Roast Chicken with Moroccan Spices

This roast chicken with Moroccan spices is an easy recipe that’s packed with earthy spices, including cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and paprika. Here’s how to make it.

A whole roast chicken with Moroccan spices on an oval serving platter.

Inspired by ras el hanout, the earthy sweet Moroccan spice blend used across North Africa, the combination of spices used for this roast chicken with Moroccan spices turns the skin a beautiful mahogany brown and imparts a rich flavor to both skin and meat.–Steve Johnson

Roast Chicken with Moroccan Spices

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Pat the chicken completely dry, inside and out. Rub the outside of the bird with the spice mixture followed by the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and let the bird rest for about 20 minutes.

To grill the chicken, use a combination of hardwood logs and all-natural hardwood charcoal and build a small fire on one side of an outdoor kettle-style cooker. When about 1/3 of the charcoal is lit, place the chicken on the grill on the opposite side of the cooker, away from the fire. Cover loosely with the lid and open the top vent so that the fire continues to smolder without burning bright. Allow the chicken to smoke-roast for about 1 1/4 hours, turning it every 15 or 20 minutes to ensure even cooking all around. The bird is done when the thigh joints start to loosen, the juices in the cavity run clear, and the skin is a beautiful mahogany brown. An instant-read thermometer should register 165°F (74°C).

To roast the chicken, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and adjust the oven rack to the center position. Place the chicken in a cast-iron skillet on the center rack and turn it every 20 minutes to crisp the skin all over. After about 1 1/4 hours, or when the thigh joints begin to loosen and the juices inside start to run clear, the chicken should be ready. An instant-read thermometer should register 165°F (74°C).

Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes.

Carve the chicken into pieces. Serve the chicken while still warm. Originally published September 30, 2013.

Print RecipeBuy the The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    How To Make A Simple Pan Sauce For This Roast Chicken With Moroccan Spices

    • Tux variation

      If roasting the chicken in the oven, use the juices left in the skillet to make a sauce by adding a little fresh rosemary, a few drops of sherry vinegar, and a pinch of salt.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This roast chicken is WONDERFUL. The author says this is inspired by ras el hanout, translated as head of the shop, meaning a house mixture of the finest spices at a given spice dealer.

    When you make this “rub” you may be surprised by the amount of leftover mixture, but trust me, you’ll be thrilled that you have this on hand. I use it on roasted potato dishes and I put it under the skin to bake any chicken parts. I’ve even been known to add it to my fried chicken batter. Enough about the spices—on to the chicken. I loved roasting the chicken in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Turning the chicken twice during roasting did indeed allow the chicken to be crisp on all sides. I put a few rings of sweet onion under the bird (out of habit) to keep it from sticking to the pan, and pulling the skin off.

    The chicken was very moist, including the breast, and had very crisp skin. Finally, if you do make this in the oven, which I highly recommend, please don’t skip the rosemary and wine vinegar for drizzling. This recipe uses 16 spices, yet is very easy to prepare; at the same time the texture and flavor are rich and complex. Make this dish; you’ll not be sorry!

    The smell of this chicken cooking should be reason enough to make it. We roasted it in the oven at 350°F for 1 1/2 hours (our bird was almost 5 pounds) and served it with carrots sautéed with ginger and orange. The bird turns a gorgeous dark brown and the spices permeate the meat with quite an exotic flavor.

    I’m using the carcass to make chicken stock today—smells divine! The spice rub makes oodles; I can’t wait to try it on chicken thighs later this week!


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    1. Made this last night. Everyone’s been picking the chicken ever since. I made the gravy and used the leftovers in a soup today. It’s a keeper.

      1. That’s definitely one option to propel this recipe into the weeknight realm! Many thanks, Francis. One could also use chicken pieces—either from a whole chicken or just dark or white meat—to cut down on the roasting time and also the carving time.

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