You may want to make this super-simple slow cooker chicken and olive tagine simply for the tantalizing aroma of the sweet and savory spices commingling in your slow cooker. The warm, earthy flavors of the sauce and the briny, bright olive and herb garnish make this an easy-peasy intro to Moroccan cuisine.–Jenny Howard

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

The testers love the ease of tossing everything into the slow cooker and letting it work its magic. They are delighted that this easy slow-cooked chicken tagine produces “exotic, but not overwhelming flavors” and tastes like it has “simmered on the stove all day.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Chicken tenderloins-these tender pieces of chicken cook up beautifully in the slow cooker, but you can substitute strips of chicken breast or thighs here. Just make sure to cut them roughly the same size as a tenderloin.
  • Green olives–These add brininess and acidity to the dish, but if you’re not a fan of olives, you can leave them out or replace them with rinsed chopped preserved lemons.
  • Cilantro and parsley–Fresh herbs are essential here, but feel free to use only one kind if that’s what you have on hand. If you’ve got extra herbs, sprinkle them on top before serving.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Preheat your slow cooker. Set your slow cooker to high and let it preheat while you prepare your ingredients.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, oil, onion, and spices. Toss the crushed tomatoes, oil, red onion, garlic, and spices into the bowl of the slow cooker. Stir well.
  3. Cook the tomato mixture. Cover the slow cooker and let the tomato mixture burble away for about 2 hours so that the flavors can develop.
  4. Add the dates. Stir in the dates, and let it continue to cook for another hour.
  5. Cook the chicken. Nestle the chicken into the spiced tomato and date sauce, cover, and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour more.
  6. Serve. Stir in the olives and fresh herbs and serve with couscous or naan bread to sop up the delectable sauce.

Common Questions

What’s a tagine?

The meal known as “tagine” is made in a specific Moroccan vessel that is, perhaps confusingly, called a tagine. An unglazed clay pot with a tall, conical lid, a tagine is basically the precursor to the slow cooker. You can also call the meal maghrebi in North African culture.

The point is that you don’t necessarily need a tagine, you do need something with a tight-fitting lid. The beauty of a tagine cooker is that the moisture cooked off the dish runs down the sides and back into the food, keeping it from drying out. Just as with a slow cooker.

What should I serve with slow cooker tagine?

Couscous or pita bread is ideal for sopping up the delicious sauce, and a grated carrot salad or Moroccan salad would pair nicely with the meal.

Helpful Tips

  • Leftover chicken tagine can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, serve it with steamed rice or cauliflower rice. As written, the recipe is suitable for dairy-free diets.

More Great Slow-Cooker Chicken Dishes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Four bowls of slow cooker chicken tagine, served over couscous with olives, and garnished with parsley.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine

4.84 / 6 votes
This chicken tagine brings an incredible international flair to your dinner table. Dates, cinnamon, cumin, and tomatoes make this slow-cooker stew irresistible.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineMoroccan
Servings4 servings
Calories423 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes

Equipment

  • Slow cooker

Ingredients 

For the chicken tagine

  • One (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large (about 1 1/2 cups) red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 medjool dates, pitted
  • 8 (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total) chicken tenderloins

For serving

  • 1/2 cup large green olives
  • Handful chopped fresh cilantro
  • Handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Cooked couscous
  • Naan bread (optional)

Instructions 

Make the chicken tagine

  • Preheat your slow cooker to high.
  • In the bowl of the slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon. Season generously with salt and pepper and give everything a good stir.
  • Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours to let the flavors develop.
  • Stir in the dates, then cover again and cook for 1 hour more.
  • Working quickly to avoid losing too much heat, add the chicken to the slow cooker, nudging it into the sauce so that it is completely covered. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour.

To serve

  • Stir in the olives, cilantro, and parsley. Serve over couscous with warm naan bread on the side, if desired.

Notes

  1. Serving–If you’ve got extra herbs, sprinkle them on hand before serving.
  2. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for a dairy-free diet, and is gluten-free if served with rice or cauliflower rice.
  3. Storage–Leftover chicken tagine can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook

Adapted From

The Healthy Slow Cooker

Buy On Amazon

Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 423 kcalCarbohydrates: 66 gProtein: 25 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 0.01 gCholesterol: 64 mgSodium: 525 mgFiber: 8 gSugar: 54 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2019 Ross Dobson. Photo © 2019 Jeremy Simon. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This recipe for chicken tagine recipe is a perfect example of why I adore Moroccan cuisine. Fragrant and savory, yet sweet and tangy at the same time; this dish epitomizes this complex flavor profile that is unique and utterly delicious.

This easy-to-put-together slow cooker dish starts with a tasty tomato sauce flavored with ginger, cumin, paprika and cinnamon, along with garlic and onions; to this fragrant sauce goes naturally sweet pitted dates, chicken, and briny green olives. We really enjoyed this dish and really thought the last-minute addition of parsley and cilantro added a fresh and bright taste and look to the dish! I served this tagine with turmeric pearled couscous and a glass of smooth Chardonnay.

I love to introduce my kids to international flavors in food and a new variation on chicken is always a good bet. The combination of sweet from the dates and the savory from the olives, onions, herbs, and spices hit the jackpot with my family.

The Crock Pot chicken tagine was beautifully tender and I thought it was very smart to add the chicken to the last hour of cooking to allow the sauce to meld in the first 3 hours and to prevent the chicken from being overcooked. It tasted like a dish that had been cooked on the stove all day to produce such exotic but not overpowering flavors. It pairs perfectly over lemon Israeli couscous and naan bread on the side.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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12 Comments

    1. Yes, Marilynn, they can be left out. A fellow reader recently used rinsed preserved lemon instead of the olives, which was lovely, but you can skip them altogether.

  1. I saw this recipe today on my FB feed and instantly saved it. I typically have all of the ingredients in this recipe on hand. I had a few errands to run and stopped in our local Mexican market for cumin as my jar had only dust in it. We are not green olive fans, so I had to think hard on a substitution. I called my daughter and told her I was making this and was looking for a substitute for the olives. She recently made several jars of preserved lemons and suggested I stop by for a jar. I invited her and her two young boys to join us for dinner as they love this type of food. I followed the recipe, but doubled it as I had to feed 3 adults, a tweenager and a 6 year old. I didn’t have couscous, and did not want to wander into our grocery store (too crowded and chaotic on a Friday), so I made rice instead of the couscous. We rinsed the lemons and chopped them up for a garnish along with fresh parsley and cilantro. I served it with the rice, garlic naan, and a broccoli/apple/carrot slaw with a dressing of white balsamic, honey and poupon mustard. It was a hit with everyone. The boys had second. They both said they loved all of the different flavors so we turned it into a guess that spice, and they were able to name every spice in the dish. I will make this again. Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Wow, Katherine, that sounds like a truly fantastic meal. I love the suggestion of using the preserved lemon. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us.

  2. I want so much to try this but carbs to me are like alcohol to an alcoholic.

    Would this be worth having without the dates or should I just cook other things?

    1. Rainey, I think it would still taste good without the dates. They lend some sweetness to the dish and provide more of a balance.