Preparing Lemon Chicken Kebabs

lemon chicken kebab, peppers and onion
Copyright: yelenayemchuk

The kebab comes in many forms but one of the favourites is meat on a skewer. It is a classic dish of the Mediterranean, especially of countries around the eastern fringes such as Greece, Turkey, the Lebanon. One typical recipe we’ve tried to recreate for our favourite shop bought kebab are these lemon chicken kebabs which are straightforward to prepare. The lemony marinade adds an extra layer of flavour. Grilling just brings out some of that slightly charred note which is needed for barbecue authenticity.

Add a dip such as tzatsiki to help cool the flavour and reserve the marinade sauce for further basting of the kebabs and as a dressing for the salad.

Makes 8 skewers. preparation time: 1 hour, 15 minutes; cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes.


Marinade for the chicken pieces:

  • 1/4 cup/60 ml olive oil
  • 1/4 cup/60 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced

The Skewers

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 large green bell peppers, cut into ¾ inch chunks
  • 1 large sized red onion, cut into ¾ inch chunks
  • 1 large red pepper cut into bite sized chunks similar to the red onion


    1. For the marinade, combine all the ingredients such as the olive oil (2 tablespoons), lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary, oregano, garlic, shallot, salt and black pepper.
    2. Stir the chicken into this marinade until well all pieces are well coated; marinate for at least 2 hours at ambient or overnight in the fridge, turning occasionally.
    3. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade. Keep any marinade for a sauce for the kebabs or salad.
    4. Thread chicken, peppers and onion onto metal skewers although you can use wood but these might burn. Brush with any remaining  olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
    5. Preheat grill to a medium heat.
    6. Place skewers under grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is completely cooked through. It should reach an internal temperature of 75ºC/165  ºF, for roughly 10 minutes.
    7. An alternative to grilling is to place the kebabs on a very hot griddle pan. Cook for a few minutes until each side is cooked through. This also leaves exciting griddle char marks on the chicken which you don’t always get under the grill. 
    8. Serve these lemon chicken kebabs immediately with a green salad and some flatbreads using the remains of the marinade as a sauce to complement the chicken.
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