Chermoula: How To Make Moroccan Fish Chermoula

Chermoula is a savory marinade used in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan, and Tunisian cuisine. It is traditionally used for flavoring fish or seafood but may be used on other meats or vegetables as well. Chermoula is a thick fish marinade and the base of many Moroccan and North African fish dishes.

Such dishes include fried chermoula-stuffed sardines and a fish tagine called mqualli made of layered potatoes, onions, fish and peppers. Even though each country has its own chermoula version, and there are several variants, the taste is always quite similar.

Though this is typically a thick marinade, you can add extra water to thin it out. Once in the marinade, leave your meats to rest in for up to one day. Afterward, barbecue or bake to your liking.

Moroccan Fish Chermoula

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Marinade
  • Cuisine: Moroccan

The whole preparation time is two and a half hours. This recipe is suitable for at least eight servings. 

Photo credit: @cuisinonsencouleurs /

Moroccan Fish Chermoula Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic (pressed or finely chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ginger
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (crumbled)
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 small lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 large-sized fish (any type of fish will do)

Moroccan Fish Chermoula Instructions

Step 1: Mix all of the ingredients, except for the fish, together in a bowl.

Step 2: Use part of the mixture to marinate your fish with the mixture in the refrigerator. The longer the better, but marinate for at least several hours.

Step 3: Rub salt all over the fish including the insides.

Step 4: Heat cooking oil in a wide frying pan.

Step 5: When the oil is hot, put in the fish. Cover the frying pan, but make sure to open it a little so that steam can come out. Fry each side on medium heat for about 6 to 10 minutes.

Step 6: Top the fish with the rest of the marinate. Serve hot and enjoy!

Moroccan Fish Chermoula Additional Information

  • Although the recommended use for chermoula is for fish as a marinade, you can use this recipe with this delicious rub’s flavors and add it to other preparations. 
    • Stuff a whole chicken with the marinade with bits of lemon, lime, onion, carrot, and celery, and put some more chermoula between the chicken’s skin and meat, adding generous chunks of butter. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper serving before baking.
    • Cook some rice with a tablespoon of chermoula, add grilled skirt steak, and top with fresh coriander and lime wedges.
  • Per serving has 71 calories, 5g of fat, 8g of carbohydrates, and 1g of protein. 
  • This recipe takes at least 2 and a half hours to prepare.
  • This recipe will make enough to serve eight people.

Image source:

About Moroccan Fish Chermoula

Chermoula recipes vary widely from region to region. During Eid al-Fitr, chermoula with salted cured fish is often prepared in Sfax, Tunisia. This regional variety consists of a fresh, dark raisin purée mixed with cooked onions and spices like garlic, cumin, chili, black pepper, and cinnamon. A Moroccan version includes dried parsley, cumin, paprika, salt, and chili pepper. The Libyan chermoula variant is served as a side dish in the summertime.


Moroccan cuisine is inspired through the centuries-long contacts and exchanges between Morocco and other cultures and nations. Morocco grows a wide array of Mediterranean fruits, vegetables, and local meats include beef, goat, lamb, chicken, and seafood. Lemon pickle, argan oil, unrefined olive oil, and dried fruit are signature flavorings in Morocco.

For more international dips and marinade recipes, click here.

Featured Image: @chermoulaculinaria /, @con_serveert /