Doner Kebab
Doner Kebabs are a Turkish kebab recipe that’s healthy, juicy and bursting with exotic flavors from an easy marinade layered with hand-picked seasonings. Doner kebabs are usually cooked on a rotating spit but I’ve included how to grill or bake the chicken kebabs on skewers to achieve the same irresistible juicy caramelized edges. My step-by-step tutorial and video (below) show you exactly how to make this doner kebab recipe and how to turn the chicken into wraps or bowls – all complete with dynamic garlic yogurt sauce. This doner kebab recipe is excellent for meal prep, make ahead lunch/dinners, entertaining and leftovers – all instructions included.
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 30minutes
Cook Time
20minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 30minutes
Cook Time
20minutes
Doner Kebab recipe
Ingredients
CHICKEN AND MARINADE
  • 2lbs boneless skinless chicken thighscut in half
  • 1/2cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4cup olive oil
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2tsp EACH ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander
  • 1 1/2tsps EACH garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp EACH ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, pepper
GARLIC YOGURT SAUCE
  • 1cup Greek yogurt
  • 2cloves garlicminced
  • 2tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/4tsp EACH ground cumin, ground coriander, pepper
WRAPS and PLATES (pick your favs)
  • Lebanese bread/flatbread/pita breadwarmed
  • 1recipe hummus(or store-bought)
  • finely sliced Romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes, halvedor Roma tomatoes, sliced and quartered
  • English cucumber sliced and quartered
  • red onionthinly sliced quartered
  • Spiralized carrots
  • chili sauceI use sriracha
  • rice – for plates(see notes)
Instructions
MARINADE
  1. Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add chicken halves and stir to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate 8-24 hours.
GARLIC YOGURT SAUCE
  1. Whisk the Garlic Yogurt Sauce ingredient together in a medium bowl. Chill until ready to serve. The sauce can be made at the time you start marinating the chicken or aim for at least an hour before cooking the chicken.
SKEWER
  1. Using 2 skewers for each kebab, thread one side of the thigh onto each skewer and then the other side; slide the skewered chicken down to the end (see photos in post or video). Repeat with half the chicken, pushing the chicken against each other. Repeat to make a second kabob with the remaining chicken.
TO GRILL
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Clean grates and generously grease with oil.
  2. Once hot, add kebabs, and grill for 4-5 minutes without moving. Flip kebabs over and grill the other side an addition 4-5 minutes.
  3. Next, flip chicken over, COVER and reduce heat so it maintains 400 degrees F with the lid closed. Continue to cook, approximately 5-10 additional minutes per side turning once, until chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before carving.
  4. Meanwhile, add flatbread to the grill to warm up.
TO BAKE
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a pan with foil that allows you to perch the metal skewers on the top rim of the pan so the chicken hangs in the middle without touching the bottom of the pan (see photos in post or video).
  2. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, then flip kebabs over. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken and bake an addition 15- 20 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Optional: Without moving the pan, turn oven to broil and broil for 3-5 minutes per side for more yummy crispy bits. Baste again with pan juices. Let rest 5-10 minutes before carving.
WARM FLATBREAD
  1. Meanwhile, wrap the desired amount of flatbread in foil and place in the oven. Heat for 8-10 minutes or until warm and pliable. Remove from the oven using oven mitts.
CARVE
  1. Stand the skewers upright on a cutting board and thinly slice chicken off.
DONER KEBAB WRAPS
  1. Spread a generous amount of hummus over warmed flatbread. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, chicken, and garlic yogurt sauce. Drizzle with sriracha if you like some heat – careful, a little goes a long way.
DONER KEBAB PLATES
  1. Serve chicken on a plate with desired accompaniments such as warmed flatbread, curried rice (see notes), shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and sides of garlic yogurt sauce, sriracha and hummus.
Recipe Notes

Curried Rice

Make super easy curried rice by adding the following to your rice cooker along with water according to your rice cooker directions:

  • 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp EACH onion powder, garlic powder, salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, pepper, ground ginger

 

TIPS and tricks

  • Use chicken thighs.  For the juiciest, most flavorful chicken with greater caramelization, use chicken thighs.  Chicken breasts are too lean and will dry out at the high heat and duration required to caramelize the exterior of the chicken.
  • CAN I USE CHICKEN BREASTS?  If you want to use chicken breasts, then I don’t recommend threading them onto skewers to make kebabs.  Instead, pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness before marinating, or if your chicken breasts are extra-large, slice them through the equator to create fillets.  Now, grill the chicken directly on the grill.
  • Cut chicken in half.  Cut the chicken thighs in half to create two smaller pieces.  The smaller pieces will cook more evenly and quickly and create more edges for caramelization.  Try and cut them roughly the same size.
  • Marinate chicken.  The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will become but don’t marinate longer than 24 hours.
  • Skewer on a flat surface. The chicken is easiest to skewer without piercing yourself by placing the skewers on a flat surface and securing one side of the chicken and then the other. Always remove your fingers from behind the chicken and move them to the sides when pushing the chicken onto the skewer.
  • Clean and grease grill:  the yogurt-based marinade likes to stick so make sure you clean the grill well before greasing and don’t skimp on the oil.
  • Don’t rush the flip:  Don’t attempt to move the kebabs before 4-5 minutes or else the chicken will tear due to the thick marinade.  You need enough time for the doner kebabs to start to char.  Once you can easily move the chicken, then you can flip it over.
  • Cooking time will vary.  I’ve made this chicken kebab recipe many times and the cooking time is never exactly the same.  The total time will depend on how thick your chicken is and exactly how hot your grill is.
  • Use a meat thermometer.  Due to variances above, always use a meat thermometer so you don’t undercook, OR overcook the chicken. Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Let chicken rest.  After chicken is finished cooking, transfer it to a cutting board and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing so it has time to reabsorb the juices that have pushed towards the outside of the chicken. If you cut into the chicken immediately after cooking, valuable, moisture-giving juices will run out.
  • Prep the sauce with the chicken. The garlic yogurt sauce is very best after being refrigerated for at least one hour so the flavors have time to meld; so, make the sauce right after you add the chicken to the marinade if possible.
  • Don’t skip the sauce!  The yogurt sauce is a key so please don’t skip.  Its creamy consistency is needed to marry all of the ingredients together and its refreshing tanginess cuts through the earthy flavors of the chicken.  If you don’t want to make the sauce, you can use Greek yogurt instead, it just won’t be quite as good.
  • Customize toppings.  The wrap/topping ingredients are simply suggestions- you can use add/swap any ingredients for your favs such as bell peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.
  • You don’t have to make a wrap!  Turn the doner kebab meat into anything you want – grain bowls, salad, pasta salad, sandwiches, even pizza.

MEAL PREP

  1. Divide chicken between desired number of containers. Don’t close containers until chicken has cooled.
  2. Combine lettuce, and red onions in bag and combine tomatoes, and cucumbers in their own separate plastic bags (so they don’t make other ingredients soggy) and place bags on top of chicken.  Store yogurt sauce in a bag or small container.
  3. When ready to serve, warm chicken in the microwave and then assemble the wraps.