Turkish Chicken Shish Kebab

Turkish cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors and vibrant spices, and among its most celebrated dishes is the Turkish Chicken Shish Kebab. This dish is not only a delight for the taste buds but also a feast for the eyes, with its beautifully grilled, succulent chicken pieces threaded onto skewers. Preparing this authentic recipe at home allows you to bring a touch of Turkey into your kitchen, creating a memorable dining experience. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of making authentic Turkish Chicken Shish Kebab, ensuring that you can replicate the flavors of a traditional Turkish kitchen.

Ingredients for Turkish Chicken Shish Kebab

To create the perfect Chicken Shish Kebab, it is crucial to use the right ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Marinade:

  • 500g boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Skewers:

  • Wooden or metal skewers (if using wooden, soak in water for at least 30 minutes)
  • Bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • Onions, cut into chunks
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Preparing the Marinade

To ensure your chicken is flavorful and tender, marination is key. Start by combining the yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste, paprika, ground cumin, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

2. Marinating the Chicken

Add the bite-sized chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well-coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat deeply, resulting in a more delicious kebab.

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3. Preparing the Skewers

Once the chicken has marinated, it’s time to prepare the skewers. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto the skewers, alternating with chunks of bell peppers, onions, and cherry tomatoes. This not only adds flavor but also creates a visually appealing presentation.

4. Grilling the Kebabs

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If you don’t have a grill, a grill pan or even a broiler can be used as an alternative. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and has a nice char. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (75°C).

5. Serving the Kebabs

Once the kebabs are cooked, remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve the chicken shish kebabs with a side of rice or flatbread, garnished with lemon wedges. A fresh salad with a tangy vinaigrette pairs perfectly with this dish.

FAQs About Turkish Chicken Shish Kebab

1. What makes Turkish Chicken Shish Kebab unique?

Turkish Chicken Shish Kebab is unique due to its marinade, which typically includes yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and a blend of spices like paprika, cumin, oregano, and thyme. This combination not only tenderizes the chicken but also infuses it with rich, aromatic flavors.

2. Can I use other meats for this recipe?

Yes, while chicken is a popular choice, you can also use lamb, beef, or even fish. The marination process and grilling method remain the same, but cooking times may vary depending on the type of meat used.

3. How can I ensure my kebabs are not dry?

Marinating the chicken for an adequate amount of time (at least 2 hours, preferably overnight) helps to tenderize the meat and keep it moist. Additionally, cooking the kebabs on medium-high heat and not overcooking them ensures they remain juicy.

4. Can I cook these kebabs in the oven?

Yes, if you do not have a grill, you can cook the kebabs in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and place the skewers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the chicken is cooked through.

5. What sides go well with Chicken Shish Kebab?

Chicken Shish Kebab pairs well with a variety of sides such as rice pilaf, couscous, grilled vegetables, tzatziki sauce, and fresh salads. These sides complement the flavors of the kebab and create a well-rounded meal.

6. How do I store leftover Chicken Shish Kebab?

Store any leftover kebabs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through. You can also reheat them in a microwave, but they may lose some of their crispiness.

7. Can I freeze marinated chicken?

Yes, you can freeze the marinated chicken. Place the chicken and marinade in a freezer-safe bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before threading onto skewers and grilling.

8. Is it necessary to soak wooden skewers before grilling?

Yes, soaking wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling helps prevent them from burning during the cooking process. If using metal skewers, this step is not necessary.


Making Authentic Turkish Chicken Shish Kebab at home is a rewarding experience that brings the flavors of Turkey to your table. By following this detailed recipe, you can create a delicious and visually appealing dish that will impress your family and friends. Enjoy the succulent, marinated chicken pieces grilled to perfection and savor the rich, aromatic flavors that are characteristic of Turkish cuisine.

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