Steak kabobs with the best marinade perfect for grilling or baking!
These easy Baked or Grilled Steak Kabobs are crazy juicy and exploding with flavor in each mouthwatering bite! They’re quite possibly the best steak kabob recipe out there – or at least “next level,” as my husband calls them. These steak kabobs are threaded with succulent beef, bell peppers, zucchini and red onions for a complete-meal-in-one OR you can customize the veggies. Steak kabobs are always a fun, easy, hearty dinner option with hardly any cleanup or they’re great for entertaining and even make fantastic leftovers. I’ve included instructions for both grilling and baking so you can enjoy these steak kabobs year-round. Because summer is never long enough.
STEAK KABOB RECIPE
I can’t believe July 4th is just around the corner which means it’s officially grilling season! From juicy burgers, to carne asada, to Mexican street corn, to grilled chicken gyros, to steak fajitas, there are so many reasons to love grilling but nothing quite says summer like juicy steak kabobs; or is it kebabs? Or shish kebabs?
No matter what you call them, I love all my kabob recipes: Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs, Chicken Souvlaki, Beef Souvlaki, BBQ Chicken Kabobs, Chicken Satay and Brazilian Steak Kabobs but sometimes you just need a classic, sizzling, juicy steak kabob – enter this steak kabob recipe.
This steak kabob recipe needs to shoot to the top of your “must make NOW list.” I could honestly eat them every day. The marinated steak is melt-in-your-mouth tender, wonderfully smoky, juicy, and savory with tangy, sweet and spicy notes AKA they’re just plain delicious.
The sizzling steak kabobs are also super easy to make with a marinade that doubles as a basting glaze to deliver a huge explosion of flavor. Threading the skewers does take a minute, but can be accomplished super quickly if you grab some helping hands – put your kiddos to work or have everyone thread their own.
You can grill the steak kabobs outdoors for hardly any cleanup, on an indoor grill pan or even in the oven. You’ll love them for an easy weeknight dinner or entertaining (post this crazy time) because they can be assembled a little in advance and just thrown on the grill. Just keep in mind you might want to double the batch because they will be devoured in a flash!
I hope you enjoy this steak kabob recipe as much as us! I’m going to dive into the details of steak kabobs, so you can read on or use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page to skip to the recipe. Happy grilling!
WHAT’S THE BEST STEAK FOR KABOBS?
I recommend top sirloin steak for steak kabobs. Top sirloin is a cut of beef from the primal loin, or the upper (“top”) portion of the cow that runs just under the backbone. It provides naturally tender, flavorful cuts of beef, including the top sirloin, T-bone, strip steak, porterhouse steak, and tenderloin. Top sirloin steaks are made by removing the tenderloin and bottom round muscles.
Top sirloin is a favorite for grilling because it’s fairly affordable, relatively lean yet tender even without a marinade and boats beefy flavor. It is comprised of exquisite finely marbled fat which results in great flavor, generally second only to the ribeye. Here’s the breakdown:
- Finely marbled: the finely marbled fat melts during grilling, resulting in superior flavor and juicy tenderness. It is void of thick pockets of fat that won’t melt during grilling.
- Little connective tissue: this means the muscles have done very little work so they aren’t tough. The lack of tough connective tissue keeps your steak melt-in-your-mouth through hand though without chewy pockets.
- Affordable: you reap the juicy, beef tenderness of a more expensive cut of beef without paying the extra $$.
When purchasing top sirloin, choose fillets that are nice and thick and avoid petite sirloin steaks as they’re too thin and will cook too quickly.
As an alternative to top sirloin, you can certainly use pricier rib eye or New York strip steak but I don’t find the extra money worth the payout. Top sirloin when combined with the marinade results in just as tender steak kabobs in my opinion.
Are Top Sirloin Steak and Sirloin Roast the Same thing?
When my husband was picking up top sirloin for me, he called and asked if he could use sirloin tip roast instead so I thought I’d clarify in case anyone else had the same question. Even though top sirloin steak and sirloin roast (or sirloin tip or sirloin tip roast) have similar names, they’re not the same thing.
Top sirloin steak, as previously discussed, comes from the top sirloin section of the cow. Roasts, on the other hand, are also from the sirloin – but not the top sirloin. They are from adjacent tougher round section at the back end, or hindquarter. This is the largest muscle of the sirloin which means it is naturally tougher with more connective tissue and less fat so it is not optimal for steak kabobs.
What’s in Grilled Steak Kabobs?
This steak kabob recipe uses simple ingredients that are easy to find at your grocery store. It is made with an epic steak kabob marinade (detailed below), steak and veggies. You will need:
- Steak: use quality top sirloin steak. It is less expensive than many cuts of beef but emerges juicy and tender due to cubing and marinating. Select thick cuts of sirloin and try to cut your steak into uniform size pieces.
- Potatoes: nothing goes better with steak than potatoes! Choose a buttery, starchy potato such as baby red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes. To prepare my potatoes, I slice them in half, then slice the remaining halves into 2-3 rows. We will give them a head start by first steaming in the microwave.
- Bell peppers: you can select any two colors but I avoid green because it isn’t as sweet and we already have green zucchini.
- Zucchini: you can use one large zucchini or two smaller zucchini. Slice the zucchini on the thick side -you’ll be surprised how much it shrinks on the grill! Go for 1/4-1/2-inch thick.
- Onions: I highly suggest red onions over yellow onions for this steak kabob recipe. They become both sweet and tangy as they caramelize on the grill. If you only have yellow onions on hand you may use them, but next time go for red.
Can I add other vegetables?
Yes! Most vegetables, aside from leafy greens, can be used on kabobs, however, some veggies may need to be par-boiled first. Here are some ideas:
- cremini or white button mushrooms
- cherry tomatoes
- yellow squash
- carrots (par-boiled)
- squash (par-boiled)
- Brussels sprouts
Can I add fruit?
Some fruit is fabulous grilled such as pineapple. Other fruits that hold up well on the grill include many stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries), melons (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe), pears and grapes.
STEAK KABOB MARINADE
This recipe starts with the most flavorful steak kabob marinade made with pantry friendly marinade essentials: fat, acid, salt ,sweetener and flavor enhancers. It is made with richly flavored soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, and of course plenty of seasonings in perfect proportions. What truly sets this steak kabob marinade above the rest, however, are the seasonings. The unique blend adds complex flavor without being overpowering. You will need:
- FAT: The extra virgin olive oil dissolves fat-soluble flavor compounds from the seasonings and evenly disperses them onto the surface off the beef and helps them stick.
- ACID: Balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice help tenderize the top sirloin by breaking down the lean muscle fibers. The acid trio also boast layers of rich and tangy flavor instead of just one note flavor.
- SALT: Soy sauce acts as a brine, which increases the moisture capacity of the meat, helping it become juicer and more flavorful. First, the salt hydrates the muscle tissues via osmosis; second, it changes the cells’ structure so that they can no longer contract when cooking. This means less water will be squeezed out and lost, resulting in juicier steak. Finally, the brine draws the rich umami soy flavor further down below the surface into the beef.
- SWEETENER: Brown sugar balances both the salt and the acid. It also promotes caramelization, quicker browning and beautiful grill marks.
- FLAVOR ENHANCERS: I use aromatic onion powder, garlic powder and paprika, dried herbs such as basil, oregano and rosemary, red pepper and black pepper for a kick as well as seasonings commonly found in Montreal steak seasoning such as ground coriander and dried dill weed. All the ingredients come together to create an epic steak marinade you will LOVE.
PRO TIP: Use reduced sodium soy sauce or your marinade will be too salty!
How to Marinate Steak Kabobs?
- Step 1: Chop beef into cubes. Chop your beef into 1 1/2-inch cubes in order to keep them juicy. Avoid cutting the beef too small or it can overcook. Try and chop the beef roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
- Step 2: Chop veggies into large uniform pieces. I’ve used bell peppers, potatoes, zucchini and red onions but you can substitute with your favorite vegetables. Chop the veggies into about 1 ½-inch pieces and zucchini 1/4-1/2-inch thick.
- Step 3: Par-boil potatoes. Next, we make grilling potatoes not only possible but perfect with a little shortcut. Microwave your chopped potatoes for 4-5 minutes, just until tender. This allows them to grill alongside your steak and everything to be cooked through at the same time. The only real trick is to not overcook your potatoes in the microwave or they will fall off the skewers.
- Step 4: Marinate steak and veggies. Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and handpicked seasonings.
VEGGIES: Add a few tablespoons of marinade to the vegetables along with additional olive oil, salt and pepper and refrigerate until you’re ready to grill.
STEAK: Add the rest of the marinade to the steak, cover, refrigerate and let it bathe in the tenderizing/flavor infusing marinade for 2-6 hours.
- Step 5: 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! I recommend soaking your skewers when you start marinating your beef.
- Step 6: Assemble kabobs. Thread the beef and vegetables onto the skewers in alternating fashion being sure to keep a little space between them so that the food grills versus steams. If you don’t want to worry about alternating the ingredients, you can make all beef skewers or all vegetable skewers.
How to Grill Steak Kabobs
- Step 1: Generously CLEAN grill before adding steak kabobs. Heat your grill to medium-high heat with the lid closed. Once it’s fully heated, clean it thoroughly with a wire grill brush. A clean grill ensures direct contact with the heat to create a beautiful sear and grill marks and helps prevent sticking.
- Step 2: Grease your grill with olive, canola or vegetable oil. Even though the marinade contains oil, it is important to still grease your grill. To do this, first clean grill per directions above. Next, make a wad of paper towels, drench them in oil, then use tongs to rub it along the grill grates.
- Step 3: Add skewers to the grill and grill until lightly charred all over. Grill for approximately 2 minutes per side, or 8-10 minutes total. You will want to remove the kabobs when the steak registers between 140-145 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Some steak kabobs might cook more quickly than others depending on their location, so watch them closely and rotate as needed.
- Step 4: Let the steak kabobs rest for 5 minutes. After you remove the beef kabobs from the grill, let them rest before serving so the juices can be redistributed and absorbed, otherwise they will seep out which means dry beef.
STEAK KABOBS IN THE OVEN
If you don’t have an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan you can bake your steak kabobs in the oven. They won’t boast the same smokiness, but will still taste delicious. To bake:
- Step 1: Prepare baking sheet. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Step 2: Add kabobs. Evenly space kabobs on baking sheet so they aren’t touching so they will roast and not steam.
- Step 3: Bake. Bake for 8-10 for medium rare and 10-12 minutes for medium, turning once. Baking time will vary depending on steak size, marinating time, actual oven temp, etc. so make sure to check the internal temperature of the steak.
- Step 4: Let the steak kabobs rest for 5 minutes. After you remove the kabobs from the oven, let them rest before serving so the juices can be redistributed and absorbed.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BEEF KABOB RECIPE
Beef Kabobs are pretty straight forward, but there are a few tips and tricks to make the best kabobs every time. Here are answers to commonly asked questions:
Do I have to soak my skewers?
Yes, you MUST soak wooden skewers. You must soak your wood skewers for at least 30 minutes otherwise they can catch fire! For this steak kabob recipe, I recommend soaking your skewers when you start marinating your beef. You may also use metal skewers (my personal preference) which you do not need to soak and never risk catching on fire. They are also easy to clean and reusable.
How big should I cut my steak?
Chop steak into 1 ½-inch cubes in order to keep them juicy. To that end, purchase steaks that are nice and thick and avoid petite sirloin steaks as they’re too thin. You will also want to cut the cubes as uniformly as possible so they cook evenly. Avoid cutting the beef too small or it can easily overcook – it is better error on larger cuts verses smaller. You will also want to cut your veggies about the same size so everything will cook in the same amount of time.
Do I have to marinate my steak?
Marinating the steak adds TONS of flavor and is an insurance policy for juicy steak kabobs. The difference between great steak kabobs and okay steak kabobs is marinating. Marinating not only tenderizes the beef and infuses it with flavor but helps it stay juicy while cooking.
How long should I marinate steak kabobs?
Marinate the steak kabobs for at least two hours. If you are short on time, then marinate one hour in the refrigerator then finish marinating one hour at room temperature. This will make the marinade more effective.
Can I Marinate steak too long?
Yes, don’t marinate the steak longer than 6 hours. You don’t want to over-marinate the beef because the acid in the marinade will begin to break down the beef proteins and make it mushy. You can get away with marinating for longer periods of time when there is less acid in the marinade, when the cuts of beef are larger or when marinating a tougher cut of beef such as flank steak. For this steak kabob recipe, however, don’t push the 6-hour limit.
Can I use chicken?
You can swap the steak for cubed chicken breasts or pork tenderloin. Follow the same instructions, taking care to cook chicken to 165 degrees F and pork to 145 degrees F.
How do I make the veggies flavorful?
Marinate the veggies! We also want extra flavorful veggies so we toss them with olive oil and some of the reserved marinade. This easy, simple step elevates these steak kabobs to a whole new level.
Do I have to par-boil my potatoes?
Yes! Don’t skip par-boiling the potatoes. Potatoes take longer to cook than other vegetables so you need to give them a head start by steaming in the microwave. You want them just fork tender- tender enough they will finish on the grill but not soft enough they will fall off of the skewer.
How do I thread my kabobs?
Don’t worry about threading kabobs evenly. Thread the steak and vegetables onto your skewers in alternating fashion, but don’t worry too much about making them all uniform. If you get to the end and have more ingredients left than another – don’t stress! You can make an all veggie kabob or all steak kabob or all potato kabob, etc.
How can I thread my steak kabobs quickly?
Get help! Enlist the help of family or friends to help thread the kabobs – many hands make light work! Individuals can even customize their individual kabobs. You can even ask guests to each bring a bowl full of their favorite veggies for kabobs prepped into bite-sized pieces. Add all the veggies to a big bowl with the reserved marinade, give it a stir then thread together.
How much space should I leave in between ingredients?
Leave just a little space in between each item on your kabobs. You want the veggies and steak pretty close together – not smashed together, but almost touching. The little space allows the hot air to circulate while cooking so they grill evenly. The veggies will shrink while they grill, so you will end up with even more space.
How do I char steak kabobs?
Start with a clean, hot grill. Make sure your grill is clean and completely heated before you add your steak kabobs. The hot grill will sear the outside of the meat resulting in juicier steak vs a tepid grill which will slow cook the steak without developing much color which can result in dry steak kabobs. Note, that “hot” doesn’t mean high heat. It simply means the grill is fully heated to the set temperature.
How do I flip steak kabobs?
Use tongs to flip the steak kabobs. The kabobs will be hot! Don’t use your hands or you’ll burn yourself and don’t use a fork or you’ll lose valuable juicy juices. Instead, use tongs to gently flip the kabobs over.
How do I know when my steak kabobs are done?
Steak kabobs should be cooked to 140-145 degrees F. The beef is juiciest if cooked to medium-rare 135°F or medium 145°F. I find medium to be perfect so the veggies still have time to char a little, so I go for 140 degrees knowing the temperature will rise a few degrees after being removed from the oven. I recommend an instant read thermometer so you can check the doneness of your steak without any guess work. DON’T OVERCOOK your steak or it won’t be as juicy.
How long should I grill my steak kabobs?
Grill steak kabobs for 8-10 minutes. Your steak kabobs may take more or less time depending on the actual size of your steak, the desired doneness, actual heat, etc.
STEAK KABOB RECIPE VARIATIONS
- Swap protein. Literally ANY protein can be used kabobs! You can swap the steak for chicken breasts or thighs, pork tenderloin, shrimp and even salmon.
- Mix up the veggies. You’re welcome to mix and match the veggies or add more or less of your favorites. Mushrooms, tomatoes, and squash would all be delicious.
- Swap seasonings. You can mix up the flavor profile by swapping the seasonings for Cajun seasonings, fajita seasonings, or your favorite spice rub.
- Make them spicy. Add additional red pepper flakes or swap the red pepper flakes for some cayenne or chipotle chile powder.
- Add fruit. You won’t want to marinate the fruit, but you can make separate fruit kabobs with pineapple, peaches, nectarines, plums, watermelon, pears and/or grapes.
HOW TO STORE STEAK KABOBS
Remove the meat and vegetables from the skewers and place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
CAN I MAKE KABOBS AHEAD OF TIME?
Steak kabobs are best if marinated up to the time of grilling but you can prepare elements of the steak kabobs ahead of time:
- Make marinade. Make marinade up to 3 days ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator WITHOUT the steak.
- Cube steak. Cut steak into cubes up to 24 hours ahead of time and store in airtight container in the refrigerator (not in the marinade).
- Cut veggies. You can prep all of your veggies 24 hours ahead of time and store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.
- Marinate. Marinate steak and veggies up to 6 hours ahead of time.
CAN I FREEZE STEAK KABOBS?
You may freeze the steak but I don’t recommend freezing the vegetables because they can become a funny texture. If you are making to freeze, then I recommend making all steak kabobs. You can also make all veggie kabobs to enjoy now.
What goes with steak kabobs?
Steak kabobs are practically a meal in-one so they don’t need many side dishes. Still, they are a chameleon of sorts and pair well with pretty much everything from salad to pasta salad, to rice to fruit. We particularly love serving them with our favorite backyard barbecue foods. You can go as simple as chips and watermelon or amp it up with pasta salad, fruit salad and grilled corn.
Here are some of our favorite sides to serve with steak kabobs:
- Potluck Favorites. Million Dollar Baked Mac and Cheese, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Corn Casserole, Elote (Mexican Street Corn), Grilled Corn on the Cob.
- Salad. Wedge Salad, Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad, Strawberry Salad, Spinach Berry Salad, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Mexican Salad and Corn Salad.
- Pasta Salad. Italian Tortellini Salad, Greek Pasta Salad, BLT Pasta Salad, Cowboy Pasta Salad, Bacon and Pea Pasta Salad and Greek Orzo Pasta Salad.
- Fruit. Grilled Pineapple, Creamy Grape Salad, Summer Fruit Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad, Tropical Fruit Salad or Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone.
- Bread. Corn Bread, Garlic Bread, Breadsticks, Dinner Rolls or Hawaiian Rolls.
ARE STEAK KABOBS HEALTHY?
Steak Kabobs are loaded with steak and nutritious veggies and can help support a healthy diet when eaten in moderation.
BENEFITS OF STEAK
- Protein: Steak is a powerful source of protein which helps build muscle and maintain muscle mass. Even fit individuals can suffer muscle atrophy if they do not consume enough protein which contains amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Protein can also help repair muscles from wear and tear and to relieve muscle aches.
- Amino acids: Steak also contains the dietary amino acid called beta-alanine, which helps form a dipeptide called carnosine, which is crucial to support physical activity. Healthy levels of carnosine reduce fatigue and improve muscle performance, endurance and precision during physical activity.
- Iron: Steak contains high levels of iron which is necessary to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Your body also needs iron to make some hormones and helps keep your hair, skin and nails healthy. If you do not have enough iron, you won’t have healthy oxygen circulation, which will cause fatigue and grogginess.
- Zinc: A (3.5-ounce) serving of beef contains 4.8 mg of zinc, which is 44% of the Daily Value. Zinc is vital for a healthy immune system, correctly synthesizing DNA, and healing wounds.
BENEFITS OF VEGGIES
The steak kabobs are loaded with veggies which means it’s a nutrient powerhouse. The vegetables provide important nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C which provide these benefits:
- Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
- Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells.
- Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
- Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption.
- Fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is also important for proper bowel function and also helps provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
Helpful tools for this Steak Kabob recipe:
- Metal skewers: I LOVE my stainless steel skewers! They allow you to grill any time without soaking your wooden skewers (AKA no fires!), are reusable, dishwasher safe with an easy-to-use top ring handle. They are definitely worth the $20 for a lifetime of use.
- Grill brush: is essential for keeping your grill clean! This grill brush with scrapers cleans stubborn stains deeply and efficiently.
- Instant-read thermometer: you need an instant-read thermometer for the juiciest steak kabobs, chicken, pork AND for perfectly fried everything! It allows you to cook any protein to the perfect temperature every time.
- Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far! Quality knives make prep time much quicker for this Steak Kabob recipe and are important for safety as well. If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthof but there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
- Cutting Board: I use my big solid cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment. This extra-large cutting board allows you to prep all your veggies on one surface and the bamboo is easier on knives than plastic
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