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Harissa Chicken Thighs (Whole30)

This dish of crispy chicken thighs in a super flavorful, slightly spicy tomato-based sauce will be your family's new favorite! Serve it with rice or cauliflower mash!

Lately, I've been obsessed with harissa! I just love its flavor so much and add it to lots of dishes and sauces! You can get both harissa paste and harissa powder and I love using the powder more. I have the paste too but prefer adding a bit of the powder to my dishes. In case you're not familiar with harissa, it is a spice blend from North Africa based on smoked chili peppers. The one that I love using consists of cumin, salt, smoked chili peppers, paprika, garlic and coriander.

This recipe contains a few steps that are crucial for its success! Browning the chicken thighs for ten minutes prior to slow cooking is very important. This helps to seal in the juices and ensures that the chicken stays nice and moist. It is an extra ten minutes but so worth it! Depending on the size of your slow cooker, you might have to do this in two steps (like I did).

The second important step to make this chicken super yummy is slow cooking everything for 4 hours. This makes sure the chicken is fully cooked and super juicy. Also, the flavors of the sauce have time to develop! That basically goes for any sauce, the longer you cook it, the better (and stronger) the flavors.

The third and last important step is to broil the chicken under the oven grill. You can either broil it in the oven or use your airfryer. I tried both ways and if you have an airfryer, it's faster but both ways work equally well. If you want to do it in the oven, it will take 15 minutes on 230°C (446°F). And if you want to use your airfryer, it will take anything betwen 5 and 10 minutes on 200°C (392°F). I like to stay close by and check on the progress to make sure the chicken thighs don't get too dark.

I used my Ninja Foodi for all the steps! Big fan! Browning the chicken thighs (mode set on sear), slow cooking the chicken in the sauce (slow cooking mode), reducing the sauce (again sear mode) and crisping up the chicken thighs (airfrying mode) all in one device. I love my Ninja Foodi so much! But like I said, if you don't have that particular device, you can easily use a pan for browning the chicken, a slow cooker for the in between and an oven for crisping up the chicken thighs afterwards.

Will you make these delicious chicken thighs soon? Or how about my Honey & Balsamico Chicken Drumsticks?

Difficulty Intermediate
Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 270 mins Total Time: 4 hrs 40 mins
Servings 4

This dish of crispy chicken thighs in a super flavorful, slightly spicy tomato-based sauce will be your family's new favorite! Serve it with rice or cauliflower mash!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2.6 lb chicken thighs (1200 g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/8 cup tomato paste
  • 1 chicken broth cube
  • 3 tsp harissa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • bunch of fresh coriander (chopped)
  1. Heat up olive oil in a pan (or in the Ninja Foodi if you own one). 

    Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, brown each side for 5 minutes. It might take you two batches depending on the size of your pan / Ninja Foodi. 

  2. After all the chicken thighs have been browned, add them to a slow cooker (or switch to the slow cooker mode on the Ninja Foodi). Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth and harissa powder. 

  3. Slow cook the chicken on High for 4 hours. If you want to broil the chicken in the oven, pre-heat the oven to 230°C (446°F)

    Add the coconut milk and stir. Then remove the chicken and either put it on a baking tray (covered in baking paper) and broil at 230°C (446°F) for 15 minutes or airfry it at 200°C (392°F) for 5 to 10 minutes. 

  4. In the meantime, reduce the sauce on medium for 15 minutes. If you're cooking with the Ninja Foodi, you can turn it to sear mode now. If not, add the sauce to a pot and simmer on the stove. 

  5. For presentation, pour the sauce into a casserole, add the crispy broiled chicken and top with lots of chopped fresh coriander. Serve with rice or cauliflower mash. Enjoy!

Keywords: chicken, slow cooker, slow cooked chicken, chicken thighs, harissa, harissa chicken thighs, coconut milk, whole30, family dinner, chicken recipe, whole30 dinner,
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Andrea Epstein in her kitchen
Andrea Epstein

Hi, I'm Andrea, a full-time food blogger, mother of 1 wonderful son, 2 equally wonderful stepsons and wife to a darling husband. I live in Munich, Germany with my family. I loves traveling, sharing new recipes, and spending time with my family.