These harissa chicken skewers are loaded with flavor thanks to the North African hot sauce, fresh veggies and traditional Moroccan spices. Served over a bed of couscous or with fresh bread, they make a wonderful meal in just 30 minutes.

harissa chicken skewers on a plate of couscous

If you’ve ever had North African or Moroccan cuisine, you’ve probably tried harissa hot sauce before.

Made with a blend of hot peppers, traditional Moroccan spices, oil, and preserved lemons, the result is a truly unique thick, smokey, and tangy paste that is delicious with chicken, fish, and veggies.

Today we’re using it as the base for these harissa chicken skewers and pairing them with tomatoes, onion, and zucchini.

ingredients to make harissa chicken skewers

Ingredients

Use a clear shot of the ingredients for this recipe, prepped, and labeled if necessary. Insert the ingredients into the list below, omitting quantities.

  • olive oil
  • harissa paste
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • garlic, grated or minced finely
  • lemons, cut in half
  • chicken thighs, each one cut into sixths
  • red onion, cut into eighths
  • cherry tomatoes
  • zucchini, cut into thick rounds

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

a grill top

Start by prepping your grill or stovetop. Prep your cooking vessel of choice and heat to medium high heat.

Hint: If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak in water for at least an hour to prevent burning.

a bowl of harissa marinade

Prep the marinade. In a small bowl combine the oil, harissa, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic and the juice of one of the lemons. Mix well and set aside.

chicken and veggies in a bowl

Marinate the chicken & veggies. In a large bowl combine the pieces of chicken, onion, zucchini and whole tomatoes. Add the harissa sauce and mix well to coat everything with marinade.

chicken skewers on a plate

Thread the chicken & veggies on skewers. Make sure to alternate between pieces of chicken and veggies to make sure each skewer has an equal amount.

harissa chicken skewers on a pan

Grill or cook. Add the skewers and remaining halved lemon to the grill or cook top and keep them on each side for a few minutes before turning. Continue this until the chicken is cooked through (usually takes around 10 minutes).

harissa chicken skewers on a plate of couscous

Serve. Serve the skewers with a generous squeeze of the grilled lemon and fresh herbs. They are delicious served over a bed of couscous or with freshly baked bread.

Harissa Paste

Harissa paste is a North African hot sauce made with a blend of chili peppers, spices, oil, and sometimes preserved lemon.

It’s used to add spice and acidity to many tagines, veggies, salads, as well as meat and seafood dishes.

If you’re a fan of harissa, you should definitely try these harissa burgers.

You can buy harissa online, at most grocery stores, or make it yourself.

The cool thing about making your own harissa is that you can control how spicy it is. Following the directions in my harissa recipe, you select the peppers you want to use depending on how hot you want the final result.

a bowl of harissa marinade

Veg Substitutions

Feel free to use whatever veggies are in season for you locally. I used some of my favorite veggies that can be found in Moroccan tagines and salads.

Here are some ideas:

  • artichoke hearts – if you use the marinated artichoke hearts they keep the harissa chicken skewers nice and juicy and add epic flavor.
  • yellow onion or shallots – red onion is often paired with tomatoes in Morocco, hence why I used it. But have fun with whatever is accessible to you.
  • peppers – summer peppers are in season and really fun to grill. Try some bell or hatch peppers for a tame addition or lean into the harissa pepper flavor with something spicy.

If you don’t like tomatoes (or any of the veggies here), feel free to skip them or add and subtract ingredients as you see fit. You can also just double the chicken and skip the veggies altogether.

This recipe is pretty hard to mess up.

What to Eat it With

As mentioned above, my favorite way to eat these chicken skewers are served over a bed of warm couscous or with fresh bread.

That said, they’re great on their own with fresh herbs (mint, parsley, cilantro, etc.) and lots of that grilled lemon juice squeezed over the top.

Here are some traditional Moroccan salads that I would serve with these to make it a proper Moroccan meal:

harissa chicken skewers on a pan

Equipment

The only special tools you need to make this recipe is a grill or grill top for your stove and skewers.

You can use reusable metal skewers or disposable wooden skewers. If you use the wooden kind, make sure to soak them for at least an hour before using to prevent burning.

Storage

These harissa chicken skewers make great leftovers. Just thread the veggies and chicken off of the skewers and into a container with an air tight lid.

Store in the fridge and enjoy for up to 5 days.

These ingredients don’t stand up well to freezing.

harissa chicken skewers on a plate of couscous

Top tip

It’s really important to soak your wooden skewers before using for at least 1 hour. This helps prevent any burning!

Enjoy,

Salima written in cursive
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harissa chicken skewers on a plate of couscous

30 Minute Harissa Chicken Skewers

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  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree, Dinner, Lunch
  • Method: Grilled, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Moroccan
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These harissa chicken skewers are loaded with flavor thanks to the North African hot sauce, fresh veggies and traditional Moroccan spices. Served over a bed of couscous or with fresh bread, they make a wonderful meal in just 30 minutes. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or minced finely
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 4 chicken thighs, each one cut into sixths
  • 1 red onion, cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini, cut into thick rounds


Instructions

  1. Start by prepping your grill or stovetop. Prep your cooking vessel of choice and heat to medium high heat.
  2. Prep the marinade. In a small bowl combine the oil, harissa, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic and the juice of one of the lemons. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Marinate the chicken & veggies. In a large bowl combine the pieces of chicken, onion, zucchini and whole tomatoes. Add the harissa sauce and mix well to coat everything with marinade.
  4. Thread the chicken & veggies on skewers. Make sure to alternate between pieces of chicken and veggies to make sure each skewer has an equal amount.
  5. Grill or cook. Add the skewers and remaining halved lemon to the grill or cook top and keep them on each side for a few minutes before turning. Continue this until the chicken is cooked through (usually takes around 10 minutes).
  6. Serve. Serve the skewers with a generous squeeze of the grilled lemon and fresh herbs. They are delicious served over a bed of couscous or with freshly baked bread.

Notes

If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak in water for at least an hour to prevent burning.