Middle Eastern Marinade for Chicken Kebabs

By Published On: January 29th, 2021

Kebab (kabob) are an easy and super-effective way to serve chicken any time of the year. My simple middle eastern Marinade is a failsafe recipe, guaranteed to add a touch of warming spice to your kebab. Learn how easy it is to cook at home here…

Middle Eastern Marinade for Chicken Kebab

Marinating meat is a long-practiced method of preparing food. None more than throughout the Middle East. For thousands of years, cooks and chefs have been perfecting their own marinade recipes and there are thousands of versions available. My recipe is super simple, and my go-to recipe when I want maximum flavour, with minimum effort.

Time is your friend when marinating chicken.

Like any marination process, time is key to getting the best flavour. This does require some forward planning, but seriously - all you need to do is... nothing. If you have the forethought, this quick marinade can be applied to chicken (or any other meat) in the morning, or last thing at night and then left to create all the magic all on its own in the fridge.

It's worth the wait for sure, the results are aromatic, earthy and the chicken juicy and tender. This is ALL thanks to the marinade and time.

What meat to use for chicken kebabs

You can use any cut of chicken for kebabs, but I much prefer thighs over the breast - thighs stay juicier longer and they char beautifully on flat skewers under a hot grill or on a hot bbq. You can, of course, use breasts, but be careful to not let them dry out. The decision is yours. You'll see from the recipe below, that these ingredients are few, but each brings a wonderful Middle Eastern taste and aroma to the finished dish. The coriander and cumin bring an earthy, fragrant spice to the dish the garlic a depth of flavour and the lemon a certain tartness. Lemon also helps tenderise the meat too, which creates a juicier finish when you cook.

Kebabs are great to serve as the main dish or part of a larger spread - I love them with a buttery Turkish pilav or a crunchy Lebanese Fattoush salad - I'll always have a small bowl of Yoghurt & garlic sauce to accompany and a whole pile of flatbreads. You should also try the delights of Georgian Greek Ajika on these kebabs - a burst of herbal intensity! It's one of my favourite dishes in the whole world, and you'll see just how easy it is to make at home. Enjoy!

Middle Eastern Marinade for Chicken Kebabs

Middle Eastern Marinade for Chicken Kebabs

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4.67 from 3 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Marination1 day
Total Time1 day 22 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 577


For the marinade

Other ingredients

  • 3 lb chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)
  • 2 tbsp butter (melted)


For the marinade

  • Combine all the marinade ingredients and stir well

For the chicken

  • Cut the chicken thighs into large chunks (about 2x2" 5x5cm) and place in a bowl or bag.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and stir to ensure everything is coated. Seal the bag or cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. 1 hour at the very least, but the longer the better.
  • When marinated, thread the chicken pieces onto skewers (if you're using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for a couple of hours first to avoid them disintegrating in the heat)
    Heat a BBQ grill or oven grill to hot and cook the chicken for about 6 mins per side until nicely charred. Use the melted butter to baste the chicken once or twice during cooking.
  • Serve hot!


Calories: 577kcal (29%) | Carbohydrates: 2g (1%) | Protein: 37g (74%) | Fat: 46g (71%) | Saturated Fat: 13g (81%) | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 232mg (77%) | Sodium: 597mg (26%) | Potassium: 486mg (14%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 1g (1%) | Vitamin A: 299IU (6%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 29mg (3%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)
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Middle Eastern Marinade for Chicken Kebab

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