Shish Tawook is a Lebanese chicken dish that's simple yet so delicious. Tender chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon and garlic makes it a delicious meal for the whole family.
Middle eastern and Mediterranean chicken recipes are so flavorful. Our sheet pan Mediterranean chicken recipe is super simple and if you're looking for a tasty wrap, you should try our chicken shawarma or chicken souvlaki. When it's grilling season, chicken shish kabob is always on the menu with some homemade pita and pickles! Today's recipe is shish tawook, which is a Lebanese chicken recipe with a yogurt marinade, packed with bright flavors!
Table Of Contents:
What Is Shish Tawook?
Today's recipe is a favorite of ours: shish tawook, which I guess most of you have seen on the menu of Lebanese and middle eastern restaurants and it might even be a favorite take out option for some of you. Well, time to save money and even time, this is going to be a favorite recipe of yours too!
Shish means skewers and tawook (tavuk) means chicken. Both words are Turkish, however shish tawook is a Lebanese chicken kebab that is sold in fast food restaurants. Shish taouk or, as some may call it, chicken shish, is made with different marinades which all have the same base of lemon, garlic and yogurt.
- Chicken: You need boneless skinless chicken breast for this recipe. However, you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs. The chicken is cut into chunks for this recipe.
- Yogurt: Same as the marinade for Greek chicken, chicken gyro and baked Greek chicken, this recipe also calls for yogurt in the marinade. Yogurt tenderizes the meat and also forms and nice crust around the meat which will give it great color when cooked.
- Olive oil: A few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil makes the marinade even better.
- Lemon juice: For some brightness and tang, add some lemon juice to the marinade. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is always preferred but bottled lemon juice would work just fine.
- Spices and flavoring: To make this delicious chicken recipe, you need spices such as paprika, sumac, thyme and salt. We also use a few cloves of garlic and some tomato paste for more flavor and color. If you don't have thyme, use dried oregano instead.
How To Make Shish Tawook
Make the marinade
Place the chicken in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, tomato paste and the spices. Pour this mixture over the chicken and mix well to make sure every piece is covered with the marinade. Cover and marinate for at least two hours.
Cook the chicken
Traditionally, chicken shish should be made on the grill but making them in the pan is sometimes easier depending on where your live or whether you have a grill readily available. I have included both instructions:
- Stove Top: Heat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Using a pair of tongs, take the chicken pieces out of the marinade and shake well to make sure you get rid of the excess marinade. Place the marinated chicken pieces in the pan and don't stir. Cook on one side for about three to four minutes, give it a stir and cook for another three to four minutes until they are fully cooked.
- Grill: Heat the grill to medium high. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and grill on medium for about 12-15 minutes until fully cooked.
The marinade used for this chicken shish recipe is yogurt based which helps tenderize the chicken more quickly. Therefore, the chicken cooks faster and it stays very juicy even though it releases some water as it cooks in the pan.
This is a simple and delicious chicken dinner that is so versatile and you can serve it with different sides. Here are a few suggestions:
- As a wrap with lavash or pita, ezme or toum, pickled turnips, sumac onion or quick pickled cabbage.
- Turn it into a shish tawook plate with Lebanese rice with vermicelli, Greek potatoes, hummus and tabouli.
- Serve as a salad bowl on top of fattoush or Mediterranean salad with a side of baba ganoush and pita chips.
Leftovers And Reheating
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan over medium heat.
You can also freeze the chicken uncooked or cooked for up to 3 months. Let the chicken thaw in the fridge overnight and then cook or reheat as instructed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs or a combination of thighs and breast for this recipe.
If you like it to be spicy, add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the marinade. Be careful with cayenne pepper as it can get too spicy.
You can marinate the chicken and keep it in the fridge up to 12 hours in advance. It's best to cook the shish tawook right before serving.
More Mediterranean Chicken Recipes
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Shish Tawook Recipe
- 2 lbs chicken breast Bone and skin off
- 1 cup whole milk yogurt
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cut the chicken breast into 1 ½ inch pieces and place them in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, mix yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste, paprika, sumac and thyme.
- Pour the yogurt mixture over chicken pieces and mix well. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours up to eight hours.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmery, place the chicken pieces in the pan but don't over crowd the pan.
- Sear the chicken pieces on one side for 3-4 minutes, then stir and sear the other side until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Serve shish tawook with pita and salad.
- You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this shish tawook recipe.
- You can marinade the chicken for up to twelve hours in the fridge.
- Lemon and garlic are the main flavors of this dish, make sure to use fresh lemons and not bottled lemon juice.
- For the marinade, I used full fat yogurt. It's possible to use other kinds of yogurt such as low fat or Greek yogurt. But whole milk yogurt has the best results.
- Don't stir the chicken too much while cooking so you can get a nice sear on all sides.
- Shish tawook is originally grilled. To grill the chicken, thread the marinated pieces onto skewers and grill on medium for about 12-15 minutes, flipping occasionally until fully cooked.
- The chicken might start releasing juice while cooking in the pan, stir the chicken a little bit to help it get more flavor.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. To heat, place them in a pan and heat over medium low heat.
This is one delicious chicken recipe. I'm always looking to try new recipes, and this one really knocked my socks off. The flavors are so complex even though it doesn't use many ingredients.
i cant wait to make this chicken recipe again. it was super flavourful and i love the yogurt marinade. THanks for the wonderful recipes!
I made these chicken kabobs for dinner last night. We turned them into wraps and they were DELICIOUS! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
This was so easy, and the yogurt kept the chicken moist. The flavor was so so so good! Definitely making these again!
Absolutely delicious! Cooked on stove top. Halved the recipe and still had plenty.
Sumac is not easily found at my grocery stores. and I considered just leaving it out.. I did have a bottle of Za'atar seasoning and sumac was the first named ingredient, followed by unidentified spices, salt, sesame seeds and rice concentrate. What a huge difference in flavor using that! Definitely making this again!
What else could you marinate in this mixture? Lamb or pork chunks? Time to experiment!
Hi Joan, thank you for your comment! We are happy to know you enjoyed this recipe. Yes, you can use this marinade for lamb, pork or even shrimp!
This dish always reminds me of my MILs Greek chicken with such similar flavors. It's a go to on any restaurant menu for me so I loved trying it out at home - so good!
This is such a pretty and tasty dish! I love that you have both stovetop and grilling options. I am loving my grill right now but will enjoy cooking indoors soon too! Delish!
I need to marinate more meat in yogurt! this is delicious!
Oh my goodness this looks so delicious and yummy! My family is going to love this! So excited to give this a try!
WE love trying new chicken recipes I just need to get sumac to try this thanks for a new twist of chicken