This recipe for Greek chicken souvlaki is skewers of tender chicken breast marinated in lemon, garlic and herbs, then grilled to perfection and served with a creamy yogurt sauce.
These chicken souvlaki kabobs are a taste of the Mediterranean right in your own kitchen. You can grill or broil these Greek chicken skewers for a simple yet healthy meal.
One of my ongoing challenges as a mom and as a cook is coming up with dinner recipes that all three of my children will eat. I’ve learned through trial and error that if I skewer meat on a stick, the fun factor alone makes it much more likely that the girls will be willing to try it. This chicken souvlaki was no exception – everyone happily devoured their “chicken on a stick”.
What is chicken souvlaki?
Chicken souvlaki is a Greek dish that’s made with marinated and grilled chicken and sometimes vegetables, all threaded onto skewers and broiled. It’s often served with pita bread.
How do you make chicken souvlaki?
This recipe starts with boneless skinless chicken breasts. I typically buy Foster Farms Organic chicken breast as it’s ready available at my grocery store and I try to buy organic whenever possible. Boneless skinless chicken thighs would also work great. The chicken is cut into chunks and marinated in garlic, lemon, olive oil and herbs.
It’s important to only marinate the chicken for a short period of time, less than an hour is ideal. If the chicken sits too long in the marinade the acid from the lemon juice could make it tough. The chicken then gets threaded onto skewers and can either be grilled, baked or broiled.
While the chicken is cooking I make my sauces. I do a yogurt sauce that’s similar to tzatziki with cucumbers, herbs, yogurt and a special ingredient – sour cream. The sour cream isn’t the most authentic but I find that it adds a lot of richness and mellows the tang of the yogurt in a way that makes the sauce more kid friendly.
I also make a cucumber tomato relish which is essentially minced cucumber and tomato that’s flavored with lemon juice, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper. The relish adds a fresh note to this dish.
What is the difference between a gyro and souvlaki?
Gyros and souvlaki are both popular meat dishes, typically served with pita bread. The main difference between the two is that gyros are made with ground meat, and souvlaki is made with chunks of chicken, pork, or beef.
I pair my Greek chicken souvlaki and sauces with store bought hummus, marinated olives and flatbread for a Mediterranean dinner that the whole family will love. In fact, I ended up making this twice in one week because it was such a hit, can’t argue with that kind of success!
What is souvlaki seasoning made of?
Souvlaki is seasoned with lemon, olive oil, garlic, dried oregano, salt and pepper. There are two types of dried oregano typically sold at the store, Mexican oregano and Mediterranean oregano. You want the Mediterranean oregano for this dish. Sometimes souvlaki seasoning can include other herbs and spices like parsley and paprika.
More greek inspired dishes that you’ll love
- Greek Couscous Bowls
- Greek Chicken Kabobs
- Greek Lemon Chicken
- Chopped Greek Salad
- One Pot Greek Meatballs with Lemon Dill Rice
For the chicken skewers:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves minced
For the yogurt sauce:
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup sour cream (or an additional 1/2 cup of greek yogurt if you prefer)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup minced cucumber (I prefer the small persian cucumbers)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or dill
For the tomato cucumber relish:
- 3/4 cup minced cucumber
- 3/4 cup minced seeded tomato
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
For the chicken skewers: Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic, along with 1 tablespoon of water, in a bowl.
Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.
- Heat a grill or grill pan over medium or preheat the broiler.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread the chicken pieces onto 4 skewers.
- If grilling, place the chicken on the grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through.
- For broiling, broil for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- While the chicken is cooking make the sauces.
For the yogurt sauce: Mix together the Greek yogurt, sour cream, cucumber and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate until ready for use, or for up to 1 day.
For the relish: Combine the tomato, cucumber and parsley in a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready for use, or for up to 1 day.
- Serve the chicken skewers with the yogurt sauce and cucumber relish, as well as flatbread, hummus and olives if desired.
This post is sponsored by Foster Farms® Organic Chicken. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Dinner at the Zoo possible! This post was originally published on March 8, 2016 and was updated on April 25, 2018 with new content.