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Grilled Chicken Kebabs

Chicken Kebabs Sun65Su

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Chicken KebabsThe kebab or shish kebab originated in the Mediterranean. The kebab is a marinated meat, poultry, shellfish, firm fish, and vegetables or fruits threaded on a skewer and grilled or broiled.

This recipe works with any medium-dark meat—chicken things, cubed turkey, pork, and even fish such as salmon or swordfish.

Grilled Chicken Kebabs

Yield 4 servings


  • 1 to 1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs or skinned chicken breasts, rinsed and pat dry with paper towels
  • Minced zest and juice of 1 lime or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive or peanut oil or other oil or 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced cilantro leaves, plus a bit more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter or peanut sauce
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add-on Ingredients

  • 15 to 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 15 to 20 quarter slices fresh pineapple
  • 4 or 5 small white onions, sliced
  • 2 bunches green onions, root ends trimmed; grill separately.
  • 1 pound of asparagus; grill separately.
  • 6 to 10 small yellow or red peppers, habanero, sweet banana, Hungarian; grill separately.


  1. Cut the chicken or other meat into 1- to 1½-inch cubes. Mix the chicken with all other ingredients in a large bowl or a re-sealable plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 24 hours. Soak wood skewers in cold water at least 30 minutes before using.
  2. Start a charcoal or wood fie or preheat gas grill or broiler; the fire should be moderately hot (about 450°; you can hold your hand 5 inches above the cooking grate only 4 to 5 seconds).
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and boil the marinade for 1 minute reducing it to a sauce.
  4. Thread the meat and add-ons such as cherry tomatoes, onion slices, and pineapple slices onto skewers and lay the skewers on the grill (cover if using gas). Grill or broil about 4 inches from the heat source. Cook until meat is browned and cooked through, basting with the sauce, and turning every 2 or 3 minutes. Grill a piece or two of meat separately; cut in half to see if meat is cooked through. Grilling time about 8 to 12 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a platter, garnish, and serve hot.


Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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