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A flavorful sheet pan chicken that makes a great, easy weeknight meal.
Boneless chicken thighs are seasoned with Mediterranean spices, chunks of carrots and fresh orange. This is a quick and easy dinner recipe your family will love. Serve along with buttered couscous and homemade harissa paste for a delicious dinner.
Here’s your next sheet pan chicken dinner! I mean, who doesn’t love the ease of throwing a bunch of ingredients for a whole meal into the oven and sitting down to eat half an hour later?
I’ve been adding at least one healthy sheet pan dinner to my list of easy weeknight meals. They’re perfect for those “too tired to cook” nights.
The best part about this method is letting the oven to do the work, ideally while you pour a glass of wine and relax for a few minutes. And, since most of the work for a good sheet pan meal is prep, cleanup is minimal.
Moroccan chicken on a sheet pan
This tasty recipe is inspired by the flavors of a classic Moroccan chicken tagine, only it’s made much simpler by cooking on a sheet pan.
Essentially, a true tagine is a type of stew slow-cooked in a clay pot. It’s a homestyle North African dish based on meat, seafood and/or vegetables, with complex flavors that come from a combination of bold herbs, spices and citrus.
Mediterranean herbs and spices
Simple seasonings add layers of aromatic flavor to this dish. Here’s what you need:
- Cumin seed: Whole cumin seed has a bold, earthy scent and flavor that is essential in many global cuisines, especially Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and South American dishes. You can substitute an equal amount of ground cumin.
- Ground coriander: The seed that produces the herb cilantro. This spice has a lovely citrus note and floral aroma.
- Ginger: Use a knob of fresh ginger and grate it finely on a rasp (Microplane) grater to release its peppery, lemony flavor. Tip – use a spoon to easily peel and scrape off the skin.
- Crushed red chili: Add up to a teaspoon to taste of this hot dried chili for a layer of heat. If you have the milder Aleppo or Turkish Marash pepper in your pantry, use that instead.
- Cilantro: Tear the tender leaves off the stems and scatter over the finished dish. You can also use chopped parsley or mint leaves.
About the ingredients
- Chicken thighs: I’m a fan of chicken thigh recipes. They’re tasty, cook quickly and stay juicy after roasting. Since chicken is a neutral canvas, it pairs really well with sweet, tangy flavors. If you prefer, use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead. Choose breasts that are about 6 ounces each and bake as directed.
- Fresh orange: Sliced orange wedges in this recipe soften and char in the oven, releasing their juices while the chicken cooks. You can substitute with lemons.
- Dates: Soft dried dates add a touch of natural sweetness to balance the flavors. I like plump Medjool dates. They work like magic in place of sugar or honey.
- Carrots: I tested this recipe with carrots because they’re always in the fridge. However, sweet potatoes would be great to use instead. Peel and chop them into bite-size chunks so they become tender at the same time the chicken is cooked through.
Making sheet pan chicken:
Instead of a long braise on the stovetop, follow a few simple steps to make this recipe in the oven.
- First, prep and slice your vegetables – this is the most time-consuming part, but shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.
- Arrange everything on a rimmed baking sheet – the half-sheet size is the best one to use. Toss together with the oil and spices.
- Roast about 25 minutes at 450 degrees.
Meal prep tips:
To save time, you can peel and chop the carrots, slice the red and green onions and measure out the spices a few hours ahead – keep the vegetables covered in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
TIP: Get everything for the recipe prepped and combine with the chicken and seasonings in a heavy-duty storage bag. Let it marinate while you’re at work or out of the house.
About 45 minutes before you want to serve dinner, preheat your oven to 450 degrees (with the rack in the center). Then arrange the ingredients in one layer on a rimmed sheet pan and slide into the oven.
This meal is great on its own, and fantastic served with couscous salad or with warm slices of naan flatbread on the side.
Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken
- 2 pounds (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pound (450 g) peeled carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 navel orange or 2 small tangerines, cut into 2-inch wedges
- 3 green onions, white and green parts sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 pitted Medjool dates, finely chopped
- 1 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ – 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- ½ cup (8 g) fresh cilantro, mint or parsley leaves
- Green sauce, optional
- Preheat oven to 450 (225 C) degrees.
- Arrange the chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Add the red onion, carrots, orange, green onions, garlic, dates and ginger to the chicken. Pour over the olive oil and sprinkle everything with the cumin, coriander, salt, and chili.
- Toss well with your hands so that all the ingredients are evenly coated with the oil and spices (go ahead and use tongs if you don’t want to touch the raw chicken). Space the chicken and vegetables so they are in a flat, even layer.
- Roast 22-25 minutes. The orange should be charred in spots, the carrots tender and the chicken nicely golden brown and cooked through.
- Squeeze the orange wedges with tongs, or press on them with the back of a spoon to release their juices. Sprinkle the cilantro over and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Tip: Preheat oven about 45 minutes before ready to serve, and arrange everything in one layer on a sheet pan.
- For a quick pan sauce, pour a 1/4 cup water or broth into the hot pan and scrape up any browned bits.
- Sliced orange wedges in this recipe soften and char in the oven, releasing their juices while the chicken cooks. You can substitute with lemons.
- Meal prep: Get everything cut and sliced and combine with the chicken and seasonings in a heavy-duty storage bag. Let it marinate while you’re at work or out of the house.