Senegalese Yassa Chicken (Poulet Yassa)

Are you looking for a delicious and easy-to-make African dish? Look no further, because today we are cooking Senegalese Yassa chicken!

This dish is very popular in Senegal and Gambia and is made with simple ingredients: chicken, onions, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and oil.

The chicken is marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, garlic, and salt before being fried with the onions. The result is a succulent dish that will tantalize your taste buds!

Poulet Yassa or Senegalese Yassa chicken

Why I love Yassa Chicken

Poulet Yassa or Senegalese Yassa chicken is a traditional dish from Senegal that is made with marinated chicken and caramelized onions. This dish is often served with rice or couscous and a side of vegetables.

If you are passionate about African cuisine, you absolutely need to try Senegalese Yassa chicken. So, what are you waiting for? Start cooking!

Yassa Chicken originates from Senegal, a country located in West Africa. This dish is very popular across Africa and is often served on special occasions, such as weddings or family gatherings. 


Chicken: The main ingredient in Yassa chicken is, of course, chicken.

Onions: Thinly sliced onions are a vital component of this dish and are used in both the marinade and the caramelized onion topping. 

Lemon: Slice half a lemon into 4 wedges for garnishing.

Lemon juice: Add lemon juice to the marinade to give the chicken a tangy flavor. 

Garlic: Garlic is also used in the marinade and adds a delicious, earthy flavor to the dish. 

Salt: Salt is essential for seasoning and helps bring out the other ingredients’ flavors. 

Oil: You will need olive oil or canola oil to fry the chicken and onions. 

Bay leaves: Bay leaves are a fragrant herb often used in African cuisine.

Green olives: Pitted green olives are added to Yassa chicken for a bit of sweetness and crunch.

Dijon mustard: Dijon mustard is European-style mustard made with vinegar, herbs, and spices. It gives the chicken a nice flavor boost. 

Chicken cube seasoning: This is a type of bouillon cube used to season the chicken broth.

Ground pepper: Use the ground black pepper to season the chicken and onions.

Poulet Yassa or Senegalese Yassa chicken

How to make Yassa Chicken

In a large bowl or resealable bag, combine the chicken, onions, lemon juice, garlic cloves, dijon mustard, salt, and oil. Marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. 

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan or Dutch oven. Then, set aside and use the chicken fat to caramelize the onions in the same pan over medium heat until they are golden brown. 

Add the chicken back into the pan, together with the chicken broth and the bay leaves. Add a cup of water and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes or until heated through. After about 10 minutes of cooking, add the green olives. Remove the bay leaves once the time is up and serve the Yassa Chicken over rice or couscous. Enjoy!


There are many variations of Yassa chicken. For example, you can add green bell peppers or tomatoes to the dish. You can also use different onions, such as red onions or Vidalia onions. 

Another variation is to add a bit of white wine to the sauce. This gives the dish a bit of a tangy flavor. 

If you want to make the dish a little bit spicier, you can add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the marinade. 

You can also serve the Yassa Chicken with a side of roasted or steamed vegetables.

If you like fish, you can also substitute the chicken with fish in this recipe. Cod, tilapia, or salmon would work well. 

So, what are you waiting for? Try this delicious and easy Senegalese Yassa chicken recipe today! You will not be disappointed.

Side Dishes

If you are not sure what to serve with your Yassa chicken, here you will find a few suggestions.

Rice: The traditional side dish to serve with Yassa chicken is white rice. 

Couscous: Couscous is a delicious and healthy side dish made from semolina wheat. It is quick and easy to prepare and blends very well with the flavors of Yassa chicken. 

Potatoes: Boiled or mashed potatoes are also a great accompaniment to Yassa chicken. 

Salad: A green salad is a refreshing and light side dish to serve with Yassa Chicken. 

Bread: A loaf of fresh crusty bread would be perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce from the Yassa chicken. Alternatively, pita bread or naan bread also works well.

Senegalese Yassa Chicken

What dessert can I serve after Yassa Chicken?

Baklava: Baklava is a sweet, syrupy dessert made from layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey or sugar.

Ice Cream: A scoop of vanilla ice cream is the perfect way to top off a delicious meal of Yassa chicken.

More Delicious Dishes

Yassa Chicken served in a shallow bowl.

Senegalese Yassa Chicken Recipe: A Traditional African Delicacy

Yassa chicken is a traditional West African dish characterized by its marinated chicken and caramelized onions. This dish is not only delicious, but it is also effortless to make. In addition, it is a great way to introduce your family and friends to some of the flavors of Africa. So, what are you waiting for? Start cooking!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine African
Servings 5
Calories 217 kcal



  • 5 pieces Chicken leg or chicken breast
  • 4 Onion peeledand thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Chicken broth low-salt
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • ½ Lemon cut in wedges
  • 1 cup Green olives pitted


  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup Lemon juice
  • 3 cloves Garlic crushed
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • 1 Chicken stock cube



  • First, mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Then take a large bowl, combine the chicken, marinade, and onions, and put it in a large bowl.
  • Mix it well together, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and marinate it in the fridge for at least 3 hours or, preferably, overnight.
  • Then, take a large pot and heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
  • Next, take the marinated chicken pieces and fry them for five minutes on both sides until golden brown.
  • Once nicely browned, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and keep them aside. Keep the chicken fat in the pot to caramelize the onions.
  • Fry the onions in the pot and cook for a few minutes, about 6 to 10 minutes. Add a part of the reminding marinade, cover it up and reduce the flame to medium-low. Make sure to stir the onion until they start to caramelize occasionally.
  • Place the chicken pieces back into the pot. Now, add about one cup of water or chicken stock to it. Cover it up and cook until the chicken is cooked through for (about 20-25 minutes).
  • After about half of the time, add the olives and let it all cook through for the rest of the time. Check if more seasoning is required and add salt or pepper if necessary. Take the bay leaves out and serve with rice and some lemon on the side.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 217kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 1089mgPotassium: 241mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 124IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Very delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe. I definitely will be making this again real soon.

  2. Jenn Telesky says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!! The sauce it creates is incredible!!!