Middle Eastern Chicken Thighs

These Middle Eastern chicken thighs are spiced with cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cloves before being gently braised with onions and are on the table in 45 minutes. No time-consuming marinade. No fussy cooking heroics. Just an exceptionally likable and exotically spiced chicken that works perfectly on weeknights.

A white oval platter filled with couscous that is topped with Middle Eastern chicken thighs, lemon slices, and chopped parsley.

Middle Eastern Chicken Thighs

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 2 to 4
5/5 - 2 reviews
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  • For the Middle Eastern chicken thighs
  • For the garnish


Make the Middle Eastern chicken thighs

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the ghee (clarified butter). Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the onions with the cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and cloves, and cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and tuck them among the onions in the skillet. Sear the thighs briefly, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Pour 1/2 cup broth or stock into the skillet and bring to a boil.

Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chicken thighs are golden and the meat registers 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes.

Assemble everything

Heap the cooked grains onto a large platter or individual plates. Arrange the chicken on top and drizzle with the pan juices and lemon juice. If desired, season with salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice.

Sprinkle the chicken and grains with the lemon zest, nuts, parsley, and pomegranate seeds, if using. Serve immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

WOW! Myself, our Italian friend, and our 4 and 6 year olds were all super impressed by this dish. Initially, I wondered if I would be partial to it simply because it was so quick and easy to throw together but no, the flavor and tenderness of the chicken actually impressed us as much as the quickness.

For me, the lemon juice really brightened up the dish and made it memorable! I'm not a fan of hazelnuts but the three of them loved the addition.

I used ghee. Why wouldn't you use ghee?! I sliced my onion with a mandoline on the largest setting.

There wasn't a whole lot of color gained by searing them for 1 min on each side BTW.

There wasn’t enough to have leftovers because we ate it all up and fast! This served 2 adults and 2 children quickly and we all wished there had been more. I would say it feeds 2 adults well. I can't wait to make this again!

I made this for dinner after work and my husband said, “This is very fancy for a weeknight!" I think that screams success! This dish was lovely—flavorful, colorful, fast, and easy.

I think the use of millet was an interesting twist on a one pot meal. I used ghee to sauté my onions and I added a bit more before cooking the chicken. After the dish was assembled and came to a boil, it was ready in 20 minutes.

The pomegranate seeds are a must!! They really lift this dish and add a much needed sweetness. I think it would be a real shame to leave them out.

My dish was far more colourful than the photograph! It was quite beautiful with the pomegranate, parsley, and hazelnuts on top.


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  1. Wow! Another recipe going directly into my database!

    I added some za’atar ’cause I had it and why not. Tons of richly spicy flavor without the heat. My favorite combination. And the touch of citrus is perfect.

    Didn’t have a pomegranate arils so that’s something to look forward to next time.

    Oh! And we had it with rice because I didn’t go out and get bulgur but I’m looking forward to having that accompaniment with it too.

  2. Fantastic Chicken Dish! The proof is that my husband (who is very lukewarm about chicken) declared: “This one is a keeper!” I used coconut oil because I didn’t have ghee, doubled the pistachios because we love them, and was so glad that I had experimentally frozen some pomegranate arils for later use last month (they thaw out surprisingly well). I prepped and measured everything in the morning and it was a breeze to put it all together after a long day at work. I made a pot of quinoa (1 cup dry) while the chicken simmered and the wonderful aroma of Moroccan spices filled our home. What a lovely meal. Served 3 using 1-1/2 lbs. of thighs. Thanks for yet another great LC recipe, this goes right on my list of favorites.

    1. Thanks, Lynn! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it so much. Your description made me want to be right there at the dinner table with you. Can’t wait to hear what you make next.

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