Grilling season is upon us, and I’m taking full advantage with easy, breezy Mediterranean grilled Chicken Kabobs.
During summer, we are meant to be in flip flops, eating easy skewer recipes like this one (or Shrimp Kabobs with Pineapple), and wiping away the watermelon juice that’s running down our chins.
These Greek chicken kabobs have pieces of juicy chicken flavored with an easy marinade and a colorful stack of veggies.
They can be prepped ahead for a cookout or assembled at the last minute when you need to land a healthy meal on the table before hangry pandemonium sets in.
Grilled chicken kabobs are fast and nutritious, and like a Skinny Margarita on a hot day, they never fail to hit the spot.
If you’re anything like me, you may be staring at this post and wondering why some recipes are called “kabobs” and some are called “kebobs” instead.
Well, I looked up if there is a difference between “kabab” and “kebob,” and it seems that the only difference between the two is the spelling.
- “Kabob” is the US spelling, while “kebob” is the British spelling.
- Both refer to marinated meat, fish, and/or vegetables threaded onto a skewer and grilled or roasted to tasty perfection.
Whichever way you choose to spell it, the end result will be delicious and definitely worth the extra step of threading.
Any Night, Every Night, All-Purpose Grilled Chicken Kabobs
While I sometimes like to play around with different flavor profiles for my grilled chicken skewer recipes (Fajita Chicken Kabobs, Grilled Orange Chicken Kabobs, Grilled Pesto Chicken Skewers), more often than not, the nights when I grill chicken kabobs are also the nights when I haven’t planned ahead.
I designed the chicken kabob marinade to be made with pantry ingredients so that you can always have what you need to make it on hand.
Chicken breasts are a standard freezer item too, and while I’ve suggested my favorite assortment of vegetables, you can certainly use a smaller or larger variety depending upon your preferences and what you have lurking in your produce drawer.
The Best Chicken Kabob Marinade
This pantry marinade has a Mediterranean spin that takes the chicken from ordinary to extraordinary.
- Olive Oil. To keep the chicken from sticking. Also, for healthy fats and flavor.
- Red Wine Vinegar. For brightness, pop, and to help the chicken tenderize.
- Honey. To balance the acidity of the vinegar and help the chicken caramelize on the grill.
- Dried Herbs. To go with the Mediterranean chicken kabobs theme, I selected oregano and rosemary. Feel free to swap thyme or Italian seasoning, or create your own custom kabob mix.
- Garlic. Four cloves, no less. Go ahead and up the amount if you have a house of serious garlic lovers.
- Salt and Pepper. Kabob marinade essentials.
Add Your Vegetables
You can use any mix of vegetables for this recipe, as long as they all grill in the same amount of time. Pick vegetables that are tender and easy to skewer.
My favorite kabob vegetables for grilling are:
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash. Cut these into 1/2-inch coins. No need to peel them first.
- Bell Peppers. Red are my favorite. Core them, then cut them into 1-inch pieces.
- Red Onions. Quarter, then cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Cherry Tomatoes. A yummy, vibrant addition to almost any chicken skewer. Thread them through the stem end.
TIP: No matter which mix of vegetables you choose, I highly recommend tossing in a red onion. Red onions are under-utilized on the grill and create a fantastic, well-rounded element that I know you’ll love.
Next-Level Kabob Toppings
For an elevated twist, top your grilled chicken and vegetables with any (or all!) of these optional additions to give your kabobs more flavor.
- Lemon Juice. I almost hate to call this one optional because it adds so much brightness. It’s my most recommended addition.
- Fresh Herbs. That bundle of [parsley/dill/thyme] you bought a few days ago for a different recipe and still have leftover? Chop it up and sprinkle it on your kabobs.
- Feta Cheese. Our Greek chicken kabobs just became a little more Greek. Salty, creamy, and just plain DELISH, you’ll be glad you added it.
How to Cook Chicken Kabobs
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Whisk the marinade ingredients together.
- Add the marinade to a bowl or ziptop bag with the chicken. Let the chicken marinate, and soak the skewers.
- Thread the kabobs.
- Grill the kabobs over medium-high heat (about 375 degrees F), until the chicken is cooked through. DIG IN!
Alternative Cooking Methods
You can make chicken kabobs on any kind of grill, and you can even cook chicken kabobs in the oven.
- How to Make Chicken Kabobs in the Oven. Bake the chicken in the oven at 450 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, turning them once halfway through. Since the chicken isn’t touching the oven directly like it does on a grill grate, a higher temperature is needed.
- How to Use Different Types of Grills. If making chicken kabobs on charcoal grill, propane grill, or natural gas grill, the temperature you should grill chicken kabobs at is about 375 degrees F (medium-high heat).
- How Long Does it Take to Cook Chicken Kebabs? The length of time needed to grill the chicken will vary depending upon the size of your chicken pieces and how much the temperature of your grill fluctuates. Plan on about 10 to 15 minutes total, turning the skewers a few times throughout so that they brown nicely on all sides. The chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer and the juices run clear when a piece of chicken is cut.
How Long to Marinate Chicken for Kabobs
One of the biggest challenges I run into when making kabobs (or any grilled meat) is building in time for the meat to marinate.
These grilled chicken kabobs need just 30 minutes! This amount of time is easy to accomplish while you are prepping other elements of the meal.
- Start with the chicken marinade, then set it aside to let it do its tasty thang.
- Move on to chopping the vegetables.
- Tidy up your kitchen and check Instagram. Before you know it, the chicken and vegetable kabobs are ready to grill.
The chicken can rest in the marinade for as little as 30 minutes and for a maximum of three hours. After three hours, the meat will start to break down.
If you are trying to get ahead on the recipe, chop and prep the ingredients but wait to add the marinade to the chicken until closer to the time when you plan to grill.
Tips for Skewering with Success
You can make these chicken kabobs with metal skewers or wooden skewers.
- If using metal skewers like these or these, be sure not to touch the skewer ends after the kabobs are cooked, as they will be HOT. Use a hot pad or tongs to hold the skewer end while you remove the chicken and vegetables from them prior to eating.
- If using wooden skewers like these, soak the skewers in water for 20 minutes prior to grilling to prevent them from catching on fire. (Trust me, they will catch if you skip this step.)
- My other big skewer tip is not to crowd the vegetables and chicken together too tightly when threading. The chicken and vegetable pieces can lightly touch, but you want to make sure the heat can circulate so that the chicken cooks through.
Tips to Store and Reheat Chicken Kabobs
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover chicken and veggies (removed from the skewers) in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot. You can also reheat the chicken and vegetables in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Remove the skewers, then freeze leftover chicken and vegetables in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. The vegetables may become watery and soggy once thawed, but they will still be tasty.
What to Serve with Chicken Kabobs
These grilled chicken kabobs have your protein and veggies covered! There’s no specific side that you should serve with kabobs, but here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Grains. A bed of Lemon Rice is a delicious complement to this dish. White, brown, or cauliflower rice would also work well.
- Bread + Hummus. Serve the kabobs with some warm pita bread and hummus for dipping. YUM!
- Salad. Top a bed of chopped romaine, arugula, or spinach, with a drizzle of a creamy dressing or vinaigrette and the kabobs. <—This is my favorite way to eat the leftovers! I like ranch or a simple vinaigrette like the one in my Italian Farro Salad.
Recommended Tools to Make Chicken Kabobs
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best way to check if your chicken is done.
- Grill Tongs. The essential grilling tool.
- Extra Large Cutting Board. Chop your chicken and vegetables without running out of space.
Wishing you a summer full of lovely lazy weekends, the kind tailor made for cool drinks, hot BBQs, and grilled chicken kabobs with vegetables!
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts - about 2 large breasts
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme or dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small red onion - quartered into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small zucchini - ends trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch coins
- 1 small summer squash - ends trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch coins
- 1 red bell pepper - seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Canola oil - for grilling
- 1 large lemon - cut into wedges (optional but way better if it's included)
- Chopped fresh herbs of choice (parsley and dill are two of our favorites)
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces and place in a large ziptop bag, shallow baking dish, or bowl.
- In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Pour over the chicken and stir to coat (or seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and “squish” to coat). Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours (do not let the chicken sit for longer or the vinegar will cause it to break down). If using wooden skewers, place the skewers in water to soak for at least 20 minutes.
- When ready to grill, preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 375 degrees F). Brush the grill grates with canola oil or coat with nonstick grill spray.
- Thread the kabobs: Thread a piece of chicken onto the skewer (shake off the excess marinade when removing it from the bag. Add alternating pieces of the red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper until you've reached the end of the skewer, ending with chicken. Repeat with the remaining skewers, then discard the excess chicken marinade.
- Grill the chicken until fully cooked through and the juices run clear, about 10 to 15 minutes, turning the skewers every few minutes so that each side has grill marks. Transfer to a serving plate and squeeze the lemon over the top. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and feta. Serve warm.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days. I love to use them to top salads for lunch throughout the week.
- TO MAKE IN THE OVEN: To make chicken kabobs in the oven, see the blog post above for suggestions.
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