. The baked slices blacken up and caramelise (argh, my mouth is watering just typing this).

One of the really handy things about this delicious recipe is you can prepare it well in advance and just toss it in the oven and forget about it. The fussiest bit is the preparation, making it perfect for dinner parties.

This Moroccan Lemon Chicken recipe is a firm favourite at our place. I hope you like it too.



Marinade Paste

1/3 cup olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped ginger

1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin

1 ½ tablespoons ground coriander

1 ½ tablespoons mild curry powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons of ground turmeric

1 ½ teaspoons of caster sugar

1 tablespoon of harissa

1 tablespoon of tomato paste


2 lemons

2 brown onions, halved and thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 bay leaves (fresh preferably but dried is okay)

6 chicken thighs


To Serve


Fresh coriander

Greek-style yoghurt

Combine the ingredients of the marinade in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and then whisk in 200ml of water.

Remove the zest from one lemon and finely slice. Remove the pith from this lemon and finely slice into neat rounds.  Add to the marinade paste along with the onion, garlic, bay leaves. Mix to combine.

Place the marinade mix into a large snap lock bag. Add the chicken thighs and squish it all around until the chicken is thoroughly coated. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible and seal the snap lock. Place the bag in the fridge for at least 4 hours (overnight if you have time).

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees in a fan forced oven. Line a large baking tray with foil and then baking paper.

Place the chicken mixture into the tray. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side up, resting them on the onion slices.  Pop any lemon slices of top of the chicken.

Roast for about 45 minutes or until chicken is nicely browned and cooked through. Your house will be smelling divine right about now.

Serve the chicken and onions on a bed of couscous.

Garnish with coriander and mint and serve with lemon wedges and dollops of yoghurt.


Wine suggestion I’d serve this with a glass of Soave but any crisp white would be lovely.


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16 responses to “Moroccan Lemon Chicken”

  1. Claire @ Claire K Creations says :

    I love any combo of Moroccan flavours and have to say I agree with you – lemons are fantastic. They’re so versatile!

  2. glamglutton says :

    This looks really tasty. I love the marinade which would be great in lots of dishes. GG

  3. Asmita (@FoodieAsmita) says :

    Yummy chicken. Would love to try it!

  4. Anna @ the shady pine says :

    Lemons can lift just about any dish. I do like preserved lemons but don’t often have a jar on hand as I only make them one in a while. So I more often use fresh zest which I love anyway. This Moroccan dish sounds sublime!

  5. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says :

    This is great! I always thought that you needed to use preserved lemons but don’t always have them. But I always have regular lemons so I could easily make this 🙂

  6. theintolerantchef says :

    Lemons are just so versatile- and yummy! Great recipe indeed 🙂

  7. figandcherry says :

    My mouth was watering too as I was reading your notes and then the recipe – something about the bit where you say to place the lemon slices on top really got the saliva going – I can just imagine them burned to a crisp and so tasty!!! I have some chicken thighs in the fridge I was going to cook in the slow cooker today – I think they will get a good smothering in lemon zest too 🙂 Sorry for the long comment, just so hungry now!

  8. Susie says :

    Oh wow, even though it is Monday morning and so far all I have managed is a cuppa, this looks AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love lemons too.

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