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Baked Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas

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This super-tasty harissa chicken is full of smoky spices and gentle heat, and it’s simple to prepare in one baking pan. All you need to do is bake boneless, skinless chicken thighs with the sauce and add chickpeas.

Serve with cooked couscous or rice for an easy dinner any night of the week.

Image showing a baking pan with baked chicken thighs in harissa sauce with cilantro sprigs and chickpeas.

It’s been a busier time than usual in my life, and I’ve been making this stick-it-in-the-oven-and-walk-away harissa chicken at least once a week. I think you’re going to love it as much as I do!

There’s a variation of this recipe in my cookbook, but this is my latest “tweaked” version.

The chicken thighs bake in the oven, smothered in a savory, spiced sauce blended with harissa paste, lemon, smoked paprika, cumin and garlic and sweet red onion (or shallots).

Throw in some chickpeas when the thighs are almost cooked, and you have a one-dish and done meal.

A bowl with a serving of baked chicken thighs with harissa sauce, pearl couscous and chickpeas with a gold napkin, spoon and fork.

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a family favorite

We LOVE cooking and eating boneless, skinless chicken thighs in our house. First of all, they are tasty as AF.

Plus you can be sure they’ll turn out tender and juicy every time, which is not often the case with chicken breasts.

And chicken thighs go with just about any sauce or preparation you could possibly imagine throwing at them — the bolder the better!

I’m talking about seasoning them with everything from a Korean-inspired gochjang glaze to Italian white wine sauce (vino bianco) to Dijon and shallots in a baked chicken casserole.

Steps for making baked chicken with harissa sauce

  1. Blend harissa, spices, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl.
  2. Arrange the chicken thighs in a baking pan/dish. Season with salt and pepper and toss with sliced red onion or shallot.
  3. Toss the chicken with the sauce. At this point, you can bake immediately or marinate up to 24 hours ahead.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Add chickpeas to the chicken and bake 10 more minutes
  5. Serve warm with your choice of side (see below for suggestions).

Mediterranean ingredients

If you’ve been cooking with me for a while, you know that I have a love affair with Mediterranean food and all the flavors that go with it.

lt all started after I devoured the cookbooks (and recipes) from experts on Mediterranean cooking, like Claudia Roden, Paula Wolfert and Yasmin Khan.

I highly recommend any of their books if you want a deeper dive into this cuisine, which is full of seductively vibrant produce, olive oil, lemon and spices.

An overhead image of ingredients needed to make baked harissa chicken, with harissa paste, cumin and paprika in small bowls

What is harissa

Harissa is a traditional condiment in North African countries such as Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. It’s one of our all-time favorite pantry ingredients.

It has a consistency of a paste or thick sauce, and it’s usually made with a blend of dried red peppers, dried chilies, garlic, spices and olive oil. Sometimes spices like caraway seed are in the blend, as well as tomatoes.

Adding a few tablespoons harissa as a seasoning adds amazing savory depth to food. It has such intriguing layers of flavor that are smoky, sweet and spicy, along with mild heat from the chilies.

If you’re up for a small project, you can make harissa fairly easily at home, using my recipe for homemade harissa paste.

Otherwise you can find jars of harissa is most well stocked grocery stores. This is my latest favorite brand of prepared harissa that’s widely available.

The spice base

An overhead image of ingredients needed to make baked harissa chicken, with harissa paste, cumin and paprika in small bowls
  • Cumin: Ground cumin creates an earthy, aromatic base for the sauce.
  • Smoked paprika: This spice is made with ground smoked paprika chili peppers. It adds that seductive quality to the dish that makes you want another bite.
  • Harissa: The best prepared store-bought harissa to use for this recipes is one from a jar. If you only have harissa in a tube, thin it out with a tablespoon or so of water or broth to loosen up the texture.

Make ahead tips

  • To make your life even easier, mix the harissa sauce and toss it with the chicken in your baking dish.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight or while you’re at work, then pop into the oven when you’re ready to bake.
Close up image showing a baking pan with baked chicken thighs in harissa sauce with cilantro sprigs and chickpeas.

What to serve with harissa spiced chicken

You could serve this chicken right out of the pan with a salad or vegetable on the side. I suggest serving it in shallow bowls with cooked pearl or fine couscous to soak up the tasty juices.

Harissa baked chicken is also delicious with:

  • Short grain paella-style rice
  • Brown rice
  • Farro
  • Warm flatbread

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A bowl with a serving of baked chicken thighs with harissa sauce, pearl couscous and chickpeas with a gold napkin, spoon and fork.

Baked Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas

Karen Tedesco
This super-tasty harissa chicken is full of smoky spices and gentle heat, and it's simple to prepare in one baking pan. Serve with cooked couscous or rice for an easy dinner any night of the week.
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Chicken
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (900 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
  • ½ red onion or 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) harissa paste
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) grated or pressed garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, drained
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 450 (225C) degrees
  • Put the chicken in a baking dish or pan large enough to hold the chicken snugly, such as a 3-quart size. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with 1 teaspoon of the salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Scatter the onion over the chicken.
  • Stir the harissa, olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, lemon juice and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl until combined. Pour over the chicken and onion and toss around to coat.
  • Bake 20 minutes. Add the chickpeas to the baking dish and flip the chicken pieces over. Continue baking 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the pan juices are bubbling.
  • Sprinkle the cilantro over the chicken. Serve with cooked couscous or rice if desired.

Notes

  • Make ahead: Mix the harissa sauce and toss it with the chicken in your baking dish. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance of baking.
  • Leftovers: Leftover chicken can be kept refrigerated up to 5 days. Reheat, covered, at 350 for about 15 minutes. Add a bit more olive oil and some broth or water before reheating if the juices have absorbed into the chicken.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 394IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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