One Pan Moroccan Lemon Chicken

4.83 from 68 votes
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Moroccan lemon chicken made in one pan with fresh herbs and blistered tomatoes. The Mediterranean spices add wonderful color and robust flavors to each bite.

One pan Moroccan lemon chicken.

This Moroccan lemon chicken recipe is easy to make and healthy. During those busy weekdays, I struggle with finding the time to create a wholesome meal for my family. Thankfully this Mediterranean-inspired recipe is quickly prepared in under 20 minutes and with minimal clean up afterward. All the ingredients and spices come together in my cast iron pan.

This North African dish usually is cooked with green olives and that’s certainly something you can add, however, I chose to slightly tweak the recipe and omit olives this time. So if you’re ready to fill your kitchen with delightful aromas, let’s get sizzling! 

Moroccan lemon chicken cooking in a skillet.

How to Prevent Dry Chicken

Make the thickness of the pieces as uniform as possible to ensure even cooking. You can slice the breast through the center to create two thinner slices if needed, or you can pound the chicken out to a smaller piece.

When sauteing, make sure the heat is just high enough so the oil is hot but not smoking, and I have an even layer of oil in the pan. Saute each side of the chicken until golden brown, then turn down the heat and check the temperature at the thickest part with a calibrated digital thermometer. This reading gives a gauge on how much more time is needed to cook. The chicken breast is done when the temperature reaches 160 to 165°F.

Lemon slices and blistered tomatoes with seasoned chicken.

I always stock my pantry with essential spices such as garlic, cumin, coriander, and paprika, so I can make a quick spice blend to add flavor to my proteins, and the best part is you do not need to marinate for hours! These spices along with a dash of fresh garlic, onions, rosemary, thyme, lemon, and olive oil give a nice Middle Eastern flavor to this chicken recipe.

By lightly sauteing the onions and garlic in the olive oil first, this allows the caramelized flavors to infuse into the spiced chicken, and the lemon juice helps to tenderize and brighten the dish.

This Moroccan lemon chicken recipe can be served with your favorite sides or on top of a salad. I like to make fresh hummus, served with a side of spinach salad and fresh vegetables. My quinoa with cranberries recipe also complements this dish as it takes just about the same amount of time to cook chicken, so they will be ready to serve and enjoy together!

Recipe Science

How to avoid dry chicken with carryover cooking

Meats have carry-over cooking once removed from the pan, so I like to remove the chicken when it reaches about 160°F, then allow the meat to rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to reach 165°F before serving. This way I know my chicken is cooked and still juicy, but most importantly safe to eat!

Moroccan Lemon Chicken

Moroccan lemon chicken made in one pan with fresh herbs and blistered tomatoes. The Mediterranean spices add wonderful color and robust flavors to each bite.
4.83 from 68 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Middle Eastern

Ingredients  

  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin, ground
  • ½ teaspoon coriander, ground
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup yellow onions, ¼-inch slices
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, fresh
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 4 pieces (I sliced the chicken breast through the center)
  • 1 lemon, sliced into 4 wedges

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, combine the spice mix; cumin, coriander, onion powder, garlic, paprika, pepper, and salt. Set aside.
  • Evenly coat both sides of the chicken breast with a ½ teaspoon of the spice mix on each side (1 teaspoon total).
  • Add ¼ cup olive oil to a large sauté pan and heat oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sliced onions and garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring continuously then move to the side of the pan.
  • Add tomatoes and cook until blistered, about 3 minutes then transfer to a bowl.
  • Place the four pieces of chicken in the center of the pan. Add the sprigs of rosemary and thyme so the flavor of the herbs infuse into the cooking oil.
  • Sauté the chicken breasts for 4 minutes, until the surface is nicely browned.
  • Lower heat to medium, flip over and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160F – 165°F.
  • Turn off the heat and squeeze half of a whole lemon over the chicken in the pan.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and serve with your favorite sides.

Notes

  • MAKE IT WHOLE30: Use extra-virgin olive oil, and use sea salt for kosher salt.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 282kcal (14%)Carbohydrates 5g (2%)Protein 26g (52%)Fat 18g (28%)Saturated Fat 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat 3gMonounsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 66mg (22%)Sodium 536mg (22%)Potassium 81mg (2%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 350IU (7%)Vitamin C 5mg (6%)Calcium 10mg (1%)Iron 1.1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating




27 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Amy Fachko says

    I just made this. Didn’t have thyme or tomatoes. That being said, my family LOVED this. My husband could not keep telling me how much he loved it. My daughter said the chicken was sooo flavorful. I paired it with t)3 couscous salad and my family thought the flavors were the bomb. Thank you.

  2. rob mueller says

    Hi,
    For the chicken breast, why wouldn’t you at use a velveting technique? or dry brine the breast with salt? You’ve discussed both these options before…

    Rob

  3. Jennie says

    I followed the recipe just as it was and the chicken was so full of flavor and moist – so delicious and easy to make – it’s now one of my new favorite chicken recipes. Thank you.

  4. Pedantic nerd says

    Made this and it was terrible. I think it was because I used table salt instead of kosher salt. Lesson learned 🙁

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, table salt is about 1/2 to 2 times saltier compared to kosher salt (depending on the brand). I definitely recommend using a lot less salt if you are using table salt next time or in other recipes that call for kosher.

  5. Leena says

    Hi!

    Can you give a quick breakdown of how to cut the chicken breast for this recipe? and also how long to cook on each side? thanks!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Lisa- Slice the chicken across the center of the breasts, so that when you cut it they look like two identical sides (also called butterflying the breast). Saute the breasts about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

  6. Kathy Watson says

    Absolutely love the flavor of the seasonings, robust olive oil, and lemon! I added some artichoke hearts (not marinated) and kalamata olives as well… yummy! Bursting with flavor…the seasoning mix is wonderful! And I used my brand new cast iron paella pan!

  7. Katie Kruse says

    Jessica,
    This was absolutely fantastic. The tips on cooking the chicken to keep it moist we’re great. I have been doing meal prep where I pre-measure ingredients where appropriate so I pull out a container that has everything that is needed. This is a perfect recipe for this. Just like a meal delivery service at half the price!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I love that you are meal prepping Katie and enjoying this recipe! So nice to hear from you 🙂

  8. Judy says

    I have all the ingredients which is really nice. Just printed and ready to thaw some chicken breasts and make this. Thanks for more great recipes. There isn’t one that I don’t want to try on the Roundup: ten Whole30 recipes. They fit in quite well with my FITera plan too. Happy New Year Jessica and your sweet, growing family.

  9. Emily | Shiny Happy Bright says

    I live and die by my instant read, digital thermometer. It’s made my chicken so much better 🙂 Love the spice blend in this recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I couldn’t agree more! I get all frantic when I can’t find it, haha. It’s definitely key to preventing dried chicken! Enjoy the spice blend!

  10. Benny says

    I love cooking in my cast iron. Everything just seems to taste better! I actually like that you left out the green olives. I know you said this dish is North African so would it be totally off the wall and weird if I added capers in place of the green Olives? I know that’s more Italy and France… but I just love capers with chicken lol.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I love using my cast iron too Benny! I was just thinking of purchasing an even larger size, haha. I actually was playing around with substituting olives for capers, so I don’t see why you can’t do the reverse. They both have that acidic and pungent taste, so think that would work well!

  11. Angie says

    This looks wonderful! When you say “1/4 extra virgin olive oil” in the ingredients list, do you mean 1/4 cup? That’s what it says in the instructions, but that seems like a ton of oil!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Angie- Thank you so much for catching the recipe error! Yes, it’s 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. You can certainly add less, the best is to gauge the size of your pan and make sure the both is evenly coated with the oil. You want enough oil to saute the onions and the chicken.