Moroccan chicken tagine with preserved lemon and olives

Moroccan chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemon

Fatima Zahra

Contributing writer

Have you ever wondered why Moroccans love their tagine dishes so much? It's because the dish is absolutely delicious and a complete meal itself! You only need a few chunks of bread and you are good to go.

The Moroccan chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemon is the perfect example of a classic chicken tagine recipe. The combination of chicken, olives, and preserved lemons is absolutely heavenly, and the dish is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. 

So, how can you make this amazing dish at home? Well, let's find out.


  • 750 g chicken pieces or 1 whole chicken, cleaned and cut.
  • 2 white large onions, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (garlic paste is also fine)
  • 1 small handful coriander, chopped
  • 1 small handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste or crushed fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (alternative: you can use saffron treads infused in water)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g green olives (unsalted if possible)
  • 1 Moroccan preserved lemon, quartered
  • 1/2 cup water (or as needed)


  1. 1
    In a tagine pot or a heavy-based saucepan with a lid, combine chicken pieces, olive oil, onions, garlic, parsley, coriander, and all the spices. Mix everything well so that the chicken is evenly coated with the spices.
  2. 2
    Place the pot over medium heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil.
  3. 3
    Add in the olives and the preserved lemon. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer over low heat for 60 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. 4
    Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with bread.

Cooking tips

  • A Moroccan tagine pot is ideal for cooking this dish, but it's not required you can also use a heavy-based saucepan with a lid or a dutch oven.

  • Make sure you use unsalted olives. If the olives are salty, then you may not need to add any salt to the dish.

  • Some chicken with olives and preserved lemon recipes use cumin, but I prefer not to use it. The authentic Moroccan recipe does not use cumin.

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Fatima Zahra

Author - Fatima Zahra

Fatima Zahra was born and raised along the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in central Morocco, in the heartland of the indigenous Amazigh people. She’s an avid reader and Moroccan tea drinker, no surprise. She is an engineer by profession but nowadays spends most of her time travelling and writing about Morocco.

Last Updated 28 October 2022

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