This is a very similar recipe to my Easy Chicken Drumsticks in terms of technique (with the added skill of chopping a few things), but has a much bigger, more complex flavor.

It’s an excellent example of how high quality ingredients, mixed in somewhat unexpected combinations (at least for the average American palette), can yield truly spectacular results.

If you’re new to cooking, having the chicken drumsticks in your fridge should help keep you from running to KFC in the midst of a hectic work week.  This recipe below, on the other hand, isn’t all that much more complicated, but it will surely knock the socks off your friends/spouse/partner/date/parents/you-fill-in-the-blank who might be under the mistaken impression that you don’t know how to cook!  :)


(The amounts below are as always approximate — I didn’t actually measure, just eyeballed it.)

  • 3 T butter or ghee, if possible from grass-fed cows
  • 1 1/2 t sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper (a few grinds, this doesn’t need a lot with all the other spices)
  • handful of fresh chopped chives (you can also add a chopped onion and a couple cloves of finely chopped garlic, but since we don’t use those these days, I substituted chives)
  • 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1/2 t cumin (or more, if you like it spicy!)
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 t tumeric
  • 1/4 t (more or less, again, if you like things spicy or not) cayenne
  • pinch of saffron (somewhat optional;  the final result will be better with it, but won’t be totally off-whack without)
  • 8 chicken thighs, if possible from local, pastured chickens
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh (i.e. not canned/jarred) green olives (we’re big fans of Castelvetrano olives, which are often available on olive bars — the crazy bright green ones)
  • 2 T chopped preserved lemon  (if you don’t have this, you can use lemon zest and finely chopped fresh lemon flesh, but it won’t be the same!)
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put butter or ghee in roasting pan (like the one that came with your oven, or any large oven-proof pan with a lip all the way around the edges), and place in oven until melted — should only take a minute or less.
  3. Put spices (salt through saffron in the ingredients list) into the butter or ghee, and mix well.
  4. Rub each chicken thigh with the spice/butter-or-ghee mixture.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from oven, put olives in pan, and use a spoon or pastry brush to put a little of the pan juices over the top of each thigh.
  7. Put back in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Mix chopped cilantro and preserved lemon.  Remove chicken from oven, top each piece with a spoonful of the cilantro/lemon mixture.  Serve, if you like, with extra ghee or butter on the side.  Extra ghee or butter is never a bad thing, in my opinion!

I suppose you could serve some sort of veggies with this … I suppose … :)   Maybe some fresh raspberries for dessert.  No need to get complicated.  Just eat yummy food.


Adapted from Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Healthy2Day Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Turning the Table Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Food on Fridays, Real Food 101, Mingle Monday, Make a Food Friend Monday, Mangia Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table.


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20 Responses to Moroccan-spiced Chicken Thighs

  1. This looks fantastic! I am always looking for new recipes for chicken thighs and we love middle eastern food. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I’m also always looking for chicken thigh recipes – this looks fabulous, thanks!

  3. Leslie says:

    Will totally be trying this Megh– looks delish!

  4. Miz Helen says:

    I just love the combination of flavor in this dish. I can almost taste it! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  5. Emily says:

    This looks AMAZING! Would love for you to come over and link up to my tasty Tuesday party!

  6. Elsa says:

    I love Moroccan food! This looks delicious. :)

  7. Shu Han says:

    that looks so so so good! I don’t have preserved lemons though, so may have to make do with lemons and lemon peel ):

  8. Emily says:

    thanks so much for linking up to Tasty Tuesday! can’t wait to see what you’ll bring this week.

  9. Oh my, I like the sound of your Moroccan spiced chicken thighs – they look yummy too! The spice combination sounds wonderful and I like the addition of the preserved lemon too. Thank you for sharing this recipe with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  10. Alea Milham says:

    Your Moroccan Spiced Chicken Thighs looks wonderful! Chicken thighs are one of my favorite cuts to work with. I can often find free-range chicken thighs on sale for under $1.99 a lb. They are less expensive here because people prefer chicken breasts, but I think thighs are much more flavorful and tender. Thanks for sharing your delicious recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

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