Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons

by Janine

Chicken Tagine with preserved lemons and olives – no tagine needed! A Moroccan classic using delicious free range chicken on the bone baked with the wonderful aromatic spices of Ras el Hanout, herbs, preserved lemons and olives.

This classic, versatile dish is also one of Morocco’s most famous and well known. And no wonder. It’s utterly delicious and works beautifully for any occasion ranging from casual family dinners to celebration banquets. You’ll find it offered in homes, restaurants, and even on the street in tiny outdoor dining venues. While it is traditionally made using a ceramic tagine which is cooked over a flame, you can also cook it in an oven proof ceramic dish that has a lid, starting with the stove top cooking and finishing it with baking it in the oven.

The Ras el Hanout spice mix is what gives the tagine its special aromatic flavour. You’ll find our recipe for Ras el Hanout here so you can make your own before starting the chicken tagine. The preserved lemons and green olives give the recipe a tangy addition to finish the dish.

Can I use another meat or make it vegetarian?

Absolutely you can! Try making it with fish cutlets or prawns and halve the cooking time, as seafood cooks quite quickly. You can also make it with lamb cutlets.

And if you wanted a vegetarian version, simply omit the chicken pieces, and marinate chickpeas and eggplant before cooking the rest of the recipe. It won’t need as long in the oven , use the potatoes as the guide to tell you when it’s cooked and ready.

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4-6 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 2 preserved lemons, quartered and seeds removed
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 large brown onions, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbs teaspoon RAS EL HANOUT
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 handfuls pitted olives, green are nicest!
  • 1/4 cup water, approximately
  • 2 large potatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed


  • Remove the flesh from the preserved lemons and chop the flesh finely. Reserve rind for cooking.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken pieces, then add the lemon pulp,  garlic, ccoriander, parsley and  ras el hanout. Mix well. If you have time, marinate the chicken overnight. If not, then the next best thing is to marinate for 4-6 hours. But if you don't have the time, then cook straight away!
  • Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C. 
  • Add 1/4 cup olive oil to a large oven proof pan (we suggest using a ceramic one that has a lid).
  • add your chicken pieces, and fry each side until lightly browned. You're nto trying to cook the chicken, but just want to seal the pieces and lightly brown them. Take out of the pan and put to one side while you go on with the rest.
  • Add the onions and the rest of the oil and sauté until the onions are browned. You may need the water to deglaze the pan
  • Add the potatoes and chickpeas, then half of the olives. Place the chicken pieces within the vegetables, and finally add the rest of the olives and reserved rind of the preserved lemons.
  • Put the lid on top and move to the oven.
  • Bake the chicken 45 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 350 F/180 C then take the lid off and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown. Check that your potatoes are well cooked by inserting a skewer into them.
  • When ready, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 


We recommend serving with a Fattoush Salad or Tabouleh for a middle eastern experience.

You can also serve with a simple side of quinoa and a salad of greens.

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