Boneless, skinless chicken breast marinated in the traditional Greek flavors of lemon, garlic and oregano then threaded on skewers with a few veggies makes these grilled chicken kebabs an easy and healthy weeknight dinner winner.
Dinner on the grill makes up about 95% of our summer dinner cooking routine, and with so much variety to be had (pork, steak, shrimp, and even cheese!) cooking skewers and kebabs is an easy, all-in-one healthy dinner that take as little as 15 minutes to marinate only about 15 minutes for the chicken kebabs to cook on the grill.
I’m not sure when I dropped the shish in shish kebabs, but whether you spell them kebabs or kababs, or maybe call them skewers too, these small chunks of chicken threaded on wooden or metal skewers with vegetable chunks are incredibly versatile to make.
Nearly every cuisine has it’s own ethnic flavor of chicken kebab (Indian, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Japanese and Thai) as a popular street food to eat on the go.
But today we’re staying at home to make our own, and cure my summertime Mediterranean flavor-craving with grilled Greek chicken kebabs, all day, all the way, babe-ae.
How to Make the Greek Chicken Marinade
This greek marinade is my favorite go-to recipe for anything and everything chicken and it does double duty as a dressing for salads too.
Marinade the chicken in just half of this marinade and reserve the other half for basting the skewers as they cook, if you so desire.
The chicken is adequately flavored in just 15 minutes, or let it soak in all that Greek flavor for up to three hours in a bowl or a re-sealable gallon storage bag. I generally don’t go longer than the 3 hour mark to avoid the chicken becoming mealy.
Here’s what’s in this Greek marinade:
- Greek yogurt: This is a new addition to my regular Greek marinade. I added the yogurt after making my Easy Chicken Gyros where the yogurt tenderizes the chicken for a very nice, juicy bite.
- Lemon juice + zest: The acid from the lemon also helps break down the tough fibers of the chicken as it adds a flavorful zip to each bite. Adding the zest of one lemon to the marinade amps the flavor up even that much more.
- Garlic: Because hello, garlic.
- Olive oil: Olive oil adds a bit of fat and helps create a barrier while the chicken is on the grill. However, you’ll still want prepare your grill with additional oil and rotate your skewers so the chicken doesn’t become too charred or burn.
- Oregano: Because dried herbs are stronger in flavor than fresh, I’ve found that dried oregano works best for this marinade, and a healthy dose of it is definitely required.
How to Make Greek Chicken Kebabs
Boneless chicken breast is the protein I used here, but if you’re a dark chicken meat lover (which is often more juicy and less apt to overcook) use chicken thighs if you prefer.
Cutting the chicken into chunks all the same size is the key to your kebabs cooking evenly. You’ll also want to cut your veggies to the same size to match.
I used metal skewers for threading the meat and veggies on, but bamboo skewers work well too. If using a wooden skewer, be sure to soak the skewers for at least 15-30 minutes so they don’t burn on the grill. Using a smaller size wooden skewer, and cutting the chicken and veggies into smaller pieces, can easily turn this recipe into a passable appetizer too.
When threading the chicken and vegetables on the skewers, pack them tightly together as both will shrink as they cook. Rotate the chicken skewers often to ensure even cooking and baste with the reserved marinade if you’d like.
More Kebab Recipes to Skewer for the Grill
- Pork Souvlaki With Lemon Rice
- Grilled Turkey Kofta Skewers with Yogurt Sauce
- Hawaiian Chicken Skewers
- Balsamic and Honey Chicken Skewers
- Grilled Shrimp With Sweet or Spicy Mustard Dipping Sauce
- Grilled Cheese Caprese Skewers
Greek Chicken Kebabs
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts)
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 lemons juiced and zest of one lemon
- 4-5 cloves garlic pressed or minced
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 red onion quartered into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch coins
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise into thirds, and then slice again into about 1-inch pieces. Place the chicken pieces in a freezer bag or bowl and set aside.
Add the Greek yogurt and olive oil to a medium size bowl. Zest one of the lemons and add to the bowl then juice that lemon into the bowl. Add the minced garlic, oregano, kosher salt and black pepper and stir. Pour half of the marinade into the freezer bag or the bowl with the chicken pieces and reserve the other half of the marinade for basting. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
When ready to grill, prepare the grill by lightly oiling the grate with vegetable oil or cooking spray and set to medium high heat.
If using wooden skewers, prepare them by soaking in water for 10 minutes. If using metal skewers, no prep is necessary.
Thread the chicken on the skewers alternating with the red onion, zucchini and red bell pepper until you've reached the end of the skewer, ending with chicken. Repeat with the remaining skewers. Discard any of the remaining marinade that had the chicken in it.
Grill the chicken, basting the kebabs with the reserved marinade and turning often so each side browns and has light grill marks, until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
Recipe Ideas to Add to These Kebabs and Make a Meal
- Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Butter
- Spicy Greek Feta Dip (Tirokafteri)
- Watermelon Feta Bites
- Greek Pasta Salad with Cucumbers and Artichoke Hearts
- Greek Style Potato Salad
- Healthy Tzatziki Sauce
- Key Lime Pie
- Whiskey Lemonade
P.S. Do you have a favorite kebab or skewer recipe you’d like to share, or a flavor you’d like to see? Email me at [email protected] and share, or leave a comment below.
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