Chicken Recipes

Last updated on June 23rd, 2024 at 02:13 pm

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Grilled Chicken Souvlaki Recipe [Video]

Chicken Souvlaki is a tasty Greek dish made with marinated chicken chunks topped with a tomato-olive relish and served with a creamy yogurt dip on the side.

Chicken Souvlaki is one of the trademark dishes of Greek cuisine. It is a popular street food over there, and it makes sense why, as its healthy and delicious. Grilling, as a cooking method, has been around since ancient times. And this dish is still around today!

With marinated chicken chunks on a stick that you can dip into creamy Greek yogurt dip and pile high with tomato cucumber olive relish, this is a casual meal you can make and take on the go or serve as a nice meal at home. It is all in how you serve it. If you want to take the family to the park or a family event like a barbecue, you can pack it up so everyone can eat it on skewers. No utensils are required.

But if you want to have a dinner party, make a pita bar with stacks of warm pita bread, cheeses, freshly chopped veggies, and a variety of toppings and sauces for everyone to choose from. You can still serve them on skewers if you want to, so all they have to do is wrap the pita around it and pull it off the stick. Then, they can cover it with what they like.

I had these delicious souvlakis in Athens when I was there, and they were pretty incredible. But mine are a lot better. It is all about the marinade. The olives give it a full-bodied flavor that you will love. For an appetizer, start with this easy Greek salad. It has cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, olives, avocado, and lettuce with Greek dressing.

Who else likes grilling? I do! It is so easy to cook and eating anything on skewers is fun! Try this recipe along with my other recipes like Grilled Shrimp Tacos, Grilled Chicken Fajita Salad, and Grilled Potatoes!

Why you will love this recipe

  • It is a versatile dish: Take it on the go or stay home and eat.
  • Very few ingredients: For the souvlaki, all you need is chicken and some seasonings. The sauce and relish only need a few other ingredients.
  • The kids love it too: Everyone loves this because you can change the flavor.
  • Cooks in minutes: You can cook it in less than 15 minutes.

What you’ll need to make grilled chicken souvlaki

Special items:

  • Mixing bowls – Several bowls are used to mix different ingredients.
  • Skewers – For skewering the chicken.
  • Grill – To cook the meat.

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

  • Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken breast is what I use, cut into one-inch chunks.
  • Lemon zest – Zest your lemon for the best taste. It is worth the few minutes that it takes and costs much less.
  • Lemon juice – Same here, it costs less and tastes way better.
  • Olive oil – I pay more to get the best name brand and highly recommend you do the same if you can.
  • Honey – Organic raw unfiltered honey is what I prefer.
  • Red wine vinegar – For a lightly sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Oregano – Dried oregano adds a robust scent and incredible taste.
  • Garlic – Freshly minced garlic cloves are sweeter and taste better than powder.
  • Parsley – Chop your own fresh parsley for a refreshing taste.
  • Salt – I use kosher salt because it has a nice, clean flavor without aftertaste.
  • Pepper – After I started grinding my own pepper, I never used regular pepper again.

For the Greek yogurt sauce:

  • Greek yogurt – You need plain, full-fat Greek yogurt for this recipe. Do not use regular yogurt or flavored yogurt.
  • Lemon juice – Again, juice the lemon yourself to get a fresh taste.
  • Cucumber – Diced very finely. I recommend an English cucumber because they are sweet and have little to no seeds and thin skin.
  • Dill – Also very finely minced.
  • Salt – Kosher salt for the cleanest taste.
  • Pepper – Remember to grind your own.

For the relish:

  • Tomato – I use diced cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • Cucumber – Also diced, English cucumber.
  • Kalamata olives – Chopped very finely into tiny pieces.
  • Green olives – Same here, very tiny pieces.
  • Lemon juice – Like before, juice your own lemon.
  • Red wine vinegar – For the sweet, light, tangy taste.
  • Honey – Organic raw unfiltered honey is what I prefer.
  • Olive oil – High-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Parsley – Fresh parsley, minced.
  • Salt – Use kosher salt for the best flavor without additives.
  • Pepper – Freshly ground pepper is so much better. Try it and you will never go back.

How to Make Chicken Souvlaki

  • Marinate: First, combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl or in a ziplock bag. Then, put the chunks of white meat in. Toss to coat each piece. Marinate for no longer than an hour.
  • Preheat: Prepare the grill, grill pan, or broiler.
  • Cook: Thread the meat onto skewers and grill all sides until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink. It may take 5 minutes per side. If you are going to broil them, it may take 8 to 10 minutes. While cooking, you may prepare the sauce.
  • Prepare the yogurt sauce: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste, then, garnish with olive oil and dill. Refrigerate for later.
  • Prepare the relish: Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly, then, season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve: Serve the souvlakia with the sauce and the relish.

Expert tip

Instead of the stick

Just because it is served on a skewer does not mean it has to remain on one. Suppose you plan to serve this grilled souvlaki to your family or guests at home. In that case, you can make it into a nice seated dinner where everyone can have two skewers of meat that they can use to make pita sandwiches as well as a variety of vegetables, hummus, and salad.

Of course, they can add the Greek yogurt sauce and tomato cucumber olive relish to their pita sandwich or eat it as a side dish as my son does. That stuff is delicious! Make sure you lay out a spread of toppings for everyone to dress their sandwiches. I like to provide tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cheese, chopped peppers, and other veggies that are in season.

One thing I like about using skewers, though, is that you can take them anywhere. We have gone to baseball games, parties, the lake, and even just sat in the backyard during the summer watching the fireworks during the 4th of July. I do have another tip for parents. Please watch your children with those wooden skewers. They are very sharp. You may want to consider getting some child-safe skewers that are rounded at the end.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Add vegetables: Slide on some vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, and potatoes for a full meal on a stick.
  • Fruits are good too: My kids like it when I include fruits like apples, strawberries, and pineapples. I even include some blueberries, raspberries, and watermelon chunks.
  • Deep-fried souvlaki: For a different (if not healthy) way to cook this meal on a stick, dip it into a delicious batter and then deep-fry it.
  • Spicy souvlaki: Add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to your marinade for a spicier souvlaki.
  • More herbs: You can always add more herbs and spices. Some of the ones I have tried and loved include rosemary, mint, onion powder, ginger, and paprika.

Serving suggestions:

This Greek dish has many close sides and accompaniments. Try some of these.

  • One of the most interesting Greek side dishes I have ever made is oven-baked Greek potatoes. They are so simple to make with just potatoes and a variety of herbs and spices, then topped with chives, piquant peppers, kalamata olives, and feta.
  • Marinated orzo with feta or dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) are also great dishes for these souvlakis.
  • I like to make several different types of baklavas for dessert.
  • Creamy and refreshing Tzatziki sauce is the perfect combo!
  • Don’t forget the homemade hummus. Everyone, whether Greek or not, seems to want this chickpea dip. 

Frequently asked questions

What is grilled chicken souvlaki?

This is a Greek dish served by vendors on the streets made of bite-sized chunks of chicken on skewers marinated, seasoned, and grilled. They are often served with a side of yogurt sauce seasoned with dill and lemon, Tzatziki sauce, or some other Mediterranean sauce. They can also be served with vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms or different meats like lamb, beef, or pork. Actually, it was initially served with pork, but chicken is more popular in the United States.

What is the difference between a souvlaki and a kebab?

A souvlaki is a Greek dish of marinated meat on a skewer, but a shih kebab is a Middle Eastern dish of chopped meat with vegetables cooked on skewers. You can say a souvlaki is a type of kebab, but a kebab is not a souvlaki. A kebab is often cooked in a pan or baked in the oven, while a souvlaki is always cooked over a fire. Also, souvlaki is always served on a skewer, but kebabs can be removed and served on a plate with other sides like pasta, rice, potatoes, and vegetables.

Can I use a different marinade?

Absolutely. However, the difference in taste will make a big difference in the whole dish. There are certain ingredients that I would not change, like lemon juice and zest. They are not just for flavor; they help with tenderizing. The red wine vinegar does the same thing. But you can use a different vinegar if you have one you like better. Just remember, whatever you use, your chicken will soak in it.

Why is my chicken so tough to chew?

It is probably overcooked. It is easy to overcook chicken, especially when using skinless, boneless chicken on the grill. It has no fat to protect it, and the heat saps all the juices out. Even though I marinate my chicken, I also sear it too. You can either do this on the grill or in a skillet before cooking on the grill. This will keep the juices in the chicken. Also, take it off the grill when it reaches 163 degrees F. It will finish cooking as it rests.

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: Wrap separately in plastic and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Removing it from the skewer is best so it does not poke a hole in the plastic. However, the sauce and relish will only last one to two days.
  • Freezing: To store longer, put wrapped leftovers in freezer bags, and they will stay for up to three months.   
  • Defrost: Thaw overnight in your refrigerator for the best flavor.
  • Reheating: You can reheat leftovers on the grill for a minute on each side or in the microwave for one to two minutes.

More healthy chicken recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling so they do not burn.
  • Sear your meat on the grill or in a skillet before grilling to prevent it from drying out and becoming chewy.
  • To prevent it from getting overcooked, remove it from the grill when it reaches 163 degrees F. It will keep cooking as it rests and will reach 165 degrees F when you serve it.
  • If the weather is bad or you just want to stay indoors, you can cook your souvlaki on a grill pan on the stove at medium heat.
  • Make this ahead of time and freeze it in the marinade the night before. Then, thaw it in the freezer overnight, and it will be ready to go when you are.
  • Relish and sauce will only be kept for one to two days.

Greek Chicken Souvlaki

Chicken Souvlaki is a tasty Greek dish made with marinated chicken chunks topped with a tomato-olive relish and served with a creamy yogurt dip on the side.

  • Prep Time40 MIN
  • Cook Time15 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

Chicken Skewers Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast boneless and skinless – cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Greek Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or to taste
  • 1/2 cup minced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato Cucumber Olive Relish:

  • 1 cup finely diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup tomato finely diced
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives finely diced
  • 1/4 cup green olives finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Chicken Skewers Marinade:

  • Combine the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and add chicken chunks to it; toss to coat.
  • Marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

Greek Yogurt Sauce:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, or up to 1-2 days.
  • When ready to serve, garnish with chopped dill and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tomato Cucumber Olive Relish:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready for use or up to 1-2 days.

Cook the Chicken:

  • Turn on and heat the grill, or place a grill pan over medium heat.
  • If using bamboo skewers, place them in the water to soak for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread the pieces onto about six skewers.
  • If grilling, place the chicken skewers on the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • If using the grill pan, place it over medium heat, brush it with olive oil, and cook the chicken skewers for 5-6 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve:

  • Serve the chicken skewers with the yogurt sauce and the tomato-cucumber olive relish, along with pita bread and hummus.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(21)
Erica Blanchard

Erica Blanchard

Family was thrilled! Will stay in our rotation. Thank you!

Cathrin

Cathrin

Everything was amazing, family loved it. Great marinade for chicken.

YesNoSpin

YesNoSpin

This grilled chicken souvlaki recipe is a great way to enjoy a delicious and healthy meal. The chicken is grilled to perfection and the accompanying sauce is a perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Jeanette

Jeanette

Probably one of the best chicken recipes I’ve tried. Chicken was flavorful and moist. So easy to assemble and grill.


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Hi, so happy that you loved the recipe! thank you for the feedback!

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