One Pan Moroccan Lemon Chicken

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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 cranberry almond quinoa 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!

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!

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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.
Pin Print Review
4.13 from 40 votes
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
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.

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Nutrition Facts
Moroccan Lemon Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 282 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 66mg22%
Sodium 536mg22%
Potassium 81mg2%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 350IU7%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 10mg1%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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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20 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

    • 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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