Chicken Souvlaki with melt-in-your mouth zesty, juicy chicken, smoky vegetables and tangy, creamy Feta Yogurt Dip is a meal-in-one and super easy to make at home!
This Greek Chicken Souvlaki can be served straight off the skewers dunked in the refreshing Feta Yogurt Dip or the chicken can be piled in pitas with your favorite toppings with the roasted veggies served on the side. No matter how you serve them, everyone will love these flavor bursting skewers! ! I’ve included instructions for both grilling and broiling so you can enjoy this tantalizing Chicken Souvlaki year-round
This post is sponsored by McCormick. All opinions are my own.
Who is ready for grilling season AKA a summer full of flavor?! I looovee to grill because grilling = cooking OUTSIDE (how cool is that?!), no pots and pans to scrub, and loads of fresh vibrant flavors like this Chicken Souvlaki! The vibrant, fresh, lemon, garlic, oregano combo is taste bud magic and it’s fresh and healthy! I love Greek flavors so much I’ve already shared my crazy popular Greek Chicken, Greek Lemon Rice, Beef Souvlaki, Greek Salad, Greek Chicken Gyro Flatbread (and on and on) with gyros and tzatziki coming soon. If you’re looking for even more Greek recipes, check out all these McCormick Greek recipes!
What is Chicken Souvlaki?
Greek Souvlaki is also known as shish kebabs and kalamaki. Souvlaki is meat cubes, and sometimes vegetables, marinated in oil, lemon juice, oregano and other herbs then grilled on a skewer. In fact, “Souvlaki” is a take on the Greek word souvla which means “skewer” or “spit.” Souvlaki is traditionally pork but can be prepared with all sorts of meats from chicken to lamb, beef and even fish.
Chicken Souvlaki is served straight off the skewer with sides of fried potatoes, lemon rice and some sort of sauce. Souvlaki Pitas are when the meat is removed from the skewer and served in a pita along with red onions, tomatoes, sometimes lettuce and tzatziki.
Traditional Chicken Souvlaki isn’t roasted with veggies on the same skewer but you will loooove this contemporary twist. The juicy, roasted tomatoes bursting together with the crisp-tender zucchini and juicy herb lemon chicken – gah – I can’t get enough – and I guarantee your family and friends will be begging for more.
What is the difference between a gyro and souvlaki?
Although both delicious and boast similar tantalizing flavor profiles, gyros and souvlaki are definitely not the same thing – and that’s why I need a recipe for both! While souvlaki is known as Greek “fast food,” Gyros, on the other hand, are considered a main dish delicacy. Gyros consist of long strips of thin pork served with red onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce served with pita bread. As previously mentioned souvlaki, on the other hand, is marinated cubes of meat grilled on a skewer and does not need to be served with/in pita bread.
Now you know all about this Greek classic – but did you know it is actually super easy to make at home?! All you need is a little chopping prep, McCormick® Grill Mates® Zesty Herb Marinade, a few other pantry staples and it’s go time! The best part about these handy marinades is that everything is pre-measured, flavor-packed and ready to roll!
When You’re Short on Time – Make Chicken Souvlaki!
This Chicken Souvlaki recipe was born after I had been running around all day for our remodel (we are remodeling our bathrooms – tons of decisions and tons of errands – before and afters coming soon 😊 ), and we were hosting a backyard barbecue with some friends but I hadn’t gotten the chicken marinating yet – but never fear, Chicken Souvlaki is here!
One of my favorite tips to grill your best chicken for your friends and family if you are short on time (or just want an amazing meal-in-one) is to make kabobs like this Chicken Souvlaki. The marinade is able to penetrate the small cubed chicken quickly so even if you only have 30 minutes, you still have flavor explosive chicken.
Chicken Souvlaki Marinade
The most important aspect of Greek Chicken Souvlaki is the marinade itself because that is where ALL the flavor comes from! This marinade is more of a wet rub (so the seasoning actually stays on the chicken and doesn’t wash away) consisting of McCormick® Grill Mates® Zesty Herb Marinade, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and oregano.
This McCormick marinade packet is everything. It’s a blend of garlic, basil, oregano and peppers. It infuses both the chicken and the veggies with flavor and is my secret weapon in sauces, salad dressings and on roasted veggies too! Marinating the chicken also tenderize the chicken and helps keep it juicy and moist while cooking.
How do you make chicken souvlaki?
This Chicken Souvlaki recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are some tips and tricks to make it a dynamic success.
- Soak Wooden Skewers: You can use metal or wood skewers but just take care you soak your wood skewers for at least 30 minutes otherwise they can catch fire! For this Chicken Souvlaki recipe, I recommend soaking your skewers when you start marinating your chicken.
- Chicken Breast or Thighs: I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts but you are also welcome to use chicken thighs, just keep in mind that light meat will cook faster than dark meat so it isn’t a good idea to combine the two on one skewer. Chicken breasts have a bad reputation for being dry but with our marinade, cutting the chicken into 1 1/2″ cubes and not overcooking, you have a winner winner chicken dinner
- Don’t cut chicken too small: Cut your chicken into 1 1/2 inch cubes in order to keep them juicy. Avoid cutting the chicken too small or it can easily overcook. Try and chop the chicken roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
- Wet Rub Marinade: We only marinate our chicken for 2 hours or less because the marinade contains lemon juice that can cause small pieces of chicken to get mushy. The key when marinating your chicken for a short amount of time is to use more of a wet rub marinade than a marinade in which the chicken is swimming in liquid. This ensures the seasonings stick to the chicken and actually get grilled with the chicken instead of floating away in excess liquid.
- Thread chicken kabobs: Thread the chicken, tomatoes, onions and zucchini onto your skewers in alternating fashion. If you don’t want to worry about alternating the ingredients, you can make all chicken skewers, all zucchini skewers, all onions skewers or all tomato skewers. Mushrooms and bell peppers would be fantastic as well.
- Many hands make light work: This Chicken Souvlaki can be very quick to assemble IF you get some helping hands to skewer. Involve your kids or even your guests if you want – they can even make their own custom kabobs! We made kabobs in Cabo and the dozens of kabobs were assembled in minutes because we had so many little helping hands.
- How much space? As far as spacing, there are two schools of thought. Some like to leave a little space in between the items so heat can circulate evenly while they cook. Others, myself included, like to pack everything pretty close together – not smashed together, but touching. With the cubes this close, the heat isn’t reaching all sides of the food at once which helps to prevent overcooking/dried chicken and instead promotes juicier chicken.
I hope these tips and tricks help you grill your best for those you love this summer and this Chicken Souvlaki recipe transports you to the crystal shores of Greece! Happy Memorial Day!
LOOKING FOR MORE SKEWER RECIPES?
- BBQ Chicken Kabobs
- Peanut Pineapple Thai chicken Satay
- Brazilian Steak Kabobs
- Tandoori Chicken Kabobs
- Thai Chicken Satay
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