Easy Moroccan Chicken Kebabs

Easy Moroccan Chicken Kebabs come together so quickly with the help of the delicious Moroccan spice mixture, ras el hanout. Combined with fresh lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and garlic, the marinade could not be simpler, or more flavorful. After grilling to perfection, dip the tender, succulent chicken in a fresh mint and preserved lemon yogurt sauce. Delicious!

Ras El Hanout Chicken Kebabs

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – What is “Ras el Hanout?”

Ras el Hanout is a spice blend commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines, particularly in Moroccan dishes. The name “ras el hanout” translates to “head of the shop” in Arabic, suggesting that it’s a premium spice blend curated by the best spice merchants in the region.

The exact composition of ras el hanout can vary widely, but it typically includes a mix of warm spices such as cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, paprika, nutmeg, turmeric, cardamom, and cloves, among others. Whether you use a commercially prepared ras el hanout, or make your own simple mixture, you’re sure to love this exotic combination of spices. An authentic ras el hanout is made from freshly ground whole spices. Some blends may also include more exotic ingredients like rose petals, lavender, capers, or dried chili peppers, giving it a unique and complex flavor profile.

Ras el Hanout is often used to season meat, poultry, fish, couscous, rice, and vegetable dishes, adding depth and richness to the cuisine. It’s known for its aromatic qualities and its ability to elevate the flavor of dishes with just a small amount. Moroccan cooks typically reserve this spice mixture for specialty dishes… The flavor is indeed special, and I love incorporating it into simple dishes like my Moroccan Carrot Salad With Lemon Dressing and Moroccan Chicken with Couscous. Ras el hanout transforms even the humblest fare!

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Ingredients for chicken skewers marinade: Boneless chicken, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, ras el hanout, and garlic.
  • lemons – You’ll want both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Please don’t use bottled lemon juice! I also highly recommend grilling additional lemons to squeeze over top!
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • ras el hanout – You can use a commercially prepared ras el hanout, or make your own simple mixture. If you’re really “into it,” you can make an authentic ras el hanout made with freshly ground whole spices.
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • chicken – You will want boneless chicken, but either thighs or breasts will work.
  • onions – Sweet onions are a great option, but you can use whatever onion you have on hand.
  • bell peppers – I love colorful food, so I usually use 2 colors of bell peppers. You might also consider zucchini or other veggies.

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

A copper tray with the marinade for the Moroccan chicken kebabs.
  • Marinate the chicken – Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Add the prepared chicken to a zip bag, then pour the marinade over the chicken. Knead the mixture to thoroughly cover all the chicken pieces. Marinate 1-12 hours. The longer the chicken soaks, the more it absorbs the flavors!
The Moroccan chicken skewers assembled on a copper tray.
  • Assemble the chicken kebabs – There is no hard and fast rule for assembling skewers/kebabs. I rarely end up with several matching kebabs. I usually start and end with chicken, and thread the veggies in between.
Chicken kebabs are on the gas grill with lemon halves.
  • Grill the chicken kebabs – Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 375-400°F (190-200°C). Make sure the grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking. Place the assembled kebabs onto the preheated grill. Close the lid and cook for about 8-10 minutes, then flip them over using tongs.
  • Continue grilling for another 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender and slightly charred. Rotate the kebabs occasionally to ensure they cook evenly on all sides.
  • NOTE: To ensure the chicken is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should reach 160 to 165°F (75°C).
The finished Moroccan-inspired chicken skewers are on a copper tray ready to serve.
  • Remove from the grill and tent with foil until ready to serve!
Moroccan chicken skewers on a white plate with Moroccan carrot salad, flatware, and linen napkin.
Moroccan chicken skewers/kebabs served with Moroccan carrot salad and preserved lemon yogurt… This is a healthy, low-carb menu perfect for warm evenings and summer breezes!

❓FAQ

At what temperature is the chicken “done?”

Chicken is safe at 165℉. Keep in mind that chicken will continue to cook, especially if covered. The breast meat will be dry if overcooked, so take particular care if using chicken breasts. I usually aim for 160℉, and cover with foil for 10 minutes or so. With the thighs, I will let it go higher to 165-170℉. The meat is more forgiving, and I don’t care for the texture of barely cooked thigh meat.

💭 Tips

I love sweet onions for this kebabs recipe. I typically slice into the outer layers in wedges, and save the small center of the onion for a future use (chopped).

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also cut into one of the larger chicken pieces to check for any pinkness and ensure the juices run clear.

If you don’t have preserved lemons, substitute lemon zest. It will be different but tasty!

🍷 Pairing Suggestions

This dish pairs beautifully with an Albariño, Viognier (unoaked), or Chardonnay (unoaked). My favorite, though, is a dry rosé from Spain (or similar). If you prefer a red wine, a tempranillo or garnacha will work. Craft beer lovers might enjoy a saison or wheat beer with a wedge of orange.

Soak up the September sunshine on the patio with a savory Moroccan chicken kebab, a couple of healthy sides, and your favorite beverage. Before you know it, the season will pass…

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes.

Moroccan chicken skewers on a white plate with Moroccan carrot salad, flatware, and linen napkin.

Easy Moroccan Chicken Kebabs

Easy Moroccan Chicken Kebabs come together so quickly with the help of the delicious Moroccan spice mixture – ras el hanout. Combined with fresh lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and garlic, the marinade could not be simpler, or more flavorful. After grilling to perfection, dip the tender, succulent chicken in a fresh mint and lemon zest Greek yogurt sauce. Delicious!
4.50 from 14 votes

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinate 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 4 servings
Calories 260 kcal

Ingredients
  

Marinade

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice - reserve zest for yogurt sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout - (see notes)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • several grinds pepper

Chicken Kebabs

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - about 20 ounces, cut in chunks about 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches
  • 1 sweet onion - cut in squares (use outer layers)
  • 2 sweet bell peppers - cut in squares or wedges

Instructions

  • Combine marinade ingredients in 1 gallon zip bag. Add chicken chunks. Knead to coat all the pieces.
  • Refrigerate 1-12 hours.
  • If using bamboo skewers, you’ll want to pre-soak them at least 30 minutes.
  • Alternate chicken chunks with red pepper and sweet onion.
  • Grill 8-10 minutes (depending on size) on each side to an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees for breast meat, and 165-170 for thigh meat. Cover with foil, and rest until ready to serve.
  • Whisk the ingredients for the yogurt sauce together if making.
  • Serve the skewers with the yogurt sauce, and enjoy!

Notes

See Ingredients Notes in post for links for commercially prepared ras el hanout, a simple recipe, and a more authentic recipe for making your own.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 5g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

🥗More Moroccan-Inspired Recipes

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Moroccan Carrot Salad With Lemon Dressing

Easy preserved lemon yogurt sauce in a terra cotta and red bowl.

Easy Moroccan Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce

A white bowl of vegan couscous, a wooden spoon, and on a wood cutting board.

Vegan Moroccan Couscous

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9 Comments

  1. I have this recipe bookmarked because we love it. But it used to have a yogurt sauce with just lemon zest, rather than preserved lemons, and now I can’t find that recipe. Is there a link to it somewhere?

    1. Hi Julie! I think that when I updated the post recently, I must have managed to delete it. However, it was based on the preserved lemon sauce recipe. I substitute zest and juice of one lemon, and add sea salt. Preserved lemons are salty, so the recipe doesn’t require additional salt. I hope this works out for you. I may double-check by making it again, and add it back into the recipe.

  2. I came back from morroco yesterday after getting deep in the souks everyday . Can’t wait to try now . My whole kitchen stinks of the stuff but what a nice stink it is . Living in the Canary Islands it’s only an hours flight away so yesssss . Let’s get the cook on