Marinated chicken kabobs are juicy, flavorful, and grilled to perfection after being saturated in yogurt, garlic, lemon, ginger, and Indian spices.
These marinated chicken kabobs are the perfect healthy weeknight meal! So good, we’ve been making them on repeat! If you haven’t tried yogurt marinated chicken, it is high time you give it a go.
The yogurt makes the chicken so tender and juicy while the Indian spices, garlic, ginger and lemon add tons of flavor! The underlying curry flavor is very subtle so don’t let that turn you off. It’s the meddling of the ingredients together and the marinade time that creates all the flavor.
Why make marinated chicken kabobs
While you can definitely use this delicious marinade for whole chicken breasts or thighs, I love making them into kabobs for a few reasons:
- Cutting the chicken into smaller pieces means the chicken becomes more flavorful with less marinating time.
- Adding veggies means you don’t need to cook a separate side.
- They’re perfect for portion control and feeding a crowd (just double or triple the recipe – there’s a button for this in the recipe card)
- Kids love helping assemble them.
- And possibly most importantly, kabobs are just fun okay?
And once you fall in love with the marinade, you can certainly branch out and experiment a bit. Some ways to do this are by adding other veggies to the kabobs, using it for whole breasts or thighs, or in winter by cooking the cubed chicken in a sauté pan instead of outdoors. It’ll burn a little bit due to the yogurt marinade but it’s worth scrubbing the pan.
The ingredients needed for yogurt marinated chicken kabobs are pretty simple. Starting with the chicken, you’ll need:
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- plain yogurt – I’ve used both plain yogurt and Greek and both have turned out great. Just don’t use non-fat!
- lemon juice – fresh squeezed of course!
- garlic – you can use the pre-minced kind here
- ginger – same, you can save yourself the hassle and get pre-minced
- garam masala – there are many different types of garam masala blends. Some are red, some brown and some more of a yellow color. It doesn’t matter which you use in this recipe.
- salt – I recommend using hymalain salt or another form of mineral salt
- turmeric – if you don’t cook with turmeric regularly, you certainly should! Studies have shown its great for the immune system, arthritis, the heart and other areas of the body.
- black pepper –
Okay, now that we’ve got the chicken covered. The veggies I added to the kabob recipe are:
- bell pepper
- red onion
- a sprinkle of parsley
That being said, feel free to swap with your favorite veggies. Just make sure to choose firm ones that grill well (cubed eggplant, soshito peppers,
How to make yogurt marinated chicken kabobs
First and foremost, get that chicken marinating! Stir the marinade ingredients together and then add the chicken, stirring to get each piece nice and saucy. Refrigerate and marinade for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
While the chicken cooks, prep those veggies by cutting and then tossing in oil, salt and pepper. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance for quick meal prep later on.
From here, light the grill and assemble those kabobs. If you’re having people over, this is a great job to hand off to anyone wanting to help in the kitchen since the hard part is done and assembly is pretty hard to screw up.
Once the kabobs are assembled, its time to grill! These marinated chicken kabobs cook pretty fast since they’re cut into small pieces, just 3-5 minutes per side on a hot grill.
Prepping ahead of time
This is an excellent recipe to prep ahead of time so you can get dinner on the table fast. You can marinade the chicken and cut and toss the veggies in oil, salt and pepper 24 hours ahead of time.
You can go ahead and assemble the kabobs up to 24 hours in advance too. Just let the chicken marinate for 20-30 minutes beforehand while you’re prepping the veggies. It will continue to absorb the sauce after skewering so don’t worry that you didn’t marinade on its own very long.
Yogurt marinated chicken is a great freezer meal. To freeze, whip up the marinate and place the chicken and marinade in a freezer safe bag, making sure the chicken is evenly coated before placing in the freezer. It will keep for about 3 months in the freezer when sealed tightly.
You can do this with the chicken either cubed for kabobs or whole. I like doing a double batch (or more) and freezing it both cubed and as whole breasts or thighs so I have both as an option.
Defrost frozen yogurt marinated chicken in the refrigerator overnight for use at the next evening’s dinner.
Marinating and cooking whole chicken breasts or thighs
If you want to use the marinade on whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, you most certainly can and it turns out great!
For the most flavor, poke a few holes in each chicken breast or thigh using a fork and marinade for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Poking holes lets the marinate seep in giving it more flavor.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, grill on an oiled grill grate over high heat. Average sized breasts take 8-10 minutes per side and boneless skinless thighs take about 6-7 minutes per side. Keep in mind that breast and thigh sizes vary substantially as does grill heat so keep an eye on them.
If you’re not sure, use a meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the chicken. When the internal temperature reads 165° F (73° C), the chicken is done cooking.
Even if it says, 160°, I’d probably take it off since it will continue cooking for a few minutes off the grill. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before cutting into it all of the juices don’t run out and make it dry.
What to serve with kabobs
You really don’t need to serve much of anything since you’ve already got the veggies and meat covered, but here are a few ideas:
- Rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa
- A simple salad with lemon vinaigrette
- Use an extra bell pepper or two and skip the zucchini on the kabobs and make this grilled zucchini with feta and basil instead
- This avocado Caprese salad would pair fantastically
- Can’t go wrong with a Mediterranean pasta salad
- Although the curry flavor in the kabobs is very mild, you could bring it out more by pairing with a simple salad and curry salad dressing
Marinated Chicken Kabobs
- Bamboo or reusable skewers
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1" pieces with fat removed
- 1 cup plain yogurt low-fat is fine but don't use non-fat
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. grated or minced ginger
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 red pepper seeded and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 red onion cut into 1" pieces (save small inner part for another recipe)
- 2 medium zucchini sliced into 1/2" rounds
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish optional
- Add yogurt, lemon, garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, cumin, turmeric and black pepper to a medium sized bowl and stir to mix well.
- Add chicken to marinade and stir to evenly coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (preferably 4-6 hours) and up to 24 hours.
- While chicken is marinating (about an hour before you plan to grill), fill a flat baking dish with water and soak bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour, to prevent burning. (skip this step if using reusable metal skewers)
- When chicken is done marinating, assemble kabobs by pushing a piece of chicken all the way through the pointy side of the skewer to the bottom, alternating with a piece of red onion, red pepper, or zucchini, between each piece of chicken. Make sure to leave a little bit of room between them as you are stacking so that everything will all cook evenly. Repeat until chicken and vegetables are used up.
- Grill for 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through. Grilling time depends on how hot the grill is (mine was about 450° F; 332° C).
- Serve immediately while warm. I typically serve over seasoned rice or potatoes. Enjoy!
- You can use the marinade on whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. For the most flavor, poke a few holes in each chicken breast or thigh using a fork and marinade for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Grill over high heat (breasts for 8-10 minutes per side and thighs for 6-7 minutes per side) until the chicken’s internal temperature reads 165° F (73° C). Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- To prepare kabobs in advance, let the chicken marinate for 20-30 minutes while prepping the veggies, then prepare the skewers and store refrigerated in a sealed container until an hour before grilling. Can be prepped 24 hours in advance.
- To freeze chicken – prepare marinade and pour into a freezer safe bag. Add either chicken chunks or whole boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs to marinade and use your hands to make sure chicken gets evenly coated. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in refrigerator overnight for use the next evening.