Skillet Chicken with Couscous

5 from 365 votes

This Skillet Chicken with Couscous is an easy dinner recipe for any night of the week. It's full of great flavor, very filling, and all made in one skillet!

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This Chicken with Couscous comes together in a single pan with just 10 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking time, making it ideal for busy weeknights! With juicy pan-seared chicken, tender pearled couscous, and a little bit of Mediterranean flair, it’s sure to become a fast favorite.

Skillet chicken with couscous in a large back cast iron skillet
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I love this chicken and couscous recipe, not only because it’s so good but it comes together in a single skillet! Even as an experienced cook, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed when I’ve got two or three pans on the stovetop and another in the oven at the same time. This skillet chicken with couscous is a stress-free dinner that’s delicious and family-friendly too.

Those of you who’ve tried and loved the Mediterranean couscous with shrimp recipe will definitely want to try out this couscous with chicken recipe. It also has very basic ingredients and instructions with flavors that everyone will enjoy!

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Mediterranean
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop and oven
Dietary Info: Protein-rich
Key Flavor: Savory, with a finish of bright citrus
Skill Level: Easy


  • Complete Dinner in a Skillet: The couscous and chicken are enough for a light meal all by themselves—you can add a vegetable side or salad if you’d like, but you don’t have to!
  • Kid-Friendly: While this chicken couscous recipe is flavorful, there’s nothing especially bold or spicy in the dish, which means it’s picky eater approved. Plus, kids love pearled couscous. It has a chewy texture that’s fun to eat!
  • Perfect for a Weeknight: This chicken and couscous is on the table and ready to eat in just 30 minutes. The prep is very easy, and so is the cooking, so it’s great for those days when you just want something simple for dinner.
  • An Ingredient List of Pantry Staples: The ingredient list might look long at first glance, but you probably won’t have very much to buy at the grocery store since it mostly relies on kitchen staples!

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Chicken With Couscous

Collage of two images showing chicken thighs being seasoned
  • Boneless chicken thighs: I like chicken thighs in this recipe because it’s harder to overcook them! They’re practically guaranteed to be tender and juicy.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  • Olive oil: I like to use olive oil for this chicken couscous recipe, but another oil you like to cook with is fine if you’ve run out.
  • Pearled couscous: Pearled couscous is chewier than regular couscous—a little more like pasta.
  • Garlic: Using garlic powder and fresh garlic makes this skillet chicken and couscous extra flavorful.
  • Fresh thyme leaves: Using fresh herbs adds a more vibrant flavor to this dish. If you need to use dried instead, use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.
  • Chicken broth: You can use homemade chicken broth or store-bought.
  • Lemon: For a bright, citrusy finish.
  • Add greens. Just before the cooking time is done, stir in several handfuls of baby spinach. Baby spinach wilts quickly, adding some extra nutrition to your couscous and chicken without having to alter the recipe or extend the cooking time.
  • Use another grain. I’ve also made this skillet chicken recipe with quinoa and orzo. Both are a great option if you can’t find pearled couscous or simply prefer something different!
  • Give it some contrasting textures. Try adding chopped dried apricots and almonds just before serving. They’ll add flavor and some more layers of texture to the dish.
  • Use chicken breasts. If you prefer to use chicken breasts, you can. Just be careful not to overcook them!

How to Make Skillet Chicken With Couscous

  1. Mix the seasonings together, then sprinkle the mixture onto the chicken thighs.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet, then add the chicken thighs. Cook until the chicken is golden brown and releases easily from the skillet. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Toast the couscous, garlic, and thyme in the same skillet where you cooked the chicken.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.
  5. Add the chicken to the skillet and nestle the lemon slices around it.
  6. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the couscous has absorbed most of the liquid.
Collage of two images showing couscous in a skillet with water and then with the chicken and lemon slices being added

Tips for Making the Best Couscous and Chicken

  • Make sure your spices are fresh. When you open the bottles, they should be fragrant. If you smell nothing or the spices smell stale, they won’t add much flavor to your food—it’s time to replace them.
  • Uses a heavy bottom skillet for best heat distribution. Sometimes the skillet you use in cooking doesn’t matter much. Here it does. That’s because a skillet with a thick heavy bottom will give you even heat throughout the cooking process, and can handle being finished off in the oven. If you don’t want to finish the cooking in the oven, you can use a stainless steel or nonstick skillet with a lid and continue cooking on the stovetop.
  • Dab the chicken dry before seasoning. This step will help to get that beautiful golden color on the exterior of the chicken without it sticking to the pan. If there is leftover moisture on the chicken, it creates steam, which prevents browning.
  • Check the internal temperature of the chicken for best results. The time estimates I provide in the recipe below are simple estimates based on the size and thickness of the chicken I used. For the best accuracy, I would highly recommend using a quick-read thermometer and cooking the chicken to 165°F. Be sure not to go over that temperature or the chicken will become too dry.
Final outcome of the skillet chicken with couscous shown in the cast iron skillet

What to Serve With Chicken and Couscous

How to Store & Reheat Skillet Chicken and Couscous

Store leftover skillet chicken with couscous in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can reheat it over medium heat in a covered skillet with a splash of broth, or in the microwave.

How Long Will Skillet Chicken With Couscous Last in the Fridge?

Leftovers will last for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze This Chicken Couscous Recipe?

If you’d like to freeze this dish, store it in an airtight container or freezer bag. It will keep up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use tri-color pearl couscous?

Yes! Depending on the brands your grocery store carries, you may only be able to find tri-color couscous. That is absolutely fine for this recipe.

Can I add vegetables to the skillet?

As mentioned above, you can add baby spinach to this recipe, but I would be cautious about adding other vegetables, as they may release excess moisture into the pan, making your skillet couscous with chicken watery.

How do I know if my skillet is oven-safe?

A cast iron skillet is safe to put in the oven, but other skillets that are made with aluminum or stainless steel are also oven-safe as long as the handles don’t have plastic, glass, or other non-metal materials on them. To be sure, check the manual for your cookware.

Dry couscous ready to be cooked

So next time you want a full flavored meal without the mess give this one skillet couscous and chicken a try! You can change up the flavor and make it every week if you want!

More Chicken Recipes

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feelgood Skillet Chicken with Couscous recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

This recipe was originally published on December 29, 2018. The recipe has not changed and it has been updated with new, fresh photos and step by step images!

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Skillet Chicken with Couscous

This Skillet Chicken with Couscous is an easy dinner recipe for any night of the week. It’s full of great flavor, very filling, and all made in one skillet!
5 from 365 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Calories 523
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes



  • 1 ¼ pound boneless chicken thighs 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup pearled couscous
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ lemon sliced


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pat the chicken thighs dry using a paper towel.
  • In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle generously over chicken thighs.
  • Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Transfer the seasoned chicken to the cast iron presentation-side down. Cook until the chicken is golden brown and releases easily from the skillet, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  • To the same skillet, add the couscous, garlic, thyme, and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the couscous is toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth to deglaze the skillet, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Add the chicken back to the skillet, place the lemon slices around the chicken and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the couscous is puffed, about 15 minutes.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Equipment: I love using the Staub cast iron skillet. It has a thick heavy bottom for even heat distribution and transfers seamlessly from stovetop to the oven.


Calories: 523kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 141mg, Sodium: 842mg, Potassium: 437mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 324IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Entree

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Recipe Rating


  1. Love the Moroccan flair with the lemon and apricots and toasted almonds. I used sorghum, precooked in my Instant Pot which took 30 minutes. Then I reduced the chicken stock by half to 1 cup. I served Yumna’s fresh garden salad alongside and I feel like we had wholesome fresh healthy dinner.

  2. Thank you Yumna for the reply!
    I was thinking along those same lines but just wasn’t sure.
    Looking forward to serving this dish with our friends.

  3. Do you have a suggestion for a good side dish to pair with this meal? I plan on making this for 8 adults.
    Is a bread side necessary or would that be too much with the couscous?

    1. Hi there! I think these green beans would make a great side here. I don’t think adding bread to this dish would be a bad idea, there is lots of delicious sauce to sop up with bread so would be a nice touch for a dinner party.

  4. We LOVE this dish! We add fresh broccoli right before putting it into the oven & it comes out perfect every time. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Hi there! It will all depend on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts. The time estimates I provide in the recipe below for chicken thighs are simple estimates based on the size and thickness of the chicken I used. For the best accuracy, I would highly recommend using a quick-read thermometer and cooking the chicken to 165°F. Be sure not to go over that temperature or the chicken will become too dry.

  5. This is in the oven at the moment – but please could you update the timings on the recipe (and in the text description)? I think you have your maths wrong – 4 mins each side for the chicken = 8 minutes; add 3 mins for toasting the couscous = 11 mins; add 15 mins for cooking in the oven (which I’m REALLY hoping is accurate!!) = 26 minutes; so with the extra minute or so for moving between the directions (including waiting for the stock to come to the boil etc.), this should be billed as a 30 minute cook, not a 20 minute one. (so therefore “dinner is on the table in 40 minutes” to allow for the 10 minute prep)

    I can’t get the maths to get to 20 minutes cook time as per the recipe description without dangerously undercooking the chicken 😉

    This makes all the difference when you only have a short period of time to get in from work, prep the meal, cook the meal, eat it, and then get back out the door for evening activities!

    1. So sorry for any inconvenience this caused, I know how stressful it can be to get dinner on the table on a busy weeknight! I have updated the timing accordingly. Thanks for your feedback and I hope you enjoyed the chicken!

  6. Made this after seeing you post it on your IG stories and it was AMAZING. Substituted couscous for orzo, and kale for the spinach but otherwise followed the recipe and it worked perfectly.

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