Marinate on this.
This recipe for easy marinated chicken kabobs will make you a dinner or cookout hero. No grill? You can also cook this right under your broiler! This kabob marinade is a guaranteed win.
Meet This Recipe for Chicken Kabobs
I love a good cheeseburger on the grill, and I’ll even chow down on a hotdog once in a while — preferably at a baseball game, chased by an ice cream sundae served in one of those little souvenir plastic helmets. But there’s something about a vegetable and chicken kabob. Even thought they are uncomplicated to prepare, they stand out as a little extra special.
Let’s face it: Food on a stick is good. (See also: popsicles, Dove bars, fruit skewers, and more.) But when you combine a fresh marinade of scallions, cilantro, citrus, soy sauce, and garlic with tender chicken thighs and fresh summer vegetables, the result is guaranteed happiness.
These chicken kabobs can be cooked either on the grill, or under the broiler. Either way, you will have a great meal with perfect, flavorful char. Read on.
Which Cut of Chicken Is Best for Marinated Chicken Kabobs
I am a firm believer in boneless chicken thighs for grilled chicken. Dark meat is a lot more forgiving than white meat. Dark meat (like the thighs) stays tender longer, and has more juiciness. Some people love chicken breast, though, which is fine. Either will work as long as they are cut into the same bite-sized pieces.
The Chicken Kabob Marinade
The chicken kabob marinade recipe is a key part of why these chicken vegetable skewers are so darn good. I have been making this recipe for years. I wrote it out years ago, adapting it from a magazine I saw, but for the life of me I cannot remember which! The combination of citrus and fresh herbs offers a perfectly balanced salty-tart-herby combo of flavors.
To make the chicken skewer marinade:
- In a food processor or blender, pulse the ingredients until saucy. Loosen with a little more orange juice or olive oil if necessary.
- Marinate the chicken thighs in a large gallon bag or casserole, refrigerated, for about 30 minutes. Do not marinate the chicken longer than one hour or else the acid will start to toughen the chicken meat.
How to Prep and Skewer the Chicken for Kabobs
If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before skewering the meat and vegetables. This ensures that they will not burn or catch on fire when cooked! I find that you do not have to grease the skewers if they are wet.
If using metal skewers, be sure to grease each one lightly in cooking spray or with a brush of neutral vegetable oil. Avocado oil has been my usual go-to.
Have your vegetables and chicken all cut into roughly the same size pieces. Then, alternate in roughly the same repeating pattern of vegetables and chicken.
Leave about one inch of space on each end of the skewers. This ensures that nothing will fall off, and you have somewhere to grab them once they’re cooked and you’re ready to dive in!
What to Serve With Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs
This vegetable chicken kabob recipe is almost its own full meal on a stick, combining different kinds of vegetables with tender marinated chicken. But I like to incorporate a starchy side with this, such as rice, a pasta salad, or couscous.
Enjoy this fantastic, always-in-style dinner.
Here are a few ideas for kabob side dishes:
Favorite Marinated Chicken Kabobs
For the Marinade
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, from about 2 limes
- Zest from the limes and OJ, if you'd like
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, such as avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1 bunch scallions
For the Chicken and Vegetable Skewers
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 bell peppers
- 2 medium-sized zucchini
- 1 large red onion
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
- About 8 to 10 wooden or metal skewers
- If using wooded skewers, soak them in water in a flat-bottomed casserole or rimmed baking sheet for about 20 to 30 minutes. If using metal skewers, grease them lightly with a little oil or cooking spray.PRO TIP: Soaking wooden skewers prevents them from over-charring or catching on fire on the grill or under the broiler!
- Cut the vegetables into evenly sized, one-inch square (or so) pieces. Toss with a glug of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. Trim and then cut the chicken into similarly small pieces. PRO TIP: Don't worry too much about trimming every bit of excess fat from the chicken; it will drip off during the cooking process.
- Reserve a couple of scallions and a few sprigs of cilantro. Roughy chop the rest.
Make the Kabob Marinade
- In a food processor or blender, combine the orange juice, lime juice, zest (if using), soy sauce, oil, salt, garlic, and chopped cilantro and scallions. Pulse until smooth and adjust seasoning. You may want a little more citrus or salt.
- Set the chicken in a large bowl or casserole. Pour the marinade over the chicken and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge, but no more than an hour. Turn the chicken once or twice while it marinates. PRO TIP: A citrus-based marinade will start to make the meat tough if it sits too long.
To Assemble and Cook the Vegetable Chicken Kabobs
- On each skewer, alternate adding vegetables and chicken, leaving an inch of space on each end of the skewer.
- Preheat the grill or broiler. If using the broiler, place the rack about 4" from the heating element, and lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet or line with lightly-greased aluminum foil. (Don't use parchment under the broiler--it will burn.)
- Cook the vegetable chicken kabobs, leaving space between each, for about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating a couple times during the cooking process.
- Serve family style, garnished with the remaining scallions and cilantro, and a few wedges of lime, if you have it.
For the non-cilantro folks, parsley?
Great idea! That is a perfect substitute.
This is a fantastic marinade! Very flavorful; came together well.
I just made this recipe, it came together fast.. I had all the ingredients in the house so it was easy to put together and I like the short marinade and cook times. I made it as written but used chicken breasts and added some mushrooms on the skewers since I had some. I also forgot to add the oil in the marinade and it still came out perfect. The flavors are wonderful, it was delicious. Thanks for the great recipe!
So glad you enjoyed! And it’s great to know that the oil didn’t affect the result at all. Thanks for the note!
What a great recipe – the flavors are so punchy and bright. I ended up with more marinade than I needed, so I poured some into the bowl with the chicken and I used the rest as salad dressing. This is my favorite kind of recipe – simple, quick, and healthy, but with a big wow factor. Thank you!
So glad you enjoyed it! One of my favorite go-to chicken recipes.