This Moroccan inspired dish is a fusion between a Mediterranean Diet recipe and the flavors of New England.  I have cooked this for thousands of people in my workshops and many have told me that I should bottle the sauce.  It is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, combining honey, molasses and Dijon mustard with Moroccan spices.  You can cook this on the stove top, a Dutch oven or in a crock pot, but here we use an instant pot for this chicken tagine which cuts the cooking time in half and the instant pot chicken comes out even more tender than other cooking methods.  Saute the chicken in olive oil (in the instant pot), add the rest of the ingredients, cook for 20 minutes and it is ready.

Instant Pot Chicken: Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Lemon and olives

This is one of those dishes that is easy to make, but elegant.  It can be served for almost any type of event from casual to fancy.

I serve this with a Greek salad and bread (to sop up the gravy).  Enjoy!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot you can make this using the recipe here:  Chicken Tagine with Peppers and Olives.

Here is another one of our favorite instant pot recipes: Green Beans with Potatoes (Fasoladia).

Purchasing an Instant Pot

The Instant Pot we use is the 6 quart version.   It is just right for recipes that serve 4 all the way up to 8 servings.  For us, it seems to be the perfect size. Below is the one we purchased from Amazon.  I highly recommend it!

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Instant Pot - Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Green Olives, Peppers and Lemon

Instant Pot - Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Green Olives, Peppers and Lemon

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 6
Calories 361 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 lemon, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 2 cups green olives, with pits (or without if desired)
  • 2 red peppers, cut into long, wide, strips
  • 2 orange peppers, cut into long, wide strips
  • 2 onions, cut into quarters
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped

SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Turn covered instant pot on saute while prepping the vegetables and chicken.
  • Add olive oil and chicken to instant pot and saute chicken until no longer pink. Add rest of ingredients including sauce. Stir well. Cover and re-set instant pot to manual at 20 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 361kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 35gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 1176mgPotassium: 970mgFiber: 5gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 2802IUVitamin C: 118mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
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41 Comments

  1. Alex December 16, 2019 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Wow, interesting receipe! I use chicken thighs, substitute honey/molasses with maple syrup and pressure cook on high for only 9 min (20min seems a bit too much) Turns out great every time.

  2. Susan September 13, 2019 at 2:51 am - Reply

    I don’t think I have ever seen so many comments on one recipe, some were helpful for me. I halved the recipe and cut the time down to 12 min. as recommended but the vpeppers were mushy, maybe they always are in a pressure cooker. Also, I used Coconut oil instead of Olive oil and Morocaan spice instead of the 4 in the recipe. Also, added some water, which it didn’t need, there is plenty of liquid generated from the veg. I left out the molasses and forgot to buy an extra lemon for this but the taste was still good to me. Thank you for the recipe. It iwas a pleasant suprise to find these Mediterranaean recipes for the Instant Pot.

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 23, 2019 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      Hi Susan,
      Thanks for the comment. The peppers are meant to be well cooked and soft (not necessarily mushy though)

  3. Kristal July 4, 2019 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Can this easily be halved? Only 2 in house and serving size even with leftovers is too much for us. Or can it be frozen? Or pressure canned?

    • George Zikos July 10, 2019 at 6:27 pm - Reply

      So I haven’t tried halving it before. If you do though I would try less of a cooking time, around 12-15 minutes. As long as the chicken cooks through you should be good. I also think freezing it would be a great idea!

  4. Leslie July 2, 2019 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    If you are cooking bit sized chicken, it only takes 3 minutes. Can you help me understand why your recipe suggests 20 minutes?

    • George Zikos July 3, 2019 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the question. It’s because there is a lot of other things in the pot, and the sauce needs time to develop. Have you tried this recipe yet? The chicken comes out tender and delicious.

      • Leslie July 3, 2019 at 7:57 pm

        Thank you for this reply. I haven’t tried it yet but it on the agenda for sometime in the next week, just have to pick up a few ingredients.

      • George Zikos July 4, 2019 at 2:40 pm

        It’s one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes, if not my favorite!

  5. Ruthanne June 16, 2019 at 2:09 am - Reply

    Hello! I tried this tonight and the chicken was way over cooked and the veggies were very soggy. The instapot took about 10 min to pressurize – should I cut the cooking time?
    Thank you!

    • George Zikos June 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Maybe try cutting the chicken a little larger next time. When we make it, the chicken is very tender. The vegetables are supposed to be nice and soft. The instant pot cooks most vegetables into a very soft consistency anyway. The pressurizing time is normal.

  6. Betsy May 12, 2019 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    George, just got back from Morocco and want to adapt this recipe to a Dutch oven. Brought seasoning/spices back and can’t wait to use. Would you be able to supply cooking times for this adaption??

  7. Sharon March 5, 2019 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    This recipe sounds fantastic! I really want to try it, but molasses make me a little nauseous… could you suggest a suitable substitute for the molasses?

    • George Zikos March 6, 2019 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      You can just take out the molasses completely and the flavor will be almost exactly the same.

  8. Wendy Shwed February 11, 2019 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Made this recipe last night and it is my all time favourite so far that I have made in the instant pot:) Great flavours!

    • George Zikos February 12, 2019 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      So good right? This is our most popular Instant Pot recipe and my favorite as well. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Agatha February 3, 2019 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Most Instant Pot recipes indicate whether you do a natural (slow) release of the steam or a quick release. This one does not. Since this indicated 20 minutes cooking time, I did a quick release. Most basic instructions for cooking chicken in an Instant Pot suggest a cooking time of 10-15 minutes since it takes an instant pot about 12 minutes to come to temperature. Followed this recipe last night. Peppers and olives came out rather mushy. On the olives, it may have been because I used pitted Kalamata and an olive medley I had on hand rather than solely green olives.. I used thigh meat which stands up to overcooking better than breast. The flavors were good and I suspect we’ll give this another try, but next time I’ll leave the chicken in larger than bite sized pieces–perhaps cutting thighs into thirds or quarters– and dial the Instant Pot timer back to 12 minutes as well as do a quick release. I contemplate the following additional alterations: (1) adding the onions at the saute stage as well, as onions hold up to long cooking better than peppers and olives; (2) using small hard green olives with pits; and (3) cutting the amount of chicken in half and then adding chick peas after it has cooked to add vegetable protein. The sauce smelled amazing. It was not as sweet as I had expected it would be, which is probably a good thing. I look forward to trying it as left overs.

    • George Zikos February 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      You were totally correct on the quick release, we should have noted that in the instructions. You can most definitely add the onions at the saute stage, we just felt they would cook either way. I prefer pitted olives for this recipe, but you can use pits if you desire. The chickpeas would be a beautiful addition to this dish. Thank you for commenting and I hope you choose to make it again!

  10. Joanne Preece January 30, 2019 at 3:23 am - Reply

    Wow, that was great. I’m not usually a recipe follower but this was so outside my comfort zone I wouldn’t have even known how to improvise. So glad I didn’t. Totally delicious, will definitely be making again!

    • George Zikos January 31, 2019 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad you loved it! This is one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes by far. Maybe the second time around you can improvise a little!

  11. Kathleen January 16, 2019 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Bill, I am wondering if this would work with preserved lemons as well. I am trying to adapt a preserved lemon/olive/chicken traditional Moroccan dish and came across your instant pot recipe. Thank you in advance.

    • George Zikos January 22, 2019 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      We haven’t made it with preserved lemons, however, I have seen other Instant Pot tagine recipes online that do use preserved lemons. It should work!

  12. Rachel Smith January 14, 2019 at 3:34 am - Reply

    Wow, yum!! This was so good. I accidentally forgot to add the olives, but it didn’t need them at all. Will try them with the olives next time… and there will be a next time. The peppers got so sweet and soft, and the sauce was delicious.

    • George Zikos January 14, 2019 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      So good right? I think you’ll love it with the olives. That’s my favorite part.

  13. Amy January 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Making this tonight and just realized I don’t have molasses. Any thoughts on a substitute or how taste would change if left out? Thanks!

    • George Zikos January 14, 2019 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Tomato paste could work although I haven’t tried it.

  14. Hayley January 9, 2019 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    Would thighs work? If so, do they need to be cooked longer?

    • George Zikos January 14, 2019 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      They would totally work and 20 minutes would be fine to fully cook them.

  15. Corey Carter November 22, 2018 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    This was one of the best things I’ve ever made in the instant pot! I made 4 modifications that added to how tasty this was. I have fresh limes in my garden so I used those instead of a lemon. I ended up not having any turmeric so I used a pinch of saffron I just bought at Costco. Lastly I added dehydrated dates and sour cherries. I was looking for dehydrated apricots to put in, but found the dates instead which seemed appropriate. Wow this was fantastic! I was very skeptical there was enough liquid in the recipe, but it cooked up perfectly.

  16. Kristy September 30, 2018 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Im not sure if you mean ‘no longer pink’ on the outside of the chicken or are you suggesting it is no longer pink on the inside as well? I’m thinking you mean just on the outside, otherwise the chicken would get over-cooked?

    • George Zikos October 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Yes, just until the outside of the chicken isn’t pink anymore. You’re correct, it would be overcooked.

  17. Samantha September 2, 2018 at 12:53 am - Reply

    Should I use natural pressure release or forced?? thanks for the great recipe

  18. Janna August 23, 2018 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this!! Does this use the lemon peel sliced very thin? Or the actual lemon?

    • George Zikos August 28, 2018 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      First, you slice the peel off of the lemon, then you slice the inside flesh very thin. :)

  19. Jill June 10, 2018 at 4:07 am - Reply

    Just made this tonight and it was great! I halved the main ingredients and made the full amount of sauce because it is just for my husband and I and we like sauce. The only thing I would suggest is throwing in some raisins or dates for a fruity note. Recommended!!

  20. Sal June 5, 2018 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I am making it now – Am I supposed to add Chicken broth to this? Or is the tomato paste/molasses/honey the only sauce?

    • George Zikos June 5, 2018 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      No, you don’t need any chicken broth or liquid. Just follow the recipe and you will be surprised at how much liquid there is in the end.

  21. Carolyn S June 2, 2018 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    Hey, Bill,
    I made this in my Instant Pot a few weeks ago. I commented, but somehow the comment got lost in cyberspace.
    Anyway, we all loved the recipe. I had a lot of the broth left over, and I used it as a soup base for another meal. The only thing I would change would be the amount of green olives. I’d say 1/2 cup would be more than enough for our tastes, but otherwise, it was delicious. I plan on making it again. I think it would be equally good with pork or even beef.

    • George Zikos June 3, 2018 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Glad you liked it! We love olives here but it’s totally cool. I haven’t tried it with pork or beef, but that’s a great idea! Thanks for commenting!

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