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Chicken yassa and rice on a white plate

Senegalese Chicken Yassa

This Senegalese Chicken Yassa is one of the most popular Senegalese and African dishes! Lemony and spicy, the chicken is full of incredible flavor and the caramelized onions add a lovely sweet touch to this dish!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Overnight marinade is highly recommended 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine african, senegalese
Servings 4 servings


  • cast iron pan is recommended or large skillet
  • grill (if you prefer to grill the chicken rather than pan fry)


  • 1 lb chicken breasts thin cut; if you have thick chicken breasts, you can slice them yourself to make them thin
  • 2 onions sliced thinly
  • 1-2 Scotch bonnet peppers sliced; you can add more if you like things spicy!
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil split
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and minced
  • 2-3 ts garlic minced
  • 1/2-1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1 ts pepper
  • green onions optional chopped for garnish


  • Combine the following marinade ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag: 2 tbsp olive oil, the thinly sliced onions, Scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and massage the marinade to make sure these ingredients are well combined. Add the chicken breasts, and then massage the bag again to make sure the chicken is completely covered by the marinade. Leave overnight in your refrigerator.
  • Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in your cast iron pan or skillet on med high heat. Once hot, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, and brown both sides, approximately 2-3 minutes each side. Set the chicken to the side. PLEASE NOTE: FOR BETTER FLAVOR YOU CAN GRILL THE CHICKEN PIECES ON YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL!
    Browning chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet with olive oil
  • Keep the heat on med high for now and add 1 more tbsp of olive oil. Add the rest of the contents of the bag (the marinade) to your skillet. You are aiming to caramelize the onions which should take around 20 minutes or so. After around 3-5 minutes, you can lower the heat to medium. During this process, stir every so often and keep an eye on the onions. You want them to brown, but not burn. If the mixture is getting too dry, you can add a little more olive oil.
    caramelized onions in a cast iron pan
  • Once the onions are caramelized, return the chicken to the skillet, and add 1 cup of chicken broth. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for around 10 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
    Chicken with caramelized onion in a cast iron skillet
  • Your glorious Chicken Yassa is now ready to serve!
    Chicken yassa and rice on a white plate


Serve your glorious chicken yassa with white rice and garnish with green onions if you like!  
Enjoy this sunny, tangy, sweet, and spicy dish from the beautiful land of Senegal!
Keyword Chicken