Chicken Souvlaki is a Greek street food classic that is bursting with flavor. The dish consists of chicken kebabs marinated in lemon, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. It's delicious served with a classic Tzatziki sauce in a pita wrap, on top of a Greek salad, or simply as skewers with your favorite Greek side dishes.
- Why this recipe works
- Ingredient Notes
- How to make souvlaki marinade
- How to prepare the chicken
- How to cook grilled chicken souvlaki
- Homemade Tzatziki sauce
- Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce
- How to make Tzatziki Sauce
- How to serve souvlaki chicken kebabs
- Souvlaki Tips and FAQs
- 📖 Recipe
- More grilling recipes to try
Why this recipe works
This souvlaki chicken kebab recipe uses a simple marinade that is bright and tangy from the lemon juice and savory from the garlic and herbs. It packs a ton of flavor and it's super easy to prepare. Combined with smokey char you get from the grill, the taste is AMAZING!
- Chicken - I used chicken breasts for this recipe, but boneless, skinless thighs work great too.
- Fresh Lemon - I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice for your chicken souvlaki. The zest from the fresh lemon also adds a ton of flavor.
- Fresh Garlic - As with the lemon, I recommend using fresh garlic for the best flavor. Pre-minced or powdered garlic will not have the same taste.
How to make souvlaki marinade
Chicken souvlaki marinade is a really simple mix of classic Greek flavors. To make the marinade simply combine all of the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
How to prepare the chicken
Cut your chicken into bite sized pieces, trying to get them evenly sized. I aim for around 1 inch cubes.
Place your cut chicken in a large resealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over top, then seal the bag. Toss until all of the chicken is well coated and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Turn occasionally to redistribute the marinade.
Some recipes call for marinating the chicken overnight, but the acicidty from the lemon juice can affect the texture of the chicken, causing it to get tough. So I recommend keeping the marinating time to around 3-4 hours.
When you're ready to cook your souvlaki, thread the marinated chicken onto skewers. Try to keep the pieces on each skewer around the same size so you can cook them evenly.
How to cook grilled chicken souvlaki
- Prepare your grill by cleaning the grates and brushing them with a light coating of olive oil.
- For a charcoal grill: spread an even layer of hot coals in your grill and fully open the vents. Cover and allow it to preheat.
- For a gas grill: set all of your burners to medium-high, then close the lid and allow it to preheat.
- Cook the souvlaki skewers for around 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Rotate them every few minutes during the cooking so all sides get evenly cooked.
- Transfer the chicken souvlaki skewers to a platter and serve.
Homemade Tzatziki sauce
No chicken souvlaki would be complete without a side of homemade tzatziki sauce. The creamy yogurt sauce is a must have and it's really simple to make!
I typically go ahead and make the sauce when I make the marinade. It's a lot of the same ingredients and will give you plenty of time to let it rest in the fridge before serving.
Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce
How to make Tzatziki Sauce
- Grate cucumber on the large holes of a box grater. Then put into a fine mesh strainer and drain as much of the liquid as possible. I usually use the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much as I can and then dump the cucumber onto a few paper towels to soak up the rest.
- Put the grated cucumber and the rest of the ingredients into a small bowl and stir to combine. It's best to refrigerate the tzatziki sauce for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving to allow the flavors to combine.
How to serve souvlaki chicken kebabs
My favorite way is to serve the grilled souvlaki family style, on a large platter along with warm fluffy pita or naan bread and plenty of fresh veggies on the side.
Chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, feta, chopped lettuce are perfect for chicken souvlaki pitas. And of course, don't forget the tzatziki sauce!
For sides try my herb roasted potatoes with a little squeeze of lemon juice. They go great with this dish! Or for a lighter option try my Greek orzo pasta salad.
A simple grilled summer vegetable platter is another great option.
Souvlaki Tips and FAQs
The grill works best to get that yummy char, but the broiler in your oven will work too.
To cook chicken souvlaki in the oven, place an oven rack in the top position then preheat your broiler to high.
Set the chicken skewers on a broiling pan or on a sheet pan with a wire rack. Cook for around 8-10 minutes turning occasionally until they're cooked through.
This Greek chicken souvlaki is great for leftovers too. It's perfect served chilled on a greek salad or reheated in a souvlaki pita wrap. Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Yes! the souvlaki marinade is also tasty on beef, pork, lamb, and other meats and even veggies.
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- zest from 1 lemon
- juice from 1 lemon, around 2 tbsp
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- ½ large English cucumber, grated
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
For the Chicken
- Combine all ingredients but the chicken in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Place chicken in a large resealable bag and pour marinade in then seal the bag and toss until the chicken is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 4.
- Preheat a grill to medium high heat.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread onto skewers. Discard any remaining marinade.
- Grill the chicken for around 10 minutes until cooked through, rotating the skewers occasionally so that all sides are evenly cooked. Transfer to a platter and serve.
- Grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater then drain in a fine mesh strainer pushing out as much liquid as possible with the back of a spoon. Use a kitchen towel or paper towels to soak up any remaining moisture.
- Combine the cucumber and the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to combine.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.
Absolutely delicious!! Baked the whole marinated chicken breasts in a 425 oven for 20 minutes. Perfect!!!
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it!!!
Thanks so much!!!
What kind of pita bread is in the picture?
I typically use Greca Pita from Sprouts Farmers Market. It's a bit more bready than some other brands. I think the one pictured might actually be Naan though.
Just found pita bread at Walmart!
Thank you for sharing - Greek food tops my list as one of my favorites! Delish!
Excellent! Another fantastic post. I really enjoy reading this and the other content on here.