These juicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs are infused with Mediterranean flavors and cooked on the grill or in the oven. Perfect for grilling season and all-year-round!
One of the best things about BBQ season is grilling food on skewers (aka shish kebabs). This yogurt-marinated chicken kebab recipe is one of my favorites to make for outdoor gatherings because it’s simple and absolutely delicious.
Grilling chicken without drying it isn’t always easy, but marinating chicken in yogurt tenderizes the meat and locks in all of that moisture. Combining the yogurt with lemon and Greek-inspired flavors to make a marinade makes these chicken kebabs next-level good.
I also love this recipe because the kabobs can be baked in the oven, so there’s no need to stand out in the cold over an outdoor grill. What’s not to love about juicy and flavorful chicken kebabs year-round!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s delicious. The simple yogurt marinade makes the chicken tender and juicy.
- This recipe is very easy to make. Easy-to-follow instructions will show you how to make perfect chicken kabobs every time.
- The recipe includes two cooking options. You can cook the chicken skewers on the grill or in the oven.
- This chicken recipe is healthy. Kabobs are a great source of protein.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the Chicken:
- Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts or Thighs – cut into 1″ cubes. Be sure to cut the chicken into the same size and shape so everything cooks evenly.
- Salt & Black Pepper – will enhance the flavor of the chicken.
For the Marinade:
- Plain 2-3% Yogurt – The lactic acid in the yogurt slowly tenderizes the chicken making it soft and juicy. The yogurt also gives the surface a light crust.
- Lemon Juice – The acid in lemon juice helps to further break down the meat and infuse the chicken with a bright, fresh flavor.
- Olive Oil – also helps the chicken retain moisture resulting in tender, juicy chicken.
- Dried Herbs & Spices – A blend of mustard seeds, garlic powder, dried basil, and dried oregano infuse Mediterranean-inspired flavor into the chicken.
You Will Also Need:
- Skewers – metal or wooden. If using wooden skewers, be sure to thoroughly soak them beforehand.
How To Make Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs
- Make the marinade: In a large mixing bowl, add the marinade ingredients – yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, and dried herbs and spices. Mix until smooth and well combined.
- Prep the chicken: Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat it dry with a paper towel. With a sharp knife, cut the chicken into 1″ cubes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the chicken: To the bowl with the marinade, add the chicken pieces, and toss well to coat completely.
- Marinate the chicken: Cover the bowl and transfer to the fridge to marinate for 3 to 6 hours.
- Skewer the chicken: When ready to grill or cook in the oven, thread 5 to 6 pieces of marinated chicken onto each skewer, leaving 2 to 3″ inches of the bottom of each skewer open.
- Grill the kebabs: Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. Lightly spray the grill with cooking spray. Place skewers across grates and cook until the chicken juices run clear, rotating every few minutes to create grill marks (about 10 to 12 minutes). Remove from the grill and serve with lemon wedges.
How to Make Yogurt Marinated Chicken Skewers in the Oven
No grill? No problem!
You can also bake these tender and juicy kebabs. Once the chicken is threaded on the skewers and ready to be baked, follow these steps:
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the kebabs on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven and bake until the chicken is tender and cooked through, flipping each skewer halfway through (about 25 minutes).
Always check the chicken for doneness. Chicken is cooked when the center is no longer pink, the juices run clear, and the internal temperature is 165F.
Make extra marinade to brush onto the skewers while they are cooking for even more delicious lemon, garlic, and herb flavor.
You can marinate the chicken in a plastic bag. However, I prefer marinating meats and vegetables in glass mixing bowls. The acidity from the marinade can damage plastics, potentially allowing chemicals to leach into food. Yuck! Not to mention, it is more environmentally friendly to use reusable glass cooking equipment.
If making oven-baked kabobs, broil the chicken for the last few minutes of cooking to get a lightly charred crust on the surface of the chicken.
You should soak wooden skewers in water for a few hours before threading the food onto them for two reasons. One, dampening the wood first helps keep it from burning, and two, it makes it so the cooked chicken pieces slide off the stick with ease.
As is, this recipe makes incredibly moist and flavorful grilled chicken on a stick. Check out these yummy variations:
- Add vegetables. Skewer 1″ pieces of summer veggies between the pieces of chicken. Red onion, yellow squash, zucchini, a colorful assortment of bell peppers, and mushrooms are great options.
- Switch up the proteins. Yogurt is great for tenderizing a variety of meats. In addition to chicken, you could make these kabobs with beef sirloin or tenderloin, pork tenderloin, butt or shoulder, and even a firm, thick fish like halibut, swordfish, or salmon.
- Experiment with the flavors. Feel free to change up the herbs and spices to your liking. Dried onion flakes, dried rosemary, fresh minced garlic, and fresh dill go great in this marinade. For a little heat, add some red pepper or Aleppo pepper flakes.
How to Serve This Chicken Kebabs
This yummy chicken is great in pita bread and sandwiches. They taste especially good paired with sumac onions. Make sure to remove the chicken pieces from the skewer first.
You can also serve the kebabs on a platter sprinkled with a splash of fresh lemon juice, some fresh mint or fresh thyme leaves, and crumbled feta cheese.
The chicken skewers are also great served as an appetizer or an entree with a couple of healthy side dishes. Check out these tasty side dish suggestions:
- Armenian Grilled Vegetables
- Instant Pot Steamed Vegetables
- Romaine Salad with Chopped Vegetables
- Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant Salad
- Potato Salad with Asparagus
Storing & Freezing
- Storing: Refrigerate leftover cooked chicken kebabs in a shallow airtight container for 2 to 3 days.
- Freezing: To freeze, make sure the chicken has cooled completely to room temperature, and then freeze skewers in a freezer-safe bag or container for 2 to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does marinating chicken in yogurt do?
Using yogurt as a marinade is less acidic than citrus-based marinades. Acidic marinades are harsh on proteins, resulting in tough meat, but chicken marinated in yogurt effectively becomes succulent and delicious.
How long can you marinate chicken in yogurt?
Unlike acidic marinades, marinating chicken in yogurt doesn’t risk toughening the meat and making it rubbery so the chicken can be left in the yogurt for up to a day.
Do you rinse off yogurt marinated chicken?
No. It isn’t necessary to rinse the yogurt marinade off of the chicken. In fact, it helps create a pleasant, lightly charred crust on the chicken.
Can I make yogurt marinated chicken skewers in advance?
To make in advance, you can marinate and thread the chicken onto the skewers up to a day ahead. Simply remove from the fridge 10 minutes before cooking to take a bit of the chill off before grilling or baking.
What should I do with the leftover yogurt marinade?
Since the yogurt marinade was in contact with raw chicken, make sure to discard any leftover marinade.
- 3 pounds skinless boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
- salt and pepper
For the marinade:
- 1 cup plain 3% yogurt
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 Tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
You will also need:
- Metal or wooden skewers
- In a large bowl, mix all marinade ingredients.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade making sure that the chicken is all covered in the marinade. (You can also do it in a plastic bag. I prefer using glass bowls because the acid in the marinade might cause the plastic to leach harmful chemicals into the food. In addition, I think it's much more environmentally friendly).
- Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge. Let the chicken marinate for 3 to 6 hours.
- Once ready to cook, thread chicken onto skewers and cook on the grill or in the oven until cooked through. (If you cook it in the oven, preheat the oven to 400F and cook for about 25 minutes until no longer pink inside.)
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition InformationYield 7 Serving Size 1/7 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 412Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 175mgSodium 234mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 58g
Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.