If you're looking for a flavorful, healthy recipe, this 30-Minute Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken is a popular reader favorite!
If your family is like mine, you are constantly looking for one-pot meals that are healthy. Meals that don't take a lot of time in the kitchen, but are full of amazing flavor.
Enter my current fave recipe creation: the one-pot, 30-minute Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken meal. You guys, I am OBSESSED with this pressure cooker Moroccan chicken dish. It's packed with robust spices and flavors, and I hope you will love it, too!
- One pot, 30-minute meals = dinner bliss!
- 🍗 Healthy Instant Pot Moroccan chicken
- Traditional Moroccan spices
- How to make Moroccan Chicken in an Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi pressure cooker
- 👩🏻🍳 Recipe FAQs
- 🔥 How to Avoid the Burn Notice
- 🍽 What to serve with Moroccan Chicken
- 🥂 What wine pairs with Moroccan chicken?
- 🥘 More Comfort Food Dinner Recipes
- Healthy 30-Minute Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken
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One pot, 30-minute meals = dinner bliss!
If you follow me on Instagram or subscribe to my weekly Food, Wine, and Travel Bliss newsletter, you know that I love both my 8-quart Instant Pot and 8-Quart Ninja Foodi Deluxe. I use my multi-cookers every single day.
Electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot and the Ninja Foodi are just perfect for creating nutritious dishes like this that are packed with big flavors!
I LOVE one-pot wonder meals, and the multicooker - AKA the Ninja Foodi and the Instant Pot - makes it all so fast and simple to feed the family healthy meals.
🍗 Healthy Instant Pot Moroccan chicken
I LOVE this Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken recipe so much.
The chicken is so flavorful and moist, and the quinoa turns out just as yummy and fluffy. And best of all, it takes just around 30 minutes from start to finish, all in ONE pot. Less to clean up, and more to enjoy!
The most delicious recipes start with high quality, fresh ingredients.
For this recipe, I find it's best to to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. They tend to be juicier, meatier, and absorb more of the delicious Moroccan spice flavors than chicken breasts.
Traditional Moroccan spices
This calls for a blend of traditional Moroccan spices:
- kosher salt and pepper.
The measurements in the recipe make enough to cover a pound and a half of chicken, so feel free to adjust the amount of spices if you use less or more chicken.
How to make Moroccan Chicken in an Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi pressure cooker
Making Moroccan chicken in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker or Ninja Foodi multi-cooker couldn't be easier.
Season the chicken and then give it a quick sauté on both sides in the pot.
Then the chicken is set aside while you sauté the garlic, ginger, and onions.
After that, add the quinoa, dried cherries, and chickpeas into the Instant Pot. Pour in the chicken broth.
Side note: I like the flavor of dried cherries in this recipe, but you could also use dates, raisins, or even dried apricot.
Close the lid, make sure the vent is on SEALING, then set the dials to POULTRY and set the time to 10 minutes. It takes a few minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure. Once it does, it will start counting down. Once it stops counting down from 10, very carefully turn the knob to VENTING and Quick Release.
Safety tip: I use tongs whenever I turn the pressure release valve knob; you could use a wooden spoon or super thick oven mitts.
After a few minutes, the Instant Pot pin will go down all the way indicating all pressure has been released. That's when you know it's safe to open the lid. At this point, your beautiful Moroccan chicken dish should be done!
You can use a meat thermometer to double check the doneness of the chicken. If it's at 165°F degrees, then your chicken is ready to go!
👩🏻🍳 Recipe FAQs
Try dried apricots or golden raisins. Both have been tried by readers with much reported success.
Yes - but please read these cooking tips first!
In fact, the updated recipe photos you see in this post were taken one of the times I substituted Israeli couscous for quinoa -- with great success! I offer this substitution with the caveat that you must realize it is a different type of grain and you'll likely need to adjust accordingly.
I usually make this dish with couscous in my Ninja Foodi XL 8-Quart Deluxe 9-in-1 pressure cooker.
1: I use *slightly less* couscous than the amount of quinoa that the recipe calls for -- try ¾ cup instead of one cup.
2: Make sure you are using a dry measuring cup for dry ingredients, and a liquid measuring cup when measuring the chicken broth.
3: Try using one pound of chicken - not a pound and a half.
I have made this several times now with regular couscous and with larger Israeli couscous and I have NEVER once received a BURN notice.
You can use the same weight of chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs. Many readers have used chicken breasts instead with much reported success. However, I would be careful of this kind of substitution because much depends on the thickness and weight of your chicken breasts. You may need to adjust cooking time. I find the recipe works beautifully (and quite frankly, tastes better!) using either the skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or boneless, skinless chicken thighs, as stated in the recipe.
🔥 How to Avoid the Burn Notice
I have made this recipe several times over the years, and have not received a burn notice. However, if you do get one, it can be for one or more of several different reasons:
1. Not enough liquid. Try adding more liquid. Sometimes when you make substitutions, depending on the exact brand of ingredient you are using, it may actually expand and take up more room than the original ingredient in the recipe, therefore soaking up more of the liquid during pressure cook time. This can lead to the Burn notice.
2. It could be the order in which you are layering ingredients. If you're putting in ingredients in any order other than what the recipe calls for, it could possibly lead to the dreaded Burn notice.
3. There are bits of food on the bottom of the pot when you start pressure cooking. Remember to deglaze before pressure cooking: scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon after you add liquid and before you start pressure cooking. The Instant Pot is way more sensitive to this than the Ninja Foodi, so be sure to scrape up Every. Single. Bit. of browning at the bottom of the pot.
4. Your sealing ring may be allowing steam to escape, which can cause the IP to overheat. Same if your pressure valve isn't 100% in the Seal position.
There are a few other reasons you might be getting a burn notice, but those are the most common.
🍽 What to serve with Moroccan Chicken
🥂 What wine pairs with Moroccan chicken?
The bold robust spices of this healthy recipe call for being paired with a bright, dry white wine. A dry Riesling would be lovely with this dish, as would a dry Roussane from Southern France.
🥘 More Comfort Food Dinner Recipes
- Instant Pot/Ninja Foodi African Peanut Stew
- Classic Beef Bourguignon
- Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken
- Chicken Yakisoba
- Instant Pot Filipino Chicken Adobo
- Soy Garlic Butter Chicken Bites with Asparagus
- Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese
- The Ultimate Burger Bar
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Healthy 30-Minute Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs (6 thighs) boneless & skinless, or skin-on & bone-in
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 can (14.5 ounce) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup dried cherries
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- optional: finely chopped cilantro leaves or parsley leaves
- In a small bowl, mix together paprika, turmeric, cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Coat chicken with spice rub as evenly as possible on all sides. Set aside on a plate.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the bottom of the Instant Pot pan.
- Press SAUTE mode on the Instant Pot.
- Add chicken to Instant Pot and sauté until slightly brown. Then flip over each piece of chicken and continue cooking until that side is slightly browned. Remove from Instant Pot and set aside on a plate.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in garlic, onions, and ginger. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring slowly.
- Mix in the quinoa (or couscous), dried cherries (or dried apricots), chickpeas, chicken broth, and the browned chicken.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and be sure the pressure release valve is in SEALING.
- Press POULTRY (or Manual) and set time to 10 minutes.
- Instant Pot will bring contents to pressure and the display will say ON during this time. Once the contents have reached pressure (this can take up to 10 minutes), the Instant Pot will beep and start counting down 10 minutes. At the end (when those 10 minutes are up), use tongs to very carefully turn the knob to VENTING in order to Quick Release.
- Once the float valve pin is down, and steam stops being released through the valve (this can take a few minutes; your time may vary), press CANCEL and carefully open the lid.
- Chicken is done when a thermometer inserted into the meat registers 165° F.
- Plate, garnish with optional cilantro or parsley leaves, and serve immediately.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.
Do you love healthy one-pot meals? What type of recipes do you like to search for at the beginning of a new year?
This post was originally published on January 11, 2018. It was updated and republished on December 20, 2020 with new photos and more helpful information to help you make this delicious Moroccan chicken recipe.
Was this originally made with Couscous? If so, do I just substitute the quinoa for the couscous and follow the recipes as is otherwise? Thank you!
Marlynn Jayme Schotland says
The original recipe was made with quinoa but I've made it several times with couscous (in fact, I usually make it with couscous now). You can use either in the recipe!
I’ve made this a few times and love how flavorful and EASY it is. My husband is allergic to cherries, so I substitute dried cranberries (even add a bit more than a half cup) and they work beautifully. Great recipe!
What kind of cherries do you use, tart or sweet?
Marlynn Jayme Schotland says
Mel, I use dried cherries which tend to be tart.
Wow, what a dish - thumbs up from two young kids and us parents. I never thought of cooking quinoa in the Instantpot (or mixing with chickpeas), works very well! I've made it a couple times now and add a bit more spice including Ras al Hanout and serve with some simple flatbread. Always easy and always a winner.
Marlynn Jayme Schotland says
Matt, I'm so glad to hear your family loved it! And love how you added some Ras al Hanout -- sounds like a delicious addition!
Is the 693 calorie count for the ENTIRE pot? With all ingredients?
Marlynn Jayme Schotland says
Hi Koe, we actually just ran the recipe through the nutrition calculator again considering 6 servings (1.5 pounds is about 6 thighs) of bone-in, skin-on chicken and each serving comes in approximately 425 calories per serving if there are 6 servings. As always, this is an estimate and will vary greatly depending on the exact ingredients you use. Thanks!
This is a wonderful recipe, and what’s especially great is that it just as well as a vegetarian/vegan quinoa dish if you omit the chicken. Just start at step 6, add all the spices in step 7, and omit the chicken in step 8. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth if you want to make it vegan. It’s absolutely delicious!
Can I used Dried Chickpea?
Marlynn Jayme Schotland says
Rebecca - I have only used canned chickpeas so I can't say for sure whether dried chickpeas will work with this recipe. If you try it, please do let me know how it worked out for you!
Tonia Townsend says
How long to let it cook in a crock pot and do I put on high or low