Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives

(Last Updated On: February 7, 2019)

When we were planning a visit to Marrakesh we couldn’t wait to try Chicken Tagine. A Tagine is a pottery dish with a cone shaped lid used to make traditional Moroccan cuisine. The most traditional method is to set the tagine on top of a base heated with wood coals. The meat, vegetables and herbs are slow cooked to perfection. In absence of wood coals, the tagine can also be simmered on a gas range with a metal diffuser – or you can use a dutch oven or large heavy covered skillet. The key is finding the right ingredients and allowing time for them to mingle together over low heat.

Tagines recipes vary and some are sweetened with the use of dried fruit and honey. But the one that became a favorite for us was a very traditional tagine made preserved lemon and olives. Serve it with traditional Moroccan crusty bread, and rice, couscous or quinoa. And if you love the exotic flavors of Morocco, you can also try this Grilled Harissa Shrimp and Moroccan Couscous Salad from Beyond Sustenance. Delicious!

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives


  • 3 - 4 Pieces of Skin on Chicken, legs or thighs
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Red Onion - Finely Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic - Finely Diced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Tumeric
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Pinch Saffron, optional
  • 1/2 Preserved Lemon
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Teaspoon Butter or Ghee
  • 4 - 6 Olives, with Pitts
  • 1 Tablespoon Cilantro - Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley - Chopped


  1. Add the olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, pulp of the preserved lemon, cumin, ginger, tumeric and black pepper and saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides.
  3. Add the chicken broth until the chicken is 3/4 covered by liquid. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the butter or ghee, cilantro, parsley and saffron. Turn the chicken occasionally, and add a little water if the liquid reduces below covering 1/2 of the chicken.
  4. Continue to cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat, add the lemon peel and olives. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with crusty bread or over rice or couscous.

Inspired? Pin the recipe for later:

Chicken Tagine Recipe

Related articles about Marrakech that you might enjoy:

Marrakech Food Tour – A Taste of the Red City

Traditional Moroccan Break – Khobz


A special thank you to La Maison Arabe who provided the basis for this adapted recipe.


2 thoughts on “Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives”

Leave a Comment