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This Moroccan Lemon Chicken Recipe is a staple in my family. If you’re just visiting my blog for the first time you may not know that I was born in Morocco. I felt it was only natural that I learn to make at least one authentic Moroccan dish and I knew I wanted to make Moroccan lemon chicken. This Moroccan Lemon chicken is gluten-free, low-carb, keto, and paleo friendly.
I remember having this when I went to visit my aunt in Virginia Beach and it was delicious. I experimented with the recipe several times and added in my own touches until it was perfect. This is as authentic as it gets and full of flavor.
This recipe includes both Instant Pot and Slow Cookers instructions. My aunt always made this in a crockpot but many Moroccan dishes are traditionally cooked in pressure cookers as a way to get that same tenderness you would from cooking for several hours in a tajine. You can think of a tajine as almost a dutch oven.
The benefits of cooking with Preserved Lemons
Preserved Lemons are lemons that are jarred in brine and used in many Moroccan recipes. Preserving your lemons allows you to eat the entire lemon in your dishes, including the rind, without any bitter taste. I like to make this Preserved Lemon Recipe in the morning and then by the time I get home they’re perfect and ready to use. Below are some additional ways I like to cook with preserved lemons.
- Chicken Picatta
- Roasted Lemon Chicken with Rosemary
- ontop of salmon and fish
- soups and stews
Is Moroccan Lemon Chicken Healthy?
Moroccan Lemon chicken is incredibly is gluten-free, low-carb, keto, and paleo friendly. If you are following a low-calorie diet, you can enjoy this dish with whole wheat couscous. A 1/4 cup will add an additional 150-200 calories and still keep you under a 500 calorie meal!
Alternatively, this dish can also be made with potatoes, served with basmati rice, or eaten alone.
How to Make Instant Pot Moroccan Lemon Chicken
1. Using the Instant Pot is my favorite way to cook Moroccan Lemon Chicken. For years, my family has always used a traditional pressure cooker even before Instant Pots were around. To begin, you will marinate your Skinless, boneless chicken thighs for 30 minutes or even overnight. First, trim all of the access fat off of your chicken thighs and add them to a medium size bowl. Then add your spices, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, onions, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with saran wrap for 30 minutes or leave overnight in the fridge.
2. Next, turn on your Instant Pot to saute mode. Let the Instant Pot pre-heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive or avocado oil. Once the oil is hot, add your chicken thighs and let them saute on one side for 4 minutes. Do not move them around. It is ok if they slightly stick to the bottom of the pan, but if you are worried about sticking, I highly recommend the ceramic Instant Pot insert.
3. After 4 minutes or when your chicken thighs are browned to your liking, remove the chicken thighs and place them to the side. Then turn off the Instant and add your chicken broth to the bowl to get all the remaining seasoning and juice. Pour the broth into the instant pot and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom. This will add flavor to the broth and prevent getting any burn notice.
4. Next, add the trivet that comes with your Instant Pot to the bottom and place your chicken thighs, seared side up, on the trivet. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Once finished turn off the Instant Pot and wait 5 minutes before releasing the steam.
5. Then, remove the trivet with your chicken thighs and set them to the side. Add your carrots (and optional potatoes if you use them) to the broth and pressure cook on high for 1 minute, then quick release.
6. Finally, turn off the Instant Pot and add your olives, preserved lemons, and peas. Stir and pour into a serving dish. Then add your chicken thighs back into the dish.
How to make Moroccan Lemon Chicken in the Crockpot (slow cooker)
To make Moroccan Lemon Chicken in the Instant Pot, you will follow step 1 for marinating your chicken thighs. Then add them to the bottom of the crockpot and place the carrots on top (and potatoes if you are using them). Next, add your chicken broth and set for 8 hours. Once finished, add your preserved lemon, olives, and peas.
For an extra special touch, I enjoy serving this dish in small tajines. I found this amazing 10pc. tagine set on Amazon and use them all the time when I make Moroccan or Indian dishes. They add that extra special touch and are a hit at dinner parties.
Meal Prep and Storage
One reason I make this recipe so often is that this dish freezes incredibly well. I typically double the recipe and make a large batch to enjoy throughout the month for leftovers. I portion out several freezer friendly containers with one chicken thigh, vegetables, and sauce. They last 4-5 months in the freezer and I can take one out the night before to defrost for an easy lunch or dinner.
Another tip when making this recipe is to add a little corn starch, tapioca starch, or flour to the chicken broth if you want your sauce to be thicker. This is traditional not a thick sauce like many may be used to. Adding starch as a thickener is a quick and easy way to thicken your sauces without adding too many calories. Just take out a little broth when the dish is finished cooking, whisk in 1 tablespoon of corn starch, and pour back into the dish. Simmer on low heat until the sauce has thickened.
For this recipe, I highly recommend not substituting chicken breasts for chicken thighs. Trust me when I tell you, the chicken thighs will be so much better. Using chicken breast will also make the chicken dry if it is reheated. You can however use chicken drumsticks instead or in addition to chicken thighs!
More Chicken Dishes
If you make this Moroccan Lemon Chicken Recipe, please let me know and leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
Moroccan Lemon Chicken Recipe Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 package Chicken Thighs skinless and boneless
- 1 cup Chicken stock organic
- 1 cup Carrots diced into large pieces
- ½ cup peas frozen organic
- 1 cup green olives large whole
- ⅛ cup preserved lemon 2 slices diced
- ⅛ cup cilantro for garnish
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice fresh squeezed
- ½ cup sweet onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger use only fresh grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Cinammon
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Tumeric
- ⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Salt pink himalayan or cracked sea salt
Marinate Chicken Thighs
- First cut off access fat on your chicken thighs and add them to a medium bowl along with the spices, onions, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.1 tbsp olive oil, 1 package Chicken Thighs, ¼ cup lemon juice, ½ cup sweet onion, 1 tbsp ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp Paprika, 1/2 tsp Cinammon, 1/4 tsp Cumin, 1/2 tsp Tumeric, ⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper, 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, 1 tsp Salt
Instant Pot Instructions
- Then, turn your instant pot on saute. Once your pot is pre-heated, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs and saute for 4 minutes. Do not move.1 tbsp Olive Oil, 1 package Chicken Thighs
- Remove chicken thighs, turn off the Instant Pot, and set aside. Pour the chicken broth into the bowl to get all remaining juice and seasoning. Then add to the instant pot and scrape off all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.1 cup Chicken stock
- Next, add the Instant Pot trivet, and place chicken thighs on top, with the seared side up. Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes and then turn off the Instant Pot and wait 5 minutes before releasing the steam. Remove the trivet with chicken thighs and set to the side.
- Add carrots and pressure cook on high for 1 minute, then quick release.1 cup Carrots
- Turn off the instant pot and add the olives, preserved lemons, and peas. Stir together and pour into a serving dish. Then add back in your chicken thighs, garnish with preserved lemon wedges and cilantro.½ cup peas, 1 cup green olives, ⅛ cup preserved lemon, ⅛ cup cilantro
- I usually enjoy this dish with whole wheat couscous from Trader Joes which is very easy to make and cooks in only 5 minutes. Adding 1/4 cup of cooked whole wheat couscous will add an additional 160 calories, 4g of fiber, and 6g of protein to this recipe.
- other serving suggestions include adding in potatoes. The potatoes would be added with the carrots.
- you can also enjoy this dish with basmati rice
- this recipe can also be made with chicken drumsticks, but I do not recommend using chicken breasts.
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