Easy Persian Chicken (A Must-Try Persian New Year Recipe!)

Easy Persian Chicken (A Must-Try Persian New Year Recipe!)

Learn how to make Persian chicken with a spiced yogurt marinade! It’s quick, easy, and packed with flavor.

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • March 16, 2021

Today is the spring equinox, which means it is also Nowruz — Persian New Year! If you aren’t familiar with Nowruz, It means “new day” and its festivities symbolize both rebirth and the link between humans and nature. For over 3,000 years, this celebration has been promoting peace, generational solidarity, reconciliation, and neighbourliness across diverse communities in Central Asia, Western Asia, the Balkans, and beyond.

From street singers to buzkashi tournaments, Nowruz traditions vary from country to country, yet one thing is always present and prominent: FOOD. 

That’s why we want to share with you one of our Persian style chicken recipes that was inspired by Iranian cooking. Since Nowruz is celebrated for many days (or weeks!), you have plenty of time to try out this easy Persian chicken dish, and, if you have kids, let it spark a little culture lesson around the dinner table. 


“If I had to eat one meal for a year, this would be it. SO GOOD!!”

– Lauren D.


This year, our Persian chicken recipe has been raved about in our cooking community and many of our homecooks have added this meal to their ‘Favorites List’ because it was a hit with the whole family.

What’s so delectable about this recipe? Well, for starters, it features a spiced yogurt marinade that tenderizes the chicken and brings together the bright acidity of lemon juice and deep notes of Asian spices. Pair that with fluffy couscous and our crisp cucumber and pomegranate salad, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

This meal is also beloved because it has a big flavor pay out while still being so quick and easy to make. Once the chicken thighs are marinated, all you have to do is pop them in the oven on a sheet pan and let them cook while you whip up the salad and couscous. 

Sounds super easy, right? And the result is a colorful meal that the family will love and guests will call you up to tell you how much they enjoyed it. (Yes, this happened to someone in our cooking community!)

So, are you ready to dive into the specifics of how to make Persian chicken? Keep reading to find out what you need to make it at home in 1 hour or less!


“This is SO good and really comes together quickly if you’ve marinated the chicken ahead of time! A hit for our family from 9 months to adult!”

– Monica H.



Meal Planning Smarts

Budget Cooking

  • This recipe saves money by using chicken thighs, which are less expensive than chicken breasts.
  • If pomegranates aren’t available or you want to save by using some fruit you already have in your kitchen, consider using any of these fruits that are grown in Iran: apricots, apples, oranges, cherries, grapes, and kiwifruit.
  • Rice is a staple in Persian cuisine, so instead of buying couscous, you can use basmati rice if you already have it on hand.

Time Savers

  • Save time by cooking the couscous and slicing the onions up to 5 days beforehand.
  • Marinate the Persian chicken thighs and prep the mint and cucumbers a day ahead and the whole meal will come together in a flash.

Leftovers

  • Since chicken thighs and cooked couscous freeze and reheat well, make a double batch and pop the second half in your freezer for a rainy day!
  • You can chop up leftover cooked chicken and use it in everything from salads to wraps to rice dishes.

Prepping Smarts

If you want to know the most efficient and effective ways to prep the star ingredients of this meal, watch these short videos below!

Video

How to Slice an Onion

Learn the most efficient way to slice, dice, and chop onions so that your prep always goes smoothly.

Video

How to Season & Tenderize Proteins with a Fork

Maximize flavor and tenderize proteins with this little trick.

Video

How to Dice Cucumbers

Learn how to dice cucumbers for a refreshing addition to summer salsas and salads.

Video

How to Chiffonade Basil and Mint

Watch this video to learn how to chiffonade basil or mint - chopping into tiny ribbons for a garnish.

Equipment Smarts

Our Persian chicken recipe is easy to make in any kitchen because the only cookware you need is a saucepan and sheet pan. If you don’t already have them, they are must-haves for home cooking, and you can get great ones like this saucepan and this sheet pan today.

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools

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Persian-Inspired Chicken Thighs with Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad

This easy Persian chicken recipe features a yogurt-based marinade, tender couscous, and a refreshing and colorful side salad.

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 35 min

Total time: 1 hr

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Stock, any type - 1 cup (sub water)
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp + 1 tsp
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp
  • Couscous, uncooked - 3/4 cup
  • Onions, medium - 1/2, sliced
  • Yogurt, plain or Greek - 1/2 cup, plus extra for serving
  • Oil, olive - 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
  • Lemon juice - 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin, ground - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric, ground - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon, ground - 1/4 tsp
  • Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless - 1 lb
  • Cucumbers - 1 lb, diced (preferably a seedless variety, like English cucumbers)
  • Mint leaves - 6, chopped
  • Foil (opt) - for roasting
  • Pomegranate seeds - 1/4 cup (look for these removed from the pomegranate shells in the produce section; sub chopped nuts or skip)

Instructions

Prep

  1. Make couscous – Combine stock, first portion of salt, and butter in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous and cover with lid. Let stand for ~5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Onions – Slice onions. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Marinate chicken – (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating while chicken marinates.) Combine onions, yogurt, first portion of olive oil, first portion of lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, second portion of salt, and ground cinnamon. Add chicken and tenderize with a fork. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  4. Cucumbers / Mint – Prep as directed. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

Make

  1. Heat oven to 425F / 218C.
  2. Line a sheet pan with foil (optional, but will make clean up easy) or brush with some cooking oil. Spread chicken and onions out on prepared sheet pan (no need to drain off marinade). Season with some salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer sheet pan with chicken and onions to the oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes (depending on size). The chicken is done when it reaches 165F / 74C degrees.
  4. When chicken is nearly done roasting, toss together cucumbers, mint, pomegranate seeds, second portion of olive oil, and second portion of lemon juice. Season with some salt.
  5. If couscous was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
  6. Serve chicken and onions over couscous with salad on the side. Enjoy!

A little note:

Some of the above links are Amazon affiliate links, which means we earn a small percentage from those sales. We use this affiliate revenue to support the continued growth of Cook Smarts. Thank you!


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