Sue’s Harissa Chicken Thighs

harissa chicken thighs topped with cilantro

This recipe for Harissa Chicken Thighs comes to us from Sue, a valuable member of the Spice Tin Team for the last six years. She adapted this recipe from one in Sunset magazine and made it for a book club meeting. It was a hit!

Sue’s interests include cooking/entertaining, hiking, camping and reading—whether it’s a recipe or a novel. She also enjoys making cakes for her friends’ birthdays or special occasions. “The thing I like the best about working at the Spice Tin is interacting with the customers, asking how they are using a particular spice and sharing what I know about the spices,” says Sue. “I learn something new from customers almost every day. And we have the best customers at the Spice Tin!”

Sue’s Harissa Chicken Thighs

Serves 6

Harissa is a North African blend of chilis, coriander, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne. You can adjust the amount of harissa used in this recipe depending on your spice preference. Using 2 Tbsp in the marinate will lend lovely, earthy flavor with very little heat. Those who like a bit more spice can increase to 3 Tbsp in the marinade and toss an additional 1 Tbsp with the vegetables before roasting—or more! Increase the olive oil and water in the marinade if you add more Harissa so there is a 1/1/1 ratio of harissa/olive oil/water.


1/2 cup Greek yogurt

2 – 4 Tbsp Harissa* *See Note

2 – 4 Tbsp olive oil* *See Note, plus 1/4 cup for baking

2 – 4 Tbsp water* *See Note

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

6 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 large red onion, cut lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 lb of carrots, cut into chunks

1/4 – 3/4 chicken stock, if needed

1/2 cup chopped cilantro, to finish

Make the marinade. Mix harissa with olive olive, water and lemon juice. Combine with the yogurt, salt and pepper. Add to the chicken thighs and turn so chicken is evenly coated. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours. 

Remove the marinated chicken thighs from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the chickpeas, carrots and onions in a 9×13 baking dish and toss with remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, and additional harissa if using. Remove chicken thighs from the marinate and arrange on top of the vegetables. Bake until chicken is browned and vegetables are tender 45-55 min. Check the dish after 30 minutes and, if the vegetables are getting too brown and are sticking, add a healthy splash of chicken stock to loosen things up. Garnish with cilantro before serving.


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