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This Moroccan Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemons is my new favorite perfect roasted chicken. Marinated overnight in olive oil and spices, stuffed with green olives, onions, garlic, and preserved lemons for an extra boost of flavor, and roasted to a crisp and juicy perfection, this might just be the best roasted chicken ever, plus it’s HEALTHY!!
And I’m serious about that guys….best roasted chicken ever. And simple. Simple as in easy to make, but also simple, amazing flavors.
This Moroccan roasted chicken is going to be your new favorite chicken guys. And the fact that it’s healthy is just an added bonus. Note it’s really only healthy if you don’t eat the skin…sorry to disappoint.
Salty preserved lemons, brined green olives, paprika, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, oh my! So many amazing flavors are going on here. And you can’t forget that skin…that deliciously fatty but crispy chicken skin that is the start of many a family feud. The boyfriend and I often eye each others plate to make sure no one has more skin.
Truth be told, I always have more skin. He doesn’t know what I eat before he even sees it….
The Ingredients for Moroccan Roasted Chicken with Olives
I use a 5-6 lbs. whole chicken for this Moroccan chicken recipe. If you use a smaller chicken, you will need to adjust the roast time down. Rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound, but that’s not always totally accurate (use a Thermapen to get super accurate results every time).
If you’ve never had preserved lemons, you totally need them in your life. The flavor they add is like none other. And they are super easy to make at home, though it takes some time for them to preserve. So you can either make your own and store them, or you can buy them through the links I provided below. I highly recommend making them in the future if you’ve never done it. You’ll become addicted!
The remaining ingredients for this chicken with preserved lemons are pretty self explanatory. Buy them at the grocery store, or though the below Amazon links (affiliate links – I earn a small commission if you buy through these links to keep this site running):
How to Make Moroccan Roasted Chicken
This is the part you’re going to love. It’s so easy to make this Moroccan chicken. First, pat your chicken dry, remove any innards, and place it on a roasting rack or directly in a roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and salt. Rub this mixture all over the chicken, massaging it into the skin. make sure to coat all sides.
Then stuff the cavity with the mixture of onions, smashed garlic, olives and preserved lemons. Cover the chicken with foil and let sit in the fridge overnight to marinade.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature (let it sit for about 30 minutes). In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Truss the chicken to keep the legs from drying out. I like to drizzle another tablespoon of olive on the chicken before placing it in the oven. Place the small potatoes in the bottom of the roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and salt.
**Halfway through the roasting process, add the cherry/grape tomatoes to the roasting pan and drizzle with additional olive oil (if necessary) and 1-2 tsp. salt (to taste).
Place the chicken in the oven and turn the heat down to 400 degrees. Roast the chicken for 60-90 minutes in total. This will depend on the size of the chicken. Mine was about 6.5 lbs. and it took about 100 minutes. If you have a 4 lbs chicken, it will probably only take 60 minutes. But here is where you need to use a thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should read 160 degrees when removing it from the oven. It will continue to increase after you remove it from the oven, so don’t worry if it’s not at the recommended 165 degrees before removing it.
Let the Moroccan roasted chicken rest for 15 minutes. This part is key for the internal temperature to come to 165 degrees, plus, it allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in the most delicious juicy chicken.
**If you plan on eating the stuffing of the bird, I recommend placing it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes to make sure all bacteria is killed.
What temperature should a whole chicken be cooked to?
A chicken is safe to eat at 165 degrees. I typically cook the chicken to 160 degrees and remove from the heat. The temperature will continue to rise to 165 degrees. Check it before eating. (I use the Thermapen to check temperatures – see below for further details).
How do I make the the perfect roasted chicken?
Seriously guys, just follow this recipe. Trussing the chicken and roasting it at a high temperature will result in tender, juicy chicken and that amazingly crisp and delicious skin. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, place your Moroccan chicken in and turn down the heat to 400. This ensures that the oven stays nice and hot while roasting.
Tools used for this Moroccan Chicken
– Thermapen MK4: The Thermapen is an instant read thermometer that has been a dream! It is totally accurate and gives you an incredibly fast reading so you’re not wondering what the real temperature is. It’s not a cheap tool, but it’s a lifesaver for someone like me who consistently under-cooks chicken….
– Roasting pan: I love this large roasting pan with handles. It’s fits a pretty large bird (or ham, or lasgana, etc) and it easy to handle.
– Roasting rack: I like to use a roasting rack so the bottom of the chicken doesn’t get soggy.
– Twine: I use this twine to truss the chicken so the legs don’t dry out.
Is this Moroccan Chicken healthy?
If you refrain from eating the skin of the chicken, this Moroccan Roasted chicken is very healthy. But really, who can resist the skin. Everything in moderation, right?
More amazing must-make chicken recipes
Brazilian Roasted Chicken Thighs with Citrus Corn Gravy
Chicken Braised in White Wine and Dijon
Thai Fried Chicken and Waffles
Roasted Miso Butter Chicken Thighs
Chicken Pad Thai Egg Rolls
Thai Marinated Cornish Game Hens
Thai Chicken Flatbread Pizza
Chicken Udon Noodle Stir Fry
Did you make this perfect roasted chicken with preserved lemons? Rate the recipe and leave a comment below to let me know how it turned out!
Whole Roasted Moroccan Chicken
- 1 (4-6) pound whole chicken
- 1/2 cup preserved lemons
- 1/2 cup green olives
- 1 small onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves smashed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil separated
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
- 3 teaspoons salt separated
- 20 small white potatoes
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
- Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, ras el hanout and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a bowl and mix into a paste. Massage the paste onto the chicken, covering all sides.
- Remove the pulp from the preserved lemons - we are only using the skins in this recipe. Reserve the pulp for future use if desired. Chop the preserved lemon peels.
- Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the preserved lemons, olives, onions and garlic. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature (let it sit for about 30 minutes).
- Truss the chicken legs with twine. Place the potatoes in the roasting pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Cover the pan loosely with foil. Remove it halfway through cooking (at the 45 minute mark).
- Place the chicken in the oven and turn the heat down to 400F degrees. Roast the chicken for 90 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160F degrees.
- Halfway through roasting, add the cherry/grape tomatoes to the roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Also, remove the foil at this point.
- Baste the chicken with it's own juices halfway through.
- Use only the skins of the preserved lemons, discard any pulp, or use it in cocktails, puree it in dips fr extra tanginess, or saute it with veggies (you could use it in this Broccolini).
- Leaving the chicken uncovered while it sits in the fridge allows the skin to dry, which is what gives us that perfectly crispy skin when roasting.
- Chicken is safe to eat at 165 degrees. I typically cook the chicken to 160 degrees and remove from the heat. The temperature will continue to rise to 165 degrees. Use an instant read thermometer like this Thermapen to check the temperature.
- If the skin of the chicken starts to brown too much, cover it loosely in aluminum foil while it roasts. Remove the foil at the end to crisp it up.