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Chermoula Chicken

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Chermoula chicken is an easy and flavorful recipe made with chicken thighs and a quick kid friendly chermoula sauce.

Chermoula Chicken is a flavorful meal for families. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are marinated in chermoula sauce and baked with halved lemons for a flavorful and easy meal.
white platter with roasted chicken thighs in red chermoula sauce with sliced lemons
white platter with roasted chicken thighs in red chermoula sauce with sliced lemons

Chermoula (pronounced sher-moo-lah)  is a flavorful sauce found in Moroccan cuisine. You can find two varieties of it – a green and a red version. Both are very similar, the only big difference is that the red version has smoked paprika and sometimes peppers in it.

Chermoula is a really great oil based sauce that is perfect for marinating chicken, fish, and even veggies! You could even mix into into couscous or cooked rice. It is simple and flavorful, and so versatile.

Here we are marinating chicken thighs with it and then baking them with lemons to make a simple but flavorful and kid friendly dish.

close up of white platter with roasted chicken thighs and halved lemons and serving fork

Chermoula chicken is a great recipe if you are looking to switch up your chicken dinner game. It is simple, easy to cook, and so flavorful. 

Looking for more not boring weeknight dinners? Try my Weeknight Winners Cookbook!

ingredients for chermoula sauce on white background with text labels

How to make roasted chicken with chermoula sauce

This recipe is very simple to make! Here is a brief overview of the recipe to give you an idea of how it works. For the full set of directions and measurements, please make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below!

  1. Place the uncooked bulgur in a medium sized saucepan with the water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook until the bulgur is cooked through, about 12 minutes.
  2. Chop the parsley, cucumber, tomato, mint and green onion.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette dressing.
  4. When the bulgur is done, strain any excess water out.
  5. Place the cooked bulgur, chopped vegetables and herbs, and vinaigrette in a large mixing bowl and toss to coat.
  6. Cover with a lid and chill for at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve.

Make chermoula sauce

  1. In the bowl of a food processor,  combine the cilantro, parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, smoked paprika, black pepper, salt, ground ginger, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper. 
  2. Pulse until just combined and the garlic and herbs are chopped. 
ingredients for chermoula chicken on white background with text labels

Prepare the chicken

  1. Trim the chicken of any excess fat.
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl, or plastic bag.
  3. Toss the chicken to coat in the marinade and allow to sit and marinate for 20-30 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is marinating, cut the remaining three lemons in half.
  5. Heat a skillet to hot and place the lemon halves cut side down on the skillet to allow them to char a bit. This helps release the flavors of the lemon.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  7. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and add the chicken to the dish in a single layer. Arrange the sliced lemon halves amongst the chicken thighs.
  8. Cover the pan with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or into an internal temperature reaches 160 F.
  9. Remove the chicken from the oven and preheat the broiler to hot. 
  10. Remove the foil from the pan and place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken has a nice golden brown appearance.
  11. Enjoy.

Timing of this recipe

This baked chicken thigh recipe is a simple and easy meal. It does require some planning to make the timing work, so I don’t suggest making this recipe on a busy weeknight. Here is how much time you need to make it:

  • 10 minutes to make the marinade
  • 20 minutes to marinate the chicken
  • 35 minutes to bake the chicken

From start to finish, this recipe will take you 65 minutes.

Prepping ahead of time

The chermoula sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Because lemon juice is a prominent feature in the recipe, I don’t recommend marinating the chicken for longer than 3 hours. The acid in the lemon juice breaks down the proteins too much and makes the chicken become a weird combination of tough, rubbery, and mushy. Its not pleasant. 

How to serve this to your family

Chermoula chicken is a really lovely flavorful chicken recipe that is perfect to serve to your family. I would serve it beside some simple sides like rice, or lemon couscous or Moroccan couscous. A nice veggie to serve alongside this would be Moroccan carrot salad. Add a pitcher of Moroccan mint tea to the table and you have yourself a lovely Moroccan inspired meal your family will love. 

closeup of chicken thighs on white platter with halved lemons

How to make this kid friendly 

Chermoula chicken is a great dinner to serve to kids. Chicken thighs are nice and tender, its flavorful but not overwhelming or spicy, and its an easy win for kids who will eat chicken even when it isn’t in nugget form. 

If your kiddo needs a little extra help to be interested in trying it, I always suggest getting them involved in making it and offering up some fun discussion about the food. Keep reading for suggestions!

Dinner conversations with kids

How we discuss food at the dinner table impacts how we feel about it, which impacts how much we want to try it. By examining food in a more scientific way, we remove emotions and power struggles and allow kids to really think about what food they are trying. Try these conversation starters:

  • What colors do you see in this chicken?
  • What could we serve this chicken with to add more colors to our plates?
  • What does this chicken smell like? How many descriptive words can you use?

Read more about how to explore the sense of taste with your kids.

Kids in the kitchen: How your kids can help you cook

Inviting our kids into the kitchen is a great way to help them be more curious about the food they are eating, and have a sense of pride and ownership.

This chicken is a great recipe for kids to help cook because it is so simple. Here are ways your kids can help.

  • Kids aged 1-3 can help you pick herb leaves off of stems, measure ingredients, and help whisk marinade.
  • Kids aged 4-6 can do everything above plus help cut, zest, and juice the lemons.
  • Kids aged 7-10+ can help you do everything above, plus help you marinate the chicken with assistance and can help you char the lemons, with supervision.

*Please note that these recommendations are generalized, and to please use your personal discretion with your child’s skill level. And always, always supervise! Read more about how to have your children help you in the kitchen.

overhead view of baking dish with baked chicken thighs in chermoula sauce with lemons

Other flavorful chicken recipes from around the world:

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white platter with roasted chicken thighs in red chermoula sauce with sliced lemons

Chermoula Chicken Recipe

Chermoula Chicken is a flavorful meal for families. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are marinated in chermoula sauce and baked with halved lemons for a flavorful and easy meal.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Chicken Recipes
Cuisine: African, Moroccan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Marinating Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 415kcal
Author: Jenni

Ingredients

  • 5 lemons divided
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves rough chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and rough chopped
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

Instructions

Make chermoula sauce

  • In a medium bowl, combine the cilantro, parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, smoked paprika, black pepper, salt, ground ginger, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper.
  • Mix until well combined.

Prepare the chicken

  • Trim the chicken of any excess fat.
  • Place the chicken in a bowl, or plastic bag.
  • Toss the chicken to coat in the marinade and allow to sit and marinate for 20-30 minutes.
  • While the chicken is marinating, cut the remaining three lemons in half.
  • Heat a skillet to hot and place the lemon halves cut side down on the skillet to allow them to char a bit. This helps release the flavors of the lemon.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and add the chicken to the dish in a single layer. Arrange the sliced lemon halves amongst the chicken thighs.
  • Cover the pan with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or into an internal temperature reaches 160 F.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and preheat the broiler to hot.
  • Remove the foil from the pan and place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken has a nice golden brown appearance.
  • Enjoy.

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 4 days. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1018IU | Vitamin C: 78mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 3mg

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