One Pan Moroccan Lemon Chicken

4.83 from 70 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 70 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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30 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Michael J. Kraemer says

    I sent you an email awhile back asking if you thought this would work with turkey, as my wife is allergic to chicken. Great dish, and I used turkey cutlets.

    In the directions, are you supposed to remove both the tomatoes and the onions? Do they get returned to the pan before plating?

  2. Laura says

    Hi Jessica, I searched for a spicy lemon chicken recipe and the herbs and spices in your recipe attracted me to try it. I’m a lazy one-pot cook who hates loads of washing up.
    I used chicken thighs chopped, all dried herbs and spices, himalayan salt (half tps) and chopped vegetables. Threw it all in the pot, stir fried it and added lemon juice to avoid sticking. Absolutely delicious!!
    Thank you.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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