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Roasted Chicken with Moroccan Spices

Make our roasted chicken brushed with butter, cumin seed, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, and brown sugar. While many traditional Moroccan recipes call for the chicken to be slow cooked over an open flame, ours roasts in the oven at high temperature to produce a beautiful golden brown skin. 

Roasted chicken on a plate and served with lemon.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Butter: Add flavor and moisture to the chicken using butter.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – measure with your heart.
  • Spices: I used a Moroccan-inspired medley of spices to season the chicken: cumin seed, smoked paprika, ground ginger, salt, pepper, and brown sugar.
  • Herbs: Parsley and cilantro cook into the butter mixture to create a beautiful herbaceous coating on the chicken.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon acts as a tenderizer while providing a nice pop of citrus to compliment the warm spices; this is common in Moroccan cuisine.

How to Make Roasted Chicken

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C), then line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack.

A prepared baking sheet with tin foil

Step 2: Warm butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cumin seed, and cook until the ingredients begin sputtering.

Butter and garlic sautéing in a skillet.

Step 3: Stir in paprika, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Cook until they become aromatic.

Spices added to the cooking garlic.

Step 4: Off heat, stir in the brown sugar, parsley, cilantro, and lemon juice. Set it aside.

Stir the brown sugar and herbs into the skillet.

Step 5: Pat-dry the chicken, then make 1-3 slits in the chicken pieces. Brush them with the spiced-butter mixture using a pastry brush.

Create 1-3 slits in the chicken.

Step 6: Line the chicken onto the baking sheet, skin side up; bake for 10 minutes.

Chicken drumsticks coated in spices and butter.

Step 7: Brush the chicken with the remaining butter mixture and bake for another 15 minutes. If you prefer a bit of char, as I do, allow the chicken to broil on high for the last 5 minutes. 

Brush more of the butter and spices onto the chicken.

Step 8: Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish the chicken with fresh parsley and cilantro and serve with couscous.

Chicken resting on a wire rack.

Expert Tips

If you want to make the BEST chicken drumsticks, check out our tips for how to bake chicken legs in the oven.

  • Achieve crispy, golden-brown skin on your chicken by drying them thoroughly with a cloth before seasoning and baking them. This step is crucial to remove any excess moisture on the surface of the chicken, which can prevent the skin from crisping up properly.
  • Create slits in the chicken, allowing the butter and warm spices to penetrate with more flavor.

If you enjoy this recipe, try one of these African favorites!  

Roasted chicken drumsticks lined onto a rimmed baking sheet.

Serving Suggestions

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container or bag for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze  Let the chicken cool, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. The roasted chicken will freeze for 4 months.
  • Thaw – When you’re ready to eat it, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • Reheat  For best results, reheat the chicken in the oven to serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between roasting and baking?

Roasting requires a higher temperature of 400°F (204°C) and above to create a golden brown and flavorful “crust;” baking takes place at lower oven temperatures up to 375°F (190°C).

Should I cover chicken with foil when roasting?

I prefer roasting chicken uncovered so the skin crisps and turns a beautiful golden brown; if the chicken darkens before it’s reached the proper internal temperature, you can tent the chicken with foil to prevent the top from becoming too dark.

How do I know when the chicken is done?

Use a food thermometer to know when the chicken is done cooking. Insert the thermometer near the bone; the safe internal temperature for the chicken is 165°F (73°C). 

More Chicken Recipes:

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Roasted chicken on a plate and served with lemon.

Roasted Chicken with Moroccan Spices

Tressa Jamil
Our roasted chicken with Moroccan spices roasts in the oven on high temperature to produce a crisp, golden brown skin.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine African, Moroccan
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 640 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 5 tablespoons butter salted
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • lemon juice, ½ lemon
  • 3 pounds  chicken,  bone-in, skin-on
Instructions
 
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C), then line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Warm butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cumin seed, and cook until the ingredients begin sputtering.
  • Stir in paprika, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Cook until they become aromatic.
  • Off heat, stir in the brown sugar, parsley, cilantro, and lemon juice. Set it aside.
  • Pat-dry the chicken, then make 1-3 slits in the chicken pieces. Brush them with the spiced-butter mixture using a pastry brush.
  • Line the chicken onto the baking sheet, skin side up; bake for 10 minutes.
  • Brush the chicken with the remaining butter mixture and bake for another 15 minutes. If you prefer a bit of char, as I do, allow the chicken to broil on high for the last 5 minutes
  • Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish the chicken with fresh parsley and cilantro and serve with couscous.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Achieve crispy, golden-brown skin on your chicken by drying them thoroughly with a cloth before seasoning and baking them. This step is crucial to remove any excess moisture on the surface of the chicken, which can prevent the skin from crisping up properly.
  • Create slits in the chicken, allowing the butter and warm spices to penetrate with more flavor.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
 
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 640 kcal | Carbohydrates: 11 g | Protein: 37 g | Fat: 50 g | Sodium: 960 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 7 g
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




RJ

Sunday 17th of July 2022

These were great to cook for a get together. Easy

Tressa Jamil

Monday 18th of July 2022

Love that our recipe brought people together. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.