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.

grilled harissa chicken in a pan

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 cumincoriander and caraway seeds.

harissa paste

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!

harissa chicken in the pan. a side of parsley

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.

chicken thighs tossed in harissa paste, spices, garlic, and onions

You can cook the chicken thighs over medium-high heat on an outdoor grill OR an indoor griddle or skillet!

grilled chicken thighs

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

For an easy dinner, I like to serve these harissa chicken thighs over quick couscous, adding a side salad (something like cooling Cucumber Radish Salad, hearty Mediterranean bean salad,, or this lazy cucumber and tomato salad).

But it's also great with: baked zucchini; grilled vegetables; Skordalia; or roasted cauliflower. Or, if you can multitask at the grill, up your BBQ game with Grilled Romaine Salad.

More chicken recipes you may like:

Browse Top 50 Mediterranean Diet recipes. Browse all recipes here. Join my free e-mail list 

4.96 from 93 votes

Grilled Harissa Chicken

The Mediterranean Dish
grilled harissa chicken in a pan
Thanks to harissa paste, this easy grilled chicken recipe is all the flavor! Slightly sweet, smoky, tangy, and just enough spicy. Serve it over quick-cooked couscous, a side of veggies, or with your favorite Mediterranean salad.
Prep – 20 minutes
Cook – 12 minutes
Total – 32 minutes
Serves – 8 chicken pieces


  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lb)
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 large garlic cloves minced
  • ½ red onion sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or 1 teaspoon sweet paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne or more to your liking
  • 5 to 6 tablespoon 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. 


Calories: 154.5kcalCarbohydrates: 4.3gProtein: 22.5gFat: 4.8gSaturated Fat: 1.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.7gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 107.3mgSodium: 227.9mgPotassium: 355.1mgFiber: 0.7gSugar: 1.6gVitamin A: 272.8IUVitamin C: 3.4mgCalcium: 25.4mgIron: 1.3mg
Tried 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!

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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  1. Shane says:

    5 stars
    The simplicity of this recipe is great!

  2. Kam says:

    5 stars
    Very easy to make and I had everything in the cupboard, adjusted the recipe for me as there is only me lol

    Used the air fryer and a temp probe to make sure it was cooked properly, I really enjoyed the flavour. Liked that you put all the nutritional information at the end too.

    Now onto the next meal. ps it was store bought Harissa paste, with some nice leafy salad.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks, Kam! So glad to hear this one works well in the air fryer!

  3. John says:

    5 stars
    We made this for dinner last night. Used store bought harissa. The only real difference was I dumped the chicken and marinade into a baking dish. Baked at 425 for about 30 mins. It was really good.

    There’s only two of us, so there were extra thighs left. Wasn’t sure how I was going to use them up. It’s been very cold here, so I thought soup. I found a chickpea harissa sound recipe on another site. A very similar flavor profile. Instead of the chickpeas I cut up the rest of the thighs and added it at the end, just to warm through. Turned out well.

    There’s enough soup left for lunch tomorrow. Three meals out of one dish. This is a great recipe and will definitely make again.

  4. Liz says:

    5 stars
    So good! Made it for Sunday lunch and served it with your Mediterranean tomato and cucumber salad. I used a store-bought harissa. I also used a grill pan instead of an outdoor grill - it got a little smoky for a minute, but we will definitely be making this again!

  5. Lynda says:

    5 stars
    Made this for tonight's dinner and loved it! I made harissa paste from the powder I ordered from your shop. My boyfriend was missing up the spices and forgot the cayenne. I was glad of that. Enough heat with the harissa! 🙂 Really enjoyed this and will definitely make again. PS. We put the onion on a grill pan and served it with the chicken. Couldn't see wasting the goodness.

  6. Lynda says:

    5 stars
    Definitely will make this again so yummy followed directions exactly however I used my air fryer and love it.

    1. TMD Team says:

      So glad to hear it worked in the air fryer! Thanks for sharing, Lynda!

  7. Connie says:

    Can this be baked in an oven

    1. TMD Team says:

      Sure, Connie. We have a Dijon chicken recipe that is baked, you can follow it for baking instructions etc. but use the harissa sauce and seasonings from this recipe.

  8. Kyong says:

    5 stars
    The homemade harissa sauce in this recipe makes it fabulous. We loved it and will definitely make again. Thanks!

  9. Greg Divine says:

    5 stars
    I made this last night for dinner and we all loved it! Already added to my Favorites and after having it only once it’s one of if not my favorite grilled chicken recipe. My fist time having Harissa Sauce and was big time impressed. I’ll be making it again soon I’m sure . Love your blog , recipes, making them and of course eating them . Thanks for sharing your recipes with us!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks so much, Greg!

  10. Brenda says:

    5 stars
    Tasty, easy and healthy!

  11. chrtis says:

    where's the video

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hello! I'm so sorry you had an issue viewing this video. Unfortunately, some web browsers block pop ups which, for some reason, also blocks instructional videos. You may need to adjust your browser settings, or try a different browser on your end in order to see them.

  12. Gina says:

    Kitchen hack: No need to spend money on throw away gloves, just use regular kitchen gloves that you would use for dishwashing to mix up anything like this wonderful harissa chicken. Then, simply wash under water like washing your hands with hot/warm water and soap. Can reuse over and over.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks for the tip, Gina!

  13. Danny says:

    5 stars
    I made this using 4 large chicken breast fillets as not a big fan of thigh. I also used fresh corriander and rose harrisa paste. Cooked on a medium high setting in the grill compartment of the oven for 25mins turning halfway through cooking time. It's now mine and my husbands favourite way of having grilled chicken. I served it with sweet pepper cous cous and steamed winter greens.

  14. Sandy Brandt says:

    I have a bottle of Harissa dry seasoning, how would I turn that into paste? Is it even possible to make paste out of it? I really want to try this recipe. We loved the Moussaka and Green Goddess chicken!

  15. Nicole says:

    5 stars
    Forgot to rate 🤭

  16. Nicole says:

    Hi Suzy, thanx for sharing your recipes. My family loves everything I’ve made so far. I have a question, can this recipe work in the oven? Thank you!