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Published August 18, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious chicken souvlaki recipe is lemon and herb marinated kebabs that are grilled to perfection and served up with tzatziki.
We most often eat chicken in our house, and I totally get how you can get in a funk by cooking the same thing over and over again. If you want to try out some new chicken recipes, then definitely check out my coq au vin recipe or drunken noodles.
Souvlaki is a classical Greek dish and is marinated and grilled meat kebabs that are often served on the skewer, on pita bread, and always with tzatziki. The word Souvlaki translates to, “skewer.” Traditionally the meat would feature pork or lamb, but in the last century or so, chicken and beef have become popularized.
If you do some research on souvlaki, you’ll find that there are some nuances between the main seasonings and marinade. With that being said, here are the basic ingredients:
- Lemon – Lemon juice is most commonly used, and in addition, you may add red wine vinegar.
- Olive Oil – A good extra virgin olive oil is preferred.
- Herbs – Most commonly you would use dry or fresh oregano and can also add in rosemary or thyme.
- Garlic – Smash the garlic or roughly chop it when using it in this recipe.
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Souvlaki and Chicken Gyro
While the seasonings and protein are the same, the main difference is the cooking method. Chicken souvlaki is small, cubed pieces of marinated chicken that are skewered and grilled directly over a hot grill. Chicken gyro meat is pounded out pieces of chicken that are skewered and cooked vertically and cooked by side heat while continually rotating. You can serve up souvlaki as a gyro.
How to Make Chicken Souvlaki from Scratch
Follow along with these simple step-by-step instructions for making this delicious chicken souvlaki recipe:
Cube the chicken and add it to a large bowl.
Add the marinade ingredients to the chicken in the bowl and completely mix until well combined.
Marinate the chicken overnight or up to 12 hours.
Skewer the chicken meat on long flat skewers.
Cook the souvlaki directly on a very hot grill at 450° to 550° F for 4-5 minutes per side.
Rest the meat for 4-5 minutes before garnishing with fresh oregano and serving.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: This is meant to be eaten as soon as it is done grilling. You can keep warm on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment or wrapped in foil and keep in the oven on low heat for up to 30 minutes before serving.
How to Reheat: Place the desired amount of souvlaki directly onto a hot grill on high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until hot. Alternatively, you can place the souvlaki skewers on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper and heat them in the oven at 375° for 5-7 minutes or until warmed. You can also remove the chicken from the skewer and heat it in the microwave until hot.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Remove the meat from the skewer, cover, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
chef notes + tips
- You may also use de-boned chicken thigh or drum meat.
- Feel free to cook on the skewers under the broiler in the oven.
More Chicken Recipes
Greek Chicken Souvlaki Recipe
- 3 pounds of 1” cubed boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ½ peeled and julienne large red onion
- 3 mashed garlic cloves
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon dry rosemary or thyme
- 1 teaspoon each paprika and cumin, optional
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Add the chicken to a large bowl along with the onions, cloves, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, rosemary, optional ingredients, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly until completely combined.
- Cover in plastic and keep in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the grill to high heat, between 450° and 550° F.
- Skewer the chicken meat between 8 10” skewers or until all of the meat has been skewered.
- Place the souvlaki directly onto the hot grill about ½” to 1” apart from each other and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until browned and cooked throughout.
- Serve with lemon, tzatziki, and pita.