Traditional Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Vegetables and Raisins

Chicken tagine is a daily dish in Morocco, while couscous may be considered the official dish. However, tagines, featuring chicken, mutton, or beef, are staples that everyone enjoys almost every day. Although most cooking is now done in modern pots rather than traditional tagines, the primary ingredients remain consistent.

Traditional tagines, crafted from earthenware, not only facilitate slow cooking but also contribute their own unique flavor to the dish. The slow simmering process allows ingredients to meld their flavors beautifully, while the earthenware adds an earthy, delicious note that enhances the overall taste. These tagines are typically seasoned with aromatic spices like saffron, cumin, and cinnamon. Chicken tagine often includes vegetables and sometimes fruits like apricots or olives, creating a hearty and flavorful meal.

Even if you don’t own a tagine, you can still capture the essence of this dish by focusing on two secrets to a successful tagine: First, chicken tagine is meant to be consumed with bread, using your fingers, which means the sauce is crucial—it should be made from onions cooked down until they nearly form a sauce, rich in flavor, ideally with red or green olives and saffron, and not exceed the level of half a fingernail. Second, chicken, while less rich than mutton or beef, requires a proper marinade to fully enhance its flavor. A marinade with vinegar or lemon along with garlic and parsley is recommended.

Traditional Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Raisins

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Moroccan


For the Chicken and Marinade

  • 1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on preferred
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin whole seeds for toasting – optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Vegetables and Aromatics

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 potatoes chopped
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cinnamon stick optional
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges optional


  • Fresh cilantro or parsley chopped for garnish


  • (Optional) For an extra flavor boost, toast whole cumin seeds and a cinnamon stick in a dry pan over low heat for a minute before grinding them. This awakens their essential oils.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with olive oil, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight. The longer the marinate, the more flavorful the chicken will be.
  • Heat a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot (if you don’t have a tajine) over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Once hot, add the chopped onion and sauté until softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes. This caramelization adds sweetness and depth to the dish.
  • Add the marinated chicken pieces along with any accumulated juices from the marinade. Arrange the chicken in a single layer. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Pour in the chicken broth. Scatter the chopped carrots, potatoes, and zucchini around the chicken. Nestle the cinnamon stick (if using) amongst the vegetables.
  • Bring the pot to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let the tajine cook for 1 hour, or until the chicken is almost cooked through and the vegetables are tender-crisp.
  • After 1 hour, add the raisins and lemon wedges (if using). Drizzle with honey (if using) for a touch of sweetness and a beautiful glaze. Continue simmering, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Remove from heat and let the tajine rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley for a pop of color and freshness.


Here are some secrets to making your Traditional Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Vegetables and Raisins truly awesome:
Don’t just dump the spices in
Instead of adding all the spices at once, try layering them. Saute the onions with some olive oil, then add the ginger and turmeric. Let them cook for a minute to release their aromas. Then add the remaining spices like cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. This sequential addition allows each spice to bloom and creates a more complex flavor profile.
Marinate overnight
 While the recipe above mentions marinating the chicken with the spices, extending the marinating time can significantly improve the flavor. Aim for at least 4 hours, or ideally, overnight. This allows the spices to penetrate the chicken, resulting in more flavorful and juicy meat.
Don’t rush the onions
 Sauteing the onions slowly until they are golden brown adds a touch of sweetness and richness to the dish. This caramelization complements the savory spices and creates a more balanced flavor profile.
Respect the slow cook
 Resist the urge to crank up the heat. The beauty of a tajine lies in its slow cooking process. Let the dish simmer gently, allowing the flavors to develop and meld together. This low and slow approach ensures tender chicken and vegetables infused with the essence of the spices.
Fresh herb
Right before serving, sprinkle some fresh chopped cilantro or parsley over the tajine for a burst of freshness and a vibrant pop of color.

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