Lemony Marinated Chicken Skewers

Lemony Marinated Chicken Skewers - Delicious Middle Eastern-inspired marinade with a bright burst of lemon, perfect for grilling. #summer #grilled #recipe

Many times I’ve heard people refer to a backyard cookout as a “barbecue” when in reality they’re grilling, not barbecuing. What’s the difference? While the terms “grilling” and “barbecue” are often used interchangeably (particularly in the northern United States), the truth is they are two very different cooking methods. Grilling is the most basic form of cooking—it is, quite simply, the method of cooking a food directly over an open flame or high heat source. Barbecue, on the other hand, is a low and slow method of cooking over indirect heat. Because of the long, slow cooking process, barbecued meat soaks up the smoky flavors and spice rubs, rendering the finished product moist and tender. Barbecue is more suited to bigger, tougher cuts of meat that do well with slow, even cooking—brisket, tri-tip, ribs, and tender pulled pork. Grilling is reserved for foods that can cook more quickly—hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, seafood, vegetables and chicken.

I adore barbecue, but we grill much more often than we barbecue. Grilling is a shorter and simpler process that is perfect for hot summer days (like our upcoming long 4th of July holiday weekend!). During the summer we love grilling for family and friends. I make salads, prepare various chilled mezze, and blend batches of icy limonana to keep everybody cool in the hot summer sun. Nearly every time we grill, I serve some version of this lemony Middle Eastern-inspired marinade. Sometimes I add a little extra cayenne for a kick, other times I use more lemon for tartness. No matter which little tweaks I make, it always turns out tasty. It’s a balanced blend of lemon, spices and fresh herbs. The meat always turns out tender and tasty. Use chicken thighs for a juicier, more flavorful result. I recommend serving these skewers with toum, a tasty Middle Eastern garlic dipping sauce.

This is truly one of my favorite summer grilling marinades, I know you will love it. Whether you’re grilling, barbecuing or ordering takeout, I wish you a very happy 4th!

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Wooden Skewers


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Lemony Marinated Chicken Skewers


  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (I prefer thighs)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp fresh minced cilantro or parsley (I prefer cilantro)
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

You will also need

  • Wooden skewers
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Servings: 6
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Cut the chicken into 1 ½ inch strips for skewering. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro or parsley, crushed garlic, paprika, salt, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken pieces in a glass dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and let the chicken marinate for 20 minutes. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while the chicken is marinating.
  • Generously grease the grill and heat over medium. Skewer the chicken, evenly divided between 6-8 skewers.
  • Lemony Marinated Chicken Skewers - Delicious Middle Eastern-inspired marinade with a bright burst of lemon, perfect for grilling. #summer #grilled #recipePlace the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning once during cooking, until cooked through. Serve hot.
  • Lemony Marinated Chicken Skewers - Delicious Middle Eastern-inspired marinade with a bright burst of lemon, perfect for grilling. #summer #grilled #recipe

Comments (23)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Looks and sounds delicious! For us Cityfolk stuck in apartments with no access to a grill, do you have an approximate oven temp and cook time?

  2. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I can’t wait to try this, Tori! We grill all the time, but this recipe using turmeric will be a nice way to change things up a bit and add a nice color.

    1. Hi Kimberley I have a great raw Carrot salad for you.
      Peel Carrots and shred them add fresh garlic, Lemon Juice, Cilantro or Parsley little olive oil if you wish, and if you want it spicy add Fresh green Jalapeno slice really small mix together and it last a long time.Enjoy

  3. Dear Tori, Try to add in 1/2 -1 cup of water and 1 spoon of corn flour into the marinate, don’t worry as you used 2 Lbs of meat, when you stir the meat and it will absorb all the liquid into the meat and it will be very juicy and tender. A chef advised us to keep the skin on, it you don’t eat it, tear if off before you eat as it protect the meat so that it will be juicy instead of dried meat. This is the secret of Chinese cooking.

  4. I will brush them with honey before taking them out from the grill. Kimberley, you can mix a vinegar dressing for your carrot. A :- chopped garlic, chopped fresh parsley, minced fresh mint leaves, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, ground black pepper.
    Or B. Each 2 TBS Vinegar, Sour Cream, Mayonnaise . 1 tsp. sugar (or more if needed), some pepper– Sorry , the B has fat.

  5. One of my favorite marinades/bastings is: lemon juice chicken parts for 30 mins, then mash garlic into light or medium olive oil, and add to lemoned chicken, let sit for another hour. Grill and baste before and after turning. Olive oil is flammable so keep a spritzer nearby.

    1. So glad you got to try the recipe Helene! It really is one of my faves, it’s in regular rotation here at home during the summer.

  6. Geography does make a difference :) ! In Australia ALL outdoor cooking is barbecuing, all indoor cooking without oil, ie heat source below and in touch with food, or above and streaming, is called grilling! No exceptions!! What you are describing as ‘barbecuing’ would be called ‘slow cooking using a barbecue’ here!! Not often used!! And altho’ what it is from friends and blogs, ‘griddling’ is not a word in general usage!! Yet we are one of the most barbecue conscious people in the world because of our climate!!!

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