Chicken Tajine with Olives and Preserved lemon

This traditional Moroccan chicken tajine with olives and preserved lemon is one of the best and most flavorful tajines ever! Think juicy chicken thighs marinated in Moroccan spices in a rich sauce served over couscous. 

  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree, Dinner, Lunch
  • Method: Baked, Tajine
  • Cuisine: Moroccan, North African, Mediterannean, African


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 8 chicken thighs and/or wings
  • 2 tbsp parsley, minced 
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 3 strands saffron (optional) 
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper 
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric 
  • 1 preserved lemon, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup green olives 
  • 2 tbsp water 


  1. Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees and prepping all ingredients: mince the garlic, onion, preserved lemon, cilantro, and parsley. 
  2. Add half of the olive oil, plus all of the garlic and onion to the base of the tajine and sautee over medium heat until the onions begin to appear translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. At this point turn off the heat and allow the tajine to cool off the stovetop for 10 minutes.
  4. Next, arrange the chicken in the tajine over the onions and sprinkle with half of the parsley, the rest of the olive oil, saffron, salt, pepper, ginger, paprika, cumin and turmeric. Mix well with your hands until the chicken is coated with all the spices.
  5. Spread the seasoned chicken evenly around the base of your tajine. Arrange the sliced preserved lemon and olives over top. Drizzle with water, cover and bake for 2 hours (or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees), checking every 30 minutes or so. 
  6. OPTIONAL: Remove the tajine from the oven, set the temperature to broil and, using tongs, move the chicken from the tajine to a baking sheet, leaving behind the sauce, olives and preserved lemons. Broil the chicken, skin side up for 5 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
  7. Serve chicken with the sauce and veggies from the tajine plus fresh bread or over a plate of couscous. Garnish with remaining minced cilantro and parsley and enjoy!


If you don't have saffron, double the amount of turmeric used to add color. 

Keywords: Chicken Tajine, Chicken Tajine with Olives and Preserved Lemon, Moroccan Chicken Tajine