Bastilla: How To Make Moroccan Chicken Bastilla

Chicken bastilla is a traditional chicken pie from Morocco. This dish is also known as pastilla, bestila, b’stila, and bisteeya. The name used for the dish depends on the region you are in.

A thin, crispy pastry shell conceals savory chicken saffron, spicy omelet filling, and a crunchy coating of sweetened orange flower water fried almonds. The unique combination of flavors is topped off with a garnish of powdered sugar and cinnamon. It takes some time to prepare an authentic recipe, but you will find it worth the effort.

To learn how to make this unique and exotic dish at home, follow the recipe below. It may take a few tries to perfect the recipe, but in all cases, it will be a delicious dish that your friends and family will love. 

Moroccan Chicken Bastilla

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Dessert / Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Moroccan

The whole preparation and cooking time is 3 hours. This recipe is suitable for at least four servings. 


Chicken Bastilla is a traditional chicken pie from Morocco. Photo credit: @cheznousdinners /

Moroccan Chicken Bastilla Ingredients

For the chicken mixture,

  • 1 large chicken, skin and fat removed (cut into pieces)
  • 3 large sweet white onions (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, or 1/4 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads (crumbled)
  • 3 sticks cinnamon (2 to 3 inches each)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more for frying and the pan)

For the egg stuffing,

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 10 eggs (beaten)

For the almond topping,

  • 3 cups whole blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange flower water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)

For the dough,

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 pound warqa or phyllo dough
  • 1 egg yolk (beaten)
  • Oil

For the garnish,

  • egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Moroccan Chicken Bastilla Instructions

Step 1: In a pan, combine the chicken with the onion, spices, butter, and oil. Cover and cook the chicken mixture over medium to medium-high heat, occasionally stirring, for about an hour, or until the chicken is very tender and falls off the bone. Do not add water, and be careful not to burn the chicken or the sauce because it will spoil the dish.

Step 2: Move the cooked chicken to a plate and simmer the sauce in the pot until most of the liquids are evaporated, and the onions in the oil form a mass. Stir the mixture from time to time. Remove the cinnamon sticks.

Step 3: While the sauce is reducing and the chicken is still warm, cut the meat from the bones and split it into 2-inch pieces. In a bowl, stir several spoonfuls of the onion mixture in with the chicken; then, cover and set aside.

Step 4: The remaining reduced onions and oil can be moved to a large non-stick skillet for the egg stuffing. Add the cilantro and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Prepare the eggs as you would an omelet or scrambled eggs. Be careful as setting the eggs can take up to 10 minutes. Some of the oil that comes from the eggs is all right. Once it is cooked properly, put aside the egg stuffing.

Step 5: For the almond topping, heat a generous amount of vegetable oil for about 5 minutes in a skillet over medium heat or until the oil is hot. Check the oil with an almond drop. When, within a few seconds, small bubbles multiply around the almond, the oil is ready.

Step 6: Fry the almonds, stirring continuously until they are golden. Move them to a tray lined with paper towels to drain and cool as the almonds are richly colored. After frying, fried almonds can keep darkening a little, so be careful not to burn them while they are in the oil.

Step 7: Generously oil the inside of a round pie plate, 14 inches or larger.

Step 8: On each sheet of warqa or phyllo dough, brush melted butter while you work. Take care to keep it covered with plastic when using phyllo as it dries out very quickly.

Step 9: Using your pan as a reference, overlap in a circular fashion three or four single layers of warqa or double layers of phyllo dough, so that the inner half of the pastry dough overlaps in the middle and the excess dough overlaps the edges of the pan. Remember to butter every dough sheet.

Step 10: In the center of the pan, put one buttered 12-inch warqa circle, or two 12-inch buttered phyllo circles. This will form the pie’s edge.

Step 11: Cover the 12-inch circle with the chicken mixture and spread the filling of the egg over the meat.

Step 12: Finish off the dish with another 12-inch buttered warqa circle (shiny side up), or two 12-inch buttered phyllo circles. Over this layer of dough, you can place the almond topping.

Step 13: To enclose the pie, fold the excess dough up and down the almonds. All rough areas should be flattened and smooth.

Step 14: Brush more butter on the folded edges of the dough and cover with 3 more warqa (shiny side up) or alternating phyllo layers, brushing butter on each sheet. Fold the edges of the dough and tuck them carefully under the pie, molding and shaping the bastilla as you go.

Step 15: Use your hands to scatter the egg yolk over the pie’s top and sides.

Step 16: Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Place the Bastilla in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

Step 17: Coat the Bastilla generously with sifted powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Moroccan Chicken Bastilla Additional Information

  • The name of the pie derives from the Spanish word ‘pastilla,’ which means either pill or “small pastry” in modern Spanish.
  • It will take 3 hours to fully prepare this recipe.
  • This pie can serve up to four people.
  • It is an intricate meat pie usually made with werqa, phyllo-like layers of dough. Two significant varieties of bastilla are available in Morocco: one with poultry and one with seafood. At the beginning of special meals, bastilla is usually served as a starter.

Image source:

About Moroccan Chicken Bastilla

Over the years, Moroccan cuisine has been inspired by the contacts and exchanges between Morocco and other cultures and nations. Typically, Moroccan cuisine is a mixture of Berber, Arab, Andalusian, and Mediterranean cuisine with slight European and sub-Saharan influences. Regardless of the dish or influence, Moroccan cuisine is full of flavor. 


We hope you enjoy making this unique Moroccan dish! If you want to know more international recipes, click here.

Featured Image: @midulcevalentina /, @lecognatez /