These juicy grilled chicken kabobs are a staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. I've marinated these cubes of chicken in Mediterranean spices and grilled them to perfection. You can easily double or triple this recipe to feed a crowd!
Kabobs, or as many call them, shish kabobs, have been a key component of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking since the beginning. Marinated or spiced meat threaded on skewers and grilled over open flame have a truly unique flavor that belongs in the major leagues of world barbeque, especially for summer dinners. These grilled chicken kabobs are easy, juicy and perfect for any day of the week. Check out my chicken shish kabob, souvlaki, grilled zaatar chicken, and joojeh kabob (Persian saffron chicken kabobs) for more inspiration.
Table Of Contents:
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Amazing flavors: Thanks to the best marinade made with a combination of Mediterranean spices, yogurt and tomato paste, every bit of this chicken kabob is tasty. We've used marinades similar to this one for other recipes including grilled chicken sandwich.
- Easy to make: As easy as marinate, thread and grill! If you're new to grilling, or cooking in general, this recipe is perfect for you!
- Juicy chicken: Nobody likes dry or burnt chicken! This chicken kabob is juicy in every bite thanks to the marinade and grilling technique.
Tips for perfect grilling
- Skewers: I prefer using metal skewers since they don't change color on the grill and the meat cooks better on them. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes to keep them from burning.
- Marinate: Don't skip the marination time. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes up to 8 hours in the fridge to absorb all the flavors.
- Don't overcook: Overcooked chicken is dry and tough to eat. Chicken kabobs need to grill about 5 minutes on each side to cook perfectly and stay juicy.
- Chicken: You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs. Make sure the chicken is cut into large chunks, all roughly the same size for even cooking.
- Spices: A combination of cumin, coriander, paprika, Aleppo pepper and salt.
- Yogurt: The addition of yogurt to the marinate keeps it juicy. You can check out our chicken gyro or baked Greek chicken for other yogurt marinades.
- Tomato paste: Adds flavor and color to the marinade.
- Lemon: For some bright flavor. It's best to use freshly squeeze lemon juice.
How To Make Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- Make the marinade: In a large bowl mix the olive oil with yogurt, spices, tomato paste and lemon juice.
- Marinate the chicken: Add the chicken cubes to the yogurt and spice mixture. Move the pieces around using a pair of tongs to make sure they're all coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 8 hours.
- Thread the chicken on skewers: Once you're ready to grill, thread the chicken pieces on the skewers and arrange them all on a baking sheet.
- Grill the chicken kabobs: Brush the grill grates with vegetable oil. Place the skewers on the grates and grill until the chicken is cooked, flipping a few times for even cooking.
There are so many ways to make grilled chicken kabobs. Here are a few variations:
- Make it spicy: Add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the marinade.
- Use vegetables: Thread bell peppers, mushrooms, onions or zucchini in between the chicken pieces.
- Non-dairy yogurt: You can use non-dairy yogurt as long as it's plain and not flavored.
Consider serving these grilled chicken kabobs with some hummus, tzatziki, ajvar, toum or ezme alongside fresh pita or lavash and some fresh vegetables such as sumac onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. Other side dishes to try are fattoush, creamy cucumber salad, tabouli, rice with vermicelli, Greek lemon rice or Turkish rice pilaf with orzo.
What to do with the leftovers
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave but I prefer reheating them in a pan over medium heat with the lid on for about 15 minutes. You can also add them to Mediterranean salad or couscous salad to make a quick meal.
Frequently asked questions
This depends on how large the pieces are. It usually takes the chicken kabob 5 minutes on each side to cook.
Yes. Remove them from the skewers when they're completely cool and transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. You can freeze these for 3 months. To serve, thaw the chicken kabobs in the fridge overnight and then reheat in a pan with the lid on over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Yes, you can use a grill pan or a cast iron skillet to make this recipe. Cook the chicken kabobs in the pan over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
More grilling recipes
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Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into large chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp yogurt see notes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a large bowl mix the olive oil with the olive oil, yogurt, paprika, cumin, coriander, Aleppo pepper, tomato paste, lemon juice and salt. Add the chicken to the mixture and using a tong, move the pieces around to make sure they're all coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes up to 8 hours.
- When you're ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium high, or 400 degrees F.
- Thread the marinated chicken onto the skewers. Brush the grates with vegetable oil and place the chicken kabobs on the grill grates.
- Grill for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping once or twice to make sure they cook evenly. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Serve with pita, rice and salad.
- You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs as well.
- You can use whole milk, non-fat or even dairy-free yogurt as long as it's plain.
- I usually use metal skewers, but you can also use bamboo or wooden skewers. If doing so, soak them in water for 30 minutes to keep them from burning.
- Serve grilled chicken kabobs with pita or lavash, grilled vegetables, lemon rice, vermicelli rice, fattoush or tabouli salad.
- Storage and freezing: the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan over medium heat with the lid on for 10 to 15 minutes. To freeze, let the chicken cool completely and remove them from the skewers. Transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pan.
- If you want to make these chicken kabobs without a grill, use a grill pan or a cast iron skillet. Cook the chicken in the hot pan over medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping once or twice.