Harissa Chicken with Leeks, Potatoes, and Yogurt

February 23, 2017

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: One of my all-time favorites, this sheet-pan supper has it all—spicy harissa-laced roasted chicken; sweet, browned leeks; crunchy potatoes; plus a cool garnish of salted yogurt and plenty of fresh bright herbs. It’s a little lighter than your average roasted chicken and potatoes dinner, and a lot more profoundly flavored.

The key here (and with all sheet-pan suppers) is to make sure the ingredients can all cook together on the same pan. This means cutting sturdy, denser things into smaller chunks that will cook at the same rate (chicken, potatoes), and adding the more delicate ingredients (here, the leeks) toward the end so they don’t burn. Another important note: don’t overpopulate the pan. You need to leave space between things so ingredients can brown and crisp rather than steam. If you want to double the recipe to feed six, you can, as long as you spread everything out in two pans rather than crowding them in one.

Reprinted from Dinner. Copyright © 2017 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Eric Wolfinger. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
Melissa Clark

Serves: 3
Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 45 min


  • 1 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 by 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt, preferably whole-milk (if using Greek, thin it down with a little milk to make it drizzle-able
  • 1 small garlic clover
  • 1 cup mixed soft fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, mint, and/or cilantro leaves
  • 1 splash fresh lemon juice, as needed
In This Recipe


  1. Combine the chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season them with 2½ teaspoons of the salt and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the harissa, cumin, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pour this mixture over the chicken and potatoes, and toss to combine. Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the leeks, lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining 1½ tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Heat the oven to 425°F.
  4. Arrange the chicken and potatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes. Then toss the potatoes lightly, and scatter the leeks over the baking sheet. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 20 to 25 minutes longer.
  5. While the chicken cooks, place the yogurt in a small bowl. Grate the garlic clove over the yogurt, and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  6. Spoon the yogurt over the chicken and vegetables in the baking sheet (or you can transfer everything to a platter if you want to be fancy about it). Scatter the herbs over the yogurt, drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice over the top, and serve.

More Great Recipes:
Chicken|Cumin|Leek|Lemon Juice|Potato|Yogurt|One-Pot Wonders|Entree

Reviews (37) Questions (1)

37 Reviews

ifjuly March 4, 2019
filing this one under "dinners so good you could cry"! everything about it was so good: the cooling (in both senses of the word) garlic yogurt dressing, the lemon zest-coated leeks, the heat and crispiness of the chicken and potatoes...gah. and not that this ever takes top consideration personally for me with food (!) but it was also gorgeous, with the most beautiful, stunning array of colors (sunny oranges and reds, pale pearly pink from the yogurt and pomegranate seeds i added per comments, vivid fresh sparkly green from the herbs), the sort of thing that cheers you up at the end of winter. i followed the comments below about letting the sheet pans (i did double the recipe for leftovers and am so glad i did!) preheat in the oven cranked to 500F, then lowering oven temp once food actually goes in to ensure crispness, and i think it might've contributed to keeping my doubled batch from soggy steaming over crispy roasting (that and i did use 2 separate sheet pans as Clark emphasized; i've learned the "don't overcrowd!" lesson the hard way before). wonderful wonderful dish (Clark always so many dinner winners i don't know how she does it), and wonderful community for the super helpful comments thread too.
Lisa P. February 12, 2019
This is a staple in our house. Love. I have tried Sriracha as well as harissa and both versions were great. :)
Oaklandpat February 11, 2019
This is also one of my favorite easy go to recipes. Save dirtying a bowl by mixing up the harissa and oil first in the bottom of your large bowl before throwing in the potatoes and chicken.
Claire February 2, 2019
Melissa, thank you for this divine recipe. I love it every time and so does my family.
Claire February 2, 2019
Also, I try not to buy specialty ingredients, so I just use cholula instead of harissa.
barbara January 24, 2019
This dish is outstanding! Don’t think I will be able to eat plain roast again. Added some pomegranate seeds and might make a bit more of the yogurt dressing for the side. My family request 😊
tammy October 25, 2018
Loved this recipe. Added chopped asparagus the last 10 minutes. Did not have yogurt, skipped that part, but making it next week and will include. Garnished with loads of cilantro. Served with a simple chopped kale salad.
Naina September 30, 2018
Made this with half chicken thighs and half breasts, came out really well. I think to whoever thought it was too salty, may have been the salt you used--I used kosher salt and it was the right amount.

Paired it with an arugala fennel blood orange salad which went together nicely.
Phyllis H. June 6, 2018
Making it the second time with dry harissa from my shop. 2TB is plenty. I use the little multi-colored potatoes and cut them up. I dislike peeling potatoes. Try getting the pan to 500 degrees, then throwing the chicken and potatoes onto it. The cut side gets really brown and crispy. Turn it down to 425 after that. A new favorite.
Upsidedownpineapple June 20, 2018
Putting the chicken and the potatoes into a hot pan was a great idea and it worked beautifully, they were nice and crisp, thankyou for sharing 😊
Lisa P. February 12, 2019
I scrub and cut larger Yukon Gold potatoes in half, then in 1/4 inch to 1/2 in slices. Works like a charm. No peeling! :)
Hannah S. February 15, 2018
I made this and it was ~amazing~! Subbed all drumsticks because didn't feel like purchasing both drumsticks and thighs, and used mint and dill for the herbs.
I loved it so much I posted it on my blog :) (https://thankles.com/2018/01/31/sheet-pan-harissa-chicken-with-leek-and-potato-ethos-doc-pt-1/)
Matt S. February 9, 2018
I added a drizzle of pomegranate molasses at the end too - KA-POW!
BandannerBread February 2, 2018
So glad I finally made this -- it's so darn easy and delicious. No changes made, except that I added a sweet potato and used a mix of bone-in/skin-on thighs drumsticks and breasts. When I make it again, I'll likely use breasts only -- I prefer white meat and they baked beautifully. For those troubled by the salt, I wonder if you're using sea salt or table salt? I used kosher salt in the quantities as directed, and it was perfect.
Linda January 14, 2018
Maria, You do not need to cut the chicken into smaller pieces. Since I added a couple of chicken breasts, I did cut those since they were really big. Everybody loves this dish!
Maria G. January 14, 2018
Looks like a great recipe and I'm eager to try it. Do I need to cut the chicken thighs and drumsticks in smaller pieces?
Linda December 31, 2017
Pamela, I did throw in a couple of small chicken breasts since there are a few people who prefer white meat. Don't use boneless/skinless. You need the bone and skin for the flavor. This is a delicious, party worthy recipe. I didn't alter the recipe, which is unusual for me. Did cut back on the salt a bit, but that's all. I requested this cookbook for Christmas and can't wait to try a lot of the recipes.
Pamela T. December 31, 2017
This sounds amazing! Do you think it would work as well with chicken breast?
Kelly November 9, 2017
Love this recipe. I use boneless chicken thighs and sweet potatoes as subs and was great. Making again tomorrow and I think I’ll half the amount of salt. I am a big fan of salt and always add more than usual but feel like the siracha is salty already so I’m going to cut back this time around and see what happens. Def a keeper!
Linda October 29, 2017
My sister made this for us while we were visiting and we were all smacking our lips. Absolutely delicious. I plan to make it for our gourmet dinner group next month. What do you suggest for a salad that would be a good complement?
Terry L. November 6, 2017
I have made this twice, and I just love it. I'm not sure you need a salad with this. I served fresh green beans and summer-ripe sliced tomatoes, and it was perfect. You could slice some fresh mozzarella to go with the tomatoes, and with added fresh basil, you have a nice Caprese salad.
Terry L. October 16, 2017
I only have the dry harissa. Is that the kind I'm supposed to use? If not, how much of the dry should I use?
Kiyah September 29, 2017
Added a can of chickpeas to marinate with the chicken and potatoes and slices of a small eggplant. Also used boneless thighs, cut into pieces. It was fabulous. The yogurt sauce is especially good, will make extra next time. This is a keeper.
Sauertea September 29, 2017
Great suggestions!,
hookmountaingrowers September 29, 2017
this would have bee great except the amounts of salt listed. I would definitely reduce (and I do like salt!). Also used Siracha instead of harissa since that's what I had in hand. I think this would be outstanding sans the salt overload.