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Tender and juicy bites of chicken are marinated with garlic, lemon juice, herbs, and more, then stacked up on a skewer and grilled! This Easy Greek Chicken Souvlaki is a simple summer delight that is naturally gluten free, paleo, and keto-friendly.
Juicy Homemade Chicken Souvlaki
Grilled chicken is usually my entree of choice at cook-outs and barbecues. It’s just so tender, juicy and satisfying! As much as I love chicken salads and sandwiches, sometimes it’s nice to give the meat all the attention.
This recipe makes the most drool-worthy chicken you’ll ever try! It’s easy to cook it to perfection without it getting dry or tough. The marinade makes sure of that while simultaneously adding an explosion of tangy and savory Greek flavors. And even if it’s the middle of winter, you can still enjoy this summery treat by grilling your chicken in a skillet!
What is Chicken Souvlaki?
A staple menu item of Greek street food, souvlaki refers to grilled pieces of meat on a skewer. They’re similar to kebabs, but they focus entirely on the meat rather than incorporating vegetables and/or fruits. Traditional souvlaki often uses pork, but I personally have a penchant for chicken souvlaki – and you will too after trying this recipe!
To make chicken souvlaki, you’ll first need to round up 4-6 wooden skewers and set out about 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Slice the chicken into cubes or strips and gather the following ingredients for the marinade:
- Olive Oil
- White Wine Vinegar: The vinegar will help tenderize the meat by destructuring the proteins. It will also cause the raw marinated chicken to get a bit white on the outside – don ́t worry about that – it’s completely normal!
- Garlic Cloves: Minced.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: From about half a lemon.
- Dried Oregano & Thyme: You can use fresh if you have it on hand.
- Salt & Pepper
How to Make Chicken Souvlaki
Grilling is one of the easiest and most fun ways to cook, or at least that’s the case with souvlaki! If you’ve grilled any kind of kebabs before, you already know the drill.
Make Marinade: Combine all the ingredients for the marinade together in a mixing bowl.
Marinate: Pour the marinade over the meat, mix well, cover and place into the fridge for around 30 minutes.
Soak Skewers & Add Meat: Meanwhile, soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 10 minutes. Once the resting time is up, carefully thread the meat onto the skewers.
Grill: Over high heat, grill the chicken on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until it’s done. If you’re using chicken thighs, they’ll need a little more cook time.
Enjoy! Serve your souvlaki with desired sides like tzatziki and pita bread.
Make it a Meal
Not sure what dishes are worthy of a place at the table with your souvlaki? I’ve got you!
Tips for Success
Keep the following tips and tricks in mind when you plan to make chicken souvlaki for guaranteed deliciousness.
- Soak the Skewers: Don’t skip this step – it helps ensure the skewers don’t end up burning on the hot grill.
- Use a Meat Thermometer: Temperature is the best way to determine the doneness of your chicken. It should register at 165°F. I use this one from Javatools all the time!
- Marinate Overnight: If you have the time, marinate the chicken in the refrigerator overnight. This will help tenderize the meat even more and intensify the lemon flavor. Just leave out the vinegar in that case, as leaving it on the chicken for too long will result in mushy meat.
- Heat Things Up! If you want to add a kick of heat, throw some chili into the marinade. It’ll also bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Add Veggies: If you’re in the mood to pack in your daily nutrients, you can cut your favorite veggies into cubes, marinate them, slip them into the skewers along with the meat and grill! Onions, bell peppers and zucchini are excellent choices.
- Change the Protein: This basic marinade and method works for shrimp, pork, or even make beef souvlaki.
- Rainy Day? You can enjoy chicken souvlaki indoors all year long. Just cook the meat in your skillet for around 3-4 minutes on each side over high heat, adding some oil for cooking.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
I’m all about making chicken souvlaki ahead of time and saving it for later. The meat gets even more soft and juicy and the flavors intensify! Store cooled chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheated chicken should always reach a temperature of at least 160°F. To accomplish this without drying it out, warm your chicken in a 400°F oven for about 25 minutes, flipping it over halfway through.
Can I Freeze Extras?
Yes! This recipe is freezer-friendly. Cooled chicken can be placed in a freezer-safe container and frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw it out in the fridge before reheating.
Things You’ll Need
- You can’t make kabobs without skewers!
- Fresh lemon juice is key, and I think the easiest way to juice lemons is with one of these handheld juicers.
- If you don’t want any larger pieces of garlic in your marinace, make quick work of those cloves with a garlic press.
- And make sure you have some metal tongs for flipping those skewers on the grill.
Easy Greek Chicken Souvlaki
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes or strips
- 4-6 wooden skewers
For the Marinade
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 lemon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients for the marinade together in a mixing bowl.
- Pour the marinade over the meat, mix well, cover and place in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 10 minutes. This will help ensure that they don’t end up burning when you’re grilling the meat on high heat.
- Carefully thread the meat onto the skewers.
- Grill on each side for 3-4 minutes or until meat is done (165°F).
- Serve it with some fresh greek salad, pita bread, and tzatziki.
More Chicken Dinner Ideas
Who doesn’t love a good home-cooked chicken dinner? The following recipes are always a big hit.