How to Cook a Moroccan Tagine Dish without a Tagine

By Bill Bradley, R.D.
Updated October 8, 2021

Cooking with a Tagine

If you have ever ordered a traditional Moroccan tagine dish in a restaurant, half the fun is when the tagine, a colorful, earthenware pot, arrives at your table.   As the tagine top is removed, a large cloud of steam billows into the air and the unique smells of moroccan cuisine enters the nostrils.  Most tagines start with  meat, chicken, or fish and are slowly cooked with lemons, vegetables, onions and olives and are flavored with some combination of  cumin, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, turmeric, parsley, or cilantro.  Because of the low and slow cooking, the spiced meats melt in your mouth and  the vegetables are flavorful and tender.  A tagine dish is always a favorite Mediterranean diet recipe.

Cooking without a Tagine

When I first began cooking foods from the Mediterranean Diet I was afraid to try a tagine dish because I didn’t actually own a tagine.  That all changed when I recently talked with my friend Hafid Assab, who owns the Mosaic Cafe, a Moroccan restaurant in my hometown of Northampton, MA.  Hafid, who was born in Morocco and has been cooking Moroccan food his whole life, told me that instead of a tagine, I could try using a Dutch oven or slow cooker.  Here is Hafid’s Tagine Kefta recipe using a Dutch Oven.

Hafid and myself having tea at his Moroccan restaurant

Hafid and myself having tea at his Moroccan restaurant

3 Alternatives to a traditional Moroccan Tagine:

Dutch Oven

A Dutch Oven is one of my most used cooking pots for Mediterranean cooking.  It is a cast iron or ceramic pot with a tight lid.  It is superior for cooking foods quickly and because it keeps the moisture in, it creates tender, fall off the fork meat and succulent flavors.  Most tagine dishes will cook on the stove or in the oven in an hour or less.  I own both of the Dutch ovens below.  I have a slight preference for the Creuset, but for the price, the Lodge Dutch Oven produces much the same results.  I consider a Dutch Oven a must have for the Mediterranean cook.

Lodge Dutch Oven

[amazon_link asins=’B000N501BK’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’USA-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’aaabee80-ea69-11e8-bd2e-d316073f03a2′]

Creuset Dutch Oven

[amazon_link asins=’B0076NOGPY’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’USA-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’02c1109b-ea6a-11e8-98c9-a5897ac39c0e’]

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is a multi purpose pressure cooker that can make anything from yogurt to tasty tagine recipes.  It is incredibly versatile and most dishes are done in 15-20 minutes.  It has truly revolutionized cooking and it is perfect for busy people who want to eat healthy and delicious food.  I am always amazed how tender the meat is in under a half hour of cooking.  You can also cook dried, unsoaked beans in under 20 minutes!  We have the 6 quart instant pot which seems to be the right size for most recipes that serve 4-6 people.

[amazon_link asins=’B00FLYWNYQ’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’USA-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4fb7ef50-ea69-11e8-98e7-bdfcd4026cf3′]


Try our Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Green Olives, Peppers and Lemon. 20 minutes cook time!

Mediterranean Chicken Tagine in the Instant Pot

Crock Pot (Slow Cooker)

Although the Crock Pot has lost some of it’s steam because of the introduction of the Instant Pot it still is a great tool for Mediterranean cooking.  I love that I can prep a soup or stew in under 10 minutes in the morning and come home to the amazing smells in the afternoon.  I still consider it a must have for any Mediterranean cook on the go.

[amazon_link asins=’B003HF6PUO’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’USA-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9205a865-ea69-11e8-a3e8-13fadb8e0639′]

Try our Green Beans with Lean Pork in the Slow Cooker.

Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Green Beans and Pork







 The Next Session Starts Soon!

The Mediterranean Way 10 Week Diet & Lifestyle program teaches you everything you need to know to easily and deliciously get the benefits of the proven healthy Mediterranean diet. Meal Plans, Recipes, Shopping Lists, Weekly Challenges and Lessons, Private Facebook Support Group, Cooking Videos and more!

Learn More →


“This program is a way of life, one which I have adopted successfully, and more importantly one which I have sustained for over one year now. My weight remains steady at 160 pounds (down from 216). My energy levels rival that of someone 20 years younger than me (I’m now 57), enabling me to exercise in any way that I desire, from lifting weights to intense cardio sessions.”
— Michael Little

“After completing my 10-week program, I had a regularly-scheduled appointment with my doctor. Because my cholesterol has always been above the normal range (229 last year) I requested that she test it again this year. I’m happy to report that my total cholesterol dropped to 169, which is in the normal range, and all my other numbers improved as well.”
— Claire C.

Learn More →

Foods of Crete Cookbook

"The scientifically acclaimed “Mediterranean Diet” is presented at its best here, with the liberal use of olive oil and plenty of vegetable and fish dishes in addition to mezedes (appetizers), meat dishes, desserts, and pretty much every Cretan dish you can think of." - Mary

Read more and buy →


  1. Jennifer June 16, 2020 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Thank you for the information. I was wondering if I could successfully adapt Moroccan recipes to an instant pot.

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. June 19, 2020 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Hi Jennifer,
      Many Moroccan recipes are perfect for the instant pot. I would especially look at meat, chicken and bean tagine dishes. They would work very nicely.

Leave A Comment

Mediterranean Living

Our Newsletter

Get seasonal recipe ideas as well as special offers on our online programs, live webinars and video releases. Sent once a week.