Moroccan-Spiced Roast Chicken With Creamy Cilantro Sauce From 'Kitchen Confidence'

Moroccan Spiced Roast Chicken
Sara Remington

As Kelsey Nixon writes in her new cookbook, Kitchen Confidence, roast chicken was one of the first meals she learned how to make. Her mother gave her the basics, and she has tweaked the seasoning over time. This Moroccan-inspired version is infused with a plethora of warm spices. Nixon whips up a simple, seasoned compound butter, which is then slathered all over the chicken. A lemon, an onion, and some garlic add aroma to the inside of the bird. Potatoes roast alongside, slowly sucking up the dripping chicken juices, turning crisp and caramelizing in the hot oven.

Why I picked this recipe: Who can say no to a roast chicken dinner?

What worked: Not much can beat a simple roast chicken; rubbing the bird down with butter and fragrant spices makes the dish even better.

What didn't: It's difficult to spread butter on cold chicken skin. Let the bird come to room temperature first to make the process easier.

Suggested tweaks: If you're using a large roasting pan, you'll have room to add more vegetables if you'd like. A couple of carrots and parsnips would work well, as would halved Brussels sprouts.

Reprinted with permission from Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help You Cook Anything by Kelsey Nixon. Copyright 2014. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 110 mins
Serves: 4 servings

Rate & Comment


  • Chicken
  • 1 (5-pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, halved
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Sauce
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper


  1. For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Pat the chicken dry. Season the cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Put the chicken in the center of a roasting pan, breast side up, and surround it with the potatoes.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the butter, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Spread 2 tablespoons of the spiced butter underneath the skin on the breast of the chicken, distributing it evenly. Spread the remaining butter over the entire surface of the chicken. Squeeze half of the lemon over the chicken. Stuff the remaining lemon half, the onion quarters, and garlic in the cavity. Tie the legs with kitchen string.

  4. Roast until the chicken reaches 165°F on a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let the chicken stand for 10 minutes before carving.

  5. For the sauce: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, Sriracha, garlic, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  6. Serve the chicken with the potatoes and the creamy cilantro sauce on the side.