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Moroccan Chicken Stew

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This Moroccan chicken stew is the perfect one-pot meal for any night of the week. With tender chicken, fragrant spices, and colorful vegetables all cooked together in a savory broth, this stew is sure to become a family favorite. Serve it with fluffy couscous or warm crusty bread for an easy and delicious meal.

A pot of Moroccan chicken stew

Moroccan cuisine combines aromatic herbs and spices with sweet ingredients like dates or honey to create a unique flavor combination. This Moroccan Chicken Stew is no exception – it’s packed with bold flavors! If you want to try more Moroccan recipes check out our Moroccan meatballs, Moroccan carrot salad, or our slow cooked lamb shanks.

❤️ Here is Why This Recipe Works

  • The traditional Moroccan flavors in this dish come from the warm, fragrant spice blend known as Ras el Hanout. If you can’t find a Ras el Hanout, check the notes in the recipe card to make your own blend. 
  • Preserved lemon adds a briny, umami flavor that gives this North African stew extra depth and complexity.
  • Using bone-in chicken gives the stew a deeper flavor and lets you simmer the dish longer, resulting in a delicious and tender chicken that falls off the bone. 

North African chicken stew in a bowl.

The Ingredients

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this North African recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Chicken thighs. Chicken legs will also work here. We recommend using dark meat with the bone for the most flavor. If you use chicken breast or boneless chicken, reduce the cooking time. 
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Onion and garlic cloves. 
  • Dried apricots or dates. The dried fruit gives the stew a hint of sweetness that helps balance out the savory flavors. 
  • Ras el Hanout. Ras el Hanout is a warm, fragrant blend of spices commonly used in Moroccan cooking. It is easy to make the blend yourself if you can’t find it. 
  • Preserved lemon. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute lemon zest instead. You can also make your own preserved lemons
  • Tomato paste. Adds a base of richness and depth. 
  • Harissa paste. This spicy North African condiment adds a kick of heat and extra flavor to the stew. 
  • Honey. Just a touch honey adds another dimension of sweetness that compliments the dried fruit. 
  • Chicken broth. Chicken broth gives the stew a savory, flavorful base. Try making your own chicken stock.
  • Carrots. Carrots add texture and flavor to the stew and make it a complete meal on its own. 
  • Chickpeas. Garbanzo beans are protein-rich legumes add body and flavor to the stew. 
  • Lemon juice and cilantro. Add these to the stew last to give it a bright, fresh flavor. 

?‍? How to Make It

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with this Moroccan chicken stew recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

This slow cooked stew is traditionally cooked in a Tagine which is a shallow clay pot with a wide, cone shaped top. You don’t need a Tagine pot to make this dish though, any heavy bottomed pot with a snug fitting lid will do.

Browning chicken thighs in a Dutch oven.

Season the chicken and sear it on both sides until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a plate while you cook the rest of the ingredients.

At this point, the chicken will not be fully cooked but the browning step will help develop flavor.

Sautéing onions, garlic, and spices along with dried apricots.

Saute the onion until it is soft then add the garlic, spices, apricots, tomato paste, harissa, honey, and preserved lemon.

Adding carrots and chicken back to the pot.

Add the chicken broth and carrots then return the seared chicken to the pot. Simmer the stew until the chicken is fork tender.

Adding chick peas to a chicken stew.

Add the chickpeas and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serve this North African stew with rice pilaf , brown rice, or couscous and a tossed green salad or some homemade naan bread. Add some lemon slices on the side

Tips for Success

  • This Moroccan stew develops extra flavor from simmering for 40 minutes. We don’t recommend using chicken breasts as they will dry out from the long simmer. 
  • If you do use chicken breasts, add them to the pot later so they don’t overcook and get dry. Bone in chicken breast will take about 20 minutes to cook and boneless will take 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Sear the chicken in the pot until it has a golden brown crust. This will develop more flavor and richness to the stew. 
  • Cut the carrots about 1/2 inch thick so they can hold up to a long simmer. 
  • You can make this in a slow cooker, but we recommend searing the chicken in a pot first to get it brown.
  • Traditionally, this Moroccan chicken stew is served with whole pieces of chicken but you can shred the meat and return it to the pot if you desire.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator or for up to six months in the freezer.

✅ Substitutions and Variations

  • If you can’t find preserved lemon, you can add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of chopped green olives. It won’t replace the flavor of the preserved lemon, but it will give some extra depth and complexity.
  • If you can’t find Ras el Hanout you can make your own blend with cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, allspice, and cloves. Refer to the notes in the recipe card for amounts.
  • Swap out the dried apricots for dates or raisins.
  • You can add sweet potatoes or squash to the stew.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Moroccan stew called?

This recipe is traditionally known as a Moroccan chicken Tagine, named after the shallow clay pot it is cooked in. However, you can make the stew without a Tagine pot.

Can I prepare a Moroccan stew ahead of time and freeze it?

Yes, you can prepare a Moroccan stew ahead of time and freeze it for up to three months.

Chicken stew with orzo.

This hearty Moroccan chicken stew is a hearty one pot meal that is filled with fragrant spices, tender chicken and vegetables. It’s a great way to use up pantry staples like dried apricots and chickpeas, so it’s perfect for when you want something easy but flavorful.

⭐️ Helpful Tools

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♥️ More Recipes You Will Love:

Our Lebanese tabbouleh salad, Greek salad, or our little gem Caesar are easy sides to serve with this chicken stew, as are other Middle Eastern favorites like hummus.

Garlic naan or quick Dutch oven bread are perfect for sopping up the savory broth in this stew.

For dessert, try our tender date cake or apple skillet cake. They are both fast and easy recipes that you can make in advance.

For more chicken recipes, try our panko chicken, cast iron chicken, tender baked chicken quarters, Traeger whole smoked chicken, or chicken stuffed peppers.

For More Dutch Oven Recipes

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A pot of Moroccan chicken stew.

Moroccan Chicken Stew

This Moroccan chicken stew is the perfect one-pot meal for any night of the week. With tender chicken, fragrant spices, and colorful vegetables all cooked together in a savory broth, this stew is sure to become a family favorite.
4.91 from 20 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 222kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 3-½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 cup dried apricots or dates chopped
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 3-½ teaspoons Ras el Hanout or see notes
  • rind of 1 preserved lemon minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1-¾ cups chicken broth
  • 3 carrots peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 can 15-ounces chickpeas
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves chopped


  • Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat (we used a 6-quart Dutch oven). When the pot is hot, place the chicken thighs in a single layer and sear them on both sides until golden brown. Work in batches so you don’t crowd the pot. When the chicken thighs get brown, set them aside on a plate. 
  • Add the onion to the pot and cook until it is soft and translucent. Stir in the dried apricots, garlic, Ras el Hanout, preserved lemon rind, tomato paste, harissa paste, and honey, and cook, stirring for 30 seconds until the spices are fragrant. 
  • Add the chicken broth and the carrots. Return the chicken thighs to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer (you should see small gentle bubbles). Place the lid on the pot and simmer for 40 minutes. 
  • Add the chickpeas to the pot and simmer for 10 more minutes. 
  • Optional step: If you prefer shredded chicken instead of large pieces of chicken thighs, remove the chicken and shred them on a plate, then return the meat back to the pot. 
  • Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt if needed. Serve with fresh lemon slices.


  • You can use skinless or skin-on chicken. We recommend bone-in chicken because it will give the stew more flavor. However, boneless thighs will work. If you use boneless chicken thighs, reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes. 
  • If you can’t find preserved lemon, you can add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of chopped green olives. It won’t replace the flavor of the preserved lemon, but it will give some extra depth and complexity.
  • Different brands of harissa paste vary in their spice level. You can add additional harissa paste if desired. Harissa sauce is less concentrated than the paste. If you use harissa sauce, double or triple the amount called for in the ingredient list. 
If you can’t find Ras el Hanout, you can make your own blend with the following spices. 
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves


Serving: 1 | Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 494mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g

This recipe was originally published on 4-23-14.

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Recipe Rating


Sunday 10th of December 2023

This was really good, lovely flavours. Thank you for the amazing recipe, it has become one of our favourites.

Pat Nyswonger

Monday 11th of December 2023

Thank you for the feedback, Katie...we are so pleased you enjoyed this recipe!

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