Ethiopian Chicken with Lentils

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 15 mins

| Cook Time: 40 mins

| Total Time: 1 hour

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

We're sharing one of our favorite recipes: crispy Ethiopian chicken with lentils that are flavored with the Ethiopian spice blend-turned global spice all-star, Berbere. Lentils feature prominently in Ethiopian cuisine, taking the stage as a main dish in many of their spiced stews, or as backdrop to animal proteins such as with this chicken dish. Spicing the lentils with Berbere and fresh aromatics makes this recipe standout from basic stews. Topping it with a crispy chicken thigh also spiced with Berbere makes this a perfect comfort food dish for cool, fall nights.

Our Berbere is not as fiery as the authentic version, but you can add more heat with a little cayenne of your own. Berbere provides a bit of spicy heat up-front, rounded with alluring notes from the cardamom and cloves, finished with a subtle maple-bitter note from fenugreek. Berbere is a "Swiss army knife" spice and easy to use on any food you normally make: try it as a spice on fries or hash browns; use as a rub on beef, lamb, or fish; spice up your sloppy joes; or sprinkle over roast veggies for a fall vegetarian meal.


  • Lentil Stew:

  • 1 carrot, diced

  • 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger, minced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 sweet onion, diced

  • 1 ripe tomato, diced (or 1/2 can of diced tomatoes)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 jalapeño or fresno pepper, seeded, diced (optional for extra heat)

  • 2 tsp Piquant Post Berbere spice blend

  • salt & pepper to taste (optional)

  • 1 cup green or brown (whole) lentils

  • 3 cups water

  • Ethiopian Berbere Chicken:

  • 4 skin-on chicken thighs

  • salt & pepper to taste (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp of Piquant Post Berbere spice blend

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, picked and chopped


This Ethiopian chicken with lentils recipe is easy to make. We like to use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs as they cook quickly and you can achieve a crispy skin. But you can use any cut of chicken and cooking method you prefer. 

Save prep time by buying pre-diced carrot and / or onions.

You can also use any lentils, but brown and red lentils tend to cook the fastest. Be sure to check cooking time on the package.

Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don't sweat it if you don't have them.


Prep all fresh ingredients and set aside. Heat a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven on Med-High. Add 2 tbsp of oil and sauté carrot, ginger, garlic, and onion until carrots begin to soften, about 7 mins. Add Berbere spice, jalapeño, salt & pepper. Stir and cook for 1 min.

Add tomatoes, lentils, and water. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to Low and cover. Cook for 30 mins or until lentils soften to Al Dente, or to taste.

When you cover lentils, preheat oven to 400 and heat an oven-proof skillet on Med-High. Season chicken with salt & pepper. Then, rub Berbere spice on chicken. Add 1 tbsp of oil to pan and cook chicken skin side down for 5 mins. Flip chicken and cook for 3 mins.

Put skillet in oven and cook until chicken reaches 165 deg, or about 12-15 mins. Remove and let rest for 5 mins. Serve chicken over a bed of lentils. Garnish with parsley.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • You can use Ethiopian Berbere in endless ways. Try it in soups, stews, on meats, sprinkle on french fries or sweet potato fries, use as a dry rub on grilled chicken or baby back ribs, or toss with vegetables and olive oil before oven roasting.

  • For a fun vegetarian alternative, try making our easy and zesty Tanzanian Spicy Slaw recipe with Berbere. 

  • Check out this link for many more ideas of how to use Zaatar.

  • If you don't have time to make the lentils, serve the chicken with a mixed green salad or over quinoa or couscous.

  • Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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