Chicken Souvlaki | Greek Chicken

Chicken Souvlaki | Greek Chicken

Details

Cubes of chicken are marinated in red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and olive oil, and then skewered and grilled to perfection.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Views: 70,763
  • Success: 100%

Steps

Step 1: Marinating the Chicken

• 3 cloves garlic
• 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
• 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp fresh oregano
• 3/4 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 4 single chicken breasts
• wood or metal skewers

Method

To start the marinade, first crush the garlic and finely chop the oregano. In a dish large enough to marinate the chicken, add the garlic, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk in the olive oil and add the oregano, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Remove the tenderloin from the chicken breast (if attached), and trim off the tendon. Cut all of the chicken into approximately 1 1/2" -inch cubes. Place the chicken into the marinade and mix to evenly coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or even overnight.

Note: Before skewering the chicken, soak the wood skewers in water for at least 2 hours (if possible).

Step 2: Cooking the Chicken Souvlaki

• vegetable oil (if grilling)
• sea salt, to taste
• freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• extra-virgin olive oil (for finishing)

Method

To cook the chicken, preheat your grill to medium-high or turn your oven to 375º degrees Fahrenheit.

Slide 3 or 4 pieces of meat onto each skewer. If grilling the chicken, first lightly oil the grill by dousing a rolled paper towel into a bit of vegetable oil.

Place the skewers onto the hot grill and let cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper.

When the chicken lifts easily from the grill, it is ready to be flipped. Let cook on the other side until the chicken is fully cooked through, which should take another 3 to 4 minutes.

If baking in the oven, cook for about 10 minutes, turning once, or until cooked through.

When done, place onto a platter, drizzle with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and serve with Homemade Tzatziki (recipe link below).

Chicken souvlaki is a healthy and flavorful dish that is great any time of year.

Chef's Notes

Lamb, beef and pork can all be substituted for chicken. Whatever you choose, make sure you serve the souvlaki with Homemade Tzatziki. The two were made for each other :-)

Grilling provides good color and flavor; but you can also bake these skewers with great results.

Soaking wooden skewers for about 30 minutes prior to cooking prevents them from burning on the grill or in the oven. Alternatively, you can use metal skewers.

35 Comments

  • Judi G
    Judi G
    We had this for dinner last night - turned out perfectly. The best marinade yet. And I agree that the tzatziki was wonderful. But, instead of using the really high fat yogurt, which is sometimes even difficult to find, I always make my own yogurt 'cheese' which is simply strained with cheesecloth over a bowl for several hours or overnight. It thickens up beautifully, and is much very rich in taste and consistency. I use 2% and it is fabulous. A really lovely meal. Another item I won't be ordering at restaurants, now that I know how easy this is to prepare. Thanks!
  • Liz S
    Liz S
    I used lamb with great results. The tzatziki was also the best that I have made. Another winner:)
  • Carlton M
    Carlton M
    I love this recipe. although i didn't find the tzatziki drill-down. Thankfuly I know how to make it just wanted to see what may have been done diffrently
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Glad you liked it. Here's the link: http://rouxbe.com/recipes/20
  • Brian B
    Brian B
    I made this last week and my wife and mother in law loved it. They said it tasted more like the Souvlaki you get in restaurants. Thanks for another great recipe.
  • Alixandra H
    Alixandra H
    Made the Souvlaki last night and it was total perfection. I used to attend a Greek Orthodox church many years ago and the Greeks are people proud of their heritage, culture and most of all - food. You did justice to one of my all-time favorite Greek dishes and it was quite easy to prepare. I especially loved the marinade. The Tzatziki was off the charts - best I've ever had, let alone made - and better than what's served in a lot of Greek restaurants. So cool and refreshing. My husband who isn't particularly fond of cream sauces, sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt dipped every piece of his Souvlaki in the Tzatziki. What a victory! Wish I had thought to buy some pita bread for dipping. Next time! Thanks for the great recipe, Rouxbe. Alixandra Hice http://casahice.blogspot.com
  • Elizabeth S
    Elizabeth S
    I just made this for dinner and my boyfriend and I loved it! I served it with your tzatziki and when I took a bite I was stunned at how it tasted exactly like the chicken souvlaki that I ate all the time growing up in Canada. Now that I live in LA I realized that I haven't had chicken souvlaki in ages, and only until I took a bite did I realize how much I had missed it. Thanks for putting souvlaki back in my life Rouxbe!
  • Mike P
    Mike P
    Made this tonight but didn't have fresh oregano so I used dried instead. It was still delicious so I can't wait to taste it again with fresh ingredients. I cooked it in the oven too, so very easy to make, put in the oven, time it and check over it every ten minutes or so. Easy, delicious with a perfect flavour. Make it with Tzatziki and coconut rice. Seemed a perfect mix.
  • Aaron S
    Aaron S
    What is the best way to cook meat in the oven? If I try putting food on tinfoil the bottom does not seem to cook correctly. Should I just put it directly on the rack?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    "What is the best way to cook meat in the oven?" This is a big question Aaron, not sure if it can be answered in a simple forum. This is all part of the cooking school. In fact we just did a lesson (to be released in the new year) that covered some of this. But like I said, it's a big subject. As for how to cook this particular dish in the oven... If you want to use foil (on a baking tray), just turn the skewers once or twice during cooking so they get more even color. I do not recommend just cooking on the your oven rack as this will be very messy and likely hard to clean.
  • Joseph S
    Joseph S
    I love Greek food! This chicken souvlaki recipe is great! I prefer it with lamb, however. I wonder if this would be good with shrimp as well. What do you think?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You could give it a try Joseph, I am sure it would be good. I would just cut down on the marinating time, so you don't end up with ceviche.
  • Ed R
    Ed R
    what are some good side dishes for souvlaki
  • Elizabeth G
    Elizabeth G
    I think for me the best part was all the flavors coming off the chicken, it was so delicious. I never had tzatziki before, so I wasn't sure what it was supposed to taste like but I agree it complimented the chicken really well. I'll be making this again very soon!
  • Bill P
    Bill P
    The recipe turned out great for my family and me. It was fabulous. I will definitely make this one again. I had a problem with the chicken being slightly undercooked, though -- probably my fault. I might have misread the cooking times, so just threw them back on the grill. Still -- my cooking times definitely required more time that what was originally in the recipe. Probably closer to 5+ minutes each side (not a big deal). I marinated the chicken for 24 hours, though, and was wondering if that extra time would necessarily require a longer cooking time? I thought that it would require less since the lemon juice and vinegar would start to "cook" the meat (like a ceviche) after marinating so long. Thanks for any tips.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    When it comes to "cooking times" in recipes they are generally only guidelines. It is almost impossible to give exact times as there are so many variables (was the heat source the same, was the meat the same size etc etc.) When it comes to cooking the best way to test for doneness is to rely on what you see. Take a look at a piece of chicken (cut into it is you need to) to see for yourself if it is cooked or not. With practice you can also learn to rely on touch as well. Cooking is about practicing and learning from our mistakes. But good for you for knowing "it's no big deal" you just knew to throw them back on the grill. Now, as for marinating (and brining) and longer cooking times. Marinated or brined meats should not require longer cooking times. In fact, brined meats often cook a bit faster than unbrined meats. Hope this helps - cheers!
  • Sadaf W
    Sadaf W
    I love this recipe it looks easy and so so delicious.
  • Dilip R
    Dilip R
    I brined the chicken breasts for an hour per your instructions. I used a grill pan to grill the chicken, but the pieces took more than 5 minutes per side to cook. Do you recommend I flatten the pieces a bit to increase the surface area so that the pieces will cook withoout the meat drying out? How can we tell by touching the meat whether it has cooked properly? Any other suggestions. Other than that, it was a great recipe. Thanks
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Glad that you liked the dish, it's a great one for summer that's for sure. As for cooking times they will vary depending on how thick or big the pieces of meat are and also on your heat source and how hot it is. I do not recommend flattening out the meat as this will only press out those delicious juices. If they were dry at all then perhaps they were just slightly overcooked. As for checking for doneness this comes down to practice and timing. If you make these often enough then you will either now "ah they take about 10 minutes" or you will get the hang of what they feel like when you press on them. Cooking by touch can be tricky at first but with experience you will know that when the meat feels a certain way or has a certain resistance to it is done. Again this comes down to practice/experience. In the meantime feel free to time them as they cook and then check them by cutting into one of the skewers. As soon as the chicken is no longer pink they are ready. This would also be a good time to press on one of the pieces of meat to get a feel for how it feels when it is cooked (feel it throughout the cooking process so you can begin to tell the difference in how it feels). Hope this helps. Keep up the good work - cheers!
  • Dilip R
    Dilip R
    Thanks for the quick response. I will try cutting the pieces smaller the next time and also feel the pieces to check for doneness. Would baking the chicken be a better option than grilling? I was planning on making chicken satays this weekend, after watching your pork satay video. Should i use chicken thighs and will brining the meat before marinating help to keep the meat moist? I will bake the pieces in the oven per your instructions. Thanks.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You can bake or grill the chicken souvlaki, it's up to you. Basically it just comes down to what is the final result you are going for. Grilling will give you grill marks and a bit of that barbecue flavor. It will also allow you to cook outside. Even the pork satays that you mention can be grilled. Again it comes down to how you want to execute the meal. As for the pork satays, you can brine the meat if you like but generally thigh meat is naturally more moist than breast meat so you don't necessarily have to brine it. Hope this helps to clear things up. Cheers!
  • Dilip R
    Dilip R
    Prepared this again today and they turned out super moist and tasted great...Cheers!! My question is about the leftovers; i have a few skewers left over. i put the cooked souvlaki (still on the skewers) on a plate and wrapped the plate with foil and refrigerated the plate. How do I reheat the skewere without the meat going tough? Is it alright to refrigerate the cooked chicken on the skewer? or should i have removed the pieces from the skewer before refrigerating them? Thanks!!
  • Bill P
    Bill P
    I also made this weekend. I am not an expert, but I don't think you could easily reheat it. I left the meat on the skewers and put them in an airtight plastic container. The leftovers won't last long in my house. They are great cold with a little mayo, or with the leftover tsatziki. I would probably remove the skewers if storing for than 24 hours, just so they don't start to take on the flavor of the wood. I don't think there are any safety issues, though. Again, I'm not an expert -- just my experiences. Perhaps one of the staff could comment.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Bill is right. Cold leftovers are yummy. I would remove them from the skewers prior to storing. You can then gently reheat the chicken using steam or briefly in the microwave. The texture won't be the same the next day but it won't be bad. Just don't cook it/reheat it for long periods of time. Cheers!
  • Dilip R
    Dilip R
    Thanks Bill and Kimberley. I reheated them in a pan for a few minutes, but the texture changed. I will have to experiment with the cooking times. thanks.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    The texture, especially when it comes to chicken, will never be the same the next day when you reheat. Reheating in a pan with a touch of water is fine. Just heat over medium to medium-low until heated completely through. The longer you let it cook, the tougher and drier it will become.
  • Brittany K
    Brittany K
    I prepared this (with help) for approximately fifty people at my graduation reception. I made the souvlaki (grilled), tzatziki, and homemade pita bread with the Greek Salad. Everyone loved it and I had many many requests for my special recipe!!
  • Liz S
    Liz S
    growing up eating greek food, i was worried that I could do this recipe justice and taste like I remember as a little girl. The tzatiki was awesome and easy to do. the skewers were a hit!
  • Mary B
    Mary B
    speaker was easy to understand, recipe directions east to follow, sounds inviting!!!!!!
  • Jennifer H
    Jennifer H
    I made this for my family and my very picky 4 year old loved it! I can't get him to eat hardly anything and he didn't want to stop eating this.
  • Cindi L
    Cindi L
    I've made this wonderful dish two times in the past two week. The chicken was so delightfully tender and delicious both times. I also tried the marinade, minus the garlic, on Mahi Mahi with similar results. The chicken is so flavorful that we didn't feel like it needed any dipping sauce. I served the souvlaki with roasted beets, carrots and brussel sprouts.....yummy. Thanks Rouxbe.
  • Teresa R
    Teresa R
    OMG! Made this along with the Moroccan Couscous and along side, the Tzatziki. Perfect, just perfect! Could not have gotten a better combo. Sitting here with a belly that's going to burst. LOL
  • Plamena A
    Plamena A
    This was another great Rouxbe recipe! Fresh oregano really makes a difference!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Thanks Plamena - We agree, fresh oregano is a great flavor addition. Cheers!

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