Joojeh kabab is a classic chicken kebob recipe from Iran. Chicken pieces are smothered in a delicious saffron chicken kebob marinade and have such delicious flavor thanks to saffron and lemon.
Have you tried any Persian recipes recently? If you haven’t, start with some classic dishes such as ghormeh sabzi (Persian herb stew) and a nice creamy fesenjan (Persian pomegranate and walnut stew) and of course, try this delicious Persian chicken kebab called Joojeh Kabab or Jujeh Kabob made with an amazing super easy marinade.
Another Persian recipe to add to your collection. This time, a super classic chicken kebob recipe.
Persian chicken kabob marinade
The most important part of this Persian grilled saffron chicken is the marinade. Chicken pieces are marinated in a saffron and yogurt based marinade and it’s best to let them marinate overnight. The chicken absorbs the flavors of saffron and lemon perfectly and becomes extra juicy and flavorful.
For this Persian chicken kabob recipe you need:
- Chicken: Joojeh means young chicken, and this Persian kebab would taste the best if made with young and organic chicken.
- Bloomed saffron: Don’t use saffron threads directly in the marinade. Learn how to bloom saffron for maximum flavor, color and aroma. My favorite saffron to use is this one (affiliate).
- Yogurt: You can use either non fat or whole milk yogurt.
- Onion: Sliced or grated onion would work perfectly.
- Olive oil: Try to find the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can find.
Persian chicken kabob recipe
Joojeh kabab comes in two forms: bone-in and bone-off. The bone-in jujeh kabob is usually made with wings and drumettes whereas boneless chicken kebab is made with chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs. This chicken kebab marinade would work perfectly for both forms.
Classic Persian chicken kabob is made on a charcoal grill using metal skewers but I have tried different methods such as stove top and oven and it has worked just as fine. The joojeh kabab you see in the photos is made in a pan on the stove.
How to make joojeh kabab at home
Start by making the marinade. Mix yogurt, sliced onion, oil, lemon juice, salt and bloomed saffron in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the yogurt mixture and make sure all the pieces are well coated with the marinade.
Cover and refrigerate the chicken for at least three hours up to overnight. This will help the chicken get all the flavor it needs. Before you start cooking the chicken, place the bowl on the counter for 15 minutes so the chicken comes to room temperature. This will help with even cooking.
To make grilled joojeh kabab, preheat the grill to medium and thread the chicken pieces on skewers. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side until they are cooked and juicy.
To make stove top joojeh kabab, heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken for about 8 minutes and flip them halfway through.
You can also make joojeh kabab in the oven: preheat the oven to 400ºF. Thread the chicken pieces on skewers and place them on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, flipping them halfway through until the kabobs are fully cooked.
What to serve with Persian chicken kabob
Traditionally, this Persian grilled chicken is served with saffron Persian rice smothered with butter, grilled tomatoes and peppers and some salad shirazi. You can also serve it simply with some green salad, pita or lavash bread as well. I love joojeh kabab with bread and lots and lots of grilled tomatoes, and maybe sometimes a little bit of sumac.
More chicken recipes:
Notes and tips to make joojeh kabab recipe
- If cooking joojeh kabab in a pan, make sure not to stir the meat too much; cook them on medium high heat for about three to four minutes on each side and turn them only once or twice
- There are two types of chicken kabob marinades used to make joojeh kabab: with and without yogurt. Both are very delicious and make chicken very tender and juicy. If you prefer to make the marinade without yogurt, increase the amount of olive oil to 1/2 cup.
- This is a different recipe from shish tawook as it has no tomato paste and uses saffron instead.
- Marinate the chicken pieces anywhere between three and twenty four hours. The longer they marinate, the more tender and juicy they will be.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days. To reheat, place them in a pan and heat over medium heat or place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet, cover and heat in the oven at 250°F for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Tools and ingredients used to make this recipe:
Joojeh Kabab (Persian Saffron Chicken Kebab)
- 2 lb chicken breast cut into 1.5 inch cubes
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1/4 cup bloomed saffron See notes
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large bowl mix yogurt, sliced onion, oil, lemon juice and saffron and salt.
- Place the chicken in the marinade and stir well so all pieces are covered with marinade.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate and let the chicken marinate for at least three hours up to twenty four hours.
- Once ready to cook, place the bowl in room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Thread the chicken pieces into skewers and grill on both sides until they are golden brown on the outside and white and juicy on the inside.
Stove top instructions:
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Put some of the marinated chicken in the pan and let them cook on one side before turning them to cook on the other side, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Do not over crowd the pan.
- Repeat with the remaining marinated chicken.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Thread the marinated chicken into skewers and place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Cook the chicken in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until the chicken pieces are fully cooked.
- Turn the broiler on and broil the chicken kebabs until they're golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, turn half way so both sides are golden brown.
- I used chicken breast but this chicken kebab is delicious if it's made with chicken thighs as well.
- Learn how to bloom saffron.
- Classic joojeh kabab is not spicy, but if you like your chicken kebab to be spicy, add 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to the marinade.