Baked Harissa Chicken

Spice up your usual baked chicken thighs with homemade harissa paste.

If you are a fan of spicy food then you are going to love this Harissa Chicken. Let’s get some of the basics out of the way first.

What is Harissa? It’s a spicy paste originating from North Africa that is made with chillis, paprika, garlic and herbs. It can be eaten as a condiment, mixed into stews, soups or used as a marinade for meats. Most grocery stores sell a premade harissa paste which you could use in this recipe, but I personally think the homemade version is more then worth the bit of extra time it takes to prepare.

The harissa paste recipe makes a larger quantity then is required for the chicken, but any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks or frozen for a few months. If you like spicy food as much as I do then you will find yourself adding harissa paste to everything.

Ok so time to talk about the chicken. It’s moist in the middle with a deliciously crispy skin that even the ultra health conscious won’t be able to resist. The chicken is cooked on a bed of red onion and carrots, which makes this the perfect all in one meal.

I like doubling the amount of chicken and veggies I make, and using leftovers in salads for the following few days.

Although the pomegranate seeds are just a garnish, I highly recommend using them if you can because they add a wonderful burst of fresh flavour to each bite.

Need the perfect side to serve with the chicken? Make this Chopped Eggplant, Almond and Herb Salad.

Baked Harissa Chicken
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Serves: 6 servings
  • 5 - 6 chicken thighs skin on, bone in
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 red onions, cut into chunks
  • ½ lemon cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Harissa Paste
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 dried ancho chilies, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a bowl whisk together the harissa paste, honey, lemon juice and olive oil. Pour the mixture over the chicken thighs and allow to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour and up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
  3. Place the cut up carrots, red onion and chicken in a baking dish or cast iron skillet. Pour any of the remaining marinade over the chicken and top with the lemon wedges. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Half way through baking, spoon some of the liquid from the bottom of the dish over the chicken before returning to the oven. After 35 minutes check to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked in the center. Turn the oven broil and place the dish on the top rack for 2 to 3 minutes until the skin of the chicken becomes crisp and golden.
  4. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds before serving.
Harissa Paste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place the red pepper on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the skin has blackened and the flesh is tender. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing the skin and seeds.
  2. In a dry frying pan on medium heat combine the cumin seeds, caraway seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds and toast for approximately 2 minutes until the seeds become fragrant. Transfer the seeds to a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and grind.
  3. In a food processor combine the ground spices, paprika, chili powder, garlic, salt, soaked ancho chili, roasted red pepper, and olive oil. Blend everything until it forms a thick paste.


Carmen Sturdy

Carmen discovered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (a diet free from grains, gluten, refined sugar, processed food, lactose and soya) after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease 2 years ago. She now lives symptom and medication free thanks to the diet. She created Every Last Bite to share healthy recipes and show people that no matter how restricting your diet, you can still enjoy delicious food.

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