Try this easy recipe for homemade Greek chicken souvlaki. Made with a delicious garlic and lemon marinade, this Greek street food is packed with amazing Mediterranean flavors and served with creamy tzatziki sauce.
Greek recipes are made with fresh ingredients and, despite their simplicity, are always very tasty. If you like Greek recipes, check out our pastitsio, Spanakopita and of course, our classic moussaka. This chicken souvlaki is another classic Greek recipe. You can make these skewers on the grill or in a pan (instructions included for both). They make a delicious lunch or dinner and are perfect for gatherings as well. This recipe is naturally gluten free, dairy free and low carb.
What is souvlaki?
Souvlaki is a popular Greek fast food that’s made with grilled cubes of meat on a skewer called kalamaki in the dialect spoken in southern Greece. If we want to get a bit into terminology, the Greek word souvlaki means “meat on skewer” which comes from souvla, meaning “skewer.”
In Greece, the meat used for souvlaki is usually pork but it’s common to make souvlaki using chicken as well. It’s similar to shish kabobs, since both are made using skewers and use marinated meat.
What’s the difference between souvlaki and gyro?
There are a few differences between these two popular Greek dishes:
- Souvlaki is a Greek fast food whereas gyro is more of a Greek main dish.
- While gyro is usually made using a vertical broiler, souvlaki is in a form of a shish kabob and is usually cooked on a skewer.
- Gyro is in the form of strips of meat however, souvlaki is made with cubes of meat.
It’s all about the marinade
The most important part of this recipe is the lemon garlic souvlaki marinade. It will give the chicken all those wonderful Mediterranean flavors that you love and are looking for. Even though it has only four ingredients, this marinade is what makes this dish absolutely delicious.
A complete and delicious chicken souvlaki has three main parts: the marinade, the chicken and the fixings to make the wraps.
To make a classic chicken souvlaki, you need the following ingredients:
- Extra virgin olive oil: You will use this for the marinade.
- Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice to add acidity.
- Oregano: Dried oregano is a must in this recipe.
- Garlic: Lots of it!
- Chicken: You can use breast or chicken thighs, cut into one inch pieces.
- Fixings: Store-bought or homemade pita bread, tomatoes, onions, olives and tzatziki sauce.
How to make Greek chicken souvlaki
Marinate the chicken
Mix minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and oregano in a bowl. Add cubed chicken to the marinade and mix well. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Grill chicken souvlaki
Once you’re ready to cook, thread the chicken pieces on skewers and place them on a baking sheet. Grill them on an outdoor grill or in a grill pan over medium high heat until they are golden brown, juicy and fully cooked.
Serve with the fixings
Place the cooked chicken skewers on a large plate with pita, tomatoes, onions, olives and tzatziki sauce and serve immediately.
Pro tip: If using an outdoor grill, preheat the grill on medium high and soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to avoid burning (you can also use metal skewers). Thread the chicken on skewers and grill for about six minutes on each side until fully cooked. Serve grilled chicken souvlaki with warm pita and your favorite fixings.
Creative serving ideas
Greek souvlaki is packed with so much flavor that you only need a few additional ingredients for a delicious wrap. To make souvlaki pita wrap use warm and fluffy homemade pita bread, sliced tomatoes and some olives. I like adding red onion and paring with a homemade tzatziki sauce.
Making Greek chicken souvlaki for a party or gathering? Consider serving it with a salad of your choosing. I recommend Mediterranean salad, tabbouleh salad or traditional Greek salad. And, if you want to go big, surprise your friends or family with a hearty mezze platter. It’s so easy to put together a delicious Mediterranean feast in such short time.
Looking for more Mediterranean inspired chicken recipes?
- Sheet pan Mediterranean chicken recipe
- Greek one pan chicken and rice
- Greek lemon chicken orzo soup
- Caprese chicken
Notes and tips
- The marinade for chicken souvlaki is perfect for freezing. You can simply place the chicken pieces and marinade in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month. To cook, thaw the chicken in the fridge and then proceed with the grilling instructions. You can double and triple the recipe and freeze some of the marinated chicken to use later.
- The longer the chicken marinates, the moister and more flavorful it’s going to be so if you can, marinate it overnight.
- You can use a mixture of chicken breast and chicken thighs for this Greek souvlaki recipe. Just make sure the chicken pieces are the same size for even cooking.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days.
- Make sure the grill (indoor or outdoor) is set on medium-high to get that crispy texture outside and keep all the juice inside.
Easy Greek Chicken Souvlaki Recipe
- 1 1/2 lb chicken breast boneless and skinless
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 lemons juice of
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- Cut the chicken breast into one inch cubes and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt, dried oregano and minced garlic. Add the chicken cubes to the marinade and mix well.
- Cover with a plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.
- Once ready to cook, heat a grill pan over medium high heat.
- Thread the chicken pieces on wooden skewers. Do not crowd the skewers.
- Place the skewers in the pan and grill them for 5 minutes on each side until fully cooked. Make sure not to move the skewers too much.
- Once ready, serve chicken souvlaki with fresh and warm pita bread, homemade tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions and olives.