Recipes > Turkish Chicken Kebabs

Turkish Chicken Kebabs


These Turkish chicken kebabs are marinated in thick yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, tomato paste, red wine vinegar and the secret ingredient...Aleppo pepper.
  • Serves: 6 to 8
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 4 hrs - 24 hrs
  • Views: 58,034
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Marinating & Grilling the Chicken

Marinating & Grilling the Chicken
  • 1 cup (approx. 8 oz) thick, plain Greek yogurt*
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 8 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 lb chicken breasts or boneless, skinless thighs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • wooden or metal skewers
  • grapeseed oil
  • Sumac (for sprinkling overtop, optional)
  • Aleppo pepper (to taste)


To prepare the marinade, first combine the Aleppo chile with a tablespoon of warm water to form a paste. Set aside for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mince the garlic and place into a large bowl. Next add the oregano, tomato paste, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and whisk to combine. Next, add the olive oil, yogurt, Aleppo pepper mixture and whisk again. Set aside while you prepare the chicken.

Cut the chicken into approximately 1 1/2" -inch cubes. Add the chicken to the marinade and fold to evenly coat. Cover and let refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water at least an hour before cooking.

Thread the chicken on to the skewers, allowing the excess marinade to drip off. Discard the leftover marinade.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. Once hot, brush the grate clean. Using tongs, oil the grate liberally with a paper towel that has been doused in oil.

Allow the excess marinade to drain from the kebabs before placing them onto the grill. Grill until light golden brown and cooked through, about 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Remove from the grill. Sprinkle with sumac and/or more Aleppo pepper to taste. Serve hot.

These kebabs can be served with warm pita bread or Iranian flat bread (minus the cheese and basil), hummus and a nice green salad. Rice pilaf finished with fresh lemon and parsley also goes very well with these kebabs.

Chef's Notes

Both Aleppo pepper and Sumac offer vibrant color to many dishes and can be sprinkled on meats, salads, rice dishes and dips.


  • Evelyn jane G
    Evelyn jane G
    If we are not near a store that sells Aleppo pepper, can we substitute black pepper? Same with sumac??? Jane
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Unfortunately the Aleppo pepper and sumac are some of the things that give this dish it's unique flavoring. That being said you could substitute the Aleppo with crushed chilis and sweet Hungarian paprika (see the notes at the bottom of the text recipe). As for the sumac you could use a bit of lemon zest and salt instead. In the end, you may not achieve the exact same results but the kebabs will still be delicious. Here is a great site for Food Substitutions that you might also want to bookmark. Hope this helps - cheers!
  • Trent T
    Trent T
    do you have a good hummus recipie? mine just falls flat
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    We sure do have a hummus recipe. Here is the link for the hummus that we make all the time here at Rouxbe. You can also search for any recipe by using the search field at the top right of every page. Just type in what you are looking for and then hit enter. Hope this helps. Good luck with the recipe. Cheers!
  • Maria K
    Maria K
    The only problem I had with this dish is that the marinade burns easily,so I finished them in the oven.
  • Gloria M
    Gloria M
    I always get a kick when a recipe instructs to marinate overnight. This seems to imply that we'll be cooking in the morning :) So my question is: is it better to leave the meat in the marinate, for possibly up to 24 hours, or to take it out of the marinade in the morning, and keep the meat in the fridge until ready to cook?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Yes, you can absolutely take the meat out of the marinade and then leave it in the refrigerator until you plan to cook it. These particular kebabs will keep in the yogurt overnight and up until the time you plan to cook them the next day. The marinade is mild, so it won't adversely affect the meat. We cover marinating times extensively in the Marinating lesson in the Cooking School. Cheers!
  • Calvin Y
    Calvin Y
    Trent T. This is how my Lebanese Grandmother made it. She switched to cans when they came out. 2 Cans Garbanzoes (set aside liquid from one) 3 tablespoons Tahini ( that has been thoroughly stirred) 3oz. Lemon juice 2oz. Garbanzo liquid 1 large clove garlic 1/2 tsp. salt Puree garbanzoes. In a separate bowl, mix thoroughly, a little by little, tahini, lemon juice, and garbanzo liquid. Pulverize garlic with salt and blend into mixture. Serve with Olive Oil drizzled over the top and a scattering of finely chopped parsley. Hope you like it. She also taught me to make my own Yogurt and a thicker version of the same as a spread.
  • Trent T
    Trent T
    I love family recipes! It looks FANTASTIC thanks for sharing Calvin!
  • Trent T
    Trent T
    I would love to here the recipe for yogurt too if your willing.
  • Stefanie M
    Stefanie M
    I loved the marinate, but would prefer to use the oven or fry the chicken instead of grilling... Would it work? And what do you think would work best, oven or frying pan?
  • Trent T
    Trent T
    yes stefanie you can. Cook the chicken about 3/4 of the wat then put on your broiler cook till you see it just begining to brown then flip them over and do it again.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    If using the oven, it would be better to broil the kebabs, rather than bake them. They will likely get better color, but be careful not to overcook. Frying is not suitable as the marinade makes the food too wet. Cheers!
  • Vicki B
    Vicki B
    I heard that using a romertopf is a good way to cook kebabs in the oven. Kind of gives it the same flavor a tandoori oven would. Not quite but...
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Vicki- Hmmm, this may work out well! I have used a romertopf for larger pieces of meat and vegetables and it worked nicely- lots of flavor that mingles and combines with what is essentially a moderately moist baking "micro-environment" with some radiant heat. Thanks for the suggestion!
  • Dedrick J
    Dedrick J
    I noticed the ingredients list mentioned grapeseed oil as an item for the dish, but I do not see when it is supposed to be added to the dish. Thanks
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Dedrick- The grapeseed oil is used for the grill to help prevent sticking. The recipe states: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. Once hot, brush the grate clean. Using tongs, oil the grate liberally with a paper towel that has been doused in oil. Good luck! ~Ken

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