Moroccan-Inspired Chicken with Rice

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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This Moroccan-inspired chicken & rice skillet combines perfectly-cooked chicken with bold Moroccan flavors for a simple one-pot meal that's perfect for adding variety to your weeknight dinners!

moroccan chicken and rice skillet

Moroccan-Inspired Rice and Chicken

I LOVE a good one-pot meal. The only thing better than getting to sit down to a quick, delicious meal? Not having to deal with a sink full of dishes afterwards! Now that's my kind of cooking. After the popularity of this Lemon Chicken & Rice Skillet earlier in the year, we knew that we wanted to deliver you more meals like it. This time around, we punched up the flavor with more spices, lemon, and olives.

Let's talk Moroccan spices for a minute. Moroccan cuisine tends to combine both sweet and savory spices with salty elements like olives and preserved lemon to create a deep, rich flavor that sets it apart from any other cuisine. Typically these spices are combined with a protein and vegetables then slowly cooked to create a dish called tajine, but today we are simplifying things a bit for this Moroccan-inspired chicken and rice skillet in the name of getting dinner on the table fast!

Chicken and Rice Ingredients

To make this Moroccan-inspired skillet, here's what you'll need:

For the Moroccan Seasoning:

  • Paprika – 3 teaspoons of paprika give a mildly sweet flavor.
  • Salt – 1 ½ teaspoons of coarse sea salt enhance all the spices and brings them together.
  • Cumin – 1 teaspoon of cumin gives a warm and hearty flavor.
  • Ginger – a ½ teaspoon of ground ginger provides aromatics and a slightly sweet and spicy taste to the seasoning.
  • Turmeric – 1 teaspoon of turmeric gives a beautiful golden color and earthy flavor.
  • Garlic – 1 teaspoon of garlic powder gives a slight sweetness and enhances all of the savory flavors of the seasoning.

For the Chicken & Rice Skillet

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil acts as the cooking fat for this dish.
  • Chicken – you'll need 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced or pounded to 1-inch thickness so that it cooks evenly in the skillet.
  • Rice – 1 ½ cups of white rice is just the right amount. I recommend Basmati.
  • Chicken Broth – 2 ¾ of a cup chicken broth keeps the chicken moist and cooks the rice.
  • Thyme – 4 sprigs of fresh thyme give a minty and slightly lemony flavor and smell.
  • Lemon Juice – the juice of 1 lemon adds brightness and acidity to the dish.
  • Green Olives – 1 cup of green olives (make sure you drain the juices) give a salty, brininess flavor.
  • Garnish – optional, garnish with lemon wedges and fresh chopped cilantro for extra freshness

Best Rice for Moroccan Pilaf

I prefer to use a Basmati rice, but any long-grained rice will work well. Because the grains are long and slender, they tend to stay separate, light, and fluffy when cooking as opposed to shorter grains that get stick together as they cook.

How to make Moroccan Chicken

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  1. Make the spice blend – in a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the Moroccan seasoning until well-combined. You may be worried that it's too much for 2 pounds of chicken, but trust me, this is meant to be a heavily seasoned dish, and the flavors are so good!
  2. Season the chicken – liberally season the chicken breast on both sides with the Moroccan blend until fully coated.
  3. Sear the chicken – melt butter (or olive oil) in a skillet over medium high heat. Once melted, add the chicken. Sear for 3-4 minutes per side, until beautifully browned.
  4. Remove chicken – remove the chicken from skillet and set aside.
  5. Toast the rice – add the rice to the skillet over medium-high heat and stir. Cook 1-2 minutes until toasted. It will give off a slightly nutty aroma at this point.
  6. Add the broth – to the pan with the rice, add the broth and whisk to scrape up the delicious browned bits on the bottom of the pan (this gives such an incredible depth of flavor!).
  7. Bring to a boil – increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once the rice is boiling, give it a final stir, add the thyme, and reduce the heat to low.
  8. Cover and simmer – cover and cook the rice for 10 minutes.
  9. Add remaining ingredients – after 10 minutes has passed, remove the lid from the pot and stir the lemon juice into the rice. Then place chicken breasts and olives on top of the rice.
  10. Cover and cook – cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
  11. Serve and enjoy! – Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges, serve, and enjoy!

What goes with Chicken and Rice: Moroccan Edition

This dish combines protein, starch, and healthy fats (from the olives) making it a complete dish on its own. That said, a simple arugula salad, sautéed green beans, or steamed broccoli would be really tasty on the side.

moroccan chicken and rice skillet

One Pot Stovetop Chicken and Rice Tips

  • You can substitute any type of rice you like in this recipe, just make sure you follow the rice to water ratio on the back of the package. See notes above on why I chose a long-grained rice over other rice varieties.
  • If you choose to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of the chicken breast, make sure to drain off the excess fat before adding the rice to the skillet, so you don't wind up with greasy rice.
Print

Moroccan Chicken Recipe with Rice

This Moroccan Chicken and Rice Skillet is a one-pot meal that brings the complex flavors of Moroccan cuisine to an easy, weeknight meal!

  • Author: Amber Link
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

For the Moroccan Seasoning:

For the Chicken & Rice Skillet

  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced or pounded to 1-inch thickness
  • 1 1/2 cup white rice (I used Basmati)
  • 2 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup green olives, drained
  • 1 lemon, quartered, for garnish
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the Moroccan seasoning until well-combined.
  2. Liberally season the chicken breast on both sides with the Moroccan blend until fully coated.
  3. Melt butter (or olive oil) in a skillet over medium high heat. Once melted, add the chicken. Sear for 3-4 minutes per side, until browned.
  4. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Add the rice to the skillet over medium-high heat and stir. Cook 1-2 minutes until toasted. It will give off a slightly nutty aroma at this point.
  5. Add the broth to the pan with the rice and whisk to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Once rice is boiling, give it a final stir, add the thyme, and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. After 10 minutes has passed, remove the lid from the pot and stir the lemon juice into the rice, then place chicken breasts and olives on top of the rice.
  8. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, then remove from heat, let cool slightly, garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges, and serve!

Notes

  • You can substitute any type of rice you like in this recipe, just make sure you follow the rice to water ratio on the back of the package.
  • If you choose to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of the chicken breast, make sure to drain off the excess fat before adding the rice to the skillet, so you don't wind up with greasy rice.

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Recipe rating

  1. Rachel says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Quick note about a typo: you list ‘one cup of green onions’ In the ingredients, but I’m guessing that should be green olives instead!

    1. Jess Gaertner says:

      all fixed! thanks for the heads up!

  2. katherine says:

    If I wanted to subsitute cauliflower rice how would I change the liquid for this?

  3. Diane Fuchs says:

    Also, the wrong picture that is with the recipe! It is the pumpkin cookies!

  4. Jason says:

    I don’t think I’ve had Moroccan cuisine before. But this looks like a good place to start.

  5. Kathryn says:

    I made this tonight as a roasted whole chicken (because that’s what I had on hand) and my kids LOVED it. The spice mix is SO yummy! I just took a thawed whole chicken and rubbed the spice mix/butter under and over the skin and it was so yummy. I also made the rice but on the side. Thank you for this recipe, ya’ll are great <3

  6. Cassy says:

    When do we use the thyme?

  7. Sarah Carner says:

    Delicious! Definitely easy. I made some steamed broccoli to go with it but next time I’m going to make lemony kale. I was weary of olives but it totally works. Thanks for a great recipe!

  8. Denny says:

    I’m trying different dishes to keep from getting bored with the same meals. This was good and my husband liked it. The only thing was what else to serve with this single pan dish. I roasted asparagus but it didn’t seem like the dish would be enough. WE racked our brains trying to come up with something else to serve. Any suggestions?

  9. Kathy J says:

    Looks delish- trying this week! What type of green olives do you use?

  10. Bonnie says:

    So good and so easy!!

    5.0 rating

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Agreed!! So glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Erin says:

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was so delicious and easy! I’ve not made Moroccan cuisine before so it was fun to branch out!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That’s awesome, Erin! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!

  12. Jackie says:

    This was delicious! The entire family thoroughly enjoyed (ages 1, 9, 11 and us adults!) A must make for everyone

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, Jackie! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

  13. Juli says:

    This looks delicious, making it for dinner tonight. None of my family like olives, can I just omit? Or is it one of those things you don’t even taste once cooked?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      You can totally omit! I hope you love it!

  14. Leah says:

    This is amazing! I love it, and I’ll add it to my list of go-to chicken recipes. So yummy. I served it with a side of frozen veggies – a mix of sweet potatoes, kale, and riced cauliflower.

    1. Melissa Guevara says:

      Yum! I am so glad that you enjoyed! Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us! ~Melissa