Nutrition and Diet

Harissa Chicken

Get ready to spice up your dinner routine with this easy Harissa chicken! It’s all about bold flavors and simple steps, perfect for a weeknight meal. Just marinate, sauté, and serve up this zesty chicken that’s guaranteed to kick your taste buds into high gear.

If you’re in the mood to explore more delicious chicken dishes, check out these flavorful recipes. For a taste of South America, try Peruvian Chicken. If you’re craving something with a bit of Asian flair, Chicken Satay is a must! Or, this other North African classic, Moroccan Chicken Tagineis the way to go!

Harissa chicken served over rice and garnished with fresh green herbs and lime wedges.

Tender, juicy bites of chicken marinated in a gloriously savory, spicy, ever-so-slightly sweet sauce and sauteed to sizzling perfection? Sign me up! You won’t be able to get enough of this harissa chicken. I was in Morocco a year ago and fell in love with this dish – I could practically drink the marinade. It’s made up of harissa paste, lime juice, honey, garlic, and warming spices. Bite-sized pieces of chicken are coated in the marinade and left to sit for 30 minutes before getting thrown into a hot skillet for an easy, mouthwatering entree.

What Is Harissa?

Harissa sauce, also known as harissa paste, is a fiery chili paste that hails from Tunisia in North Africa. It’s made with dried red chiles and gets its kick from a punchy mix of garlic, citrus, and olive oil. To spice things up, it includes a blend of warm spices like cumincoriander, and caraway seeds, making it a must-try for lovers of bold flavors!

Why You’ll Love This Harissa Chicken Recipe

  • Flavorful Marinade. Lately, I’m all about the harissa paste. Spicy, peppery, smokey, and garlicky, it packs such a flavor punch. Mixed with a hint of sweetness from honey, acidity from lime juice, and a hint of cumin and paprikait makes for a mind-blowing marinade.
  • Perfect amount of heat. This dish is spicy but not too spicy. It’s perfect for those of you who appreciate a little heat but not so much that you can’t taste your food. For those of you who want a little less heat, just scale back on the harissa paste.
  • Easy peasy. This easy chicken recipe only requires 15 minutes of active time in the kitchen. Cube some chicken, let it marinate, and then saute until done.
Labeled ingredients for harissa chicken.

What You’ll Need

Before you begin working on this vibrant and spicy harissa chicken recipe, grab the ingredients listed below and whip up this delicious dinner, stat!

  • Olive oil – Vegetable oil or canola oil is also okay.
  • Lime juice – Adds a bright touch to balance the spiciness of the harissa. You could use fresh lemon juice instead.
  • Honey – Provides sweetness to contrast the heat, but if you’re not a honey person, try agave.
  • Harissa paste – You can find this in the ethnic foods section of your grocery store. It is also available online.
  • Garlic – I use 3 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • Seasonings – Paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – Boneless skinless chicken breast tenders or chicken thighs are great alternatives.
  • Fresh mint – Fresh parsley would be a good substitute. You can also leave the mint out entirely, but I love the freshness and color it adds.

How To Make Harissa Chicken

Harissa paste chicken is quick and easy to make. Putting it all together is easier than you might think! Just follow these simple steps to get a zesty, mouth-watering meal on the table in no time.

  1. Marinate the chicken. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, harissa, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper until smooth. Combine the marinade and the chicken in a large zip-top bag, seal the bag, and massage the marinade into the chicken. Let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the chicken. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and saute for 7-10 minutes or until browned on all sides and cooked through.
  3. Serve. Serve warm garnished with mint.
Chicken bites tossed with harissa paste mixture and served on an oval platter, garnished with lime and green herbs.

  • Marinating Time. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes but for no longer than 1 hour. If left for too long, the citrus will start breaking down the chicken, turning it rubbery.
  • Don’t crowd the pan. Make sure each piece of chicken has a little room to breathe in the pan. If the pan is too crowded, the chicken won’t sear properly. It will steam instead leaving you with rubbery results.
  • Don’t overcook the chicken. No one wants dry, tough chicken, so don’t overcook yours. Test one of the larger pieces at 7 minutes (just cut it in half with a fork). If you still see pink, keep cooking and test every minute or so. If your chicken piece is white and cooked through in the middle, remove the pan from the heat. You’re done.
  • Adjust the seasoning. Before beginning, give the harissa paste a taste. If it is on the spicier side, you can use less (or use less paprika) in the marinade. Don’t be afraid to tailor this recipe to your taste preferences.

Serving Suggestions

Serving the right side dishes with your harissa chicken can turn a simple meal into a feast. Here are some excellent options that complement the spicy and bold flavors of harissa paste chicken:

Harissa chicken served over rice.

Proper Storage

  • To store. Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature before sealing it in an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat. Thaw the leftover harissa chicken in the fridge (if applicable) before transferring it to a baking dish, covering it with aluminum foil, and baking at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Otherwise, microwave smaller portions in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until warm.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Looking for more easy chicken recipes for your weeknight dinner rotation? Here are a few other great ones.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Marinating Time 30 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

  • Make the marinade. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, harissa, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper until smooth.

  • Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken to a large Ziplock bag and pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the chicken. Place the bag in the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes or so (no longer than 1 hour).

  • Cook the chicken. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and saute for 7-10 minutes or until browned on all sides and cooked through.

  • Serve. Serve warm, garnished with mint.

Serving: 8 ounces | Calories: 291 kcal | Carbohydrates: 6 g | Protein: 33 g | Fat: 15 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9 g | Trans Fat: 0.02 g | Cholesterol: 97 mg | Sodium: 666 mg | Potassium: 633 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 424 IU | Vitamin C: 5 mg | Calcium: 25 mg | Iron: 1 mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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