Harissa Chicken Thighs with Olives and Tomatoes is an easy baked chicken recipe that is filled with flavor and spice! Tender juicy chicken with a spicy harissa paste are baked with tomatoes and olives for a warm and comforting dish easy enough for a weeknight, but fancy enough for company!
What is Harissa Paste?
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love harissa paste! If you’ve never used harissa paste you are in for a treat.
Harissa paste is a spicy red chili paste used in North African and Middle Eastern Cuisine. You can kind of think of it as the sriracha sauce of that region.
It is made of a combination of hot chile peppers, garlic, oil, vinegar, tomatoes and spices. Some common spices used in it are cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. Rose petals are also found in a lot of the versions.
Each region can have a similar, but different recipe, so I like to try different varieties of harissa paste. Some are hotter and on some the spices are more prominent. They are all a little bit different and you might find that you like one a little more than another.
I used to order it from Amazon exclusively, but lately some of the regular grocery stores has started carrying it in the International food aisle.
Ingredients to Make Harissa Baked Chicken Thighs
There are two parts to the this recipe. The first part is the harissa baked chicken thighs and the second part is the fresh and tangy gremolata that is sprinkled on at serving.
- Harissa Paste – try different varieties to find the one that you like best. They can very in heat level and spiciness.
- Brown Sugar.
- Chicken Stock – I use homemade, but canned will be fine.
- Olives – a mix is nice, but all of one kind will also work. I use pitted because I don’t want people to bite into pits.
- Garlic cloves.
- Tomato Paste – after ending up wasting a lot in the cans, I’ve switched to using the tubes. Especially for recipes that don’t use that much.
- Tomatoes – any kind will work, roma are my favorites.
- Chicken thighs – bone in, skin on. Can use boneless, skinless, but reduce the initial cooking time.
How to Make Chicken Thighs with Olives and Tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 350.
Place the chicken, garlic and olives in a baking dish. They can fit snugly.
In a small bowl, combine the harissa paste, brown sugar and chicken stock.
Pour the harissa mixture over the chicken. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for one hour.
Remove from the oven. Turn the oven heat up to 400 and uncover the chicken.
Cut the roma tomatoes into halves or fourths and add them to the chicken. Roast for an additional 30 minutes.
Top with the gremolata for serving.
How to Make a Gremolata
This recipe is finished with a sprinkling of a gremolata. A gremolata is basically a dressing made with parsley, lemon and garlic. This version includes cilantro.
To make the gremolata, chop the parsley and the cilantro and add to a bowl. I like to finely chop mine. Mince the garlic and add to the bowl. Add the 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the bowl and stir to combine.
These baked chicken thighs are soooo good! The harissa and brown sugar creates a sweet and spicy glaze on the crispy skin. The olives and tomatoes cook in the rich red sauce. Topped with a fresh and tangy gremolata.
I served it with couscous and it was unanimously declared the best dinner ever!
More Harissa Recipes:
If you have any leftover harissa paste, be sure and try these other yummy recipes using harissa paste.
- Harissa Roasted Squash
- Harissa and Yogurt Baked Chicken
- Harissa Beef Skewers
- Harissa Lamb and Spinach Pizza
If you make this I would love it if you would leave a star rating!
Harissa Chicken Thighs With Olives
- 8 chicken thighs bone in and trimmed
- 8 cloves garlic unpeeled (mine were peeled)
- 1 cup olives mixed
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- salt and cracked black pepper
- 14 oz roma tomatoes preferably on the vine
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest shredded
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Make the gremolata by combining the ingredients in a bowl, and then set aside.
- Place the chicken, garlic and olives in a large baking dish. Combine the harissa, sugar, and stock and spoon over the chicken, garlic and olives. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cover tightly with foil and roast for one hour.
- Increase the temperature to 400. Uncover and add the tomatoes and roast for an additional 30 minutes. Serve with the gremolata.
This recipe was originally published in 2014 (found in an old Donna Hay magazine) and has been updated or 2019.