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Harissa Chicken Recipe

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Harissa Chicken Recipe


If you’re looking for a dish that brings bold flavors to your table, Harissa Chicken is the way to go. This dish, with its roots in North African cuisine, is known for its spicy, smoky, and slightly sweet profile. It’s a fantastic choice for anyone wanting to try something new and exciting.

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Before you start, gather the following ingredients:

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  • Chicken: 2 pounds, any cut (breasts, thighs, drumsticks)
  • Harissa Paste: 1/4 cup (store-bought or homemade)
  • Additional Spices and Seasonings: Garlic cloves (minced), lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper

Preparation Steps

Preparing the Chicken

Begin by washing and patting dry your chicken pieces. This helps the marinade stick better. Place the chicken in a large bowl or a ziplock bag for marinating.

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Making or Buying Harissa Paste

You can find harissa paste at most grocery stores, but making it at home can be a rewarding experience. To make it from scratch, you’ll need dried red chilies, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds. Blend these ingredients together until smooth. If you’re short on time, store-bought harissa works just fine.

Cooking Instructions

Marinating the Chicken

In the bowl or bag with the chicken, add the harissa paste, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well to ensure each piece of chicken is coated. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best for maximum flavor.

Cooking Methods

Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and has a nice char on the edges.

Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for about 6-7 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked and slightly charred.

Stovetop: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil. Cook the chicken for about 7-8 minutes per side, ensuring it’s cooked through.

Serving Suggestions

Harissa Chicken pairs beautifully with a variety of sides. Consider serving it with couscous, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad. For a more traditional touch, add some flatbread and a dollop of yogurt or tzatziki.

Presentation-wise, garnish the chicken with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley and a wedge of lemon for a pop of color and extra flavor.

Health Benefits

This dish is not only delicious but also nutritious. Chicken is a great source of lean protein, essential for muscle growth and repair. Harissa paste, made from chili peppers, garlic, and spices, is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which support overall health and boost the immune system.

Tips for Perfect Harissa Chicken

  • Marinating Techniques: For deeper flavor, make small cuts in the chicken before marinating to allow the harissa paste to penetrate better.
  • Cooking Tips for Juicy Chicken: Avoid overcooking by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).

Alternative Ingredients

If you’re looking to switch things up, here are some alternatives:

  • Substitutes for Chicken: Try using turkey breast or pork chops for a different take on this recipe.
  • Vegan and Vegetarian Options: Use tofu, tempeh, or cauliflower. Marinate and cook them the same way you would with chicken for a delicious plant-based meal.

Storing and Reheating

To store leftovers, place the chicken in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days. When reheating, use the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes to maintain its juicy texture. Avoid microwaving as it can make the chicken rubbery.

Frequently Asked Questions

How spicy is harissa? Harissa can be quite spicy, but you can control the heat by adjusting the amount of paste you use. If you’re sensitive to spice, start with a smaller amount and add more to taste.

Can I use store-bought harissa paste? Absolutely! Store-bought harissa paste is convenient and still delivers great flavor. Just be sure to check the ingredients for any added sugars or preservatives.

What cut of chicken works best? Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks are particularly flavorful and juicy, but boneless, skinless breasts work well too if you prefer leaner meat.

How long does harissa chicken last in the fridge? Properly stored, harissa chicken can last up to 3 days in the fridge. Make sure it’s in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

Can I freeze harissa chicken? Yes, you can freeze harissa chicken. Place the cooked chicken in a freezer-safe container or bag, and it will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.


Harissa Chicken is a bold and flavorful dish that’s sure to impress. With its rich, spicy marinade and versatile cooking methods, it’s perfect for any occasion. Follow this recipe, and you’ll have a meal that’s both delicious and nutritious, guaranteed to become a family favorite.

Harissa Chicken Recipe

If you're looking for a dish that brings bold flavors to your table, Harissa Chicken is the way to go. This dish, with its roots in North African cuisine, is known for its spicy, smoky, and slightly sweet profile. It's a fantastic choice for anyone wanting to try something new and exciting.

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon harissa powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Mix the oil, harissa powder, lemon juice, and other spices in a small bowl to form a thick paste.
  2. Rub the paste all over the chicken thighs or put the paste and chicken into a large bowl or sealable bag.
  3. Shake or roll it around so the chicken is covered with it.
  4. Marinate for an hour or more (if you have the time).
  5. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  6. Line a baking tray or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and arrange the chicken on it in a single layer.
  7. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes and then check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should read at least 165F.
  8. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving.
Harissa Chicken Recipe

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