Learn how to make these quick roasted juicy harissa chicken thighs, using either bone in or boneless meat. They’re super tender and make a delicious entree for a meal when paired with salad, hummus, roasted veggies, rice or couscous.

a bowl with a chicken thigh, hummus, and salad

Why You Will Love This Recipe

Harissa paste is a magical sauce with origins in Tunisia. It’s an ingredient you will find used often in North African & Moroccan recipes.

This hot sauce has a spicy, tangy, smoky & sometimes sweet flavor profile that’s wonderful when paired with meats, veggies, & more.

It makes a fabulous addition to sauces, marinades, & soups, thanks to the combination of peppers, garlic, warming spices, & preserved lemons.

All of this makes it a wonderful base to use on grilled chicken thighs. Mixed with a blend of spices, fresh garlic, & lemon juice, this recipe makes a wonderful spice forward entree to serve with salads & grains.

If you’re looking for a perfectly spicy side, I recommend this harissa pasta recipe.

bowls of harissa, oil, spices and more

Ingredients

Here is everything you will need to make these chicken thighs:

  • harissa paste (can also be store bought)
  • olive oil
  • juiced + lemon zest
  • salt
  • black pepper 
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • garlic, grated 
  • chicken thighs (can be boneless or bone in) 
  • optional: additional harissa, lemon slices & fresh herbs to garnish 

See recipe card for quantities.

Step by Step Instructions

Note: Cook time will vary depending on if you’re using boneless or bone in thighs. Bone in thighs will take longer, so be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F / 74° C.

What to Eat With Harissa Chicken

As mentioned above, these harissa chicken thighs go great with a variety of side dishes.

I really enjoy serving with grains (like this turmeric rice or couscous salad) and a variety of Moroccan salads (like this tomato salad, eggplant dip and roasted pepper salad).

Here are a few more favorites:

a bowl with a chicken thigh, hummus, and salad

Bone In Vs. Boneless

It’s up to you whether you’d like to use bone in or boneless chicken thighs. The same goes for skin on vs. skinless.

The only important thing to keep in mind is that your cook time will vary depending on which you choose. Specifically when using bone in chicken thighs, the meat will take longer to cook, so be sure to use a meat thermometer and wait until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F / 74° C to pull it off the heat.

From there, make sure to give your meat at least 5 minutes to rest before serving. This will ensure super juicy & moist chicken.

Different Cuts of Chicken

This marinade works on just about any kind of chicken, so feel free to use what’s accessible to you.

Here are some ideas:

  • Whole Chicken – You can double or triple the harissa rub ingredients and rub all over a whole chicken. For more specific instructions, check out this recipe I wrote for Eating Well.
  • Breasts – Use about 2 pounds of chicken breasts and follow the same instructions as outlined in this recipe.
  • Wings – This recipe makes super tasty chicken wings, just make sure you’re using at least 2 pounds, and make sure to check the internal temperature and adjust your time as they will cook faster than thighs.

If you decide to make wings, or any version of this recipe, try with this cilantro lime sauce as a dip!

a bowl with a chicken thigh, hummus, and salad

Additions

If you’re wanting to add a subtly sweet kick to this recipe, you can grate ½ of a red onion into the harissa marinade.

More Chicken Recipes

Equipment

I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is fully cooked before pulling it from the heat. This takes out any of the guess work and ensures your chicken isn’t over or under cooked.

a bowl with a chicken thigh, hummus, and salad

Storage

These harissa chicken thighs keep well as leftovers. I recommend storing in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can reheat in the oven or microwave.

You could also rub them and let marinate for up to 2 days (stored in the fridge in an air tight container) and grill when ready to enjoy.

Enjoy,

the name Salima
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a bowl with a chicken thigh, hummus, and salad

Quick Roasted Juicy Harissa Chicken Thighs

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree, Dinner, Lunch, Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: North African
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Learn how to make these quick roasted juicy harissa chicken thighs, using either bone in or boneless meat. They’re super tender and make a delicious entree for a meal when paired with salad, hummus, roasted veggies, rice or couscous.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup harissa paste (can also be store bought)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice + 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 68 cloves garlic, grated (depends on how much you love garlic & the size of your cloves)
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, about 6-8 thighs (can be boneless or bone in)
  • Optional: additional harissa, lemon slices & fresh herbs to garnish


Instructions

  1. Make the harissa rub. In a large bowl combine harissa, olive oil, lemon juice & zest, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, & garlic. Mix well.
  2. Prep the oven & chicken. Preheat your oven to 400° F/205° C. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels before adding to the bowl with the harissa mix and rubbing to coat the chicken all over.
  3. Roast. Cook the chicken for 40 minutes, or until cooked through (it should reach an internal temperature of 165° F / 74° C). The time this takes will vary depending on if you’re using boneless or bone in thighs.
  4. Serve. Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving with a squeeze of additional harissa, lemon juice & fresh herbs.