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Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Oranges

The first time I had this tajine recipe I had no idea such a thing even existed. Chicken and lemon tajine is on every single Moroccan menu the world over but chicken with oranges? I had never heard of it. When it was presented at Riad Zamzam in Marrakech and I took the first bite of Moroccan chicken tajine with oranges, it was love!

I have since learned that this dish is an authentic Moroccan chicken recipe, specifically belonging to the Moroccan Jewish culinary tradition. A bit of cookbook research and question asking provided the answer. This also explains why I hadn’t encountered it.

Top image, chicken tajine with oranges and bottom image is of the same dish served in white bowl with the text Moroccan chicken tagine with oranges

To be honest, chicken and lemon tajine is one of my least favorite dishes so I didn’t expect I would like this Moroccan recipe. I’m glad I gave it a shot.

The Ingredients in Making Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Oranges

The ingredients used for the Moroccan orange chicken tagine are pretty simple. In fact, compared to most tajines this has fewer ingredients than any other. It’s super simple but the final result is outstanding.

First and foremost, the succulent chicken, with its tender texture and rich taste, serves as the perfect canvas for the dish. The use of oranges adds a delightful citrusy twist, imparting both sweetness and tanginess to the tagine, elevating its overall flavor profile. Additionally, the tagine typically incorporates a medley of spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and paprika, which infuse the dish with warm, aromatic notes that are characteristic of Moroccan cuisine. The inclusion of dried fruits like apricots or raisins lends a subtle sweetness and textural contrast, enhancing the complexity of flavors.

Chicken and orange tagine ingredients

Another key component is the use of onions, garlic, and ginger, which form the aromatic base of the tagine, providing depth and intensity to the sauce. The addition of preserved lemons adds a unique and distinctive tanginess, balancing the sweetness of the oranges and complementing the savory elements of the dish.

Furthermore, the slow-cooking method in a traditional clay tagine allows the flavors to meld together harmoniously, resulting in a dish that is rich, aromatic, and incredibly satisfying. Finally, the garnish of fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley adds a burst of freshness and color, providing the perfect finishing touch to this exquisite Moroccan dish.

If you don’t like the idea of meat and fruit you won’t like this but if you’re open to the idea, get ready!

How to Make Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Oranges

I cooked Moroccan chicken recipe on my gas stove in a traditional tajine. You could make it in a cast-iron tajine and it would work in a pan or a Dutch oven, you probably just won’t get the same caramelization effect clay offers. Moroccan oranges are also sweeter than other oranges I’ve had so you may need to adjust the sweetness depending on your oranges.

Combining chicken and oranges can yield surprisingly delicious results. The savory notes of the chicken perfectly complement the sweet and tangy flavor of the oranges. This culinary pairing creates a delightful contrast of tastes that tantalizes the palate. One popular example is the classic dish of orange chicken, where tender pieces of chicken are coated in a zesty orange sauce. The marriage of these ingredients creates a harmonious fusion of flavors that is both satisfying and memorable. Whether grilled, roasted, or stir-fried, chicken and oranges make for a winning combination in various cuisines around the world.

Chicken marinated in zesty orange sauce
A bowl of orange chicken

One other bonus of Moroccan orange chicken tagine recipe – when you cook the oranges, keep the temperature really low and the smell of the orange and cinnamon cooking together will make your whole house smell amazing!

Do I Need a Tagine to Cook This?

Technically no, you could cook this chicken orange tagine on low with a pot or a Dutch oven. However a tagine pot is a good investment if you think you might be making more than one tagine. If you’re unsure which one to get, visit my tagine comparison guide for more information.

What to Serve With This Chicken Tagine

This is truly one of the more unique and lesser-seen tagines however it makes for a fantastic table centerpiece. Here are some ideas of what you could serve with it.

Begin with Moroccan Khobz, a must-have bread that perfectly complements the flavors and textures of the tagine.

Next, consider a Fresh Fennel Salad, where you can decide whether to keep in the oranges for a citrusy zing or omit them for a different twist.

For a vibrant and visually striking addition, prepare a Moroccan Beet Salad; its rich color offers a beautiful contrast and its earthy flavor profile pairs wonderfully with the tagine.

Finally, complete the spread with a Simple Sharmoula Salad, a timeless Arabic salad that never fails to delight with its refreshing blend of flavors.

Together, these dishes create a culinary journey that perfectly complements the uniqueness of the Moroccan tagine.

Moroccan Chicken and Orange Tajine
Yield: 4-6 servings

Moroccan Chicken and Orange Tajine

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

For a sweet and savory tajine, look no further. It's the perfect recipe to add a bit of flavor to your table.


  • 1 whole chicken (appx 2.5 lbs or 1 kg) cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • pinch of saffron threads (8-10)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large thin-skinned orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar or honey
  • pinch of salt
  • toasted, chopped almonds (optional)


  1. Clean and cut your chicken. You can leave some skin on or completely remove it depending on personal preference.
  2. In a bowl combine fresh ginger, powdered ginger, turmeric, pepper, and salt. Pour 1/2 of the oil into the spices and mix them together.
  3. Add the spice mixture to the chicken, rubbing all over the meat, and set aside to marinate while preparing the rest of the dish.
  4. In a small cup add a small amount of warm water. Break apart the saffron threads in your hand and add to the warm water. Leave for 2-3 minutes until it blooms.
  5. Dice a large onion into fine dice and add to the bottom of the tajine or cooking vessel. Add the remaining oil and turn to low heat. Leave for 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften.
  6. When the onions have softened, arrange the chicken in the tajine. Pour the saffron water on top of the chicken pieces.
  7. Add a 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the tajine and cover.
  8. Allow the chicken to cook on low heat for 45 minutes - 1 hour. Check the water level and the tenderness of the chicken. It should be falling apart. If not continue cooking adding a bit of water if necessary.

To Cook the Oranges

  1. Wash and dry the orange well.
  2. Slice into thin slices with a sharp knife. As thin as possible.
  3. Add just enough water to cover the oranges as well as the cinnamon stick. Turn to very low heat and leave to cook.
  4. Add the cinnamon powder, sugar/honey, and a pinch of salt after the oranges have softened. Boil until a thick syrup is created.
  5. Arrange the oranges on top of the tagine and pour the sauce around the base of the dish.
  6. At the very end roughly chop some almonds and sprinkle them on the top of the oranges. They add a nice texture contrast.

So, next time you’re in the kitchen, consider experimenting with this delightful duo for a mouthwatering culinary experience, perhaps even trying your hand at an authentic orange chicken recipe.

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