Chicken Souvlaki is a classic Greek recipe of succulent marinated chicken grilled on skewers. The chicken is full of delicious Mediterranean flavors from an easy, quick lemon, olive oil and herb marinade.
Big flavor with little effort is a perfect description of Chicken Souvlaki.
Exciting skewers threaded with plump, juicy chicken great to eat hot off the grill.
They can easily be broiled with equally delicious results!
What is Souvlaki?
This Greek grilled meat dish is a classic.
Small pieces of marinated meat, sometimes with vegetables, are grilled on skewers and eaten hot off the grill.
There are various ways to serve it and things to serve with it, but Souvlaki itself is the meat on the skewer.
Today’s recipe is for a delicious marinated Chicken Souvlaki.
How to Pronounce It
The main recipe ingredient is boneless skinless chicken breast. It’s easily cut into 1-inch cubes.
The marinade is what delivers the signature flavor!
Chicken Souvlaki Marinade
- Olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Garlic cloves
- dried Oregano
- dried Rosemary
- Salt and Pepper
This Greek Chicken Souvlaki recipe is also naturally gluten-free.
Zesting and Juicing Lemons
When using both the zest and juice from a lemon, always zest the lemon first.
This is my favorite lemon zester. It zests quickly, effortlessly and only takes the outer skin not the bitter pith underneath.
I prefer hand held juicers though any juicer or even hand squeezing works.
For more juice: put the lemon in the microwave for 10 seconds before juicing it!
If using a hand held juicer, juice the lemon twice. Once in each direction.
Meaning the rounded side aligned with the rounded side of the juicer. Then flip it over and juice from the opposite side. You’ll get more juice!
What Type of Skewers to Use
Typically bamboo skewers are used but metal skewers work just as well.
If using bamboo skewers care needs to be taken to not have the ends burn during grilling.
I do NOT soak my skewers. It’s not necessary when using other precautions. Refer to the Pro Tips below.
How Long to Marinate the Chicken?
The chicken only needs to marinate for 30 minutes.
It can be left in the marinade up to overnight.
How Long to Grill the Chicken Skewers?
Over medium-high heat the chicken will cook quickly.
They only should take 2-3 minutes per side for 5-6 minutes total.
Do not overcook or the chicken will be dry.
Check for doneness before taking them off the grill.
How to Broil the Skewers
As an alternative to grilling, the skewers can be broiled.
- Place the skewers on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet sprayed lightly with non-stick spray.
- Broil for 8 minutes rotating the skewers once.
- Check for doneness to determine total broiling time needed.
TIP: Place the top oven rack down one position. Though that may make the broiling take a bit longer it’s easier to monitor for any overcooking.
How to Make It – Step-by-Step
STEP 1: Making the Marinade. Combine the marinade ingredients into a large bowl or gallon plastic zipper-top back. Mix to fully combine (photo 1).
STEP 2: Add the chicken. Stir to fully coat. Cover and refrigerate for a 30 minutes (photo 2).
STEP 3: Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto skewers (see Pro Tips below)(photos 3-4).
STEP 4: On a clean, oiled grill at medium-high heat grill the skewers for 2-3 minutes per side; 5-6 minutes total. Check a piece of chicken for doneness before removing the skewers. There should be no pink remaining but the chicken should be still moist.
How to Eat it
The marinated grilled chicken may be eaten ‘as is’ right off the grill. Serve with Tzatziki Sauce for dipping.
It’s common to serve Souvlaki in a type of sandwich too.
Use a soft flatbread, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta cheese and Tzatziki Sauce.
Use a Grill Guard for Bamboo Skewers
It’s not necessary to soak bamboo skewers before use. However using a grill guard protects the end from burning while grilling.
It’s easy to make one in a seconds at home too.
Fold a piece of foil to be long enough to sit on the grill underneath the exposed ends of the skewers.
If both ends of the skewers are exposed, do this for both ends of the skewer.
You can see this in use on this Chicken Kabobs recipe.
Consider Using Flat Skewers
A frustrating experience for kabob recipe makers is spinning ingredients. It makes it difficult to grill skewers on all sides.
Because these Souvlaki skewers are only chicken, that’s not as big a concern.
However a great solution is using flat skewers.
They allow turning the skewers once and all ingredients stay in place.
They are available in metal (multiple use) or bamboo (one use).
Microwave the Lemon before Juicing it
To render more juice, put the lemon in the microwave for 10 seconds before juicing it.
Make it a Meal
Here are some more recipes you will enjoy to make this into a meal:
- Chickpea Salad
- Mediterranean Salad with Zucchini Ribbons
- Spicy Sriracha Hummus
- Grilled Asparagus
- No Churn Ice Cream
You’ll Love these Recipes too!
- Grilled Kabob Recipes
- Smoky Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Quesadillas
- Sticky Grilled Chicken Wings
- Grilled Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
- Shakshuka Recipe
- Lemony One Pot Greek Chicken Thighs
- Easy Chicken Kabobs
- Oven BBQ Chicken
Chicken Souvlaki is a delicious Greek dish made of marinated chicken grilled or broiled on skewers. Serve as is or in a sandwich with Tzatziki sauce.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried Rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless Chicken Breast cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4-6 pieces flat bread
- red onion
- Tzatziki sauce
- Feta cheese
Combine olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl or a gallon zip lock bag. Add cut up chicken and toss to coat.
Marinate the chicken for at 30 minutes. NOTE: the chicken can be marinated up to overnight.
Thread the chicken onto skewers.
Heat the grill to medium-high. Clean and oil the grill.
Grill the skewers for 2-3 minutes a side until the chicken has browned and juices are clear. Check for doneness before removing the skewers. Do not over cook the chicken.
Broiling: If broiling instead of grilling, place skewers on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil with top rack one position down for 8 minutes flipping once. Monitor for burning and doneness.
Serve skewers with Tzatziki Sauce. Or in flat bread with lettuce, onion, tomato, tzatziki sauce, and feta cheese or your favorite toppings.
Nutritional calculations are for the souvlaki only (not extra serving suggestion ingredients).
Bamboo Skewers: if using bamboo skewers place foil on the grill under any exposed bamboo to prevent it from burning. Soaking of the skewers is not necessary.
Metal or bamboo skewers may be used. Flat skewers prevent the chicken from rotating on the skewer and make it easier to cook.
Do not overcook the chicken or it will become dry.