Ready to spice up your chicken dinner? This quick harissa chicken recipe is your ticket! Chicken thighs coated in harissa chile paste, garlic, onion and a few warm spices. Savory, smoky, with a little spice kick!
Be sure to check out the video and tips below.
In an earlier post, I showed you how to make harissa. And if you’ve been looking for ways to use up this savory, sweet, smoky, spicy chile paste, I highly recommend you start with this easy grilled harissa chicken!
This easy chicken recipe is all the flavor, thanks to a quick marinade with a few tablespoons of harissa paste, garlic, onions, and a couple warm spices.
What is Harissa?
I covered this question earlier, but it bears repeating for those who are new here.
Harissa sauce or harissa paste is a North African chile paste, originally from Tunisia. It is typically made of dry red chiles, garlic, citrus, extra virgin olive oil and a few warm spices including cumin, coriander and caraway seeds.
Why this Grilled Harissa Chicken Works?
The goal of this recipe is to create a quick chicken dinner that is exciting and loaded with flavor. We’re not necessarily after spicy chicken, but we do get enough of a kick here.
And, I love that there is so much flavor in these harissa chicken thighs that, if you don’t have the time, you don’t need to let the chicken marinate for any amount of time.
You can basically have this grilled chicken on the table in 15 minutes!
How to make it
First, the chicken takes on a quick coating of homeamde harissa sauce (mine is mild with just enough kick, sweet, smoky, and a little bit tangy), along with fresh garlic, and a few warm spices: coriander, cumin and smoked paprika.
You can cook the chicken thighs over medium-high heat on an outdoor grill OR an indoor griddle or skillet!
A quick note. Harissa can be made in advance to keep in the fridge for use with this harissa chicken, fish, meats or even veggies. Store-bought harissa paste will work in a pinch, but it can vary in flavor. If using store-bought, it’s a good idea to start with less of it in this recipe, since it is more salty and can also be more spicy.
What to serve along
More chicken recipes you may like:
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Grilled Harissa Chicken
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lb)
- Kosher salt
- 10 large garlic cloves minced
- ½ red onion sliced
- 1 ½ tsp coriander
- 1 ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (or 1 tsp sweet paprika)
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne or more to your liking
- 5 to 6 tbsp homemade harissa paste (I use this recipe for harissa. See notes if using store-bought harissa)
- Juice 1 lemon
- Generous drizzle of olive oil
- Pat the chicken dry and season with kosher salt on both sides.
- Place the chicken in a bowl and add garlic, onions, spices, and harissa paste. Add lemon juice and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Heat an outdoor grill or an indoor griddle to medium-high heat (between 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit) and be sure to lightly oil the grates. Grill for 6 to 7 minutes or so on each side or until the chicken is fully cooked (using an instant read thermometer chicken's internal temperature should register 165 degrees F at the thickest part).
- Cook’s Tip: For best results, use this homemade harissa paste. Harissa can be made in advance to keep in the fridge for use with this harissa chicken, fish, meats or even veggies. Store-bought harissa paste will work in a pinch, but it can vary in flavor. If using store-bought harissa, it’s a good idea to start with less of it in this recipe, since it is more salty and can also be more spicy.
- Option to Marinate: If you have the time, allow the chicken to marinate in the harissa paste and spices for a bit. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. But if you do not have the time, go ahead and grill the chicken as instructed, it will still be delicious.
- Visit our Online Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and spices used in this recipe.
This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2018 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers’ benefit. Enjoy!