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This chermoula chicken recipe yields tender and juicy meat with crispy skin and tons of flavor thanks to a fresh zesty, spicy North African herb sauce. This restaurant-quality meal whips up in less than an hour and pairs well with couscous or an easy 15-minute bulgur wheat pilaf, which I also share the recipe for.

moroccan chermoula chicken with sweet and savory bulgur pilaf on silver serving platter

I’ve been making different variations of chermoula chicken for the past 10 years or so.

Sometimes I pound chicken breasts flat, stuff them with chermoula, and roll them up for what is basically a Moroccan chicken roulade.

Other times I marinate and grill chicken with chermoula.

And I’ve also been known to eat leftover rotisserie chicken sandwiches with chermoula as a condiment!

If you’re wondering what is chermoula, welcome to your new favorite herby, zesty sauce.

Chermoula is a marinade, relish, or sauce used in Moroccan and other North African cuisines. It’s traditionally used on seafood, but is also delicious paired with chicken, meat, and vegetables. The bright flavors in this fresh herb sauce add a vibrant, refreshing quality and punch of flavor to whatever dish it’s used in. 

This fresh herb sauce is similar to Italian pesto and Argentinian chimichurri (which you might have had at Brazilian steakhouses). However, it has earthier notes, thanks to cumin and coriander.

chermoula chicken in cast iron skillet

There are different colors of this North African relish, including red, green, and yellow variations.

Common chermoula ingredients include:

  • Herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, as well as mint in green chermoula
  • Garlic, and I’ve also seen fresh ginger added as well
  • Lemon juice, and sometimes pickled lemons
  • Spices, such as cumin, coriander, paprika, and/or cayenne pepper
  • Saffron in red chermoula
  • Turmeric in yellow chermoula
  • Harissa (a spicy hot North African red chile paste) in red chermoula
  • Oil, typically extra-virgin olive oil, but I’ve also seen chermoula recipes that use vegetable oil

You can read more about chermoula sauce here!

Easy Chermoula Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

ingredients for chermoula chicken
  • Fresh cilantro and parsley – I like to use half cilantro and half parsley, but you can use all cilantro or all parsley if you prefer; make sure to remove the tough stems
  • Garlic – this adds a ton of flavor and aroma to this fresh herb sauce
  • Cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, coarse kosher salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper – this is the spice blend we use to create a well-balanced, earthy, slightly smoky flavor profile
  • Fresh lemon juice and zest – these add fresh, bright, zesty flavor to the sauce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – to help make the sauce into a paste-like consistency
  • Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs – or you can use bone-in skin-on chicken breasts; you could also use boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts and reduce the cooking time

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Make the Chermoula Sauce:

how to make chermoula sauce

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop it up a bit, and then process until it’s as smooth as you like it (don’t completely puree it, leave a bit of texture).

how to make chermoula chicken in a skillet
  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet) over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken thighs skin-side-down, and sear until the skin is brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  2. Flip the chicken thighs over and spread 2 tablespoons of chermoula sauce on top of each (reserve the remaining sauce for serving).
  3. Bake at 400F until the chicken is fully cooked, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 to 175F.)

Storage

You can make the chermoula sauce up to 3 days ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

After cooking chermoula chicken, let it cool to room temperature and then store it covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

What to Serve with Chermoula Chicken

front view of skillet chermoula chicken with bulgur wheat pilaf

Bulgur Wheat Pilaf to Serve with Chermoula Chicken

One of my favorite things to serve with chermoula chicken is an easy sweet and savory bulgur pilaf. Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients for Sweet and Savory Bulgur Pilaf with Raisins

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as mint, cilantro, or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

How to Make Bulgur Pilaf

  1. Add the oil to a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until it’s softened, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the raisins, bulgur wheat, chicken stock, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, and then let it boil (uncovered) for 2 minutes.
  4. Immediately turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let it sit covered with the heat off for 10 minutes.
  5. Fluff with a fork, and then add the herbs and lemon zest, and gently stir to mix.
  6. Serve!
serving dish of chermoula chicken with bulgur pilaf

Chermoula Chicken FAQs

What Temperature Do You Cook Chicken Thighs?

For the most tender, juicy chicken thighs, cook them at 400F.

We sear the chicken over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to get the skin nice and crispy before roasting, so our bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs only need to roast for about 25 to 30 minutes at 400F.

Do I Have to Sear the Chicken?

No! If you want, you can make chermoula chicken entirely in the oven.

If you skip searing the chicken thighs, spread the sauce on top and roast them at 400F for about 30 to 35 minutes. To crisp the skin without searing the chicken, you can broil it for a couple minutes at the end of roasting.

How Do I Know When Dark Meat Chicken is Fully Cooked?

Dark meat chicken (such as legs and thighs) is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 to 175F. You can test this with an instant-read thermometer.

Also note that when chicken is fully done, the juices should run clear, not pink or red.

Can I Make Grilled Chermoula Chicken?

Absolutely! To make grilled chermoula chicken, I like to marinade chicken in chermoula paste for at least 4 hours, but up to 24 hours. After that, grill the chicken as normal, and serve with additional chermoula sauce for serving.

More Chicken Dinner Recipes to Make

overhead view of chermoula chicken meal with couscous or bulgur pilaf

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Chermoula Chicken

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
This chermoula chicken recipe yields tender and juicy meat with crispy skin and tons of flavor thanks to a fresh zesty, spicy North African herb sauce. This restaurant-quality meal whips up in less than an hour and pairs well with couscous or an easy 15-minute bulgur wheat pilaf, which I also share the recipe for.

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Ingredients
 

Chermoula Sauce:

Chermoula Chicken:

  • 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs 2 pounds is about 6 to 8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 batch chermoula sauce

Other:

  • Bulgur pilaf or couscous (optional for serving; see Notes for recipe)

Instructions
 

For the Chermoula Sauce:

  • Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop it up a bit, and then process until it’s as smooth as you like it (don’t completely puree it, leave a bit of texture).
  • You can make the chermoula sauce up to 3 days ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

For the Chermoula Chicken:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet) over medium-high heat.
  • Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken thighs skin-side-down, and sear until the skin is brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Flip the chicken thighs over and spread 2 tablespoons of chermoula sauce on top of each (reserve the remaining sauce for serving).
  • Bake until the chicken is fully cooked, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Dark meat chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 to 175F.)

To Serve:

  • Serve the chicken with the remaining sauce to spoon on top, along with bulgur wheat pilaf or couscous if desired.

Notes

  • Nutrition Information: The nutritional information for this recipe was calculated without the optional Bulgur Pilaf for serving.
  • Chermoula Sauce Yield: This recipe makes about 3/4 cup of sauce. You will need the entire batch to make 2 pounds of bone-in skin-on chicken thighs.
  • Storage: You can make the chermoula sauce up to 3 days ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. After cooking chermoula chicken, let it cool to room temperature and then store it covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Bulgur Wheat Pilaf to Serve with Chermoula Chicken

One of my favorite things to serve with chermoula chicken is a sweet and savory bulgur pilaf. It’s packed with flavor and couldn’t be easier to make! Here’s my recipe:

Bulgur Pilaf Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as mint, cilantro, or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

How to Make Bulgur Pilaf:

  1. Add the oil to a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until it’s softened, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the raisins, bulgur wheat, chicken stock, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, and then let it boil (uncovered) for 2 minutes.
  4. Immediately turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let it sit covered with the heat off for 10 minutes.
  5. Fluff with a fork, and then add the herbs and lemon zest, and gently stir to mix.
  6. Serve!

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 496mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 1366IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North African
Keyword: Chermoula Chicken, Chermoula Chicken Recipe

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chermoula chicken pin
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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41 Comments

  1. For a while now, I had let go of buying chicken breasts and went with the more tender pieces of thighs. I shall try to make this work in my own way so that I can get to try this very uniquely twisted recipe by Faith ;o)
    Beautiful presentaion pics!

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  2. Thank you all for your sweet comments and birthday wishes! They really mean a lot to me. :)

  3. I love the little spin you put on the chermoula to make it your own! This looks insanely delicious Faith! I saw chermoula in one of the latest food magazines – you convinced me I need to try it.

  4. I bet the chermoula would be great just slab on a slice of bread.

  5. Oooh, Faith, this looks so delicious, very comforting, and I love the flavors.

  6. I have never heard the term Chermoula, so I love learning something new! I enjoy Moroccan cuisine, though, and like how you personalized the recipe with parsley/mint and fresh lemon zest. Healthy, pretty, and delicious!

  7. HAppy birthday fellow Libra! Love chormula, this recipe looks like something I’m going to try very soon!

  8. Stopped in to say Happy Birthday!!! But looks like I get the present…Beautiful dish, I have just recently discovered bulgur and most definitely need some inspirational uses. I hope you have had a wonderful Birthday :)

  9. Faith, this dish is so awesome! I like all the ingredients here.

  10. oooh! Hello gorgeous! This is what would hit the spot tonight and I think I have everything I need. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Faith,

    Happy Birthday, again. Truly a lovely dish. Your craft and delicate touch are all over this dish. The chicken is stuffed gloriously. I recently made a rolled stuffed chicken, it does not look as good as yours. I will not drone on with my inane comments. I’ll just repeat your words that describe the dish perfectly…

    Everything ended up being delicious; the chicken was tender and juicy and full of bright, fresh flavors that paired beautifully with the earthy, nutty flavor of the bulgur pilaf.

    Exactly!

  12. With beautiful flavors and sauces like this, it’s no wonder that I adore Moroccan food. Gorgeous presentation! I love that the chermoula does double duty as stuffing and sauce!

  13. What a beautiful dish. I grew up eating mostly Chinese food all my life and didn’t really explore cuisines from other cultures until I moved out on my own. This is a very refreshing dish to me from what I’m used to eating. Chermoula sounds like a wonderful sauce, thank you for teaching me what it is and made up of. Wonderful dish! Hope you have a very happy birthday, Faith!

  14. Heavenly Housewife says:

    I see by reading the comments its your birthday, Happy birthday daaaaaahling!!!!!!!!!!
    I WANT this dinner! It is completely stunning and has all the flavours I adore. So so so sos yum!
    *kisses* HH

  15. Happy Birthday to you Faith. Chermoula sounds delicious. As it contains all the spices I am familiar with. Sure it taste great.

  16. Faith! Lazaro told me it was your birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! :D

    I’m loving the sound of the chermoula. I’ve ever heard of it before but that’s usually the case anyway when I read your posts. I always learn something new. :)

    This dish looks incredibly decadent and I can almost taste the wonderful contrast between the sweetness of the raisins and the savoriness of… well, the rest of the dish. :P

    Have a fantastic day. <3

  17. Aren’t golden raisins so tasty? I think that was a great modification to make to this traditional dish :) You know, I’ve never really liked bulgur, but maybe I just haven’t been preparing it right? I”ll have to try your version and see if I like it any better – it sure looks good in your pictures!

    By the way … HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! :D

  18. That pilaf looks very mouthwatering and the chicken is wonderful!

  19. This looks great! Definitely putting it on my list of dinners to make real soon!

  20. Raisins give a very sophisticated flavor to meat. I have a couple of recipes with raisins and I will add your in them. Morocco lately is quite in fashion. I must admit they have a very flavorful kitchen. Beautiful dish.

  21. I’ve never heard of chermoula! Love to learn new things, Faith. This dish really looks delicious! I don’t cook with bulgur nearly enough.

  22. It’s almost dinner time and I am starving so I wish I didn’t see this cos it looks delish! Lucky we are also having chicken for dinner :) We will have to try this dish though, cos Soy made a batch of chermoula last weekend!

  23. Ooh…the textures and the flavors here…you are the queen of that, Faith. I always did love bulgur!

  24. A beautiful dish! Lovely pilaf.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  25. I love it when I learn something new. I’ve only ever had Chermoula flavours in seafood, not chicken. This looks wonderful. Combining this dish with Pilaf is a winner too. Nice one Faith :)

  26. Now, that is a pretty dish. All that eye-popping green really makes it so enticing. A great way to dress up chicken.

  27. Truly wonderful dish, I always like bulgur pilaf !

  28. Now that is one chicken dish I would love to sink my teeth into! Looks very delicious and healthy too! I shall pass on the pilaf though because I am not so into rice.

  29. Oh Faith, I shouldn’t have looked at this so close to lunchtime! I love how you’ve stuffed the chicken to keep it flavoursome and moist! :D

  30. You are such a gourmet cook! This looks fantastic.

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